Posts Tagged ‘dieting’

body of truthI’ve decided I’m going to make reading this book a once-a-year activity. Body of Truth is just that helpful. When I read it a year ago before it was even published, I dog-eared pages as I devoured it in just a day or two. I made my husband read it. THIS, this, is what everyone needs to know. I read it again this week in a day, dog-eared more pages, and considered making my husband read it again.

Read my review of the book on Rated Reads.

Now, I was able to keep my review to a reasonable length, but I’m going to write more about the insights I gained by reading Harriet Brown’s book. And I’ll have to split up the info into a few posts so it won’t get weighed down (ha ha). Today I’m just going to address the damage that is done by dieting. And let me tell you, that is one of the takeaways of this book that has me the most furious.

I never considered myself a dieter until the past 7 years or so. I noticed myself gaining when I was nearing 40. But I had actually dieted when I was about 12 by reducing a bit what I ate and not eating desserts. I didn’t keep track of pounds, just slimmed a little of “baby fat,” you could say. And then each time after my three pregnancies I breast-fed, counted calories (stuck to 1800 or so), and kept up my regular exercise. I got back down and a little bit more and was looking nicely trim at 33. I kept it up until, yeah, almost the 40s. Then I saw 10 pounds creep on and got a bit panicked (ha!). Then I happened to move to a new state and put on another 10 pounds, then another 10, then another 10. All of a sudden, I was a lot heavier and was feeling much different than I had before as generally an average-weight, trim-ish person. I dieted first by just really counting calories (and going hungry often) and lost 30, but it only held for a year or maybe two. It came back on, and then I started looking at other options. I did the hCG diet (yes, I know, I never DREAMED I’d be the person to do something drastic like that), but it worked and I at least lost almost 20 pounds and felt a lot better really quickly. That crept back on, and I did it again a year or so later. A couple of years ago, my best friend started doing Atkins, so I tried it. It worked and I did well enough to lose maybe 20 or 25 pounds and feel it was worth the work and sacrifice. My daughter got married, then, last year, and all bets were off. I ate, and I ate, and I ate. I was depressed and stressed and just went straight to food. And what do you know, I am now by far the heaviest I’ve ever been. I went back on Atkins for a few weeks in the fall, then something crazy happened, and then I went back on it this last month, then my grandma died. And I am 20 pounds heavier than my heaviest weight ever before.

So not counting the post-pregnancy “getting back to pre-pregnancy weight” work, I have dieted, lost and gained, at least four main times, plus a few more little times, in the past 8 years. I have been successful. I have been tough. I have focused. And then I’ve either gone back to semi-normal eating (not being hungry) and gained back, or I’ve had some eat-a-lot periods. And what do you know, I’m completely normal. Studies show very low rates of “long-term” success, which is at most watched over 5 years, and almost nothing for rates past that time period (3 years is really even the limit of most “long-term” studies). Evidence also shows that not only do people who diet tend to gain back what they lost, but they gain more on top of that.

So if I had never dieted, I’d most likely just be at my previous “heaviest,” but not the 20 pounds more than that that I am now. I might even be 10 or more pounds below that. And I’d have saved myself a lot of unnecessary work, focus and energy that could have gone to something more productive. I don’t know if you’ve been in this situation or not (likelihood is many of you have been), but this realization absolutely OUTRAGES me.

Brown writes this:

(An) oft-repeated lie about weight and health is that dieting makes us thinner and healthier. At the very least, we consider dieting benign, something that can’t hurt us even if it doesn’t really help. But the truth is, dieting is actually harmful for many of us for all sorts of reasons. And it doesn’t make most of us thinner or healthier. On the contrary.

And she says this: a 2007 investigation (as one example) confirmed that diets don’t work. “The mind-boggling element here is that we’ve known diets don’t work for a long time, and so has the medical establishment.” But still society at large, doctors, individuals … we all think they can work if people just are motivated enough, have enough willpower, work hard enough. And that big fat lie is causing us health problems. Just think: doctors who are all encouraging patients to lose weight may very well be making their patients’ health problems WORSE.

