If You Have the Time, and, Really, the Money

Train for a marathon. You can gain weight training for a half. An actual marathon, you can seriously eat anything you want and still lose weight. And I think it will actually speed up your metabolism for a long time afterwards.

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Quit Dieting

I’m at a great weight now for my body, about 140. You know when I lost weight and stopped gaining it? When I stopped dieting.

First Step: I decided I had to decide to love myself and my body first. As part of that, I bought clothes that flattered my current body, not “goal clothes” for a hypothetical future body that only detracted from my self-esteem. I even shopped around until I figured out a swimming situation I liked.

I went to the beach with some friends and family and looked around at all our different bodies and saw women of different shapes and sizes who were comfortable in bathing suits. I realized I had wasted so many years avoiding swimming and feeling uncomfortable for nothing. How dare I, really, say my body wasn’t good enough? If mine wasn’t, it’s as if I was saying millions of other women at least as big as I should also be ashamed.

Second Step: I stopped having on-diet and off-diet days. How many occasions of fun and socializing and how many friendships had I missed out on because of all the offers I turned down because I “couldn’t” go eat or drink with people because I was on an on-diet day? I knew I might gain some weight initially, but I told myself to have faith that, as my brain and body healed from the insanity of the decade plus of dieting, everything would stabilize, and eventually, if necessary, I could begin to make small, lifestyle adjustments.

Third Step: Ditto for exercising. If I missed a day at the gym, so be it. If I didn’t feel like doing free weights, then I could bike instead. Or take a yoga class, or do yoga at home to Youtube, or dance in my room like nobody was watching (since they weren’t), or take a long walk, or play basketball, etc. I stopped being a slave to rules I had made up for myself.

Fourth Step: This was the biggest one, and it really only happened because I entered a relationship with a sane (about food, anyway) woman. She eats when she’s hungry (without guilt!) and stops when she’s satisfied (even when it’s amazingly delicious food at a restaurant that we might have to waste (though of course I take anything home I can)). Partly it helped just to see her example and, particularly, to spend a lot of evenings with her instead of alone so that I couldn’t just get high and go make a brownie batter ice cream sundae with melted peanut butter and graham crackers and Cookie Butter and.. well you get the point.

But also, I started to realize that a lot of times when I was finishing my plate and I’d noticed that she’d stopped, I wasn’t actually deriving any pleasure from the last several bites of food but was merely shoveling them into my mouth compulsively, only to of course feel shitty about it (psychologically and physically) afterwards. I also thought to myself, Hey, when you take drugs, you always think about how it will affect your evening, what you will and won’t be able to do afterwards (in terms of work, socializing, mobility, etc.), so why wouldn’t you do the same with food? Why would you stuff yourself full to bursting when you’d really like to have a few more beers and stay up talking and laughing with people?

Guess what? Before those steps, I weighed 147 lbs. Now I weigh 140. Or around there. I also stopped weighing myself with any regularity. So add a step to the beginning, now that I think of it: Throw out your scale. If you donate it, some other pitiable woman will wind up with it, so chuck it out (or I supposed you could take it apart for a science project or something so that you don’t waste it).

I eat so well. I eat so much better than I ever did when I binged and dieted. I eat real food, with no thoughts of calories anymore. I never really believed it, but when you eat good food, it’s true that you actually are satisfied longer. But also, I eat a ton of food, who knows how many calories, but it’s when I’m hungry, and then I don’t eat until my body has burned through it and I’m hungry again.

For breakfast, I eat either cereal or a pastry at a coffee shop. For lunch, it’s usually a crazy combinations of leftovers after exercising. And I always have a small to medium dessert. For dinner, my amazing cook girlfriend makes a full home-cooked meal with steak or fish or chicken or bacon with vegetables and a starch or grain. And then, basically every day, we have ice cream with pie or cookies or cheesecake. Seriously. And we go to restaurants all the time and eat whatever we want and order dessert if we have room. Sometimes we eat a big brunch, but then usually that means we won’t be hungry until an early dinner. Whatever, it doesn’t matter, we don’t have to have a plan. We just go with the flow. You know what I never do anymore? Eat until I hate myself and feel like I never want to eat or stand up ever again.

