I have struggled with being overweight my entire life. Well, actually since I was about 9 years old. During the summer between 2nd and 3rd grade I gained about 20 pounds. Now, that was in, like, 1976 and back in the day, fat kids were just considered lazy. The answer to their weight problem was to get them moving and cut them off from every good tasting morsel of food found on planet Earth.
Cold turkey. No chocolate. No bacon. Nooooooooooooooooooooo mashed potatoes. It was all "bad." My own penchant was an inexplicable love of ketchup sandwiches. Wonder bread, ketchup, and love. That was a ketchup sandwich. The thought of one now makes my stomach turn. However, when I ventured out into my own apartment, I spent many a meal with wonder bread, cheese, and ketchup. Yikes. That just sounds gross, doesn't it?
But, I still eat it. I also eat broccoli now...and I love it. Am I skinny? Nope. I also really and truly enjoy a nice salad every now and then. Am I healthier? Maybe, but I dunno.
I was taught that, as a fat child, I couldn't enjoy food. Food that tasted good was not good for me. It's not just chocolate, it's all sugar. It's not just dinner rolls, it's all bread. That changed to all white bread, then it was all bread unless it was whole wheat, and finally, it went to if it has too many carbs, it's bad. Hey folks! I like bread. ALL kinds of bread. It's not the bread. It's eating 4 portions of it at a sitting!
I have done the yoyo diet thing throughout the years too. I was on Jenny Craig and lost 50 pounds. I quit when my consultant asked me why I was still there. I didn't "get" how to feed myself and lost my weight eating Jenny's food. I guess they didn't want any more of my money, eh?
I was involved with a religious weight loss group called the "Weigh Down Workshop." I lost about 20+ pounds in a couple of months and didn't gain any weight with my last pregnancy by following the principle of eating when I was hungry and stopping when I was satisfied.
If that sounds overly simplistic, don't discount it. I am not affiliated with Weigh Down anymore because I do not agree with the degree of fanaticism that developed in the group's founder, Gwen Shamblin. However, I still think the original principles are sound.
Eat when your TUMMY is growling, not because it's time to eat or because you are bored. Stop eating, WHATEVER YOU WANT, when you feel satisfied. That doesn't mean to the point of having to unbutton your pants to leave the table, but when that hunger signal is gone.
I know that I still overeat for a lot of reasons and in a lot of ways. I have used food to self-medicate for most of my adult life. In fact, I can remember when I wouldn't take Tylenol or Advil for a headache because, "I'm not poppin' pills." I'd say that and turn around and eat to make my headache go away. I ate when I had a cold. I ate when I had allergies. I ate to make my menstrual cramps go away. I don't hesitate to equate my food addiction with drug/alcohol addiction. I lost a cousin to an overdose. She used pain meds, I use food.
I'm now in my early 40's and I take at least half a dozen pills every day for pain and chronic allergies. Eating to feel better just doesn't work anymore. I am facing knee surgery within the next few months and back surgery in the next few years. I've carried too much extra weight for too long and it's taken its toll.
I wish I could tell you that all my problems are solved and that I eat normal portions only when I am truly hungry all the time and that I exercise on a regular basis, but I don't. I eat when I'm bored or feeling sorry for myself. I eat as soon as the kids are in their beds asleep, because that's "my" time. I eat because it's time to eat. I eat when a hamburger commercial on television makes me think I am hungry. I overeat.
Will I ever stop? Prolly when I'm dead. Do I like that prospect? Not one bit.
This post wasn't meant to self-defeat. I am currently a member of TOPS #176 Wa in Newport. I am accountable for my weight each time I weigh in and I try to weigh in every week. That includes those weeks when I KNOW that I have gained weight. Each week that light bulb in my head gets a little brighter and all of the accumulated knowledge from all these years of weight loss attempts comes back to me. I am more aware of what I eat and why I eat. I am PAINFULLY aware of my exercise or lack thereof. I hope I see a normal weight on that scale before I die. I hope my kids don't have to repeat my misery.
Life on Elk Meadows is, well, isn't hungry. ;)