Here are some sobering points Brown tells us:

  • “Dieting nearly always makes people heavier over time. In one study of Finnish twins, the more diets people went on, the higher their risk of becoming overweight and the faster they gained weight later in life.”
  • “Dieters tend to have higher levels of cortisol, sometimes called ‘the stress hormone,’ and free fatty acids, and dieters tend to exhibit diminished executive function, (‘strained bandwidth’), maybe because using so much mental energy thinking, worrying, and negotiating about food choices leaves them too distracted to think about much else” — which in turn actually causes us to gain more weight.
  • Dieting actually has been shown in studies to lead to binge eating. It’s not just psychological, either; physiology on various levels causes us to eat more after dieting, reversing all our work (brain circuitry even changes!).
  • ”An ever-growing body of research suggests that weight cycling, or yo-yo dieting, correlates with higher levels of heart disease, impaired immune function, cardiometabolic risk, insulin resistance, triglycerides, hypertension, and abdominal fat accumulation.”
  • Studies have “found correlations between weight cycling and disordered eating, higher stress, lower well-being, and less confidence about food and eating. In other words, the more loops of the yo-yo you go around, the worse you feel about your weight, your eating, your very self.”
  • Each loop of the cycle then is harder. It’s tougher to drop the weight every go-round. Dieting changes metabolism. “People who have intentionally lost weight generally use about 15 percent fewer calories than non-dieters to perform exactly the same activities, which means they gain weight eating fewer calories than non-dieters.” As one research professor told Brown, “We know there’s some sort of derangement of the metabolic pathways, and that has a cascade effect on everything from the hormones involved with obesity to hunger.”

So people who feel fat or have been told they’re fat and need to lose weight feel “incredible shame.” Our whole culture reinforces that. Doctors reinforce that. And it’s not helping anyone. It’s not helping health; it’s not making anyone motivated; it’s not making us feel good; it’s a wicked prejudice that is still allowed. Feeling the outrage yet?

In the next few blog posts, I’ll focus on some of these last ideas and more.

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As much as I am striving to live a life less focused on appearance (mine or anyone else’s), I am finding myself in a position where I absolutely must diet. And yes, I’d like to look better. Argh. That’s out there. But I have some reasons for losing weight that go beyond how I look. One is just sheer expedience: my weight is the highest it’s ever been (by 15 pounds) and I have 1 pair of pants to wear. I’d really like to get back to wearing my clothes, and I’m just shooting for the larger sizes to begin with.

Then there’s health. I know that my emotional eating of too much sugar is simply bad for me. It’s bad for my cholesterol, which is a family history issue, and it’s bad for other facets of my health. As I get older and my children get older, it strikes me that I’d really like to be sure to be around for all the good stuff that’s coming: more graduations, more marriages, grandchildren. I’ve invested my whole self in parenting, and those joyous events that happen later on down the line are the icing on the cake (do we have metaphors that don’t involve sweets?).

I also know I just feel better all-around when I’m eating a healthier diet. It’s nice to have more energy and to not feel bloated.

my plan for weight lossBut since many diets fail in the long term, my goal right now is to work on the whole me, not just a number on a scale. After my oldest daughter’s wedding last year, I fell into a bit of a depression. I was grieving her “loss” (much as it was joyous and we gained so much, it really was a loss for her to move out permanently and to be “someone else’s” now too). With other things that were going on in my life, it was simply easiest to fall back into well-entrenched habits of eating to soothe myself. Now, I am going to work on more effective ways of really taking care of me. I plan to write in my journal regularly (lost that habit a long time ago: thanks, parenting), try some new fun physical activities and even make my weight loss a matter of prayer. I might even include some help from 12-step programs.

I’m excited about getting into this. I’m also scared and nervous. It’s beyond difficult to drop a habit that could even be called an addiction. But this has to happen. Wish me luck.

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So I’ve been following the Atkins diet for two months. I wrote in a previous post about how I’ve realized how much I rely on carbohydrates for my regular diet, and how it’s clear I need to reduce my intake for a variety of solid health reasons. Despite how much I do adore bread (whole grain, mind you) and sweets (well, there’s no way to make that sound wholesome, sadly…), I found that I haven’t done too badly adhering to the Atkins diet phase 1. I lost about 10 pounds over the course of almost two months and felt pretty good. It’s possible I even avoided catching a cold thanks to my eating habits (my husband and oldest daughter were sick during that time).

I even managed to go on a cross-country trip for a week and stay on the diet. Yay, me!

My best friend, whose own experience with Atkins gave me a push to try it myself, told me that she’s “taken breaks” from it for short periods of time when she’s gone on vacation or had some other need to do so. I figured I could last through to Thanksgiving and maybe even skip all the carbs during that gluttonous feast and last all the way to Christmas on Atkins phase 1. Hey, if I can make it through a trip, I can make it through anything!

Well, shoot. Not so much.

