Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Newsflash - Another Bolt of Lightning!

Talk about a lightning bolt, but after 30 years of yo-yo dieting and a weight that's more volatile than bank shares on the Dow Jones, I have had a blinding flash of inspiration. I will now attempt to share it with you.

The thing that I have never been able to understand is this. For weeks I can be as disciplined as Madonna. In that mindset, I can sit for an hour looking at my favourite cake and not eat a crumb of it, telling myself, quite reasonably, that I already know what it tastes like.

I can happily enjoy a fruit salad for dessert while my girlfriends share the sticky toffee pudding, or (best of all) I can have one loving spoonful and leave it there.

Eating like that I lose the weight, so I feel great and everything in life - from getting dressed for a cocktail party to walking downstairs with the laundry - seems easier and more enjoyable. Then something goes snap in my head and that willpower deserts me. Or, maybe I should say desserts me.

It starts with a gentle slide into depravity, allowing myself to be a little more lax: because I'm a thin person now, I'll have the pudding and the extra three glasses of wine. Very quickly it's open season and, after a dangerously deluding delay (fat lag), this leads to weight gain.

The day I go out a notch on my belt is the beginning of the end: I'm a fat bastard again, I might as well just stuff myself. The next thing you know, it's another belt notch or, if it's really bad, a new belt, and the hardest thing is to switch from that mode back into Madonna head. This is the bit I've had a revelation about.

What I have just understood is that when I'm in Pig Face mode, I don't really like myself very much. My self-esteem tanks and - here's the thing - somewhere deep down inside I don't think I deserve the joy of being slim me.

So it's not as simple as having no willpower - I've got it in spades - but when I'm in the Hate Myself swamp, I don't allow myself to use it. I'm a bad fat person and I don't deserve to be happy.

So overeating is not so much a comforting indulgence as a subtle form of self-harm.

Does that make any sense? It's a powerful self-destruct mechanism and I've only just understood it in myself. Then, in the synchronistic way of these things, I turned on the TV last night and there was a program about teen obesity that came to exactly the same conclusion: before you can start to lose weight, you need to build up your self-esteem until you believe you deserve to be the slim you.

It's pretty twisted, but I really think this is the nub of it. So, armed with this new understanding, what are the practical steps you can take?

Well, crash diets are hopeless, but a healthy eating program that has a strict two-week starter plan really works. I did one where you ate exactly what it said on the leaflet for the first fortnight, then after that you could design your own menus on a looser framework. I lost 1.5 kilos initially, which gave me the self-esteem boost to carry on freestyle.

So that's my flash of insight. And now I'm off for my daily walk without dragging my feet.

Photo taken in November 2008 at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, Sydney.


mscherrylane said...

cool you sound like a great "fun" challenge for me...I'd be interested in trying to regulate your yo yo volatile metabolism....once I think about of my friends has inadvertently become a bit of a specialist in "weight loss" treatments...I'll have to dig her brain for some ideas! But anyhow I guess I'm distracted I better get back to it!!! hehe I so need someone to crack the whip...unfortunately my lack of self discipline is purely lack of self discipline...

once I'm out of exam season I might dig out some info on general food therapy that you might find useful...cheers :)

Cathy said...

I know I shouldn’t’ laugh, I had to check a few time to see if I read right. I tell you I am fat bastard, now for years. Reading your post I felt exposed, it was a nervous giggle I just couldn‘t hold back. . I’ve actually known for a while now about it being low self-esteem, but still I hear myself saying “I have no will power”.
I have bulimia,, I have managed to not purge (well not much) for the past 4yrs. It’s tricky I feel like I’m in control.
But I haven’t’ stopped stuffing it in, so now it’s coming out in my hips and thighs, sigh
Wishing you all the best. And thanks for sharing.

Nina P. said...

Ugg, I too have been an up and down yo yo (mainly up)with my weight management. I blame my thyroid, my matabolism, I'm to busy, it's in my genes, I don't have any will power...

I eat because I'm board, I love food, habit, or to sooth stresses, etc(I have many many excuses, reasons I try to sell myself on)... It's comfort food or so they say... yet after I "comfort" myself, I sure don't feel any better... hmmm ...and yes, I too get stuck on that slide of, "whell I've already blown it so I might as well eat".

Your lightning bolt revelation hits home with me. .... I guess I never thought much of it being linked to self esteme but after reading this, it makes sense.

I thank you for your insiteful post! As in life, this too is an inside job. It reinforces the meaning behind "Healthy Mind, Healthy Body" Thank You!!

