Obsession

A friend of mine and I were talking about diet and exercise obsession and our propensity of late to obsess over food or workouts, and really get crazy on diets or perfecting a workout plan. For me, food obsession, orthorexia, etc., are not new. However, I really haven’t lost weight SINCE and that’s something I’ve been grappling with and trying to understand better. Was my relatively easy, unfocused weight loss a fluke of my twenties or a product of being more aware of the food I put in my body, making overall better but not obsessive choices, and working out or resting as my body said to?

I’ll probably never know.

But as we were reflecting, I remembered how the diet and exercise world was when I tried to lose weight the first time, at the end of 2002/beginning of 2003. I didn’t know anyone on any specific diets. After I started being aware of my diet, which was “eat less than I was,” I remember people talking about I think it was the South Beach Diet. I might be wrong, but all I remember is several women at work were on this diet, and they were all miserable. One was eating a snack cake from the vending machine as she was talking to another woman about it. Another woman went on a super extreme diet, and I remember she could eat five French fries once a week. And she’s like, “Five fries. FIVE! I eat five fries in a bite!”

Meanwhile, I was just eating less, not talking about it, and not even seeing I was losing weight. And you know what else? Not a single person mentioned my weight loss as it happened. Now? I bet once a week I hear someone asks someone else if they’ve lost weight. And I’ll admit, I’m more aware than ever of the size of people around me. Everyone wants to know what others are eating, or how much, or how little, or what workout they’re doing, or how often, or where they do it. And now people are obsessing over each other’s body sizes. It’s too much.

I believe I started running sometime in 2003. And after running for awhile, I found out there were races. I decided I wanted to try running a race. And I could not find a soul who wanted to go to these races with me. Not a single person. The races were small. And people showed up, ran, supported each other, and left. Now there are huge races, and while there were costumes at Halloween races in the early 2000s, it was also really average to just show up in shorts and a tee and run. Now a 5K race is some sort of fashion show, and a 5K isn’t even interesting enough if someone isn’t getting chased, jumping over or off of, or into something, or something isn’t on fire. People are asking me to do races all the time. When I was first lifting in 2002, most women around me thought fitting was for men, and it was boring, and of course, I’d get bulky. If I wanted to workout with someone,I usually had to find a guy friend. Now Crossfit is a thing, and I see lifting competitions all over. Most of the women I know now are lifting weights, which is great. But they’re also doing HIIT or something else intense with it. And a more extreme version of cardio that started out as 10-20 minutes are now often stacked to three sets of 15-20 minutes. Boot camps used to be Friday evening gym workouts that had a lot of variety. Now they’re these, let’s see who pukes first money making adventures outdoors. Then add on rucks and other military -based workouts, and I don’t even know the world I live in now. 

I’m ready to take it back to the start:

  1. Eat less – on average, eat fewer calories than I was eating on average before
  2. Workout – workout 4-5X a week doing workouts I enjoy that improve my skill set (strength, endurance, etc.)

That’s it. Stop trying to do a specific diet. I know when I’m eating too much. Eat too much less often. I know when I’m not moving enough. Move more often than not enough.

And stop spending spare time trying to find a trick. Sleep instead.

Frustration Overflow

I’ve been so frustrated with diet, er, excuse me, WAY OF LIVING groups since I decided to try lower carb. These groups sell themselves as an easy way to lose weight. “Just don’t eat this, and boom!” Or, “Make this your diet and voila!”

However, what these groups are is filled with people staving themselves that would lose weight no matter what they were or aren’t eating. You come into the group because someone said, “This is so simple. You’ll wish you’d done it sooner!” Then you’re pumped full of dogma about how “any other way is crap, doctors don’t know anything, and you’ll die if you don’t eat this way. Plus, never stray for a second or you will gain it all back instantly!”

Basically, over-simplification and fear-mongering. Plus, you have to put up with bullying people who don’t comply, and mocking any other approach.

No thanks.

The first times (yes, multiple) I lost weight, I simply watched what I ate, and exercised. Now diet groups say exercise matters almost none. Don’t even bother. And it’s ALL diet. “You can’t outrun your fork!” “Garbage in means your body can’t be efficient enough to drop weight.”
I know I go through waves where I try new eating approaches. Trying to find something that makes me lose weight. So far, it hasn’t happened. 

