Confessions of Food Obsessions: Stopping the Diet Train

     I love food. No secret. Eating out would be my favorite sport, if it was one. Cooking is what I did in college to lure men into my apartment. In fact, Shea’s grandma said it was my lasagna that made him propose. I knew it had to be something. Shea makes fun of me because when I eat something exceptionally tasty, I close my eyes and conduct an imaginary symphony with my hands. It is completely involuntary, I assure you. I adore food.

The skinny on my history

This was well and good in my teens and early twenties, when gaining weight was a mythical occurrence. I once bet a friend I could gain 10 pounds in one month and proceeded to consume epic quantities of cookie dough and fried foods (and fried cookie dough!). My whole dorm of chronic dieters brought me offerings of treats to help me on my journey. On the fated weigh-in day…I had dropped 5 pounds. Consequently, I had to dye my hair green. That went over well at BYU.  Even with hideous hair, I was tall and skinny and ate whatever I wanted.  It was glorious.

Wait, that is the same friend who turned my hair green! We are 18 years old and tackling a 36″ pizza. Happy days.

Then came babies. I don’t have to tell any mothers the things you give up for your kids: sleep, long showers, sleep, bladder control, sleep, quiet time, sleep, extra spending money, sleep, and oh yeah–your metabolism goes into a coma. Pounds cling and waistlines expand. It’s as if your body knows you’re taking a beating and decides to pad you up.
So it was that I entered the diet cycle: lose, eat, gain…diet, lose, eat, gain.  So many of us know the story!   This is actually really hard to talk about.  Weight is a touchy subject.  I have plenty of friends that will yell at me and “tell the skinny girl to shut up.”  But it feels serious. And it is seriously frustrating.  And no matter what your size, if it doesn’t match the image you have in your head, then it is not a happy place to be.

Present day: On the precipice, and the scale

I am at my ideal weight and thrilled to be back in my clothes.  But I did drastic things to get here and I have been here before only to creep back up to where I was.  Before you think that is no big deal, I am talking about 25-30 pounds and 3 jean sizes.  That is quite the sack of potatoes!!

My dirty diet secret

How did I do it?  HCG. It is an extreme diet: 500 calories a day, strictly defined menu choices and a hormone cream.  It works. I took 28 pounds off. I even stopped a little early because I didn’t want to drop too low. I didn’t cheat once.  Not once.  In fact, that little cheesecake fiasco whereverthere had a while back…I had to actually taste, spit, and swish that glorious cake out!  Erika and Charity were frustrated with the process of making it, but at least they got to eat it!  HCG is an insane diet. I did lose almost a pound a day, but would I recommend it?  Ummmm….no. Why? Because, despite what they tell you, it is not sustainable.  How do I know? I am embarrassed to say I have done it 3 times in 3 years and within 3 months the weight always comes back.

Of course it comes back if you pig out and watch TV all day, right? Consider last year’s round: I did spin classes 4 times a week, walked in the evenings, and still gained it back almost as fast as it left! I know this and yet I was so depressed about my weight that out of pathetic desperation, I grudgingly signed up to do HCG again this year.  I cried.  I could hardly admit to people I was doing it yet again.   Something had to change.  This time I studied hard, determined to formulate a plan.

Desperation and Deprivation

So began 45 days of very little food. I used the time to read so many diet and lifestyle books I can’t list them all. I surfed the internet till the wee hours of morning. I watched food documentaries like they were blockbusters. Ask my friends, if I have any left…all I talked about was food.

I even became a food voyeur. While I ate my plate of spinach, I would watch Shea eat the luscious dinner or dessert I had made and say things like, “eat it slower…yeah….that’s right….now tell me how good it is.”

I was obsessed with food.

Eaters Digest: my conclusions

Food is an infinitely complex subject with a million theories and belief systems. “We are what we eat” is an understatement. Before, I ate whatever I wanted but tried to add healthy foods into the mix thinking it would balance out. I exercised as often as I could.  It wasn’t enough.  Now I realize you can’t dump sugar in the gas tank and expect to drive cross-country.  It is as much about what you don’t eat as it is what you do.  So I have made serious changes in what I eat.
I won’t go into details here, because I am already long-winded, but I am cutting out refined carbs, severely limiting sugar, and altogether cutting out trans fat, artificial additives, and high fructose corn syrup.  I am trying to add more whole foods.  I am cooking with butter, but won’t touch vegetable oil or margarine.  It helps that we have free range eggs, raw milk, and are growing a garden.

