You can read Part 1 here.
Now that I’ve been mulling over the exercise aspect of weight loss and disordered thinking/eating, it’s time to discuss the hardest topic: FOOD.
This is a touchy subject just in general. The eating disorder I struggled with for years was binge eating. I “fixed” that and I haven’t really struggled with it since I started my weight loss journey.
I looked back at some old photos of myself and several things popped into my mind:
- We had so much fun when we were younger! (and could travel, pre-kids!) LOL
- I wish I still fit in those outfits because I really loved them.
- Looking at these old photos on Facebook and reading the many comments I got from people praising how I looked….I miss that.
- Damn, I used to be so skinny.
- Dammit, I wish I had that body back.
- DAMMIT, I remember how restrictive I was to maintain that weight.
Like I said in Part 1 of this series, it didn’t always start that way. I ate 2000 calories a day for a year to lose the weight. As I hit plateaus I would change up my workouts, or over-exercise, and I’d reduce my calories. In order to maintain my weight loss, I never deviated from my workout plan and I was still very rigid about my food. While I did loosen the reigns a bit one I realized I could keep the weight off (probably because of exercising), I was still in a strict calorie mode.
For YEARS I was eating between 1400-1600 calories a day — even days I exercised and burned 500-700 calories.
“But there is a recommended range for most kids between 6 and 12 years old: 1,600 to 2,200 per day, depending on how active they are.”
I wasn’t even eating enough calories to sustain a 6 year old kid. Logan is 6 years old. He eats more calories than I was eating. I was talking to my parents recently and the topic of calories came up. I told them that I used to eat 1400 calories a day and my dad was shocked at how low it was. Yep, I didn’t realize at the time it was too low. I do now.
I saw the above graphic on Instagram and it was a gut punch. I think the statistic is 5% of people who lose a lot of weight keep it off. For a decade I felt proud that I was one of that 5%!! Wow! What an accomplishment! (Was it my only accomplishment in life?!?) But as I look back, I wonder, at what cost was it to keep the weight off? With such restriction and rigid rules?
*I’d get annoyed if Michael took food off my plate because I had measured out the serving size.
*Eating pizza has always been a sticking point for me that causes a lot of anxiety and I can’t tell you how many fights Michael and I have gotten into OVER PIZZA. Because he wanted it and my calories allotment wouldn’t allow it…
*I didn’t buy a lot of “trigger” foods because they didn’t feel “safe” to have in my house.
*If I was going to an event/potluck/holiday etc. I saved my calories or did a huge workout to burn a ton of calories in order to “earn” my food. But then I’d be so hungry I’d overeat.
I was always in such a restriction mode, I lost my ability to sense hunger cues. I was talking to my therapist about it and how I often have blood sugar crashes, headaches, nausea, etc she said “That’s because you crossed over into “crisis” mode in terms of hunger. You missed the early cues of hunger, now it’s in a not good state.” That was my life for sooo long. It often still is. I haven’t figured out yet how to recognize those clues that I need to eat.
For a decade my habit was a low calories breakfast and lunch (300 calories, 150 calorie snack and then workout and have 400 calories for lunch) and then “saving” my calories for dinner. Because I knew dinner would be more calories, I’d want a glass of wine or maybe some dessert. So I essentially starved myself all day to eat most of my daily calories in the evening–when it should be reversed!
Having my babies was such a weird thing emotionally and physically. With Logan I was still in restriction mode. I ate 300-400 more calories a day per my OB, I was still counting all my calories and working out according to my schedule. With Zoey I couldn’t work out like I could before because of a myriad of issues and injuries, etc. When it came to food, the gestational diabetes made me have to track and test and be really mindful of all my food. It was very triggering and I didn’t realize just HOW much my restriction for 10+ years effected my mental state.
I am trying to figure out how to balance food. I eat 3 meals a day. I try and have snacks throughout the day, I am struggling with that. I find that I go a long time in between breakfast and lunch and then I am hungrier in the afternoon and evening –because I haven’t eaten enough calories throughout the day! So I need to figure out how to make it more stable throughout the day. Even if I am not “that hungry” at 10am, I need to have a small snack. Cheese and crackers, fruit, protein shake, etc.
My last conversation with my therapist was very eye opening (will share more later) and she gave me homework: eat some carbs at every meal. I have to admit, she said that and my whole body tensed up. But that’s my homework, I am going to try.
My goal in sharing these posts is to share my journey with you but also in case some of my readers are recognizing some of the same behaviors in themselves. Awareness is the first step. 🙂