I’m trying to regroup. Again. And realize there is NO diet that’s easy. There are lots of bodies. But every time someone stalls on ANY of these diets, the advice is to eat fewer calories or fast (eating fewer calories) or some other form if eating less. They sell the diet as appetite suppressing, or allowing you to eat more. But it’s all bullshit..Some people just drop weight easier (me in my twenties) so it seems simple. Others struggle no matter what (me in my thirties). 

Honestly, the stuff promoted isn’t any different than the pro-ana stuff I had a short stint interested in. And while I understand anorexia is an eating disorder, so is orthorexia, and I see so many of those tendencies in ask of these diets. Obsession with perfection, fear of certain foods or groups of foods, and making those around you enemies. 

Having orthorexia netted me weight GAIN. Doing low carb, very low carb (keto) and zero carb for the past six months has resulted in four pounds lost. FOUR. Better than four gained. But I list more than ten fasting – and in a shorter period of time. 

And for the record, I know fasting only made me lose because I was starving. I’d lose a lot more during the fast and then most of it comes back. 

What’s my new plan? I’m just going to take the things I felt worked in other diets and implement into a calorie controlled diet with strength training and cardio. Essentially what I’ve done in the past. No dogma. No rules to follow. No off limit foods. Just be honest about what doesn’t work. And know what does. Be better at tracking when I feel good, and when I don’t. 

Plus, I really do think working out us important for more than weight loss. And I think fat loss is far more important than WEIGHT loss, but that gets lost in the shuffle in these groups. I’d far rather weigh 40+ more pounds, have a ton of muscle, and be in great shape than brag I list 100 pounds.

My happiest and healthiest was when I was doing Form and Cathe workouts 3-5 days a week, running 1-3 times a week, short distances, and eating pretty freely but with awareness because eating terribly made the workouts harder. 

That, for me, is where I’m heading now. 

My People

I’ve really been struggling to find people to share my diet and weight loss struggles, successes and overall journey with. I’ve found the groups I stumble in are one or more of the following:

  1. Super-strict and cult worthy
  2. Judgy
  3. Not
  4. No gray area
  5. Group thinkers
  6. Cliche
  7. Inflexible

The problem probably us that I think a group exists that I’ll like. Back when I first lost weight, I was doing The Firm. I list some weight, then stumbled upon a message board. Weren’t those the days? Message boards and mostly slower internet. People would hop on occasionally. But no one was on all the time. Commenters were supportive, shared what worked for them, but also wanted to hear what others were doing or offered (non-cliche) advice when people were stuck. 

Now we have access to more information than ever, with fast search and find. But diets seem to be sort black and white. Even groups that claim to be flexible or open to the path are full of judgy mean people who instead of judging those in the group judge everyone around them.

And in almost every single group I’m in, if the diet, er “way of life” isn’t working, you’re lying about your adherence. Or the responses will deflect the real question. 

I’m trying to get out of these groups and blaze my own path. I’m trying even lower carb for a few weeks. I really want to find what works for me. And listening to others isn’t going to help me. Especially if the group is filled with negativity, judgement, black and white, super strict or faux flexible.

I know how I feel. I need to journal it. It’s the oath to what works that creates success. Not perfect adherence to something that isn’t working or can’t be sustained. 

For now, I am “my people.” 

Fat Logic

There’s a group on Reddit I stumbled upon, mostly by accident. But I try to see all sides of things, and clicked in there this week. Some of the things they post is just adv excuse to make fun of fat people. They make fun of then accepting their bodies. They make fun of fat people making excuses or looking for more information about why weight loss it’s harder for them than dine people. They make fun of many approaches to dieting, even if the person doing it had switched up hire they eat for good. 

Some of the stuff, I suppose I agree with. Manning that I duo think eating too many calories leads to weight gain. Or that many period make a simple thing complicated, then fail. But they also try to way over simplify. And I’ll admit, I used to be one of those people. I used to think weight loss was easy. And didn’t understand why people didn’t just eat less and move more (specifically, lifting weights and any type of cardio you like). 

