From the Preface “I learned that I didn’t have an eating problem, but I clearly had a problem taking care of myself”.
I’ve looked after my mother. I’ve tried to look after my family at times, to be ‘piggy in the middle’ between different family members. I’ve looked after my partners and my children. I shall go on looking after my children until I die. I’m not very good at looking after me. I’m very aware that this is where all that lack of self-esteem has led me and now that I’ve reached the point where I need to learn to look after me if I want to progress as a human being I need help and guidance. Hence the reading.
The first chapter looks at the physiological way our body monitors and regulates our metabolism, hunger, appetite, feeling full, body fat. If left alone, our body would fluctuate gently around a natural level, a setpoint. Losing weight by dieting can raise this setpoint to protect the body against future starvation. By dieting we’re forcing our body to not do what it’s supposed to do and the system breaks down.
“Your body wants to maintain the status quo and is stubbornly resistant to change. When you lose body fat, the very loss of fat triggers processes to reclaim it. So losing weight in and of itself is counterproductive to maintaining weight loss”.
My body weight has fluctuated since I first gave birth. I put on an extra stone for each pregnancy, weight that I subsequently more or less lost. I lost two stone when I got divorced. I went to Weight Watchers and achieved gold after my third child and got down to a size 10 (UK). That was because I was so miserable in my life that losing weight seemed the only thing I could control and achieve. After my fourth pregnancy I probably lost a stone again but then quit smoking which, whilst hugely positive, put two stone on. I started going back to Weight Watchers and that is when I realised that the whole diet thing just wasn’t going to work and gave up. I’ve steadily increased weight ever since. Now I’ve put my weight fluctuations down to pregnancies, rather than to emotional changes or influences in my life at the time and of course these two overlap.
I understand that I am confused about my body and I’m appreciating that whilst some of this is due to childhood influences around food, a lot is also due to the cultural pressure to look good in order to feel good, rather than the other way round. Going back to the previous post I don’t trust my intuition about food. I used to. I feel that I eat relatively healthily and that confuses me.
I do drink too much alcohol and am fully aware of that. I vary between not drinking, trying to minimise consumption, and not worrying about it. I am quite happy to just have a glass or two at home of an evening, or half a dozen beers or so if I’m out. And anywhere in between.
As to my metabolism, well I’m always tired. I sleep fitfully, waking up several times during the night and often struggling to get to sleep in the first place. I can’t sleep in much even when I have the opportunity. I feel, but again I no longer trust my instincts, that I spend too much time sitting down and not enough being physically active, whether formal exercise or otherwise. I do struggle with exercise as it makes me think of all those walks I went on as a child, whether I wanted to or not and the lack of enjoyment and loneliness that came with. I need to throw off those connotations.
I feel that everything’s wrong about the way I physically live or that if it’s not wrong, I don’t know that it’s right. I’m only just realising how confused I am.
Quotes are taken from “Health at Every Size” by Linda Bacon