The Ongoing Adventures of Naked Girl

The story of my quest to look good naked -- really good.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Daily Struggle

I have been spending a lot of time talking about my issues around food, dieting, weight loss, etc. I've had long conversations with my dad, Don and Phil (the nutritionist). It's interesting finally being able to put into words some of my feelings and the more I'm able to verbalize it, the more I think I can get it together.

I am working on making sure I am accountable for eating my food and following the plan given to me by Phil. This week, we're keeping it kind of loose in order to calm my anxiety around eating. I'm also not allowed to do any weight lifting since I'm not getting the number of calories in to support that kind of activity. I am, however, still allowed 5 days of cardio. I have eaten "on plan" the last two days and not freaking out about eating, so I'm taking that as a good sign.

Some have wondered how did I get to this place. It's hard to explain, but here's my thinking. I've been on some diet or another since I was probably 13. Granted, there were stages in my life where I didn't watch what I ate, hence weighing 300+ pounds. But I have been aware of food, the scale, my weight for damn near 25 years. Over these 25 years, I have been trying to control my food, whether by restricting the amount I ate, or conversely, overeating in mass quantities.

The overeating usually followed a time of dieting/calorie restricting. I would trip up or not see any result on the scale so I would binge to show I didn't care what other people thought, I would control what and how much I ate. One of the things that would trip me up was feeling hungry. Anyone who has ever dieted knows what I mean - that deep-seeded pang of I need food now. Granted, it was partly physical - the body does need food - but often it was emotional hunger as well.

After surgery, it seems that I am one of the "lucky" ones who do not feel hunger, at least not in the sense that most people do. At first, I thought it was great and not having hunger did play a big role in my early success. As time went on, I really believed the hunger would return and I would have to use the size of my new pouch as the main way to limit my food intake. Most people I know who have had the surgery talked about how their hunger did return and they had to battle that demon every day and I figured I'd be the same. My problem seems to be my hunger has not returned. I cannot tell you how different life is when there is no physical driving force making you want to eat. About the only time I feel compelled to eat is in group/public settings and when I can smell good food.

Of course, this means I have to rely on my brain to remind myself to eat. The issue there is, my brain is so conditioned to NOT to want to eat, it's having a hard time coming to grips with encouraging me to eat. I still have the mindset I shouldn't finish what's on my plate, I should feel guilty if I have a handful of popcorn or a Christmas cookie, I need to restrict how many calories I put in my mouth. I am trying to un-do 25 years of diet thinking.

I am still a food addict. I do love the taste of good food. I still love to cook. I watch cooking shows and read cookbooks and menus. I plan elaborate feasts (Beef Wellington for Christmas dinner). But, it's like being an alcoholic who's a bartender but who doesn't drink - I consider it (in a sick way) a badge of strength/accomplishment/success to be able to surround myself with temptation but able to resist it. I could never do this prior to surgery, and now I feel that my "willpower" is working.

Yeah, I can't say it makes much sense to me, either, but at least I think I've been able to express exactly how I'm feeling. And, yes, you can now bring in the straight jacket...

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