Today’s Realization: Weight loss begins in the kitchen.

There was a point in time when I read a lot of forums that dealt with weight loss and fitness, and I was always obsessed with the people who had huge success stories and photos that showed giant body transformations.  And of course, I was dying to know how did they do it???

Just like every other person in the world, I was waiting for the ONE person who would respond to that question with “Oh!  I found a pill/drink/formula/DVD that REALLY worked, not like all that other crap for sale.  THIS one is the one to change everything!”.  At which point, I would gladly stop paying all my bills and send every dollar I had to this magnificent manufacturer.

Everybody knows that it always comes back to those two pillars, diet and exercise.  In fact we hear them together so much, I almost unable to say one without saying the other.  That’s cool, I get it – calories in needs to be less than calories out, they need to be GOOD calories so we can function like normal people instead of like aspartame zombies tweaking out on too much low-calorie, sugar-free faux food.  More whole grains, less sugar, easy on the caffeine, lose the soda, avoid those white food devils, etc. etc. etc.

Really, I get it all.

Here’s where I get hung up:

  1. I have finally figured out my body hates it when I eat gluten, sugar, and most meats.  In addition to that, I received a gift from my gallbladder removal surgery; my body also gets pretty pissed when I drink too much caffeine or eat fattening meals. For me, a healthy body comes from a low-fat mostly vegetarian diet.  It’s just the facts of being me, and I know it.
  2. I think that I deserve to eat whatever I want, and that maybe I was really wrong about all that stuff in #1.  I’ll just work out harder!  I’ll track my calories like an obsessed person!  I’ll stop eating carbs after 7!  I’ll be sure to eat exactly 150 calories of protein after I work out to burn more fat!  Give me any obscure rule and I will follow it until I die.  I just have to be able to make all those things in #1 optional, depending on my mood.
  3. My body doesn’t want to hear any of my crap excuses.  If I don’t follow the steps in #1, there won’t be much weight loss going on, even if I can deadlift 85 pounds.  My body’s like “Yeah? Great. But can you tell me what you were doing there with that banana bread just now?”.

In June of this summer, I was finally getting sick enough where I figured out that it wasn’t about not wanting to be a huge cow, I just couldn’t eat the way I was eating anymore or I was going to feel like my guts were having an angry revolution all day long.  It wasn’t up to me being strong, or having willpower, or being this elevated person who finally made the connection.  I just didn’t want to eat a muffin and feel like I wanted to die anymore.

So I took two weeks, and took it WAAAY back to basics.  No sugar, no gluten. no meat, no caffeine, nothing with a lot of fat.  My diet was mostly brown rice, all kinds of veggies (the closer to raw the better), bananas for my sweet tooth, green drinks, V8, beans, quinoa, and lots of water and herb tea.

It was like a light switch was turned on, and my body was so happy!  No more gut rot, no more puffiness, better sleep, no more reflux or indigestion, no more grinding my teeth at night, no more carb coma at 3 in the afternoon everyday…

I was eating every two hours, and no where in my plan was there anything about counting calories or restricting how much I ate at all.  I lost 15 pounds without doing much in the way of vigorous exercise, and I figured out I was averaging a half a pound a day weight loss.  It was all about not feeling like shit, that was my only goal, and the super-exciting side effect was my weight was coming down at the same time.

A long time ago, I read a post that someone made in the forums on Livestrong.com, and she wrote “Weight loss begins in the kitchen, fitness begins in the gym”.  And until this summer it had always confused me why she would think that (what about weight loss in the gym?).  I can see now that for me it is true that I can kick my own ass in the gym all day long if I want, but if I don’t eat the way I need to in order to make my body happy, it’s like I’m trying to walk up on a down escalator.

And then, after this good thing had been going on for about a month, my big brain and my ego came together and they decided it was time to get involved.

“Well!” they thought, “If we can lose this much doing only yoga, IMAGINE what we could do lifting weights!  And RUNNING.  And Counting CALORIES.  Maybe we should be careful about the carrots and bananas and peaches and tomatoes…so many CARBS…”.  And my beautiful, simple way of living to feel better began to get twisted around and screwed with until I found myself standing in front of the fridge holding a peeled carrot and completely conflicted about what to do.

It’s been about two weeks since my weight loss stalled out.  I’ve kept up with all of the physical sides of my new lifestyle (although I managed to push aside the stimulating and centering yoga for the more “productive” running and kickboxing), but the diet side has slowly begun to fall apart.  Today I had coffee and sugar with cream for the first time in months, and I really wish I hadn’t.  I have fallen back into my thought-battle with food where I think it is about willpower and depriving myself into submission (which sends me right into the arms of my other lover, the one who tells me I should indulge and treat myself to all the things “they” tell me not to).

I just got confused for a minute there.  Just a little sidetracked.  I forgot it was about wellness, about treating my body like it was something to take care of instead of something to battle.  I think I’m going to take some time tonight and get my thoughts together, lose the scale for a while, re-read the websites that describe a healthy diet for celiac’s, check out the status of my veggie-drawer….and do a nice long session of yoga.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. We all relapse, it happens. Stay focused. I was really happy when I was reading that you discovered it begins in the kitchen. It really does, I’m still trying to teach my husband that! Figuring out what our bodies need is different for every single person. One diet alone does not work for everyone! Don’t give up! Stalling is natural. I look forward to more reading…glad I stumbled upon you =).

    Reply

    • You’re right Teri, little setbacks like this happen! Just need to stand up and get back on a good path, right? Thanks for your encouragement, it always helps 🙂

      Reply

  2. I, too, feel remarkably better – orders of magnitude better – when I avoid gluten and lay off diet coke (my caffeine vice). But what have I spent the years since I figured that out doing? Cramming cake & bread into my mouth as fast as I could, chasing it with (ha) diet coke. You are right – it makes sense that you can mistreat your body if you think of it as something to be overcome, battled, managed. My body is me – why would I fight myself? Thanks for that insight. Good luck. You will find that balance.

    Reply

    • Thanks Andie! It seems like the best thing to do is take each day as it comes and not let things get too cerebral. As long as I’m doing things that make my body feel happy, I must be going in the right direction 🙂

      Reply

  3. Hi Hope! I can totally relate to this post. It took me years to figure out my body is one of the greatest blessings I’ve been given (and not my enemy) and even more years to figure out how to eat for my body. I’ve definitely been in the thought battle too! The good news is, the longer I care for myself, the easier it gets. 🙂

    Reply

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