Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Other Direction

No sooner do I make a post about not having the urge to binge then I spend the next week having more trouble not eating than I have had in quite some time. I can't say why this happened, but I think it was hormonal. Things are back to a better state now and I'm more in control of my eating again, but I do wonder if there will always be an issue with this.

On the bright side, I may have eaten a little more than I would have preferred for several days, but I didn't go overboard. The harder part for me was not panicking or getting down on myself for eating more than would have been ideal. I started to fear at one point that eating 2000 calories might result in actual weight gain, but then I realized that this is a pretty warped perspective. Chances are, at my current still hefty weight, I'm still losing at 2000.

These types of feelings gave me a glimpse into what it might be like on the other side of the eating disorder fence. That is, the side with problems like anorexia where you start to fear gaining weight from eating relatively normal or small amounts. It's easy to become irrational about food when you have weight problems and even easier when you are trying hard to control them. Much as I hate being fat, I wouldn't want to go in the other direction either.

I read a blog post recently from a person of relatively normal weight and she was lecturing people on why diets fail and what to eat and not to eat. As a person with a severe eating problem, I love nothing more than being lectured by people who occasionally have ten or fifteen pounds to lose (by her own assertion, this was how much she was overweight) about how I should deal with weight. Among the things she talked about were the fact that diets always failed and calorie counting shouldn't be done. Her logic on calorie counting was that you start to think too much about food rather than eat according to what you need and become more obsessed with food.

Frankly, I agree with her on the whole becoming more obsessed with food if you start to diet. That being said, I think anyone who is obese is already obsessed with food. I think people of average weight think that our bodies are speaking to us the same way theirs speak to them. It's kind of like someone with a well-behaved child trying to tell someone with a sensitive, temperamental child how to manage children. You're dealing with two very different situations.

Lately, I have been thinking though about calorie counting and having to think about food all of the time. However, there is something to be said for thinking about food so you don't have to think about food. What I mean by that intentionally nonsensical statement is that thinking about how much I can eat and planning what I can eat means that I don't have to put thought into it after a certain point. I don't believe food preoccupied me less when I wasn't counting calories. It just preoccupied me less discretely and differently. That bag of chips or candy bar nagged at me to chow down for pleasure. Now, food is all part of these calculations and plans.

I wish I could say that one day I'll have lost all of the weight and I'll stop calorie counting and thinking about food, but I don't think that will ever happen. I think I'll have to do this for the rest of my life if I want to protect my health and make sure that I don't slide down that slippery slope again. I'm only going to get older and weaker and it'll be harder to rely on exercise to maintain my weight. So, I'd best just grow accustomed to the idea that I'll have to keep tabs on my eating forever, even if some skinny people think it's a bad idea.

1 comment:

dlamb said...

I believe I also mentioned something along the same lines in one of my recent posts on your blog. I am fully prepared to do this for the rest of my life. Yes, weighing, measuring, keeping count. As you wrote, it is a small price to pay for maintaining during times when I may be incapacitated, older, weaker and perhaps less motivated, for a variety of reasons. At least the food will be under control.

What I have not done and it works for me, is that I do not plan in advance what I will be eating. This may not be good for everyone but my food preferences are so limited (though I can eat thousands of calories comprised of those few items), that this does not cause me much of a problem.
Tough the thought of "intuitive eating" is counter productive FOR ME, it is intuitive to the extent that I select items that I feel like eating at times when I feel hungry. As I do that, everything gets added up as I go along. If I "intuit" myself into eating all my calories by 4:00PM, I'm out of luck. I don't usually do that though and most of what I eat these days would be considered healthy by most criteria.

Since I am among those who are not fans of vegetables, once I get to my comfort zone, I will not count non-starchy vegetables in order to include more of them into my daily diet but that's about it in terms of changes between loss and maintenance stages. I am amazed that I can be at peace with all the changes. I spent the last 30 years or so, rushing to the "finish line" so I could binge endlessly on all my favorites. Insanity!