Monday, October 1, 2012

Dieting; or, being fat in a skinny world.

So, I'm not sure I'm really dieting.  I'm not counting calories or carbs or grams of fat.  I cut out sugar and grains, but other than that, I don't restrict what I eat particularly.  I am trying to lose weight, but I can't say that I'm stressing about it the way I have with every other diet.  I feel a million times better on this eating plan than I did on literally every other diet.  And trust me, I have tried the diets!

The most "successful" diet was Atkins.  I lost 70 pounds in three months and kept it off for ten years.  (That puts me in the 5% of dieters that manage permanent weight loss, you'll note.  And 70 lbs took me from "morbidly obese" to just plain "obese".  It would take another 70 lbs to take me to "normal" BMI.)  The trouble with Atkins was that I was miserable the entire time, irritable, cranky, craving and sick.  I quit the diet because I started craving Twinkies.  I hate Twinkies.  I think they are foul.

Other diets I've tried, for various reasons: low fat, vegetarian, vegan, Weight Watchers, Atkins again and just plain calorie restriction.  Vegan made me sick- I started having major digestive problems.  Vegetarian didn't change anything health or weightwise.  Calorie restriction left me hungry ALL. THE. TIME.  I'm not saying hunger doesn't have a place in a healthy diet- but being hungry all the time is bad for the soul, because you start plotting to eat people!  None of these budged my weight, which after the successful Atkins ranged between 225 and 235 very consistently.

Other things that didn't change my weight: cooking at home.  eating out all the time.  running 5 and 10Ks.  weightlifting.  walking between four and eight hours a day. lying in bed all day, every day.

Recently I gained 60 lbs in three months.  I was very emotional about this weight gain, because I didn't understand it- I began gaining weight after stepping up my activity and starting to eat better.  It turned out it was due to a medication I was taking.

Potentially due to the weight gain, I also developed severe headaches due to increased intracranial hypertension- that is, the pressure from spinal fluid began building up in my skull.  That's why I'm trying to lose weight now- well, that and I'm pretty sure my body doesn't like being this weight.  I expect that if I lose weight, I will probably lose it pretty quickly, as I did before.  But who knows?  I was pretty content at that weight, and I could learn to be content at this weight as well.

In any case, I applied what I learned about my body and nutrition to create my own diet, focusing on meat, beans, whole fruits and veggies, fermented dairy and nuts and seeds.  It's pretty Paleoesque for the time being, although I do drink diet sodas and eat Splenda.  I'm not relying solely on those, though- I do drink a lot of water and avoid sweets for the most part.  I tried to cross losing weight and feeling healthy, and for now I'm pretty satisfied with the mix.  I feel much, much better eating whole foods, and that's more important than weight loss.  I'm also back to walking two or three miles a day, trying to build up the conditioning I lost earlier this year.  I'll add in weightlifting and other exercise in the near future.

It's been nine days since I began on Saturday September 22nd, 2012, and I'm aiming to keep to this lifestyle till New Year's- then I will re-evaluate.  But I'm feeling good!

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