A typical week of exercise looks like this:

Monday/Wed/Fri: 3.5 mile run

Tue/Thur: Yoga or biking or just lots of walking or my Just Dance Hip Hop game on the Kinect

Saturday: Maybe a game of racquetball with my fiance

Sunday: Maybe some walking

But also due to the nature of my life, I walk an average of 5 miles a day just getting to places from bus and t stops and walking the dog. And I climb an average of 10 flights of stairs a day. Point being, I’m active, but I enjoy it all, and if I miss something or get too busy, I don’t go crazy. It’ll just mean I’m less hungry, so I’ll eat less that day.

Smoking for Weight Loss?

Whenever I’m high, I’m actually proud of myself if I get myself to choose smoking a cigarette over eating. They’re both more fun to do when you get high. I don’t even like cigarettes at all,when I’m sober, but drunk or high or whatever, they’re often great. Then again sometimes drunk, or high or whatever they still suck, it’s kinda weird. Anyway, so I realize why cigarettes help some people lose weight. When you stand up, you think, “Hmm I could smoke a cigarette, or I could eat something. If I eat something, I’m not gonna want the cigarette (“Cause you can’t just go from eating something that tastes good to smoking something that tastes bad.”), but I could have the cigarette and then eat, or maybe it’ll lower my appetite, and maybe I won’t even eat anything tonight.” (“You totally will. You always do.”)

But nevertheless, the cigarette smoking time is a very nice time when I actually go by myself, outside in the back, and sit with myself and my own thoughts – I never bring my phone or iPod – for about five minutes. I usually get this five minutes once or twice a month. I try to meditate, but that $75 meditation mat has been sitting on the floor of my room for about three weeks now and I haven’t even sat on it one single time. Not even just to test it out. I did write meditation into my weekly schedule – Thursday nights – the other day. So, we’ll see how that goes. Damnit, I’m off to have my cigarette.

Ah, that moment when you start having all these great ideas out there that you just have to come in and write down, but then there’s still some cigarette left that you just talked about enjoying so much, but then again, it’s your passion, this writing down of all the little ideas in your head that you think are so brilliant, so you stub out the other 2/5ths of the cigarette and you come back inside and then type this and then you hurry off to your idea poster on your wall.

I was just having one of those moments that felt momentous. I “made the decision” (whatever that even means) to not eat anything tonight. If I successfully do this, I will really be changing my current pattern and maybe getting myself toward a healthier relationship with food and reasons for eating. I felt like this was like a first moment in the breaking of an OCD pattern or those times when I actually resisted masturbating (when I was a kid and it was a sin, that is) when I really really wanted to. (“Only eat when you’re hungry, Arielle, it’s so simple. Everybody else does it.”) That’s not even really true. (“Okay, but we’re not gonna be like those people. You’re getting a little pudgy there, boss.”). Okay fine, which is why I’m not going to eat anything more tonight. (“Yeah. You had a lunch-sized breakfast and a mega-sized dinner with a dessert that would’ve made two or even three people feel sick, so you’re probably fine. Though, let’s see, you did burn off 600 calories, supposedly, on the elliptical today, and according to our current little system, which is most certainly not Weight Watchers but rather a system I created for myself, thank you very much, that does technically mean you have two points left you could use today. But only use them if you’re actually hungry.”) I agree, I agree, but I think I actually kind of am hungry right now. I’m just gonna go look around in the fridge and see what does or doesn’t strike my interest. Maybe nothing will, who knows!

I ended up probably eating slightly over 2 pts, but then again it’s a rounding system, and I’m winding it down to two. So I’ve basically succeeded. As long as I don’t eat anything else tonight, and I don’t even really want to leave my room again tonight. Though I guess I need to take my contacts out and brush my teeth, but other than that, no.

So early in the evening I told one of my roommates that the chocolates I put out on the table he should feel free to eat ’cause the more he eats the less I will. He asked said something about the possibility that flies or whatever had gotten bites out of the chocolates already. I was like, “Oh, dude, that doesn’t matter. I just blow on the top of food that’s been out that you can’t wash. It’s fine.”

Within the hour, I had eaten them all.

Yes!

I ran a half marathon on the treadmill this Monday. What what.

 

I think I’m finally making progress on my relationship with food.  I think I probably can’t be talking about it yet.  Be happy for me though.  I’ll share more as things come along.