So, I’ve been dieting on and off since I was about 18 following the break up of my first serious relationship. I met a girl who seemed to have it all, she was funny, beautiful and soooo skinny. I wanted to be just like her.
She showed me how to live on 1000 calories a day and had a set of scales in her kitchen that she hopped on and off every time she went to the kitchen. It all seemed so easy so I followed her lead. Wow, the weight melted off me, I looked great, the scales told me I was so good and my 1000 calories a day was working, I was full of confidence and wore tiny clothes to show off my tiny figure. I got lots of attention and everyone said that I looked amazing.
God I was hungry though. Really hungry. I started to make myself big portions of food and only eating half, then throwing the rest away. I would add butter to every meal, including baked beans but felt I was managing just fine because I was only eating half of my big portion. Eventually my tiny clothes became a little tighter. This was not acceptable. My tummy wanted to get out of the top of the waistband and I was struggling to breathe comfortably in my beautiful little outfits. One day, while standing on the scales that were showing that weight creeping up, I had a great idea. I would start eating whatever I wanted and then throwing it up again. Surely that would give me the best of both words right?
I couldn’t actually make myself physically sick no matter how much I tried. What an absolute failure. I couldn’t even do that right. I was gaining weight on the scales, my gorgeous tiny clothes didn’t fit me anymore. I had the brilliant idea of going out and buying laxatives. Yes, I was onto something. I took them like smarties. Stomach cramps, fever, dashing to the toilet and feeling sick was a small price to pay for a while…..but I continued to gain weight. I ended up weighing more than before I started dieting.
I’m now 45 and my life from the age of 17 has been a series of diets of some description. I never achieved the heady heights of my first weight loss and have chased it on and off since then. I lose weight and gain weight, lose weight and gain weight. Giving up on diets and deciding that I didn’t give a fuck happened regularly but there was always a nag and I never quite stopped giving a fuck despite believing I had.
I’ve spent the last 3 months on the “I quit sugar diet”. Highly recommended to the hardened dieter. Yes, I lost over a stone, needed new clothes to fit my smaller frame. I preached the benefits of life without sugar. I was going to live longer and never suffer from ailments again but my diet was soooohealthy. Two months after starting the diet I decided to introduce fruit to my daily intake. Fruit is healthy sugar right. I’d only eat forms of berries because they had the lowest sugar content. Then, I introduced apples and banana’s – high sugar content fruit. Still fruit, and fruit is healthy. Then…..my running became sluggish, my pace slowed down, I got tired, I felt ill. Surely the occasional biscuit or piece of chocolate, biscuit or a little bit of bread perhaps (white carbs and any form of jarred sauces had been banned due to hidden sugars etc) would be ok on a day that I had a run planned?
So, I was soon enjoying all the food I’d been missing for 3 months. The scales are creeping up. There had to be something else.
I stumbled upon Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. That was an eye opener and the start of something new and refreshing me. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is tired of the diet hamster wheel. The overall message of Intuitive Eating is to listen to your hunger. Choose whatever you want to eat when you are hungry and stop when you’re full. However, somehow, I managed to turn this into a diet. I continued to weigh myself every morning, monitoring my calories (convincing myself that this was just out of curiosity) and micro managing my hunger. So, I wouldn’t eat until I was definitely hungry, if I felt like eating something when I wasn’t hungry then it was a no-no I’m afraid – but hey, I could eat it when I was hungry. Then I’d stop during the food that I was enjoying for the first time in forever to try to listen to my body. If there was no hint of hunger then I’d throw the rest of the meal away – I also thought it was a good thing to have something left on my plate at the end of a meal….this was it, I was an intuitive eater.
While continuing with my research I then found “The fuck it diet”. Thank you Caroline Dooner. I’m still reading through it but its making so much sense and I feel that I’ve been given permission to eat. I feel that it’s the prelude to Intuitive Eating. The thing that I have to do so that I can become an intuitive eater.