I got back from my trip, during which I was premenstrual but not too crave-y (surprisingly), and then had my period, which is also a tricky time for dieting. I’d weathered it the previous month and knew I wouldn’t see any decrease in weight for a solid week or more. But I gained a little that week and then waited and waited for my weight to drop a few days past that lovely time of the month. And that scale did not budge.

At the same time, life got (or, rather, stayed) hectic. I’ve had a whole lot on my plate this past month activity- and obligation-wise if not table-wise, and careful dieting is work. It’s work for Atkins because I have to carefully count my carbs and track on my iPad app everything I eat. It’s also extra work because I’ve been cooking a lot of different things for myself than I fix for my family. Finally, with all my obligations and responsibilities, with all the work on the diet, with all of everything in my life (including a hormonal 16-year-old with Down syndrome, which is a topic for another post entirely, but a great stressor, let me tell ya), combined with the lack of satisfaction gained by stepping on the scale and seeing a lower number on a regular basis, I cracked.

A few nights ago, I came home from a workout (hoping it would help me relieve some nervous energy) still exhausted and frustrated, and I sat down and burst out crying, my thoughts and frustrations spilling out in waves to my husband, who wisely sat and listened. I went over everything that I have to do, went over in meticulous detail the ways I’ve been so “good” in my dieting. Even during traveling! I mean, that should earn me extra points, shouldn’t it? But my scale didn’t get the message. I was absolutely ready for a short break from the diet.

Here’s where it just shows the state of mind of a busy mom who’s dieting: I spun in circles articulating aloud to my husband all the things I’d been thinking for days. I told him all my emotions (fear being the predominant one: fear of regaining weight, fear of losing control, fear of losing all that I’d worked so hard to win) and logical reasons for and against taking the “break” for a few days from the diet. Logically, it made some sense because it would free me from worrying about details of my eating habits for a few days until I got past a big responsibility I have tomorrow. It also made sense from my own dieting history because I’d seen how upping my caloric intake or something similar and then going back to reducing it or going back to the more limited diet would give my metabolism a little kick. It helps to mix things up a bit and “confuse” my system. I’ve read about that and experienced it myself. The main problem? Thanksgiving. It’s a mere two weeks away. What’s my state of mind going to be for the holiday where we generally consume turkey and tons of carbs? I can’t “take a break” for a few days, go back to Atkins phase 1 for 10 days, and “take a break” again for a couple of days. It just doesn’t make sense. And I didn’t want to “take a break” for a solid 2 1/2 weeks. But it was pretty much down to either of those two options.

After literally two hours (or more) of talking it over out loud with my husband and absolutely agonizing about it, being frozen with fear, I finally decided to go with the latter option. A longer break it will have to be. And it’s relieved the pressure on me considerably, just making one change in my overall busy life. I feel confident I’ll get back to the rigorous diet in two weeks and continue to take care of myself for the long haul. Because that’s what this is about: it’s truly about the long haul, about reducing my cholesterol levels for the rest of my life (!) by eating fewer grains and sweets. Of course, in the short term, I’d like to see “results” in the way of weight loss, and that’s a powerful motivator when you’re eating a fairly strict diet. You want to SEE something HAPPENING. When it does, you’re good. When it doesn’t, you don’t feel so pumped about the restrictions.

I imagine this is a fine diet plan, but the author's assertion at the beginning turned me off. If he wants more real people to lose weight and have better blood sugar, he'd better understand his patients better.

I imagine this is a fine diet plan, but the author’s assertion at the beginning turned me off. If he wants more real people to lose weight and have better blood sugar, he needs to understand his patients better.

I remember checking out the book The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet by Mark Hyman from the library and never getting time before it was due to read much but the first 20 pages or so. But his assertion that it’s just “as easy as” starting his proscribed diet struck me as utter hogwash. He said, in essence, the conventional wisdom is that one must be “psychologically ready” to start a diet, but he doesn’t think that is true at all: what’s true is that since most of us are physiologically addicted to sugar, once we just start his diet and get going, we’ll break that addiction and all be hunky-dory.

Nope. False. Absolutely false. It might be true for some people, but I think for many of us, we really, really, truly do need to have a whole set of variables in place to be able to successfully diet. We do need to be emotionally ready. I could say I was solidly un-hooked from sugar after two months on phase 1 of Atkins, but emotionally, I still had plenty of connections to sugar and foods in general. And those don’t go away too easily like the physiological addiction.

