Wednesday, April 22, 2009

more of the same

This is the point at which I go crazy. (Nothing like jumping right in.)

I sat down tonight to a dinner consisting of a six ounce fish fillet, one cup of zucchini, one cup of asparagus, and three cups of plain salad greens. For the tenth day in a row. For someone who loves food as much as I do, this is tantamount to torture. The first night, it was pretty good. The second night, I cheated and put one tablespoon of dressing on my salad. By the fifth or sixth night, my portions were shrinking and my appetite exploding. By night ten, I could barely choke it down. I can’t eat any more.

Let me back up, as the big picture might be helpful. I have struggled with weight my entire life, sliding the little lever up and down the bar in increments that increase with each re-gain. Five years ago, with over 200 pounds on my five foot two inch frame, I determined it would not happen again. I was done. I was going to get to a reasonable, healthy weight and marry it for life.

Over the next year I lost 75 pounds and six dress sizes. At 140, I was in a size ten for the first time since probably junior high, and fairly comfortable with my stronger, trimmer, but still a little big-ish frame. Fairly. I filled my wardrobe with colorful, curve-accentuating clothes, and for the first time in a long time I felt okay. Not good, not out of the woods, but okay. And for someone who had not been okay for quite some time, okay looked pretty darn, well, okay.

I kept the weight off for four years, albeit with many points of struggle and frustration. But I kept it off nonetheless, and I was still hanging on to okay, if only by a thread.

Then came the half-marathon. The carb-craving-inducing monster that made me so hungry I could have eaten my God-awful plaid hand-me-down couch. Then came the injury, followed by the month of rest the doctor ordered right at the beginning of Christmas Cookie Season. Then came the vacation to Florida, and the four sinus infections in the last three months. Then came seasons two and three of Battlestar Galactica, delivered right to my mailbox in a pretty red envelope, paired with my increasing desire to sit on my tired, achy butt and not make myself in the least bit any more uncomfortable than I already was.

I gained ten pounds. My pants wouldn’t button, some wouldn’t even pull up. Tops wouldn’t meet comfortably in the middle—button amicably greeting hole without each pulling away from the other as if in great disdain. And so I did what anyone who has gained weight before would do. I panicked.

I reigned in my eating, when I wasn’t blind-sided by cravings for anything made out of starch of any kind. I tried to work out harder, when I could narrowly carve out the time and the energy to move a muscle or two. I tried to be reasonable. I tried to be moderate. I tried to be healthy. The scale didn’t budge.

Panic grew and spread like the layer of fat sprawled across my backside. My weight consumed my every thought—trying to figure out what to wear, what to eat, what to do. I was at a point of despair. So I did something desperate.

I went on a diet. A restricted-calorie, clean-eating, metabolism-bursting “lose ten pounds in three weeks” diet. I knew better. But desperate times call for desperate diets. I sucked it up and cut veggies and boiled chicken and broiled fish and I followed it 99% perfectly for ten days. The first five days, I lost four pounds. I was tentatively hopeful, but terrified to really let my mind go to anywhere vaguely resembling hope. I’ve been here before. I know the terrible truth. When push comes to shove, none of it matters. My body can’t be trusted.

The scale has read 150.2 for the last four days. I’m still following the diet. I’m exercising as I can. I’m doing what I’m supposed to do—I’m following the formula. I’m not losing any weight.

THIS is where I go completely crazy.


  1. Hello Lorie,

    Your entry moved me nearly to tears. I recognize the desperation you describe; I lived with it for a big part of my life. It still visits me from time to time, even though I know better.

    What has helped me is understanding the science of metabolism. (But then I'm a bit of a science geek.) When you understand how metabolism changes in response to restriction, you begin to lose the layer of morality around food, eating, and weight. Our bodies adapt to less food by becoming more efficient at using what we give them, which is why yo-yo dieters always gain back the weight and then some.

    Maybe it's not weight you've struggled with. Maybe it's more the concepts of hunger and appetite and what they mean to you--to all of us women.

    To me, you look beautiful in both your before and after photos. :) But the pain in your voice makes me sad.

    Take care of yourself--all of yourself.

  2. Hello Harriet--

    Thank you for your comments. You hit the nail on the head with the issue being one of hunger and appetite--that is exactly what I'm trying to explore through my writing currently. There is a reason I am always wanting more. It is because there is more out there that I'm hungry for. I need to figure out what it is, and how to fill up on that, not food. (Though food is surely still part of the equation!)

    Thank you for the metabolism reminder. I know these things in my head, and manage to even follow them occasionally. But something happens when that fear of regaining the weight kicks in, and I get stupid for a few days!

    A complete aside--I am thoroughly enjoying Feed Me. A very compelling, enjoyable read. I find people's stories very healing--I get so much more out of this type of book than any of the self-help crap out there. Kudos. It is well done!