Wow, it's been awhile since I wrote! I appreciate the comments and emails you sent to make sure I am okay. It's nice to be missed! I don't want to leave you hanging though. Plus I am ready to give an accounting of what I've been up to and why the lack of blogging.
It's true: I lost 64 pounds counting calories in 2007-8. It worked. It works for lots of people and there's no reason it shouldn't also work for me again. So when many of you recommended I go back to "what works," that's what I did. I have spent a couple of weeks counting calories, with limited success, on My Fitness Pal. I could feel my inner resistance to this as I got out the food scale and measuring cups and started tracking every bite I ate. I told my inner rebelliousness to shut up, that this is what needs to be done and it is NOT THAT HARD and I can do this. I just need to get into the habit. Suck it up, just do it until it is habit. I knew that the resistance came because I had tracked on and off for years and was just really sick of it. The last couple years of "freedom from tracking" really did feel like a freedom, but look what it got me? Certainly not weight loss.
So I pushed on, trying to get a few solid days of tracking in a row. The feeling in my head was one of being overwhelmed with "food thoughts." I found myself starting to obsess about food more and more: what could I eat? How much could I eat within the calorie budget? How many grapes can I have tonight? Is there room for a cookie too? Even simple things like making a pot of soup felt triggering to me because instead of just throwing carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, turnips, etc into a pot, I had to weigh and measure each ingredient, enter it into a recipe calculator, then measure the finished soup and divide the total calories into servings. Even something like a baked chicken thigh or some roasted broccoli turned into a lot of food thought: how much olive oil am I brushing on these and how much am I ingesting? I have to weigh and measure the chicken and the veggies, figure out the oil, decide if I should or should not eat the skin? If someone makes a dish that I am not familiar with, how do I know how many calories are in this? Even a tossed salad turned into a feeling of stress because I don't really know how much of each vegetable, protein, or dressing the person put in there. Even the baked salmon a friend prepared stressed me out because I am not bringing a food scale to a party and weighing my portions in front of everyone like an obsessed crazy person. Wait... an obsessed crazy person? Is that the label for someone who hauls around a food scale, measures every bit no matter where they are, breaks out the measuring cups at the potluck to measure their steamed green beans, and MUST KNOW the caloric content of every bite they put in their mouth? Is it?
Maybe for some people. Certainly for me. Counting, tracking, weighing, measuring turned my brain back to food obsession. I was thinking about food FAR more often and for longer than I was when I was just aiming for healthy choices. I had a window open on my laptop all day long for logging food, and was running to add things in several times a day, analyzing my carbs and protein and planning what I should have later to fit into the macros. I have a slippery slope going on here: I used to binge eat. I used to have serious food obsessions, but this disappeared over the past couple of years with a more relaxed approach to healthy eating. LESS thinking about food felt healthier to me. The problem is I did not lose weight doing that. NOT tracking... is it healthier? It is definitely better for my mental health. But I also have not lost any weight doing this so far. I am up a couple of pounds. I am feeling more stressed about food. I don't like it. I am done with tracking as of right now. I am closing My Fitness Pal with its 442 logged calories for today and letting it go.
For me, it is healthier to look at a food spread (whether it's at a potluck, a party, or my own kitchen) and think, "steamed vegetables are a good choice. Lean protein is a good choice. I will put those on my plate and eat until I am satisfied but not full." My mental health and the remission of my eating disorders is far more important to me than my weight, honestly. And I would lose weight doing my general untracked healthy eating.... if I did not ALSO eat sweets and grains.
I don't have all the answers. I can't keep going with something that resurrects my eating disorders so I am going for the better mental health right now and will go back to "make the best choices at the moment, eat as healthy as I can, and don't eat too much or too often." I have all the old tools at my disposal (like drinking more water, cutting out sugar, watching the carbs, eating enough protein, and the good ol' CSA produce box) but I am sure nothing, and I mean nothing will work if my mind is constantly agitated about food.
In other news, life's been good here even with the lack of weight progress. One of my sons came home to visit last week, my nephew came to stay for a long weekend the week prior, and we are down to ONE foster dog right now which lightens my load considerably! When she is adopted I am not taking any new fosters for a long time. I need to focus on my health, so as much as I love volunteering with rescue, I am going to take a break from the fostering and transport side of things. I will still be doing therapy visits with one of my dogs; that is rewarding and so enjoyable and I meet the most wonderful people that way. The kids are all doing well (although my daughter was sick with a fever last week for a few days, she is back to school now) so the general stress level of life is low. I had the stomach flu last week also (before my daughter got sick) and that was a couple days of misery, but I'm fine now. The biking has not been happening but I am still on my journey to bike across America; I just have to get back in the habit of riding morning and evening and get caught up on my miles.
This journey is far from over. I know I am on the right path. I can't see all the exact twists and turns ahead, but I just feel it in my gut that I am learning exactly what I need to learn to come to a place of peace with food... a peace that will be permanent and result in my best health!
I am 38 years old, female, a degree-holding stay-at-home-mom, and I weigh 278 pounds. I have been obese for ten years now. Time to get out of this fat prison I have made for myself.
--This is the original introduction I wrote when I first started this blog in 2007. I leave it as a reminder to myself of where I came from. Currently, I am 46 years old and weigh significantly less...see the blog for details. I lost 103 pounds, then had a partial regain, and am once again working at weight loss and better health.
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