And yes, we/I deseerve to be healthy and happy! ...let's go girl we can do it!!! :-)

Nina P

mscherrylane said...

it;s that curious incident of the dog in the night one isn't it?? I remember reading bits over someone's shoulder in the bus LOL but never ever got around to reading it- I have way too much I HAVE to read hence apart from blogs I refuse to read - my eyes hurt enough!

you should write a review when you finish so lazy folks like me can know what happens haha!

p.s I was telling a friend about the whole 11:11 lightworker concept today and thought of you :)

Butler and Bagman said...

Thanks for a blog that hit way too close to home! I could see myself in every word...which is a good thing because these days I can't always see all of myself in the mirror.

Monica said...

I go through the same thing, Peggy. In fact, I've recently started this new reward program which is keeping motivated so far. And then when I can get down to the weight that is best for my height and frame I'll be fine. But sometimes on the journey there it can be discouraging and the food temptations around you are so strong since you aren't where you want to be (weight wise). It is so good to know we are not alone in these times of ups and downs!

Christine said...

I've been eating properly the past 2 years, but I think I still eat too much sugar. oh well.

Cozyflier said...

OH Peggy you are wise. This is so true.

I lost weight, a lot, felt good, then got deathly ill and lost more weight and looked sickly. I gained back to looking healthy, and now, I've gained a little more than what I want.

I just can't seem to get 'it' all together at one time. I can eat 'good' and don't have time to exercise, or when I exercise I don't eat well! Will it ever get easy to get off the yo-yo? I hope so with your words of wisdom.

miruspeg said...

Macs - I am pleased I sound like a "fun" challenge to you. Look forward to your food therapy ideas.

Cathy - I hope I haven't offended anyone with my Aussie humour, it can be a bit crude sometimes. THANK YOU for sharing your story about Bulimia. I find recognising/admitting to ourselves what we do to our body is a huge step to in the right direction to changing our ways.
Scientists believe the reason why hip and thigh fat is so stubborn to trim down has something to do with the reproductive process. Estrogen multiplies fat-storing enzymes and directs fat to be stored in the hips, buttocks, and thighs. Fat cells in that area contain more alpha or fat storing receptors. It seems like Mother Nature has made sure that a woman has an abundant storage of fat to stay fertile, carry a pregnancy to term, and breastfeed.

Nina - I actually can blame my thyroid, my metabolism, and my genes. BUT I still have to take responsibility for what I put in my mouth and whether I exercise or not. I love that you said "We can do it"....thank you.

Macs - I don't think the book I am reading is the book you were reading over someones shoulder..LOL!! "A Friend Like Henry" by Nuala is a true story of an autistic boy and the dog that unlocked his world.
Glad you are spreading the 11:11 theory about.

Mark (B&B) - That humour gene of yours is such a blessing, thanks for adding your two cents worth and making me smile!

Monica - I definitely helps to realise we are not alone. I envy that you enjoy exercising and being a fitness enthusiast. My only exercise is walking and the occasional bike ride.

Christine - I now eat small portions which helps greatly but I am sure I have too much sugar as well.

Carrie - Will it ever get easy to get off the yo-yo? Probably not because there will always be wonderful food tempting us....we can but try. Exercising and eating well...a great concept!

Loving Annie said...

Oh Peggy, we could be twins !!!

In the last 10 years I've done the 40 or 30 or 20 pound overweight and then lose it thing just like that at least a dozen times.


I'm 3 days into eating healthy again now, but I curse myself for letting it get so out of hand. again.

I HAVE to learn moderation. And enjoy it.

TheChicGeek said...

Awww, Peggy, you feel like a little pork's okay. Only temporary. We all get that way sometimes...especially over a long winter!

You have hit the secret to staying at a healthy weight on the nose, or on its pudgy bum...we have to love ourselves where ever we are, do the things we love, move our bodies. I think when we pay attention to the foods/fuel that make us feel good...really good, like good and full of energy, we start to eat better too.

YOU, Mi'lady, are one of the most beautiful people I know!

Enjoy your walk and Have a Happy Day, Peggy!

TheChicGeek said...

PS: I love your bookshelf cute and happy!

Caroline said...

Oh Peggy! I love the honesty of this post! We all have our weak moments (you have read many of Sounds like you are really on to something here. Did you read Jesse's post on desire and persistence...I think it will hit home. Go enjoy your walk...think good thoughts! You are a wonderful and strong woman!

Hybrid J said...

Hi Peggy,

What more could I say? You're really spot on. And I'm sure now that you have a better understanding of the self esteem issue, you'll find your healthy life style more enjoyable and easy to maintain. Well done and well said!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Welcome to my world! I love your honesty-- and your blog!

miruspeg said...

Annie - Ah moderation such a boring word! And I would love to be your twin, you are a very wise lady.

