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.
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.