I’m inexplicably ragey today. Dunno why. Maybe it’s because I woke up hungry. Tired/hungry/need to crap… yeah, I’m like an infant. Those things make me cranky.
So sometimes on days like today you just Facebook message your fitness bestie and she listens empathetically as you basically find reasons to want to stab humanity and she silently thanks God she lives 4 hours away because, clearly, you are an insane person.
Thanks T. Love ya girl. <3
This reminds me of the time my sister and I made a household constitution in which it was strictly forbidden to use the same knife to spread mayo and butter. Really? Because the next person using the butter on their, like PANCAKES, really wants your mayo particles. Gross, Dad. And then we did a softshoe number in the kitchen using the burner covers from our stove on our heads while singing “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.” Wow.
Anyway, I have no idea why I’m so intolerant of humanity’s foibles (because, God knows, I have none of my own) on the cusp of what looks to be a beautiful holiday week. But I am.
But I’m not just here posting a warning to the universe in general to stay the eff out of my way because I will cut you, but I’m also here to talk about how to lose weight intuitively eating.
Ears just perked up, I know.
I got a lovely email from a reader which basically said, okay, let’s assume you’re right about dieting and deprivation causing the whole biological urge to overeat in the first place. But once you cut that out, how does a person who now needs to lose weight for health reasons… um, lose it?
Great question. I am going to answer it the best I can.
First, such a person should read. A lot. The types of issues that dieting and deprivation cause combined with the messages from our society (you too can be a perfect size zero! All you have to do is eat nothing but egg whites and chicken breasts!) mean that the stuff that is going on in your head will not be solved by a little blog such as mine. My purpose in posting here is to be one of those little donut things you throw to drowning people to pull them to safety. I’m the donut, I’m not the passing cruise ship that will give you blankets and hot cocoa and first aid once you’ve been pulled out of the ocean.
Read Geneen Roth (don’t start with Women, Food and God. In my opinion, that is the weakest of all her books. It may make you feel good, but it’s not going to reveal the problem or explain ways to fix it). It’s not a terrible book, but I’d start with Feeding the Hungry Heart followed by Ending Emotional Overeating. She has a bunch of other books out, including a workbook, but these ones I felt were the cornerstone to understanding emotional overeating and developing steps to end it.
Then, I would read Evelyn Trioble’s Intuitive Eating. I found this book the most helpful of all the books I read, but I think that it helped to have a foundation from Geneen Roth before reading Trioble. Roth is a more emotional, contemplative writer (she reminded me a lot of Anne Lamont). Roth is the one who will convince you that dieting, not you, is the problem. Trioble is more clinical and she will explain why it’s a problem and how you can knock it off.
Second, once you’ve read and understand the problem, I would get professional help. The end. You must be willing to invest in your recovery from overeating and dieting. You must. If you’re not, then… well, I hope you like spending your days floating on that little donut in the ocean when you could be drinking hot cocoa on the cruise ship. Sorry to be blunt but if it’s important to you, make it happen.
Those two steps will be huge to starting your intuitive eating process. But where does the weight loss come in? Remember in the Karate Kid when Daniel wants to learn how to kick and punch and beat people up and Mr. Miagi has him paint fences and wax on wax off?
K, that is what you’re going to be doing with intuitive eating. The point of intuitive eating is to discover true hunger and feed your body. And when you want to eat but you’re not hungry, intuitive eating means exploring those emotions. Sometimes we eat because our stomach feels empty. But the feeling is really a product of an emotion — we feel lonely, scared, anxious, sad, abandoned… our tummy feels hollow, it hurts and feels… HUNGRY. And we eat. The process of sorting through all that is the painting fences. The reading about other people’s experiences with dieting and emotional eating is the waxing on and waxing off.
Once you have awareness, your weight will take care of itself. Your body will find a point at which it is healthy, comfortable and attractive. It may take months or a year, but it will happen.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean you will be skinny. I’m sure you’ve heard people say “I don’t want to be skinny, I want to be healthy.”
That’s fabulous. But how are they measuring health? Because, 9 times out of 10, they are measuring with a bathroom scale. They are not regularly having their blood pressure tested. They are not having their LDL/HDL checked. They’re not having their thyroid checked or their glucose metabolism checked.
They are assuming that if they are skinnier, they must be healthier. When I get an email from someone working out and wahhhhh the scale isn’t moving, they’re not following up by saying, “BUT my resting heart rate has gone down, or my stress levels have gone down or my bone density levels have gone up.” So really, in most people’s heart of hearts, they ARE looking for skinny. Maybe because they really just want to be skinny or maybe because they just don’t believe that you can be healthy without being skinny.
And what I would propose is… you might have to let that go. You might have to accept that you can be bigger AND healthy. You may be healthy as a horse and have a BMI over what Uncle Sam thinks is appropriate. This is really something you have to discuss with your doctor. Now, you also need a doctor who doesn’t just assume that bigger = unhealthy and tells you to lose weight.
You’ll need a doctor who is willing to discuss your cholesterol, family history of heart disease, blood pressure, triglycerides… someone who will look at the WHOLE picture and tell you whether you are, in fact, healthy.
And if you are healthy, then losing weight may not be necessary and you are going to need to shift your focus from being skinny on to something else. Which is terribly frightening because what if it turns out that our lives are really actually rather boring once we’re not counting fat grams and measuring our body fat percentages (they’re not boring, by the way, there’s a whole big world out there waiting for discovery).
Now I’m sure I’m going to get a comment from someone who skips to the end of this 1215 word post and accuses of me of encouraging people to binge on donuts and chocolate and that they will be perfectly healthy even if they are overweight.
And no. If you leave me a stupid ass comment like that, in my current frame of mind, I assure you I am going to forget I am [sometimes] a lady. I ain’t all glitter and wine and cupcakes and this bitch made it through 3 years of law school out-bitching the bitchy of the bitchiest. So think twice before you’re an idiot in my comments, I kid you not.
It’s a PROCESS. You read, you understand, you become aware of your eating and your emotions. Your eating changes. 80-90% of the time, your body will guide you to appropriate amount of healthy foods to eat. You indulge 10-20% of the time. You savor your indulgences rather than using them as opportunities to deny yourself food in the future. And your weight will gradually move to one that is healthy for you — it may not be culturally desirable, I am going to be upfront about that. But it will be healthy.
Have a great holiday Fitties! See you when the rages have passed (btw, I think I have been overtraining. It hit me half way through that post).