Bottom line: add substantially more good stuff, minimize or eliminate bad stuff. That is the goal anyway.

     Is it making a difference?  Well, it may be too soon to tell, but I have been off HCG for 1 month now.  If you look at last year and the year before (I meticulously tracked my weight) I would have gained half the weight back by now…seriously! FIFTEEN pounds in a month! More than enough to win my freshman year bet and spare my hair color 6 weeks of mutated humiliation!

Now, I am holding at the weight I ended the diet on.  And consider this: I have not had any time to exercise and I am eating massive quantities of food.  For as much as I tease Shea about his bottomless appetite, I am that way too.  Wow, I just outed myself.  I am just a hungry girl.  If societal pressures didn’t make me go underground with my appetite, I would be a competitive eater on the Food Network myself.
Another surprise, I am really enjoying the new foods I have tried–this from the girl who used to drink Hershey’s syrup from the bottle.  It is a change.  It is like learning to cook all over again.  My coupon shopping has taken a dive (cheap eating aint always good eating).  It is helpful that my family is along for the journey as well.  My kids (mostly) like the veggies I have been fixing and will read labels themselves.  I actually saw Shea turn down a free large soda the other day.  Unheard of!
If you are interested at all in learning more about nutrition, I am listing my favorite documentaries…all available for instant streaming on Netflix. I will spare you the reading list.  I would also love to hear your favorites.

Food Matters; Food Inc; Fat Head (You have to see Supersize Me first to get it); Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead; Ingredients.  I also loved Fresh, Hungry for Change, Gerson Miracle, Dying to Have Known. Forks over Knives was interesting

Stop the Diet Train, I am Getting Off!

I am not fanatical or judgmental.  I still lust after funnel cakes, though most of the junk food cravings are gone completely now.  I still understand that food is how we comfort, entertain, reward and indulge ourselves. I am just trying to find ways of doing those things without punishing my body.  If I gain it all back and more, I will not do a horrible diet ever again. I am learning how to love my body and honor it with food.  I have always believed our bodies are miraculous gifts that can heal themselves if we just give them the tools to work with.  I am finally trying to live up to that belief. I’ve cleaned out my pantry and my junk drawer. I have delved into the ‘health food” genre, and you know what? I love it!

Oops, I just smeared raw almond butter on my keyboard.  Time to hit the kitchen for a napkin…another snack.

13 comments on “Confessions of Food Obsessions: Stopping the Diet Train

  1. Tori on said:

    That is very interesting. I’m trying to eat more the way you are too and I have found that I don’t crave the sweets anymore. Fresh veggies and fruit and whole grains with plenty of lean protein have help curb that craving. I haven’t lost any weight (I have inches though), but I haven’t gained any either. Plus, the bodyrocking I do builds my muscles and we all know that makes you weigh more.

  2. julimucca on said:

    you are awesome!

  3. Erika on said:

    Kristin, this post makes me so sad and so happy. I’m so sorry that you’ve been on this roller coaster, but I am glad you are moving in a direction that feels right and healthy to you. And I bet it was hard to write. I think it can be really difficult to be open and honest about how we feel about our bodies, our weight, and our relationship with food. I feel sort of ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t.’ Sometimes I feel awkward talking about it at all because on the one hand, I feel like just talking about it can feed into our society’s crazy obsession with weight, physical appearance, and flawless bodies. At the same time, if I’m going to be honest – learning to honor and love my own body and figuring out how to do that is something I think about and work toward every single day (in a very specific, systematic way) – so it’s a big part of my life. So, not talking about or owning that sort of makes me feel disingenuous or like I’m hiding something or am ashamed of my efforts or something. Which puts me right back into that crazy place that I feel our culture pushes women. I haven’t figured it out.

