Dieting Is Not Natural…

Of course neither is being overweight or obese. My body and mind are rebelling a bit after 9 months of caloric restriction under the guise of becoming healthy. So, incoming expression of my current state of mind.

Sorry, but humans did not evolve to eat low caloric diets for a prolonged period, well, except those of us with especially “thrifty genes” ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yes, I am aware of the numerous studies in various species of animals suggesting that caloric restriction (-30%) with a diet that maintains appropriate nutrients might prolong life through revving up cellular mechanisms which stave off chronic diseases and aging. (Free JAMA article here) Dieting is not the same as eating a rich diet lower in calories than the typical American one. Plus, the concept of caloric restriction to live longer – there is not enough evidence that this is generalizable to all people, or that it really does work in humans, or that people want to trade their quality of life by going hungry for an extra few months to few years of living. (Suggest you at least read the abstract of the article for both sides of the argument.)

Back to me and my body/mind. Convincing myself that losing weight is healthy is easy to do, but I finally need to stop pretending that I am just embarking on a “way of eating”. True, I am eating healthy, but 1200 calories a day is not normal. This older body of mine knows that better than I do and is showing this by losing weight at a slower and slower rate. If I am going to survive getting to my goal weight, I think that I need to reframe what I am doing. I am on a diet. I am eating healthy (hopefully), but a diet it is. While dieting, I am preparing for maintenance because I certainly do not intend to eat 1200 calories all my life. Also, I am preparing for maintenance by reading about those who have lost and successfully maintained for years. (Need the role-modeling, skills, and knowledge, and something to look forward to.) I am trying to routinely incorporate physical activity while my damn knee ever-so-slowly heals from whatever “itis” has afflicted it for the past few months. I continue to seek support from others close by and on the web for this journey. Hell, I’m even back in therapy routinely as of this week (good grief did I just type that out loud?) to deal with the emotional turmoil surrounding my response to my parents’ illnesses and the crap that is emerging.

Bottom line: Don’t be surprised if I use the word “diet” more often. Once I hit maintenance then I truly will be eating healthy.

cartoon of woman at diet doctor

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12 thoughts on “Dieting Is Not Natural…

  1. Cute cartoon. I also find that I lose weight more slowly over time. (We will not discuss how lately I have been going in the wrong direction.) 1200 calories for that long would probably drive me crazy. What about varying by day, adding in some higher (not HIGH) calorie days to shake up your body. I’m not sure what your medical background says about that but many dieters I know have found it to help with plateuas.

    • Thanks Karen for the suggestions. I have been zig-zagging unintentionally just because I feel true hunger (and yes, I do “cheat” by eating extra calories from my stock of healthy foods). Recently I have been tempted to binge to soothe anxiety that just won’t be quieted with other methods – thus the therapy – dammit…

  2. Here’s my thoughts :
    Diets do eventually suck, and do eventually end. Lifestyle change is real change. Be proud of that! What you have been doing has been effective. I guess that doesn’t mean it needs to be revised at times. And who doesn’t need therapy after dealing with aging parents? (myself included; just not removed enough to do it yet).
    But I think a journey involves continual revelation and growth. So, we are journeying on life; hopefully healthy more of the time than not.
    I am proud of you and congratulate you on the journey. You’re a great role model and mentor to your little seester.

    • Thank you my beloved sister for your unwavering support as I wallow in this while you take care of our parents on a daily basis. /sniff

  3. Just my opinion… but since the battle is mainly mental anyways, if it helps you to reframe it and label it a diet… then go for it!

    It wouldn’t work for me due to associations with the word, but so what, that’s just me. I say do what works!

    Oh, another thought. I’ve been listening to podcasts on and off for about a year from Jimmy Moore’s site, Livin La Vida Low Carb. A lot of the scientists, researchers and md’s that he interviews have interesting things to say about the un-sustainability (is that a word?!) of a low calorie diet. Being so limited, and hungry for too long just goes against our nature as human beings. They instead talked about the TYPE of food that makes up our calories…all calories not being equal is kind of the idea.

    Here’s one I particularly liked, Dr Stephen Guyenet:
    http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/page/2

    Anyway, it has me thinking, since I follow a low-er carb plan. They seem to think that one can eat a little more as long as it’s nutrient rich and low carb, and still lose weight, and not be hungry. Just throwing out some ideas here. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Loretta
    =^..^=

    • Loretta, I am a true believer in lower carb eating and have been having difficulty getting my protein:carb as high as I would like. Certainly for my body not all calories are equal. Thanks for the lead on this website! I am always looking for quality info to help move me along. And, thanks for your support and inspiring blog – darn you for making me like Dr. Phil! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Love the cartoon too! And yes…1200 just isn’t natural…

    I think a lot of us get that mindset and then we end up failing because once we reach our “goal” we go up to normal 1800/2000 per day but don’t compensate for poor metabolism/age/etc and it starts creeping back up again.

    I think our bodies truly need that many calories to function well. I find that even if I am eating very healthy (fruits/veggies/very little meats) by the time I have been on restricted calories for a few months…I get sick easier. MY body seems to need a bit more sustenance…so I boost exercise if I have to (which I HATE and haven’t done too well with, ugh!)

    Keep up your awesome work. You are doing great!

  5. I completely agree with you. At this point I am on a diet and I am not going to get all into the “it’s a lifestyle” stuff because my life will not be lived out at 1200 calories! This is a means to an end and I call it a diet.

    I started at about the same weight as you show on your little graphic and I have not gotten as far as you have yet, but I am happy to see another dieter on the same road!

  6. Have you read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes? That book changed my dieting life forever.

    As a long-term low-fat/calorie-counter, I was shocked and awed, but rather convinced by his hypothesis & decided to put it to the test & wow… Suddenly not fighting hunger all the time, suddenly I can diet without a struggle. I believe that for some people whose bodies are adept at getting every last calorie out of every morsel of food, it’s a good solution. Not the only one (I was successful in the past at low fat / low cal) but it’s another option. And for me it turned out to be a surprise, an easier one in most regards.

    In my experience what is impossible is long-term feelings of deprivation & self control. I don’t have either one with this way of eating. I eat foods that are deeply satisfying. I am not fighting for self control every day (only very rarely when a particular treat looks especially appealing).

    I hope you find peace in an approach that works for you – that’s my ultimate goal!

  7. Just added you to the Summer Focus Blogroll! Love your blog. This is my first visit and I’m looking forward to reading more!

  8. I just found your blog and I will be back to read more! I think we each have to label what we are doing in what ever fashion works best for us. It is a mind game! I focus on eating mostly healthy food, I feel full, satisfied and cravings are at bay. It is not a one size fits all when it comes to losing weight and being healthy. We all have to find the right balance that works for us.

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