Most of my variables are in place to get back to the strict phase 1 of Atkins in a couple of weeks, and I feel confident that doing it for maybe 6 more months total will probably be a good choice for me, after which I’ll eat a diet that contains fruits and occasional grains to maintain my better health. For today, I’m eating a little bread. And that’s OK.

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You know when you dream about eating something off-diet and demanding of some complete (thin) strangers walking by, “Do you ever eat?!”, you’re self-conscious (and frustrated) about your weight.

I’m half-proud, half-embarrassed for myself that I embarked on a strict diet last week, mainly because, yes, I want to look better. And I want it to happen fast. Here’s the thing: I have felt very self-conscious about my weight in photos of late, and I have several big events coming up for which I’ll be in numerous photographs, and I don’t want to look fat.

Yep, there it is.

Yep, my self-image is pretty distorted right now.

Yep, my self-image is pretty distorted right now.

As much as I talk about self-image and how bad our society is about focusing on looks, whether it’s regarding weight, age, or relative size of body parts, I still struggle with it myself. Sometimes not so much, other times mightily. As I most recently mentioned to my therapist, “I feel horrible about how I look.” Her response: “Right now you’re very stressed and not feeling good about yourself in lots of other ways, so that’s not surprising.” Meaning, essentially, try not to worry about it; it’ll pass when you manage to process everything else that’s had you down.

So I kind of feel like a hypocrite when I’m urging everyone, male and female, to be more aware of how media and society all around us dose us liberally and continually with the religion of thinness and image, of airbrushed (impossible-to-achieve) perfection, and I am struggling with it so much still.

It’s complicated by the matter of health: when I’m stressed, I eat sweets. I overeat. That’s simply not good for my body, and that’s important. So I do also want to work on that. I want to break my physical and emotional addiction to sugar and my reliance on food as a crutch. But I would like to figure out how to separate that out from my worries about how those habits affect my LOOKS.

Here’s another thing: plenty of people out there have far worse eating habits than I do, but they’re thin. So their health might be in need of improvement, but they either don’t worry about it, or they don’t worry about others seeing them as fat. Because don’t we tend to judge people who are overweight? We automatically think, They need to eat less. They need to have better self-control. They need to take better care of themselves. But health and thinness are not always directly correlated.

That’s not to say I excuse myself for slipping into bad habits. I can do better by my body sometimes. But our society judges on appearance, and I judge myself. I have a lifetime of negative messages to overcome. And that simply makes it much more difficult to just take care of myself the way I should because I’m devoting so much emotional energy to the image part of the equation, which is NOT the important part; overall health is.

I have had a lot to deal with the past months, the past year, with a few breaks in the onslaught of expectations, responsibilities, and struggles to catch my breath. I anticipate having some breaks to catch my breath and focus more accurately on taking care of my health — emotional, mental, spiritual and physical — fairly soon, but in the meantime, I’m just getting through it as well as I can.

And dieting. Like I said, I’m a little embarrassed because I’m doing it almost exclusively for the reward of looking better in pictures. It’s not the example I’d like to set but I’m doing it anyway, just because right now so much has beaten me down I don’t feel good about myself in many ways; I feel weak and run-down and just not up to snuff. I feel like I’m letting people down left and right because I simply can’t do everything everyone needs me to do at all times. So that feeling extends to how I look.

I’m going to keep working on my self-image, my self-esteem, the ways I look at myself and talk to myself. I’m going to do better. Just forgive me the lapses right now in my actions and how they don’t match my ideals. It’s a process for me, and it’s a process for us all as individuals and as a society. For me, this topic mixes my mental health awareness-raising with my awareness-raising about society and image. The intersection is a little delicate, and I’m navigating it as well as I can in this tricky time. I hope I’m making progress in it all because all I can do is just hope I’m slowly doing better. I’m going to just try to remember to pat myself on the back for what I’m doing better: life isn’t about improving overnight. It’s a journey with all kinds of intertwined paths leading to a place where we’re our best selves in all aspects.

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Yeah, so I’ve written about how I was going to take better care of myself. I was going to eat better and change my relationship with food. Yep. That was a few months ago. I did great for about a month. And then the holidays hit, and it wasn’t the holidays per se that got me — all the usual kinds of articles you read about all the treats constantly available and parties being thrown, etc. — it was simply the stress and lack of time.

