I didn’t post last week, and it’s no wonder — I’ve been having a serious internal struggle about weight loss for a while now. Shall we get into the whole story? The kids are tuned into Lilo and Stitch, so I’ll get while the gettin’s good.
Where it all began
I went on my first diet at 13 years of age. My mom and I signed up for some weight loss clinic that was reminiscent of a Jenny Craig type of situation. We would eat our own food, supplement with their drinks, shakes, and bars, and visit the clinic weekly to weigh in and pee in a cup. I can’t remember how much weight I lost on this program, but it’s my first vivid memory of dieting. I remember exactly what I would eat — half of a chicken breast, small salad, saltine crackers, and a little bit of fruit. Pretty much every meal looked like that, so I’m going to assume that I was on a 1,200 calorie diet. I kept the weight off for a few years, and even lost a little bit more once I entered high school.
In high school, I toyed with food restriction. I became absolutely obsessed with calories, limiting my intake, and had the goal of seeing my hip bones jut out. I believe my all time lowest weight in high school was 143 pounds. I would record my weight each day in my school planner, and also write down the number of calories I consumed that day. It was always dangerously low (ballpark? < 1000 calories a day). I maintained my weight off and on for a few years, and would go through periods of “watching what I ate” or dieting. I was always fixated on the scale and my jean size. I have a memory of my sophomore year of high school where I walked through the hallway and felt my American Eagle jeans slide side to side on my hip bones. I couldn’t even tell you how proud I was at that moment — I can still remember exactly what those light wash, low-rise button fly jeans looked like, too.
In my senior year of high school, I went through a really awful stage of depression. I was so done with my school, living in my town, and I was just in a bad place. I wanted to be out of there so badly, and this is where food became a comfort mechanism for me. I would eat two slices of pizza for lunch, pick up Whataburger after school, and then eat dinner AGAIN with my family or friends. I’d hide how much I was eating. I remember Thanksgiving day, I snuck a bowl of cereal before our family get together, and my mom caught me.
Then I started having babies. And I kept eating enough for two men. We all know what happened from there. I got up to at least 219.5 pounds. And for the past 15 months, I’ve been on a few diets to lose nearly sixty pounds (both Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers).
Let me be clear
If you’re doing something that’s working for you, and you’re a happy camper who is losing weight safely — more power to you. I was a happy camper for the majority of the past 15 months. Around the start of this summer, I started experiencing some mental crap that has been messing with me ever since. My whole life, I’ve been taught that a 1,200 calorie diet is what you need to lose weight, and you should push yourself as hard as you possibly can in your workouts. I’ve always lightheartedly said that I’m a slave to the scale, but I’m here today to tell you guys: I’m seriously a slave to it. I worry about the food I’m eating and how it’s (ever-so-slightly) affecting my weight. I go through waves of being so strict with my food that it’s insane, to eating the shittiest food on Earth like it’s nothing.
Basically, after 10+ years of dieting, weight loss has gotten inside my head and it’s really fucking exhausting.
My friend posted a link to an article I want to share. It’s written by a former employee of weight loss clinic, and she is apologizing to all of her past weight loss clients. I got about two paragraphs in and had to stop. She was writing to me.
Learning how to eat intuitively.
For the past few weeks, I’ve really been having an internal struggle. I need to find a balance, and most importantly, I need to be setting a good example for my kids. I’m working on figuring out how to just … eat. How to stop obsessing. How to be okay eating carbs. How to stop GIVING A FUCK what the scale says. I have been reading GoKaleo.com (check out her “What to Expect When You Stop Dieting” series) and am going to try to re-learn how to just EAT. Eat to fill my needs, eat to give me enough energy to run, eat to make me happy. I’m not the authority on this. I’m just a girl who is realizing that I can’t diet my whole life. I can’t even have a “lifestyle change” (I’m pretty sick of that phrase, let me tell you). I just need to re-learn the basic needs of my body.
“Just eat food. Eat real food, be active, and live your life. Forget all the diet and weight loss nonsense. It’s really just that. Nonsense.”
So I’ve been running.
Phew! So that was a huge wall of text, I’m sorry! Last week, Andrew surprised me with a treadmill that I’ve been lusting over since forever, and I’ve been logging miles like you wouldn’t believe!
I am going to have to be careful to not switch one number obsession (scale) for another (miles run), but I really think as long as I can get my footing in my relationship with food, I’ll be good. Check out these runs!
and then…I ran further the next day.
and I didn’t feel like I was dead when I finished! Well, I kind of did, but I was more proud of how kick ass I was. It’s actually one of the first times I feel like I can tackle my half marathon in November. It’s an exciting thing! Oh! and also? I dyed my hair brown!
I weighed myself this morning.
I decided to do a weigh in for today. I knew that I’d been eating instinctively and appropriately for my level of activity, so I would probably see an increase. I weighed in at 149.8 pounds, and a beautiful thing happened. I gave zero fucks about the rise in weight. Because now, I’m focusing on things OTHER than the number on the scale. I’m growing as a runner. I’m truly eating WELL, and I’m ready to take the leap into a new relationship with my weight.
You can read all of my weight loss posts in one place right here. Sha-wing!