Kelly - We are heading into Winter now that is why I am psyching myself up to not sit around and be a blob. You always touch my heart with your beautiful words.

Caroline - I haven't read Jesse's post yet, I will head over there tomorrow. You set a wonderful example for honestly, always leading the way. That is why I have so much affection for you.

Hybrid - Thanks for your support. I may need a reminder every now and again.

Joanna - Nice to meet you. I will pop on over to your place shortly.
Thanks for your kind words.

Silver said...

Peg- i know it sounds weird for me to say this in a world where "thin" seems to be "beautiful".. but i actually would envy people with some fat on their body..

everyone who sees me always say, "OMG- you should put on some weight or some strong wind might just carry you away.." See it from my side. I have been throwing down cheese cakes and all things fat for years.. but.. all gone to waste. Earning an extra lb is like striking gold. Doc blamed it on my metabolic rate.

thin people have their struggles too.. we feel inferior too at times especially when we have to compare "chest sizes" .. ;P

HappyOrganist said...

First off - Amen to what Silver said. ;-D I, too, am at the other end of the spectrum. I would love to gain a little weight. (although I don't mind the whole 'chest-size' thing. At least when I was dating, I knew the guys liked me, and not something else). hehe

Anyway.. I like what you say here:
"What I have just understood is that when I'm in .. mode, I don't really like myself very much. ...somewhere deep down inside I don't think I deserve the joy of being slim me."

Speaking for myself, I think this is part of my own issue (a lot of it even). Although I DO have a high metabolism and can never gain weight (over a certain mark) except when I'm pregnant, I also have an 'I don't deserve to eat' issue. To me that looks to be the same as your core issue, though played out oppositely.

I don't know how to fix it - but amino acids seem to help ;-D

Anonymous said...

How interesting and a breakthrough for you!! It's self sabotage. I can relate except I can never go on those strict diets - I don't have the iron will. I have to do something more moderate like the GI diet. But then I do wonder why I get into 'Fat bastard' mode - oh that did make me laugh!;0) Yeah - why do I do it? Here's a thought maybe it's about the 'familiar'. So although not happy, at least it is 'familiar'. Being all slim and sexy might be a little frightening (on a subconscious level). Hmmmm.... food for thought (and non-fattening!)

HappyOrganist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
miruspeg said...

Silver - I am so pleased someone has commented on the flip side of this story. The saying "the grass is greener on the other side" definitely applies when it comes to our weight/figure.
So the lesson to learn is to be happy in our own skin/flesh and not to feel inferior/superior of anyone.

HappyOrganist - Hello welcome to my world. Thanks for your input. I have never really thought about the issues "thin" people have. I will stop envying them from now on and stop being so critical of my body shape.

Healingstones - Glad you had a chuckle over my "bad" language. You have definitely given me food for thought when you mention "familiar". In a strange way it may less threatening to stay as we are then the change.

jen said...

this sounds so much like me, peg. I lost 40 pounds last summer - after bridgy was born (or 10 months after she was born, but who's counting?). but, then, i got so tired of dieting. i had tremendous willpower, but, i always stop 15 pounds shy of my goal. i think it's b/c inside i think "i'm fat." even if I only weigh 150 and my goal is 135. I might as well weigh 500 pounds. I've failed. It's like I don't think I deserve to be 135. It's so weird!!! so, i start eating again, and you are nail on the head - once i'm passed one notch, i eat some more as punishment.

i'm sure this is revealing more issoooz with food than I should - but wow - this post is very helpful - providing insight into my long struggle.

miruspeg said...

Jen - It is a long struggle
especially as we get older and our metabolism slows down. I try to eat small portions and eat something about every 3 hours like a piece of fruit or a biscuit. Also I have my dinner by 6.30pm so it is fully digested before I go to bed.
Respecting my body is easy when I like myself, very little rubbish goes into my mouth then.

Lilly said...

Oh Peggy, I am a fat bastard too lol!!! I go in waves where everything is ok then yes, I too fall off the wagon and then just dont care. Once we are on a roll its all ok. For two years I did not touch sugar and then some disaster happened and it gave me an excuse. I guess we have to watch out for the emotional triggers. Its hard but I loved the way you wrote this. You are a gorgeous woman you know that? Always honest, out there and its just damn refreshing to see. Now that its winter its time to get on the bandwagon again. Take Care and congrats on the good start.

miruspeg said...

Lilly - Winter is always a difficult season for me to adjust too, mainly exercise wise. In the summer I walk, swim and bike ride. In the winter I hibernate. I have adopted two new words for the 2nd half of the year - Desire and Persistence (Jesse from Living Infinitely) wrote a wonderful article on these wish me luck!