  4. Kristin on said:

    I hear you about caving to societal pressures. I think (I hope) I finally turned a corner and can focus on being healthy rather than skinny. Wouldn’t it be great if that’s what society obsessed over?

  5. That Catherine Girl on said:

    My family has been eating like you for a month – give or take a few days. Dad saw his doctor just before he started and again a few days ago. His blood pressure has gone from high normal to ideal. He is off one medication altogether and has 1/2 the dose on another. His doctor was amazed by his results but mildly discouraging about his ability to continue eating healthy long-term. My dad asked him point-blank why he doesn’t tell his patients about the amazing affects of healthy-really healthy, not diet healthy-eating. His answer was telling-“There is no money in it for me.”

  6. Charity on said:

    Kristin,

    Oh man. Food can be a source of such pleasure and can also be so agonizing. It’s just that hunger comes up so often! I’ve often thought that if I could take a pill that did away with hunger and took care of all my caloric and nutrient needs for the day, I’d pop that pill four out of five mornings, just so I wouldn’t have to deal with it. But alas. I think you’ve really hit on something with all the growing and raising of food you’re doing, though. There’s something about engaging creatively that makes the time spent “dealing with that whole eating thing” fulfilling and meaningful and healthy (in all senses — physical, mental, spiritual) rather than the opposite. There have been way too many times in my life when my greatest creative engagement with food has been coming up with ways to stretch the calories from a pack of sugar free pudding over as many hours as possible, and that’s not the sort of creativity that nourishes your body or soul.

    Anyway, point is, you inspire me in lots of ways, and this is just one more of them.

  7. Kristin,
    I lost 20 lbs last year and have kept it off, I did not diet specifically, but due to great depression and the lack of eating that goes with that the 20 lbs was off in under 2 months. Good news is I’m happier now, bad news is I can’t lose anymore. I have a hugest sweet tooth in the entire world, always have. I know that during those 2 months I ate nothing bad for me, even negated milk at one point because it was higher in calories.
    So I’m turning to the healthy lifestyle that I think will be the only way to lose the rest and maintain that the rest of my life. I don’t want to “diet,” I want to eat what I should eat and be happy with that.
    I am definitely watching your documentaries and any Healthy Book recommendations you could send my way would be awesome.
    My biggest concern is my children. My 2 eldest are becoming borderline fat, their BMI’s are both over what they should be for their height and build. I know there are fatter kids out there than mine, but there are plenty of skinnier ones. I don’t want them to have complexes, but I do want them to be healthy. The thing that frustrates me is we really do eat healthy in our house. No soda, no eating fast food, baked chips only (and even then only once and a while). But my kids do have my habit to overindulge at special occasions. Which are more frequent than I’d like. And I don’t care how healthy you eat if you have 2-4 servings of it you’re still gonna get fat. I feel at a loss, I really want to help them and in the same boat help myself.

    • Kristin on said:

      Awesome to hear from you! Let me know what you think of those documentaries, thought provoking stuff!
      I hear you about the kids. I find it helps to talk about stuff with them. My kids know why I don’t like high fructose corn syrup, for example, so they look for it on labels now. It is almost a game. Damon came home and showed me that the chocolate milk at school had it in there so now he gets white.
      You can’t wipe out all the fun foods, the kids have to live in this world after all. I would have hated my mom if she took away my hershey bottle as a kid! Keep trying to limit it and just try to make it a team effort. We started juicing, for example, and my kids like to pick the weirdest veggies they can to throw into the mix. I love it.
      I will email you and we can swap ideas!

  8. Kristin, I think you would really like the book, Nourishing Traditions. It is all about nourishing our bodies with nutrient dense foods as our ancestors did and challenging some modern beliefs about what is really “healthy”. It’s like a cookbook and a nutrition bible all rolled into one! I think the key to all of this is taking the time to understand and spend time preparing what we put into our bodies, which it sounds like you already do!

    • Kristin on said:

      I just checked out their site and you are right, it is exactly what I am interested in!! I will order their book right away. Thanks so much for the suggestion, that will keep me busy for a long time!

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