Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Matter of Trust

If you can't trust yourself, who can you trust? I ask this as a serious question because the truth is that most of us don't trust ourselves. We set up a bunch of rules for ourselves and wag a metaphorical finger in our general direction and essentially say, "don't cross these lines." This feeling that we are not to be trusted likely stems from childhood and being scolded by our parents or warned about doing or not doing things. They often did not trust us, and in my case they didn't trust when there was no reason to mistrust, so a pattern is established in which we believe we cannot be trusted to do what is best.

Recently, I talked about my half-assed approach to calorie counting because I was feeling that I didn't need this tool to know how much I was eating to the same extent as I did when I started in June 2009. I absolutely needed it when I started as I had no idea how much I was consuming (likely up to 3000-3500 calories a day, I'm sure). I only knew what I was eating and felt I ate pretty healthily. As I've said many times before, even healthy food has calories and you can get fat as easily on nourishing food as on empty calories. I realized that, unless you educate yourself fully (and that includes looking at the weight of food and weighing and measuring it to see what a portion should look like, not eyeballing it or guessing), you really can't know how much you are eating when you have the type of distorted perceptions I had.

A few days after writing that post, I decided that it was time to give it up entirely. There were several things that I realized. One was that I was using calorie counting more often than not to decide to eat more. I was looking to see how much wiggle room I had. The other thing I realized was that I was ready to test fly listening to my body more carefully rather than using artificial constructs. I have a very good idea not only of how much I need to eat, but also how much hunger I need to endure. The latter is very important for me because when I was much heavier, I never knew true hunger. I simply ate any time I was not full. A truly empty stomach was not something I often experienced. Now, I know what it feels like to wait until I'm genuinely hungry to eat.

So, with the experience and education of the past few years behind me, I thought it was time to trust myself with food to a much greater extent. It feels strange at times not to count at all (which I'm trying not to do, not even in  my head), but it really isn't nagging at me as much as I may have expected. I've been in a certain food space for a long time and I have a body that is better adjusted to less food and smaller portion sizes. I also have a mind that knows what is "enough" to keep losing weight and I know when I'm eating more than necessary. Counting calories doesn't really change either situation.

This isn't exactly a transition to "intuitive" eating because my body is not one that has a sufficiently altered biochemistry at this stage such that I can eat when I'm hungry (or "think I'm hungry"). I still have to push the margins a bit and wait to be hungrier before eating or I will fall back into a pattern of habitual overeating. However, between mental and physical changes, I think it's time to fly without a net and move a little closer to a normal relationship with food by kicking out the use of a food logging program. It's time to build more trust in myself when I deal with food.

Time will tell if I'm as ready as I think emotionally and physically. At this stage, I'm looking to continue very slow losses.  My initial goal was to be at 150 lbs. by the end of March of this year, but it is clear that I'm not going to get there unless I go into some sort of dramatic weight loss plan. I'm absolutely unwilling to do so because I refuse to adopt a highly dysfunctional relationship with food, even in the short term, to reach an arbitrary number. I've come too far to step back to that sort of life. I see that as more destructive than remaining fat. What is more, I do not think such measures are really necessary (and might make things worse in the long run because of metabolic slowdown

Last time I weighed myself, I was around 170-175 lbs. (at 5' 4"/164 cm. in height). From now, I'd be happy to just average a 1-2 lb. loss per month, mainly to get out of the weight ranges that qualify me as "obese". This is overwhelmingly because of health insurance costs, but I also wouldn't mind having a smaller belly apron so there was less skin on skin contact (which causes sweating and chafing, still). I also think it would help my gimpy knee and sometimes still aching back after walking to take more pressure off of both. However, I'm not going to sweat it so hard for a magic number or to fit a beauty ideal. I'm in perfect health and quite mobile. I only suffer pain under specific conditions (walking more than 4 hours or certain weather conditions). Beyond that, I just want to continue to put food in its proper place in my life by not thinking about it anymore than necessary or analyzing its composition. You know, the way people who aren't defined by their bodies live their lives.


LHA said...

Such a wise attitude. You have described what I aspire to also. I read your blog with interest and have learned a lot from you. Thank you.

screaming fatgirl said...

Thank you for your kind words, LHA. I really appreciate it!