This someecard went viral among my military wife friends today. Has anything more true ever been posted on the internet? I think not.
I haven’t posted much this week because I am sick! This coincides with my first week of changing my diet, and methinks that this illness/diet change combo may not be a coincidence. I used to be very sickly (seriously, I was sick all the time for several years!). Once I started eating enough calories to be a normal, healthy person, I stopped being sick, and I haven’t had so much as a sore throat for the last 10 months. This week I started cutting calories (a tiny bit) and suddenly I’m sick again. I’m going to give this 4 more weeks and see what happens. If I spend the next 4 weeks sick, I will add to add those calories back in.
I’m a very scientific person, and I’m all for experimenting a little to find a confirmed outcome. So, I’ll stick with this new thing and see how it goes. I’ve only cut from 2400-2800 cal/day to 2200 cal/day, which SHOULD (scientifically speaking) be enough calories to keep me well fed, healthy, and loosing weight.
However, now that I’ve transitioned to eating slightly fewer calories and tracking what I’m eating, I’m having a hard time eating 2200 calories. When I get to about 1400, I don’t want to eat anymore. I have a long history of having a poor relationship with food, so I’m not shocked that this is a problem for me. I’ve been able to eat +1200 cal/day in the last 2.5 years because I wasn’t tracking my calories regularly. Now that I am, I panic when I make it to 1400 cal/day. This is a frustrating process, but I think that I need to challenge my relationship with food in order to get to a better, healthier place. Most days this week I’ve made it to at least 1700 cal/day, which is a emotional triumph for me.
Last night I opened up to my husband about my poor relationship with food. He has never known me to have a poor relationship with food, but I’ve gained 75lbs since we met 3 years ago. Here’s the interesting thing, though — I gained that weight primarily because I transitioned to actually eating food. I spent 12 years of my life eating less then 1200 cal/day AND working out by running long distances, doing CrossFit, and participating in other high-intensity activities. Hello, unhealthy lady! It’s little wonder that I was sick all the time and developed a small heart problem. And, despite maintaing a very lean (for me) size 6 frame, I hated myself.
Why wasn’t I eating? At first it was for sports. I was a coxswain for the rowing team in college, and I needed to maintain an unhealthy-for-me weight (118 – 125lbs); I could only maintain that weight by dieting constantly. Later, when I was no longer coxing regularly, I felt that I needed to be a certain size in order to get attention from men. In general, I would stay that I was correct in this thinking — most 20-something men are only interested in women who are nice to look at. I’m being real here — not many 20-something men are interested in women for their brains or conversation. So, I didn’t eat in order to “look good”. However, every morning, for 12 years, I awoke to feeling black and empty on the inside. I literally felt black and empty. And cold. If I didn’t feel black and empty, I knew that I had eaten too much the day before.
During the first year that I was dating my now-husband, I got to a point where I could no longer maintain my 1200 cal/day lifestyle and still function, so I started eating 1600-1800 cal/day, and I gained 30lbs despite continuing to workout consistently.
In the last 18mo, I decided to stop being afraid of food. I started eating enough calories to support my body and my new lifestyle that involves very heavy lifting and high-intensity cardio. Again, despite all the working out, I’ve gained the other 45lbs. But, I’ve also reached a place where I’m no longer fragile, sick, and weak. Now, I kick major ass in the gym and mostly feel good about myself. And, in getting here, I got to a place where I was no longer afraid to eat. However, now that I’m actually tracking what I’m eating, I’m freaked-out by how many calories I’m consuming.
It shouldn’t be this way. I should not be scared to consume 2200 cal/day when I’m intensely working out for TWO HOURS 4x per week! Heck, I shouldn’t be scared to consume 2200 cal/day if I’m sedentary. 2200 cal/day is what most people need to sustain basic life — just to function. I know that I would be even more worried if I was trying to consume 2600 cal/day, so maybe it’s best that I started daily tracking while I am only eating 2200 cal/day.
If these numbers or my worries sound crazy to you, go to the grocery store and look at all of the women’s magazines that line the check-out line. All women’s magazines advertise are low-calorie diets, faddish workout trends, and impossibly lean women. It’s little wonder that there are 10s of millions of women just like me — afraid to eat.
My two greatest supports in my struggle have been my trainer (who is awesome and gets me so well) and Amber from Go Kaleo, who was the first voice of sanity and reason that I found in the “diet” world (and, she was my original trainer before we moved to Japan!). Here is her Facebook page,in case you’re interested. Now that my husband has a better understanding of my food problems, he will also be a great support to me. I didn’t talk to him about any of this previously. I looked at this as my own war, and I always assumed that he must observe and therefore know that I have issues with food. He didn’t — all he saw was how unhappy I was with my weight, and he didn’t understand why I was gaining so much of it (not that he cared — he’s a pretty enlightened dude and loves me for me).
So, we’ll see where this goes and how it goes. I am a work in progress.