On being fat: the last diet (part 3)

I kept trying: By the time I hit my 50’s, I was back up to about 240 lbs, despite my on-going dieting efforts. I turned toward endurance exercise, along with weight-lifting. I joined gyms, took Les Mills classes and spin classes, did weight-training, swam, and hired personal trainers. I trained for a triathlon with a friend but didn’t end up doing it due to injury. I weight-cycled the same 10-20 lbs for a few years. The fat hung on. 

My thinner-sized clothes from my protein shake days were quietly packed away in a box, waiting for another opportunity to be sprung free. They joined the clothes that I bought as “incentives.” Those are the ones that I would buy to keep me motivated to lose weight to fit into a pretty garment. How long did it take me to learn that this didn’t work? Some beautiful pieces in that box still have the tags on them, waiting for me to become smaller. Good thing I’m not worried about fashion trends.

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My last diet: About 18 months ago, I decided to try a Keto diet (high fat/low carb). I know some swear by it — the same way I’ve sworn by other diets for nearly 40 years. Would this one really be different for me though? After reading The Obesity Code, I decided to pull out all the stops and go full force into Keto, along with periodic Intermittent Fasting. A ten-week experiment ensued, undertaken at the height of the eating season that included my birthday and Thanksgiving. I was damn dedicated and stuck to it because this seemed like the answer. I studied recipes and bought high-fat foods. I tracked macros. I consumed things that I didn’t even realize were food. And I fasted often — typically 16 hours at a stretch, several days a week.

The experience? It was stressful. I didn’t feel well. I was low energy and slowed in thought — both things I can ill afford. It was nearly torturous to workout because I felt like hell. At one point, I was arguing with my personal trainer over the weight that she thought I should be lifting. I may have thrown something during that session. That’s not me — that was the diet talking.

I get that it takes time for the body to adjust, but I kept feeling worse and worse. Keto flu? I never was able to get past it. My GI issues flared without carbs, and my hair started falling out. To top it all off, my net weight change in over two months was zero. All that effort and expense for what was virtually a draw in terms of benefit. It was an abysmal failure.

Or maybe not. 

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That last diet might not have been a failure because, by the end, I felt like I was over with all of it. Done with dieting. I cannot/will not do this to myself anymore. My first diet was nearly 40 years ago, and I’ve been dealing with this nonsense my entire adult life. I’ve read enough and lived through enough to understand that drastic restriction with food — or elimination of entire food groups — simply doesn’t work. I’ve lost hundreds of pounds in that 40 years — all under constant stress and worry about what I was eating and whether I exercised enough. I’ve avoided doing so many things because I felt too fat and unworthy — putting them off until I became thinner. I lost a lot of living in all of those years.

I have to change how I deal with food. This isn’t by choice — I just cannot restrict anymore. 

To be continued…..

Photo by Kelly Neil on Unsplash

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