Friday, July 2, 2010

been at this a while

I think I should start out with some real numbers. Honest numbers. Scary ones. Embarrassing ones.

Deep breath.

Ok, this is anonymous right? I think I fiddled with the profile settings enough to maintain privacy.

And you know I wasn't always this fat right? I mean, this happened to me, through injuries and major life changes and moves to suburbia. I would never have let the problem become this bad if I had continued to live in the city and walk as much as I did. right? I mean, I may have flirted with chubbiness prior to the fat explosion when I was 20, but nothing like real obesity. so....there.

I was creeping up to the 180's when I was 19 and met my husband, and moved out of my beloved city, and ended my daily walking habit. Add 10 pounds immediately.

I hurt my back (and began using birth control, something I deeply regret to this day) shortly after this, and by the time I was 21 I was slightly over 200 pounds. This is where the struggle to lose really began. I thought passing 200 on the scale was hitting rock bottom, like an alcoholic at their worst hour, but I really didn't have a clue how to lose the weight. I wasn't helped by brief attempts at high intensity exercise, and got a bit depressed really I think.

By the time I was 22 I had reached the 240's, and was getting ready for our wedding. I stumbled onto a site discussing the Atkins diet, ordered the book, and was converted. The information, encouragement, community, recipes, experience I gained from that site were probably the most valuable in my journey toward health in the last several years. I was able to get down to 220 by the wedding, but once the occasion was over so was the urgency and motivation to stick to the diet. I was having some pretty immature internal hissy fits over the radical changes I had to apply to my eating habits. I had trouble with the concept that I was not going to have the variety I was used to, nor should I consume the quantities I was accustomed to, and this was not going to change even if I managed to get to a specific magic number on the scale.

When I became pregnant with our first child I was back up around 230-240 and hovered there much of the pregnancy, I was too nauseous and afraid to be very lowcarb during the pregnancy, and found myself stress eating (and baking, and eating the baking) toward the end of that pregnancy and I was actually too upset and stressed to find out the actual highest number, but I suspect I was close to 270 when my daughter was born. The next year was very difficult, emotionally adjusting to a colicky baby, finding time to cook anything that was remotely lowcarb and healthy, but I also began to adjust my thinking about "normal" eating, and what I should eat, and what I really am not able to eat.

Before my daughter was born I was a true milk addict. I really would consume a gallon a day unless I limited myself. I told my husband that if our child had a dairy intolerance while breastfeeding they would just have to go on soy formula because there was NO WAY was giving up dairy. I wasn't just being selfish and horrible, I could not imagine NOT consuming dairy, the very  thought made me feel shaky and ill. Maternal instinct took over, however, and when my daughter did have terrible gas and colic, I was able to completely give up dairy. I never would have done this for myself, so I am thankful that she gave me a better reason. I have had this experience with each of my children. I may be able to eat yogurt, kefir, cheese, even some cream on my own, but the first year of each child's life seems to necessitate my going completely dairy free.

Thus began my eliminating and thoughtful consideration and study of nutrition and diet. At this point I completely believe that I am not sufficiently evolved to eat foods that are not those that a hunter gatherer had access to.That said, I greatly enjoy some things that are certainly not paleo, and so long as they do not cause me or my children discomfort or distress I am happy to partake and will include them in my diet and blog. When I am not nursing a newborn I regularly consume small amounts of cheese and fermented or cultured dairy without problems or restarting the weird milk addiction thing. I have not been able to drink milk since I gave it up almost 5 years ago. I have had some raw cow's milk without problems, but it doesn't trigger a need to have milk and I found myself not even bothering to drink it, I don't particularly like milk apparently unless I am trying to avoid withdrawal symptoms. If I had easy access to raw cream I would absolutely use it in decaf coffee, but I don't, so it isn't really an option. I  find almond milk a tasty occasional drink, but usually am not bothered to keep it in the house, and it is too watery to lighten coffee adequately for my taste. I have tried coconut milk as well, doesn't incorporate well, hemp/multi nut vegan substitute was just vile, etc, etc. Unfortunately if I want to enjoy a coffee these days I must resort to soy or corn derivatives that usually makes me kind of unhappy about the whole idea and ruins an otherwise enjoyable treat.

I don't know that I have an actual physical problem with wheat or gluten, but I sure have issues with it. It may stem from the foods I was raised on, or the manner in which I ate them, or any number of childhood experiences I should probably deal with in therapy, but hey, blogging is a cheaper and more efficient way for me to blurt out all kinds of personal details that have led me to where I am and lets me examine them in my own way. I get really ugly around pasta. My body has also gotten really ugly around, by and from pasta. You know that episode of Dr. Who? The last Christmas special with David Tennant, where the Master comes back and zombie chants "I'm hungry.... I'm hungry...." and gobbles up food in an entirely disgusting way. Not dissimilar from a greasy vacuum and with sounds to match? yeah. That is me over a pot of pasta. At the stove. It's beyond gross. And essentially uncontrollable. I used to just be disgusted with myself and my pathetic lack of will power, but I have found that after giving it up completely (even "fake" versions like dreamfields) for a few months, I have zero problem turning it down. Seriously, no problem. Since I have become aware of the enormous difference in putting the fork down between 1 bite and no bites, I just skip it. Why should it take super human strength to just stop eating when it isn't really that difficult at all once the offending substance is out of my system? I have a lot of compassion for people who feel like they "can't give up X" and habitually overeat. Many people might assume that because they stop eating at a "reasonable" serving size anyone who does not is showing a lack of character or is not trying hard enough, or whatever.

Unfortunately, I have to say, if you find yourself saying the phrase "I could never give up ______", you probably need to do so. I don't really understand the mechanics of the whole problem, if I was gluten intolerant I would think that the time I went completely gluten free for months and months would have been a time of unparalleled health and energy, devoid of the (suspected) autoimmune pain I was experiencing. I can eat sprouted grain sandwich bread if it's convenient now without experiencing binge cravings or aches or anything, or even the gluten heavy lowcarb wraps or bread products. I just don't find them very appealing. But heaven forbid I take a bite of my particularly good freshly baked sourdough (I really do enjoy baking, and unfortunately seem to have a bit of an aptitude for it) I can count on serious difficulty not eating  the entire loaf, and fantasizing about it for the next several days of withdrawal symptoms.

I refuse to go through life experiencing such awful things, being out of control, and fat to boot! I deserve to feel good and happy and be able to wear my baby boy in my woven wrap without a huge belly in the way. (It's complicated, I may show pictures to explain, but the point is I have been wearing my kids since they were born and never been able to do certain carries or wrap comfortably with certain length wraps and it is a goal of mine to look and feel as fit as other active "crunchy" moms.) I am much happier with myself now, even at this weight (currently 234, 3 months post birth, 2 months healthy eating) and my confidence and maturity seem to have evolved, just having a healthy lifestyle now will get me where I need to be. If it takes several years to get to an ultimate goal weight or if it happens overnight, I need to live this way and I accept that.

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