September 30, 2011

The wrong tools

We are all familiar with the concept of how wrong it is to try to use a screwdriver like a hammer, or vice versa.

Yet we might not have fully grasped how the concept of eat these foods, only less of them is just as dysfunctional as trying to hammer with a screwdriver.

There are certain foods which act chemically on the body to make us fat. If we eat less of them, we will be less fat.

And yes; if we eat none of them, we will not be fat.

The two main culprits in creating overweight are wheat and sugar.

When combined they increase each other's bad qualities. When they constantly drive our blood sugar up, this tells the pancreas to release enough insulin to compensate for the tidal wave of sugar (wheat flour raises blood sugar faster than a Snickers bar) that is heading its way.

Insulin is the hormone that sweeps the sugar out of the blood and into our fat cells. Reduce any of this, at any point, and we lose the fat on our body. Because insulin is the hormone that keeps the fat locked away.

Then we eat more to fuel the activities of our body, since our body isn't letting us use the fat we have stored for fuel. Insulin's too high.

I'm so exhausted, we cry, as we keep topping off our tanks with "energy food;" high carbohydrates and low fat. Why doesn't it work? Because it's not energy food if we can't burn it. On the Industrial Diet of lots of processed carbohydrate food, we take in far more carbohydrates than we can possibly burn.

Other foods burn differently. Fat is a macro-nutrient that does not raise blood sugar; and is very satiating. This is the nutrient that will heal our broken, overweight, metabolism.

When I started eating less carbohydrate and more fat, there were hours at a stretch where I wasn't hungry. At all. And when I did eat, I was satisfied. I found the food to be delicious.

This is a way of eating I can manage indefinitely.

September 26, 2011

Stop talking about motivation

Many of us think that if there's any magic cure for overweight, it's motivation.

Maybe "this embarrassing incident/this pair of pants/this picture of me at my friend's wedding" will be the motivation I need to do something about this weight!

We never stop to think about how absurd this is.

If we are already lurking in Lane Bryant or the Big & Tall shop, or pulling an outfit out of the closet uncertain how it will fit, or fearing the next binge, or worrying if we will fit in that amusement park ride, or refusing to take a booth in a diner, or avoiding reflections below our collarbones the way a vampire might... all these things aren't motivation?

Obviously we don't mean motivation. Because we have plenty of that. We are simply at a loss to figure out why it isn't enough... and so, we think we need more.

If only we could have stuck with it, we sigh, thinking back to the last scheme we tried. I must not have wanted it enough.

Fact is, all those tactics designed to make us Stop Eating: the pig that oinks when we open the fridge door, the pre-packaged tiny portions, the shakes we throw down instead of lunch, the delightful cocktail dress in our goal size that hangs on the back of the closet door; why do none of them work?

Because none of them, including the much-wished-for Magic Motivation, keep us from being hungry.

We might resist for a while or a long while, but just like holding our breath when we were kids, our body forces us to do what we have to do to survive.

But I don't need cake to live! I can survive without Triple Fudge Twirl ice cream! Why don't I crave steak and salad?


We are putting too much on Motivation's shoulders. We are underestimating our Hunger. We don't know we are Hooked.

We don't understand why we are standing at the microwave, nuke-defrosting the frozen cheesecake we had bought for company. It is supposed to sit in the fridge overnight and be cut into lovely slices, but instead it is exploding all over the paper towel we draped over it.  We will eat it anyway, burning our tongue on the over-done edges and scraping our teeth on the paper towel.

What got us here?

It was eating food, that isn't food.

September 23, 2011

Sixty pounds? Big deal!

This is not one of those OMG they had to take the wall of my bedroom out and use a crane kind of story. And thank goodness. I have nothing but the deepest sympathy for such people; because there, quite easily, could have gone I.

The sixty pounds I lost in the last six months of 2003 represents the largest single loss of my life.

But if you added up the pounds I have continually lost over my adult lifespan; it would be quite the arresting visual metaphor. Some guesstimates I just did with a handy spreadsheet program pegged it at a literally staggering 830 pounds.

So if you add the weight, 220 pounds, I was at when I embarked on the only successful weight loss plan I've ever undertaken, I could have reached 1050 pounds.

Which is sadly not a record. The highest weight is currently held by the deceased Carol Yager (1960 - 1994) of Flint, MI; 5 ft 7 in, (my own height, to give me a chill) estimated to have weighed more than 1600 lbs at her peak.

This is why I'm impressed by a sixty pound loss that I have kept off for years. Because when I started I was a typical teenager wanting to lose ten pounds. It was the yo-yo dieting that kept making the pendulum swing; and the typical "gain it all back with friends" syndrome resulted in my looking at middle age weighing over 200 pounds.

It wasn't that I couldn't lose the weight. If it became an Olympic sport I coulda been a contender.

I've binged/starved, used OTC appetite suppressants, calorie restriction, extreme calorie restriction, meal replacement, vegetarian, raw food, low fat/high exercise. Each one lasted for varying periods of time.

Each one turned out so obnoxious I wouldn't try it again, so dangerous I was afraid to try it again, or would refuse to work when I tried it again.

And I gained it all back with extras.

This time, I took it off and I'm keeping it off. And, this is a first... it's darn near effortless. It's now, quite simply, the Way I Eat.

September 21, 2011

I've decided

That’s the challenge before me; the last ten pounds.

I’m giving myself a year. A year? I hear everybody saying. For the luvapumpkincheesecake it will take you a year?

Yes. Because I only want to do things once from now on.

I've spent 38 years trying to get rid of these last ten pounds; and the many many others that caused so much despair and misery. I went on regardless. I don't think struggling with my weight stopped me from too many things, since I had times when I did feel I was slim enough to observe the differences. The problem was, those times didn't last without a lot of effort that could have been put into better endeavors.

Image from, click to view their delightful images
Since figuring out what works for me, and refining it to this point, I can tell that I get far more accomplished, every single day, that is not about losing weight.

I've not only been able to stick with a consistent pant size which pleases me; I've also improved my moods, bulked up my confidence, and given my well-being a tremendous boost.

At a time when so many people are giving up on their weight problems and settling for poor health, I've been able to revitalize my brain and body.

I've decided that however long I have left; it's going to belong to me. I have quite the backlog of unrealized dreams. Each one of them would be ashes without the ability to enjoy the day without pain and sleep through the night without raging at myself.

If I take away the drain of constantly fighting my own impulses and instincts, thrashing to stay on top of depression and despair, what might I accomplish?

I want to finally figure that out.