I have read all the stuff about fat being a layer to protect us from the outside world (the world we inhabit..but one we try to keep 'outside') I have read about fat protecting us from becoming the living, involved, sexual beings we are...I have read about the desire to remain invisible. I have read about the disgust we feel with ourselves for remaining fat, not sticking to a plan etc. I think I have read all there is to read about this fat shield of mine and how it messes with the mind as well as our physical responses and the way we live.
I also know the theory regarding calories consumed having to be calories we 'work off' too..or the way in which we have to restrict our eating/calorie intake if we aren't particularly active. I know about the various food groups. I wasn't always fat and I cooked healthy meals for my children.
When you aren't a fat person you don't give too much thought to the food you are eating, because it isn't stored as rolls of fat on your body. It isn't sitting on your body, staying there.. because you are moving, burning it off, unconsciously. I remained a decent weight for years and years..and there was no exercise plan involved at all. I just lived. You remain an OK shape because you haven't become a binge-eater or someone so depressed they stuff their faces to hide their feelings. You don't lead a sedentary lifestyle. You get up and go out there and live/move. It all comes naturally - or it did to me.
I was once that averaged weight woman who just lived. I made reasonably healthy food choices (mainly because I had kids and thought that was the responsible thing to do) but I didn't consciously avoid foods. If I wanted it, I ate it...and suffered no remorseful feelings, no guilt, no thoughts of having to pound the pavements afterwards to 'burn it off'. I just ate and lived and my weight remained stable. I didn't look fat or feel fat or have too many serious thoughts about my body. I just got on with the business of living. I wasn't a 'perfect' shape, nor did I have the body beautiful, but I had a body which worked, served me well and one which I more of less took for granted. I just didn't think very much or very often about the way I looked. My face was fine, I used make-up, I bought nice clothes and I really didn't agonise over my 'fat parts' or parts which needed toning up. I got all the exercise I needed by being busy - at work, round the home, as a single mum, and as the chief gardener. Life was active...I was involved.
Now, I have gained weight and I feel I am sitting on the sidelines, looking on. I am SO self-aware now. What a change! The reasons why/how I became obese have been documented. I am a fat woman and all of a sudden I am conscious of my shape, conscious of all the 'fat is bad' warnings out there, conscious of all the 'diet' foods on the market, conscious of the blubber, of the way I look in photos and the way I feel about myself. I really, really don't want to be fat any more. There are no advantages...perhaps the only one is that you can eat junk foods to your heart's content, However...with the euphoria of gorging (and tucking into something sweet, or greasy DOES give us a temporary high) comes the awful guilt of behaving in that way..adding to our fatness..keeping us stuck in a place that makes us miserable, despite the "I'm OK" mask we wear in the world. You know you shouldn't, but you do, and feel such a worthless fat slob afterwards.
All I know is, you have to have a PLAN. I am not going to lose weight without one. My day started well. I got up later than usual, I had a small glass of orange juice, showered, dressed and made a pot of tea. I drank one of those small pots of healthy yogurt drink...the ones with the 'good' bacteria, and I ate four pecan nut halves. (In the house because of the disastrous Banoffee dessert episode.) So far, so good...even though some diet-gurus think fresh orange juice is too sweet, too carb laden. I sat down with the paper and drank my tea. I was OK for about half an hour then thought about my intention to be busy later on. I'll have a slice of toast..I'll make my breakfast a bit more substantial I thought. (Yeah - should have had an egg.) I have seeded wholmeal bread, a low cal spread and pure honey. Yum. That will give me all the energy I need to get cracking later on I told myself. However, one slice of toast became three...because it was so delicious..with another mug of tea to wash it down, and at that point I came to my PC with a big glass of water to write about my lack of control, my lack of self-discipline, my lack of following a plan.
I think I have read all the dietary advice relating to proteins, relating to low calorie foods, relating to food combining, related to low carb diets, related to calorific intake, related to metabolism, related to the psychological implications of 'dieting', related to 'the good breakfast' etc. One slice of toast became three slices of toast...and I want to know why I didn't apply the brakes after one slice of toast?
Is it because I just don't want it enough...a lighter, trimmer, more toned body?
Toast and honey isn't a bad choice..It isn't a 'wonderful' choice but it is (if life is worth living!) a choice which can be included in an eating plan. All I want to know is...why did I eat three slices? Why didn't I do what I intended to do after my ONE slice of toast...and go and get active? Why did I have two more slices of toast and fall into a pit of despair about my lack of self-control and lack of ability to follow a plan?
OK, so I am not 'bad' and I haven't wrecked my day. Those slices of toast can be incorporated into the rest of the day's eating...but if I remain this lax about eating and exercise (or just moving, getting cracking on things that need doing) I shan't lose weight. I am full now. I shan't eat again until I am really hungry. I am not thinking of food, or eating, and all I have eaten has been nutritionally sound in terms of vitamins and minerals. I refuse to go to that place where we beat ourselves up and feel defeatist. I don't want to live like that, but I DO feel some disappointment with myself. My body hasn't been stuffed with ice cream or chocolate or pastries. It has however been treated to too many carbs, too many calories.....too much food, which I may or may not burn off. (I could get on the bike or go and do some digging, but mentally I am not psyched up now. The "I should really be in control and I'm not" voice has kicked in.) I do however, having written all this, feel slightly less cross with myself. I remind myself it's about "One sensible choice at a time."
My point is...how do we STOP being self-indulgent? How do we find the strength, day after day, to follow the plan? How do I apply my own brakes? I know I need to be more disciplined about my eating...but the "Just say 'no' " voice can easily be squashed by the smell of seeded wholemeal bread warming up in the toaster.
I wish I was 100% committed so that the need for change was imprinted on my skull. I need to change, I want to change but I hang on to old habits...ones which wouldn't have mattered if I was the slim woman I used to be. I would have had my three slices of toast and got on with my day.
What is your internal self-talk when faced with a food you really want? Mine seems to be "Have it." How do YOU stop yourself over-indulging?