I got my shopping done relatively soon and was pretty organized this year, compared to the past few, and I didn’t feel really crazy in the week before Christmas, which was really wonderful. I was able to relax and enjoy the Christmas spirit. But I was busy beforehand getting things bought and made and shipped and so on, and I was busy doing other stuff for my kids, and I was busy with all my other commitments and responsibilities that essentially for about the two months before Christmas and New Year’s I had very little downtime. I had very little time to myself, to just relax, to be with myself, to be myself, to be alone, to have my head to myself, you know? My life and my mind were taken over by everyone else’s needs.

So back to food and “dieting” — this is the bottom line: it takes real focus and energy to change habits, to essentially break an addiction. And I had no focus or energy left for myself and this very important goal after everything else in my life drained those things from me.

Now it’s January, and several of my big projects are either done or done for a while, and my kids are FINALLY back in school. I finally have some time to think about myself and my needs again. So, back to food. Back to my relationship with my body, with my self-image, the food that’s in my house, the food I put in my mouth.

I am reading this interesting book I downloaded on my Kindle, called Weight Loss Apocalypse. It’s about our relationship with food, but it ties it all in to the hCG weight-loss “protocol.” Just putting aside the whole idea of the hCG thing, there are some fine ideas in the book. The author, Robin Phipps Woodall, talks about how our entire culture (let’s confine this to the U.S. for the moment, but it certainly is a First World or Western phenomenon at the very least) essentially has an eating disorder: she says as a culture “we need to blame (the obesity epidemic on) our rationale for unlimited eating.”

Everywhere we go in the U.S., we're faced with food, especially junk and food in outlandish portion sizes.

Everywhere we go in the U.S., we’re faced with food, especially junk and food in outlandish portion sizes.

Our culture pushes food everywhere. Not just food, but unlimited quantities of food, food in abundance. We feel entitled to be able to eat everything we want, as much as we want. Then, as Woodall says, when the scales tip just enough that we’ve become obese, we’re judged by the very same culture that forces food on us in the first place.

As she says, “Our culture justifies emotional eating, but then discriminates against obesity.” Yeah, that’s fair.

If we want to fix our obesity epidemic, our culture needs a huge shift in how we use food in so many contexts. But when it comes to us as individuals, we have to find it within ourselves to stick out, basically. Woodall asks, “Can you live in our culture of normalized gluttony, and know that almost everyone eats too much, and by eating less, you appear abnormal?”

Yep. There it is. Changing our relationship to food is hard work, and it takes focus and energy. It takes a sea change in our emotional lives. And society is not going to have our backs. Sure, they’ll reward us if our weight changes for the better and we become thin as a result of changing our food habits, but in the meantime, society’s going to block us at every turn.

These are just a few of my thoughts. I’ll revisit again soon. This whole addiction thing and idea of personal and national eating disorders are just a few of the ideas that are running through my head. But those will wait for another set of posts. In the meantime, how do we support each other in beating this? Any thoughts?

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So I wrote a week and a half ago that it was time to take care of myself. I decided that it would help me to kind of “diet” for a week and work really hard at the gym to see if I could lose a couple of pounds and know that it was effective. I really watched my calorie intake and started taking some supplements Dr. Oz recommends and logged extra time working out. I weighed myself at the gym and then didn’t check again for a full week. I just worked hard and hoped.

Yay! That work did pay off, and I lost three pounds.

I’m carrying that over and continuing to watch my eating and spending more time at the gym than usual so I can work towards a loss of five pounds and then 10. At the same time, I recognize that this is a “diet” and I can’t necessarily sustain this kind of intensity for the long haul that will be needed to lose the 50 pounds that I need to lose. Also, it’s nothing I can do permanently. What I must do that I haven’t done yet is really focus on changing my relationship with food. I’ve written about this a little already, I think, and I’d like to write more. Honestly, I have a stressful life, and when things get particularly hectic and intense, I turn to food for comfort, soothing, and rewarding. I eat more portions than my body needs at every meal, and I treat myself too often to high-calorie desserts. Not good for my body.

So as I write about my mini success of this past week and a half, I also want to make clear that this is just a way to kind of jump-start my long path towards truly taking better care of myself. I have been very focused over the past month on writing a book I’ve been wanting to write for over a year, and that has taken up much of my time and brain power. This is a very good thing in a number of ways: it means I have taken the time to do something that means a lot to me, that I’m working towards a goal. This is positive for me in many ways. It gives me confidence across the board that I can achieve goals, and that I am doing something for myself and something I’m good at. It also in some ways helps me to eat less because I feel better about myself and don’t need a reward so much, and because I don’t have the spare time to go in the kitchen.

