Things have been quiet around the ol’ blog lately, and while I’m sure none of you has been pining away wondering “where oh where has Erin gone,” it weighs on me when I go so long without posting. Summer is a busy time, particularly when there are motorcycles involved. The garden is largely in tatters (thanks to deer and groundhogs) or overgrown to hell and gone (thanks to an abundant crop of weeds.)
But rather than homesteady/failure posts today, I want to tell you about something I’ve been very very good at doing for a long time.
The primary thing I have been doing for, oh, about the last five years is getting fat. While I have struggled with weight previously, I managed to get down to my ideal weight and into pretty good shape in my mid-thirties. Apathy and procrastination led to the weight all coming back – Every Last Damn Pound, and then some.
Let me show you a progression. Please note, I loathe having my photo taken. I am no good at looking like a normal human when someone is pointing a camera at me.
Spring, 2003 – The Starting Point
Looking at this photo, it doesn’t seem possible I weighed 200 pounds – but I was close.
This is me at about 155 – 160 pounds, right where I should be. It was the product of running two miles three times a week, and religiously adhering to the Weight Watchers Points system the summer before. I kept all of the weight off for a little less than 2 years, maybe.
Still doing ok here.
It’s creeping back on, but slowly.
By this point, my face was definitely fuller, and I was having a harder time fitting into my clubbing clothes.
2005 and 2006 were rough years in many ways, and I became pretty severely depressed. I stopped exercising, lost my physically-active job, and ate much worse. I had been vegetarian for a few years by then, but was eating a ton of pasta, pastries, et cetera. By the end of 2006, I was back in plus-sized clothing.
I had managed to get a bit of the weight back off again, but it was very, very temporary.
The Engineir had asked me for a photo to put on his desk at work. This was the best I could manage.
This was on our first wedding anniversary last week.
Last year, I decided to have a go at getting back into shape, for, while “round” is a shape, I know it’s causing more strain on my body than an optimal weight would. I bicycled about 100 miles per week all summer long… and lost pretty much nothing. I understand muscle weighs more than fat, but I didn’t lose a single pants size. Infuriating!
It’s as if my metabolism has said, “EFF YOU, lady!” Or, as the lovely and talented Valerie Whitmore said, “apparently my metabolism and I had a falling out because it just plain packed its bags and left.” Ah, the wonders of middle age!
In terms of overall health, I’m in good shape. I haven’t had a cold or flu since given up gluten over two years ago, and I rarely get any other sort of “sick.” However, my joints are definitely having more strain from all the extra weight, and my back is getting unhappy. When I went to the chiropractor last week about a pinched nerve/muscle spasm in my lower back, the first thing he recommended was breast reduction surgery. Ugh.
On the whole, most of what I eat is healthy – primarily whole, unprocessed foods made here at home. With summer in full swing, we have salads almost every single night (and I use a homemade balsamic vinegar/oil dressing.) My chief concern is how much I eat. It doesn’t matter if the foods coming in are all healthy and wonderful and full of awesomeness – if I’m eating two times more than I should, I’m going to get heavier.
Food and I have had a complicated, obsessive relationship for my entire life. It doesn’t matter if I’m “full,” my brain wants more more more. I know some people will roll their eyes at this analogy, but it’s like an addiction and I obviously can’t just quit eating cold-turkey.
“Obesity has long been blamed on weak willpower, overeating, genetics and lack of exercise.
Now scientists increasingly are seeing signs that suggest there may be an additional contributor: food addiction.
Recent research suggests that people can become dependent on highly palatable foods and engage in a compulsive pattern of consumption, similar to the behaviours we observe in drug addicts and those with alcoholism.
So, how does it happen? We all reward ourselves with treats, but food addicts overdo the comfort eating. Their brains become trained to see some foods as quick-fix mood boosters and suddenly they’re hooked.” – eMed
How many alcoholics are successful if they try to drink in moderation? Heroin addicts who just shoot up on “on special occasions?” Some, but not many. Addiction is a bitch.
While the side-effects of food addiction are certainly less devastating than drug or alcohol addictions, it still comes with its own host of health and emotional issues.Most of the problem is grappling with the compulsive need to shove food into my face. I’m not conscious of eating really fast, but twice in the last week, The Engineir has said, “you eat a lot faster than I do.” I’m sure he didn’t mean it the way I took it, but it was still a bit jarring. And it’s true.
Part of the problem is confusing thirst with hunger; I only rarely am conscious of being “thirsty,” and instead reach for a snack (this isn’t uncommon from what I understand.) Thus, I’ve made an effort lately to drink more liquids. Not being a fan of plain water, this can prove a challenge, but I usually add some lemon juice, drink water kefir or kombucha, have a glass of milk, or on rare occasion make a glass of SodaStream soda.
So. I’m going to do something about this, and I’m telling you guys so I have some accountability.
As I finish this post, I weigh 212.8 pounds and have a BMI of 34.2.
It’s really hard to put that number out there for people to see. I also took a photo of myself in my bra and underwear this morning, from which I will spare you (I know you’re counting your lucky stars right now) so I’ll have something I can look back upon and say, “wow, yeah – there really has been a visible change.” Or, at least, so I hope.