I am half way through this book and I was shocked when she states that the reason why I have this problem in the first place is because I have been dieting! She talks about behaviors that dieters develop that sabotages their weight loss and actually causes them to gain more weight. She identifies five types of non hunger eating and I'm sitting here thinking "I do that, I do that, I do that...wait, you mean this problem isn't just me?"
Reading what she says just makes so much sense when she talks about it so lets see what she says:
1. Gasping for Food- check. I do this one. This is where you are going along on your diet really well and then all of a sudden you eat one little piece of chocolate (or other forbidden food) and suddenly we are shoving hand fulls of chocolate chips and whatever else we can get a hold of into our mouths and we are eating like there is no tomorrow, because in reality there is not tomorrow since that food will be forbidden again tomorrow. She states "gasping for food is your body's natural and scientifically proven response to deprivation". So the reason why I binge on certain types of foods is because I have forbidden my consumption of them. I never thought of it that way before. She gives a really great analogy of swimming under water while holding your breath. If you swim the whole length of an Olympic size swimming pool when you come up you will be gasping for air, taking in huge lung fulls of it because you were deprived of it, you won't be breathing normally for a while. She also quotes a study where one group of people were encouraged to think about polar bears and one group were forbidden to think about them. The participants were to push a button every time they thought of polar bears and guess which group thought of polar bears more often? That's right the group who were forbidden to think about them. Forbidding something makes that food more desirable.
2. Eating cuz you ate: I do this one too. This is what happens when you eat two cookies after lunch and then you think "well I've blown it so I might as well go all out" and then the rest of the day turns into a 4,000 calorie binge where you are suddenly eating every single cookie in the house and everything else you can possibly find, maybe even going to the store to get things you won't be able to have tomorrow. This occurs because you are relying on external ques to tell you what you can and cannot eat, or when it is and is not time to eat, or what you want and do not want to eat.
Those two behaviors I am trying very hard to eliminate and they were caused because of dieting! Mind Blowing. The other three non hunger eating practices I also do, but in much less frequency and they aren't exactly the direct cause of dieting. But these two are my biggest problems and they are caused because of dieting. So lets now go outside the book and think about what I have experienced in the past. Every time I have gone on a diet I will lose weight, but eventually quit and then gain all the weight back plus some (usually about 5-10 pounds higher than I was before). I know this happens to other people too just by reading blogs and talking to friends. Now we know that the reason why that happens is because as soon as we go off of our diets we are suddenly gasping for food and if we don't start again the next day (which I often can't) we might postpone indefinitely and so we keep gorging ourselves on our favorite foods. The whole first chapter is dedicated to convincing you that dieting is bad and she does a pretty darn good job of it. Dieting disconnects you with your natural hunger cues, actually causes you to binge, and food obsess.
Here is where I had a shocking realization. Looking back on my life and my weight gain over the years, I never knew why I kept gaining weight because I was always trying to lose weight. I was on the dieting roller coaster of either being on a diet or being completely out of control. I could go as far back as 6th grade but lets just start at high school for convenience since I reached my height (5'4") in 8th grade and never grew another inch. So enter Freshmen year of high school, I am 125 pounds and caught up in the worlds idea of being super skinny to be pretty so I decided that I needed to lose 10 pounds to accomplish this because I was fat (Ironic now that 125 is my ultimate weight loss goal). Enter my first willingly started diet. I don't remember now if I lost any weight but I do remember that a year later when I entered sophomore year I weighed 135. Enter the Atkins diet. I remember getting down to about 130-132, and then you guessed it, enter Junior year I weighed 140. Enter some random cleanse diet that I have now long forgotten the name of. And along comes Senior year: 145 pounds. Begin college, holy cow, how did I get so fat? I better start getting serious about dieting. Sophomore year 155. Ok this is really getting out of hand, I'm going to hit the gym and really start tracking my calories: Junior Year 165. Ok now I am going to Hawaii with my family and I want to look good so I better get some of this weight off, also I am going to be getting married next summer so I better make sure I am rockin my wedding dress time to start dieting again. Senior Year: 175. Gasp! How did I ever cross the threshold of being clinically obese on the BMI scale? I need some help. Enter weight watchers- weight goes down to 158 over a three month period and then we move to Korea where I have no idea how to count points on Korean food. A few months later I get pregnant with my first. Pregnancy starting weight: 180. Pregnancy ending weight: 215 Lily is born, ok time to get this weight off, I diet my way back down to 175, enter the holidays I am back up to 190 and by that time I might as well not try again because we are pregnant with #2! #2 ending weight: 225 and the rest is history. While I have been doing much better this time around, allowing myself to modify, and change what I am doing, sticking to it I still have two very detrimental behaviors that if I decided to stop counting calories and just go off my "diet" I would shoot right back up in weight. So looking at my history was a huge shocker. Dieting made me fat! What started out as only wanting to lose 10 pounds (when in reality I didn't need to lose any weight at all) compounded and spun out of control into needing to lose nearly 90 pounds.
Here is the scary part. My 15 year old sister already thinks she is fat and has dabbled in dieting. Here are my sister's stats: she is 5'1" (not likely to grow anymore) and weighs 109 pounds. She is SKINNY! But there is so much hype around dieting that she thinks she needs to lose weight and diet to do it. This scares me because she could go down the same path I did. Dieting causes you to disconnect with your body, that is why dieters need to read these types of books to relearn how to tune back into their natural instincts and learn how to get rid of bad habits (such as eating while reading, or watching tv. I am really bad about eating lunch and bumming around on my phone at the same time). I'm thinking about getting this book for her for her birthday (along with the other present I have already gotten her, it's her sweet 16!) and having a talk about everything. I am happy that I can be an influence on her, and if I can encourage her to stay naturally thin and if she ever feels like she wants to drop a few pounds she can do it without disconnecting with her body that would be great. I wouldn't want my sister to go through the misery that I've gone through the past 15 years. I wonder now if things would be different if my 14 year old self had loved my body instead of criticized it and started dieting. If I had just stayed in tune instead of putting external restraints on myself. Maybe not, certainly not every single person who is overweight got that way because of dieting, but still... I wonder.
Once I finish the book I am going to start implementing the techniques she talks about to reconnect with your body. I think it's the only way to really get to the psychological place I want to be otherwise I will be counting calories the rest of my life, always going between binging and being on track. Like the title of the book says there has to be a way to have your cake and your skinny jeans too! I don't know if any of you have heard about all of this before, but this was the first time I came across it and it just makes so much sense! If you have any rebuttals feel free to put them in the comments. (of course her take on what you need to do to lose excess weight is the meat of her book and this post is long enough as it is).
In other news, I am feeling better today and I got my workout in and it just felt great. I'm trying to tune into my hunger more and only eat when I actually feel hungry instead of saying "oh it's 10:00 I better eat a snack now". 4 days left until I weigh in and I am really nervous. While I was working out today I was thinking "what is wrong with these pants? They are acting funny and slipping all over the place...... holy crap they are loose!" And I just washed them, so I know I have lost some inches and I think even on my thighs and butt which have been so stubborn so far! I'll post new measurements along with my weight on Sunday.