Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Starvation Factor

****disclaimer*** This isn't a post about actual starvation anywhere in the world.

I have been on my diet/lifestyle change journey for about a year now.  I've learned some interesting things like:
  • Exercise WILL make you lose weight and also get tone and fit...until your body gets used to it.  Make sure to vary your exercise routines when your weight loss ceases.  Just simply running 5 miles a day will not keep you fit-your body will get used to that and expect it.(AND you will pack on the pounds if you only do that for a long period of time and then stop.)  Vary your routines.
  • Diet changes (like eating less fat or carbs and adding more fruits and veggies-not diets!) WILL make you lose weight and that does not change until you buckle and cheat long term.
  • A carb rich diet will make you sluggish, especially if there are a lot of sweets and processed flours in your carb consumption.
  • Exercise will give you energy and a general feeling of well being.
  • Protein and lots of it is essential to a healthy diet.  You cannot make wise eating choices without the satisfying feeling that proteins offer.
And now, the most surprising thing I have learned:

Fat people have bodies that store fat because they are starving.

Let that sink in.  Know it, live it, and embrace it. 

People who struggle with their weight also struggle with enormous guilt about being overweight.  Sometimes we think the whole world looks at us eating a cookie and says, "See there, Fatty McFatFAT, if you wouldn't eat so many of THOSE you might be thin!"  Then, the world as we perceive it looks down its skinny nose at us while we choke down the cookie...cookies.  Then to punish ourselves, we don't eat again until tomorrow.  OR, we go to a buffet, have no control and eat our weight in buffet food.  Then we don't eat again until the next day, not only as penance, but because we are literally not hungry.

I have quit eating bread, potatoes, sugars and grains-these changes are forever not for a time.  (Diabetes is rampant in my family and I am trying to steer clear of it!)  I also have cheated today from time to time.  It has had zero impact on my weight.  Why is this?  Because before I was often just doing without food rather than take the time/effort to eat meats, veggies or fruit.  My body wants to eat many small meals a day.  In fact, it is designed for grazing.  IT IS NOT DESIGNED TO EAT THREE SQUARES A DAY.  Especially when those squares are as huge as the squares we eat nowadays.  Therefore, eating a forbidden carb (like A cupcake or A bowl of cereal) has less impact on my weight loss program than skipping a meal.

Skipping a meal-or a snack when your body is hungry-will FORCE your body to store the next food you eat as fat.  It has to, it can't trust you to feed it and the instinct of self preservation is so strong that it will store fat and store fat until you weigh 700 pounds and cannot leave your house.  It is the cycle of OVEREAT....STARVE, OVEREAT...STARVE that makes us obese. 

I am now down 42 pounds and I have a long way to go, 50 pounds at least.  However, I am keeping my attitude in check and loving my body at any size-another key to weight loss.  If you think of yourself as fat and loathsome-or worst of all-GENETICALLY INEVITABLY FAT, you will not care enough to make healthy choices. 

I try very hard to never 'binge' and never starve.  These are two extremes that have kept me gaining weight for a whole lot of years.

Every body is different and has different reasons for weight gains.  My 'lessons' may not apply to you at all.  But if you tend toward eating one large meal a day and then starving through the hunger pains until the next big meal, you are FORCING your body to pack on every calorie ingested.  MOST children and toddlers are not inherently overweight-they have not learned to keep eating when they are full.  Only when that is learned, practiced and paired with the guilty starvation do the weight woes begin.

I have no scientific evidence to back this up-just the good old teacher of life.  All these things are true of me, they may not apply to you at all-but try to make some of these changes:
  • smaller more frequent meals
  • look in the mirror and like what you see (fake it till you make it)
  • never skip a meal or snack if you are hungry
  • lift some light weights every day...convert that fat to muscle!

Try these little things before you run a marathon or do a fad diet.  Get to healthy weight and THEN run the marathon, your knees will thank you.

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