That was then. 

To clarify, I do still think excess calories make you gain. And I still think everyone should lift weights and get in some sort of endurance to strengthen your heart. I don’t have a set idea on how to lift – I just think muscle mass and strength training is good for you. I also think the cardio can be as simple as walking. Or you can run. Or you can do HIIT. Or power yoga. It should challenge your heart.And doesn’t have to be for hours at a time. That’s just what I think. It can easily be disputed.

But I no longer think weight loss is simple. And the assholes who simplify it are assholes. They say, “Just stop eating. Hormones have nothing to do with it. Insulin doesn’t matter.” Or whatever they say. They only see their experience in front of them. 

When you see people start to ask why it’s easy for some people and harder for others, their only answer is too fast, or eat less and you’ll be less hungry, or exercise more, or eat less than you’re eating now. Great, thanks for that. The person was asking WHY. Why do some people lose weight without hunger? Why do some lose at a much higher caloric intake? Why do many people lose weight, then have a list metabolism than someone who hasn’t lost? 

There is nuance to this. Hormones, or something beyond simple sheer willpower is involved here. It is a lot harder fit dine people. All fat.people aren’t gluttons. They aren’t all lazy and excuse making. What works for you doesn’t work for everyone. And for some people, despite diligence, the weight doesn’t budge. And trust me, most overweight people would love to be a lower weight. And if it were that simple, most people would be a lower weight. 

All I’ve wanted since I gained weight is to be a lower weight. I’ve tried so many things. And after awhile, I get exhausted and quit until I have a new plan. Then I start over. The doctor offers diet pills. Or suggests I weigh food (I do). 

I don’t need your over simplified platitudes. If you can’t explain why it’s different for everyone. So being an asshole about people being different. 

Craving the Outdoors

I’m not sure if it’s the unseasonably cool sorting weather, the rain, or something else, but I’ve been craving the outdoors. 

I spent the majority of last weekend outside, working in my yard. I’m in a relatively new to me house, and last spring was spent tending to la fancy things in and out of the house. But with pay houses I was never this excited about being outdoors. I do have a better, more private setting than in previous houses, do that might be all it takes. Many neighbors spend weeknight evenings and weekends outside. But without using each other as an excuse to talk or procrastinate. In fact, usually the neighbors only interrupt you to help. Maybe offering some if their overflowing perennials. Or some gardening supplies they no longer need. 

I’m not much of a gardener. I don’t really have the creative eye for it. But I’m trying to learn. I’m trying to choose lower maintenance and naive options. And I’m trying to make big, sweeping changes while also staying in the details. 

I actually want to re-paint my whole house. And have decided I’m just going to work on little by little until it’s done. Maybe this sitting. More likely this fall or even next spring.

Being out of adv HOA has done wonders for improving my stress level. These neighbors are encouraging and supportive. Not competitive and judgmental. Houses range from “master gardener” to “minimally maintained.” I’m definitely on the minimally maintained side of the scale. I want to always be low maintenance. But could definitely do some work for it to look better while being barely maintained. 

Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed my time outside. And feel like my stress level is a fraction of a year ago. I have been able to work outside for hours without a break. And my energy has stayed steady. 

Overall, I’m so happy it’s spring. And hope summer is very patient in arriving. 

Maintaining Weight Loss – The Last Stance

I first gained weight in college. I always correlate the gain with a breakup and comfort eating. But, the truth is, I may have gained the weight regardless. Was I eating healthy before? Not really. I’d eat a Poptart late morning at work so I could make it through my early afternoon classes. I’d grab a McDonald’s breadkafst sandwich and Coke on the way to work sometimes, and would grab convenience foods between classes for lunch. I’d probably gained about ten pounds my freshman year, just from more access to junk. 

I grew up in a small town. We had one local pizza place, and the next town over also had pizza. Otherwise,e I mostly ate at home. In high school, id eat a little dry cereal or a Poptart for breakfast. Usually a piece of fruit or a simple cheese sandwich on white bread for lunch, some candy in the afternoon, usually with a Pepsi, and whatever my mom made for dinner (it was a low fat high carb world) with some sort of simple snack. Not nutrient dense at all, but probably relatively low calorie. 