The only downside is that I haven’t had the time I’d like to read the books I’ve bought and checked out from the library about emotional eating. I am OK with this in some ways because I know I will still get around to doing that; it’s just going to be once I’ve finished this book project. But even as I “diet” temporarily, I realize I still have basically an addiction to treats. I still have habits that I need to break and emotional needs to turn to food when the going gets at all rough, or to reward myself. I truly want to change those habits and addictions. Dieting right now is its own reward temporarily because I can see progress on the scale, and that works for now. I just can’t do this for the long haul.

Just going to take one step at a time, in my workout shoes, of course.

So right now I celebrate, but I have a very long way to go. I can just take a day or a week at a time and appreciate the small steps and know that there will be more work ahead on different levels. I’m just going to bite off what I can chew, so to speak, though, right now. Finish my book, celebrate my goals achieved and progress made on that, and then work on the eating/weight goals. I’m doing the best I can, and I’m going to pat myself on the back for what I’m doing better.

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By now, if you’ve read any of my other blog posts, you’ll know I’m a perfectionist, Type-A–personality woman who is the busy mother to four daughters, loves to read, has lots of projects, and struggles with mental health. It may not come as a surprise, then, that I struggle with my weight as well. Having four children and lots of projects keeps me busy, and the mental-health issues make me a little more fragile or susceptible to stressors than perhaps some others, I think. Add in that there are some serious addictive tendencies going a ways back on my paternal side, and — voila! — I comfort myself with food. Sometimes the compulsion gets so bad I feel I just can’t stop eating, and it’s frankly a bit scary. I feel possessed.

Beauty Redefined sells these great messages as sticky notes. I find them inspiring and very positive. I want to talk about health and curbing emotional eating, but I am not posting images of skinny people or before-and-after photos of myself (at least not at this point).

Because I also feel strongly about the issue of body image and beauty in our culture today, I am going to try to frame this discussion outside of pounds or before-and-after photos. I decidedly dislike going on Pinterest and seeing all these “fitspiration” pins that feature photos of teeny-tiny toned chicks wearing next to nothing and showing off their nonexistent tummies. I don’t care how great the tips are that lie behind those pins; I’m simply not going to look at them, and I’m definitely not going to perpetuate them by repinning. (For a really great discussion about this topic, go to Beauty Redefined and read their take.)

Yes, I am looking in the mirror right now and at recent photos of myself and finding myself ashamed and appalled. I am also into my biggest clothes and scared that I might eat myself right out of those into sizes I don’t even own. I stepped on a scale at my gym this week to find out exactly where I stand and wasn’t too surprised but also was definitely not pleased to see that I am now the heaviest I’ve ever been, barring the very end of my first pregnancy. So I am falling right into the trap of feeling bad about my whole being because of how I look. Not good. But that doesn’t mean that I should just accept where I am and move on with life.

One, where I am is not healthy physically, no question. Two, emotional eating is just a crutch, a way to avoid dealing with other issues, and I’m the type of person who wants to do things the right way, no shortcuts, no excuses. It pains me to think I’m using this crutch. So for my emotional well-being, I’d like to try to dig deep and figure out ways to toss this crutch. I’d love to complete that sentence with the phrase “once and for all,” but the realistic side of me recognizes that this may very well be a fight I wage for the rest of my life, much like any other addiction. Alcoholics never consider themselves cured; they’re always “recovering,” and I think that’s where I’m at. Right now, I’m off the wagon and wallowing in the mud on the side of the road. But I am starting to get up enough … strength? desire? motivation? … something… to get back on the wagon and try to stay on there for a good long while.

So this post is going to be the first of many. I’m starting a new category on this blog, about my “light life.” Like I said, I don’t want to frame this as a numbers game or show off before-and-after photos of me in little workout clothes. I want to come at this from a health viewpoint, that of my physical body and of my emotional and spiritual selves.

What I’m looking for is ways to help me get over my addiction to food and eating as a crutch. I’m going to start collecting some good articles and talking about them as I go. I’m still feeling pretty wobbly back here behind the wagon, and I’m not even sure I have the strength to grab for the wagon. But I’m going to put this online, so perhaps that will give me a little extra push.

Please comment and give me some direction as you think it might fit into this viewpoint. I don’t need dieting or fitness tips. I need emotional tips, encouragement, and some solid guidance as I try to find my way and get myself happier and healthier. No platitudes or cheesy dieting sayings (like the infamous “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”: I mean, really — if that were true, all of us emotional eaters would be skinny and loving it).

Weigh in on this topic. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

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