So, I’m doing a thing. For the past 13 years, I have been trying to lose weight. I’ve tried pretty much everything in the book and only a few things have worked. Until recently, I didn’t even know why I had gained so much weight in the first place. Now, at 21, I’m renewing my efforts.
A couple weeks ago, I realized that I kinda starve myself. Not on purpose (don’t worry, perfectly healthy mentally) but I don’t provide my body with all the nutrients I need. I have also accidentally trained my body to function well enough on very little food. Which you would think would make me drop weight, but nope, apparently, that’s not how that works. A week ago, I realized that my body thinks it’s being starved. This is the irony of disorders like anorexia — we convince ourselves that we have to starve ourselves to lose weight but our body’s biological response to that is to cling to the fat that it has because it doesn’t know where it’s next meal will come from. The reason I’m not losing weight is that (1) I wasn’t eating the correct food or getting the correct nutrients and (2) the foods I was eating weren’t nearly enough and weren’t nourishing my body in any way. So of course my body was clinging to my spare tire — for all it knows, it’ll never see another vegetable again.
Step #4389 of my weight loss journey: calorie and nutrient counting. I have kind of tried this before and by kind of, I mean I did it for a day and gave up. I didn’t like it — it was neurotic and irritating and took too long. But this time, I’m doing it differently. First, I made a list of the foods I can eat. I’ve found that following a list of things that I can eat is far more effective that a list of things I can’t. For one, the list ends being a lot shorter and therefore easier to remember but it is also better for my mental health. It turns a negative into a positive. Second, I meal plan according to my list of can-foods. My dorm kitchen is not well-equipped but it is equipped enough for my purposes. I spend a couple hours shopping and cooking and there’s my food for the week.
Today marks 7 days of this new experiment. I actually haven’t eaten anything from our caf (except for coffee) in a week. I’ve been making my own food again (which honestly I LOVE and can’t wait to be in my own kitchen!) and I am already seeing progress. I only lost .4 pounds this week. BUT my jacket is fitting better. My wedding dress is fitting better. My waist is starting to reappear. My nails are healthier. My skin is brighter. And — my favorite measurement of weight loss for some reason that I cannot explain — my collarbones are starting to show again. If there is one thing I have learned in this ongoing process toward health, it is that the scale is not the only measure of progress. There is so much about our bodies that change, so many factors that go into health. You cannot look at the number on the scale and tell yourself you’ve failed because health starts on the inside. It is the sum of smart choices, not a prize for one clean meal.
So! What’s been working and what hasn’t?
Things that are working: only weighing and measuring myself once a week, making my own food (eating enough of the right foods and none of the bad ones), measuring my water, eating fruit and drinking Lemon and Grapefruit in my water to chase away cravings (which stopped on Day #2 but I’m not taking any chases — cravings are sneaky little buggers), leaving the caf at 9:30 PM and going to the gym.
Things that are not working: Dirty Chai Tea Lattes (I’ve already had 3 today — they’re delicious and they really help with the urge to eat “fun food” but my doctor told me my body can’t process coffee and dairy is not conducive to losing weight), letting my mood rule my workouts (they haven’t been as effective as I know they can be), peanut butter (this one has gotta go. Bloating. Instantly. It’s awful).
So, all that said, this week I’m going to focus on increasing the intensity of my workouts, cutting out peanut butter and dairy, and honing the foods I eat even more to give my body space to detox and heal.
Keep an eye on my Instagram for updates! I’m there almost every day.