It’s possible no matter what happened, my diet choices would have led to weight gain.

In college, I had more access to excess. More freedom to drink more alcohol (I did drink in high school, but not as often). I was in the city, so access to fast food all the time, which felt like a treat. Vending machine food at work, with no one caring how often I had sweets or salty snacks. Plus, generally sitting around at work or in class. 

I’m not even sure that whatever I did, I wasn’t destined for weight gain. 

It seems no mater what some people do, they gain. They adhere to a strict diet, it works for a time, then stops. 

I’m in a keto “support group” where Jimmy Moore was brought up. I didn’t realize he had gained around half of the weight he’s lost back. And there was a brief discussion, then a mod stopped the discussion because that’s what mods in these groups do. It’s like there are boundaries around what’s right and wrong, they think they know everything, and that’s the end of the story. Once they’ve said their part, even if it’s biased, they shut down the conversation. Even if people are civil. If people start saying, “OMG, what if keto doesn’t work?” Or, “what if, like every other diet I’ve done, it works for some initial success, then stops?” “What if, despite my allegiance and diligence, I eventually gain back?”

I think the mods shut this stuff down because they want to believe keto is the holy grail. They want to believe anyone who gains is lying, and misrepresenting what they’re doing. But, I don’t believe that’s true. Here’s what I believe:

  1. Many overweight and obese people eat better than many thin people. Less calories and processed “junk food.” Thin people assume overweight/obese people are lying. 
  2. Your body changes when you diet. And I don’t mean just weight loss, I mean shit inside changes. And this is why an absurdly large percent of people gain weight back. The diet they’re doing stops being effective, so they gain. And over time, sure, they become frustrated and done adhere anymore. But adhering wasn’t working, either.
  3. Gastric bypass seems to be one of the few sustainable ways to lose. But you have to be fairly overweight to qualify, the weight comes off quickly, and you’re prone to malnutrition. Is it a simple super-restricted diet creating their success? And if so, why doesn’t this stand up in non gastric patients? 
  4. I know people who are semi-successful with a smaller amount of weight loss who lose, adjust their diet, gain a little, adjust diet again, lose, adjust again, gain. But stay in a ten pound window. This also seems to be a maybe semi-successful approach. And the one I’m considering adopting since bypass isn’t on my radar. 

What else do you see that’s frustrating about the religion of dieting? Or “lifestyle changes,” if that’s what you prefer calling it. I hate the lifestyle and diet industry so much. And the narrative controlled by a few, when so many are struggling, but their voices are muted out. I want to discuss real, long term solutions. Not the voice of a few know it all, who are closed off to anything but their preconceived notions and confirmation biases. 

Keto Day 70 – Down 10 pounds

I actually crossed the 10 pound mark on day 62. But for some reason didn’t document it. Work has been really busy, so my eating, while keto, has been more quick grabs of bunkers burgers, hot wings and Mexican burrito bowls (sans rice and beans). I’m still only working out 1-2 days a week at about 20-30 minutes. And my sleep is mediocre at best.

So, all of that to say I can certainly do better than I am, but I’m also definitely full on keto atill, and it’s become pretty easy. 

I’m getting used to people judging the diet and it doesn’t bother me at all. I’m getting past the occasional urge to rage-quit when the scale hasn’t moved. And I’m even mostly to the point General foods don’t tempt me. In fact, when I do have a planned carb meal (about once every two weeks), I eat far less than I have in the past, and feel pretty good after. 

So, what’s next? My goals are actually more clothes sizes than pounds. Right now I’m in a size 15/16. Some are getting loose, others are on the slightly tight side. So my next goal is to start fitting into some 14s.

I also want tog eat some better sleep habits in place. And would love to get an AM workout in once I adapt to the time change. I really enjoy the shorter workouts, and feel hopeful they might be a good pre-work fit. Usually when I workout, I feel so much better overall. And I think that would help even out my sleeping patterns. 

Anyway, that’s all! 10lb Mark. Solidly in the next lower size. Slow progress with working out, but progress! I’m happy! 

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