Why (die)ts fail.....part 1

So, as I said yesterday...I am going to write a post specifically about (die)ts.
The first reason (die)ts fail is simply this, (die)ts don't work. I am talking about (die)ts with a capital D. The thing you start on monday. The magic formula that will transform you into Paris Hilton. Calorie deprivation with an expiration date. A 'way of eating' that ends at the perfect number. Then you can 'go back to doing what you've always done.'

I wanted to write this post because I have seen a lot of posts on different blogs lately that should have this big, fat, red warning flag flying over them. The warning flag of impending disaster, of (die)t failure. In fact, if you look at my blog roll on the right side of my page, you will see a blog that hasn't been updated in months. Her last post. "I lost two pounds, time to up my calories". Red Flag. I leave it there as an illustration, as a warning. You all can quit at any time. You can flip that switch, you can tell yourself "I've lost enough". or, "This is good enough"....or "I am just going to take a week off. " Then the week turns to months, months to years. I know. I've been there.

I know all about why (die)ts fail. I have been on all kinds. I have been on the Army (die)t. That's where you join the army and you have no choice...running five to seven miles a day and hiking 20 will take the fat off you. NO matter how much food you stuff in. (When you have the time.) I have been on the starvation diet. Eat as little as possible, starve and go to the gym....you lose weight, but the idea of living this way for. the. rest. of. your. life. has no appeal. You raise your plump little fist in the air and state triumphantly "I'll never go hungry again". They'll just have to accept me as I am, I was born this way, I don't look that bad. Sound familiar.

That's when you try the "I'll just walk daily and eat moderately" diet. Well, except for the trips to fast food restaurants, birthday parties, holidays, and girl scout cookies. Or when your pissed, your sad, your depressed, your lonely, your bored, you had an argument with your husband, it's movie night. You say to yourself "Hey, but I'm walking 3/4ths of a mile with my very good friend and my children every day. That has to count for something...yeah, try thirty something more pounds.

Then You decide to GET SERIOUS. You have to DO SOMETHING. You are SO FAT. How can I get this fat off me? Where is that 'right diet'....the magical combination of food that will cause me to STOP CRAVING FOOD. The (Die)t that will Fix my messed up relationship with food. The diet that will be the answer to ALL MY PROBLEMS.
For me, this was Atkins. It would get rid of my sugar cravings. It didn't matter how much I ate, I could eat TILL I WAS FULL. It was perfect. Just what I'd been waiting for. Screw those shmucks who keep telling you to eat a healthy, balanced (die)t with fruits and vegetables. My weight was going to fall off. This would be the absolute LAST (DIE)T I WOULD BE ON.
I lasted six months, I lost 25 lbs. When I stopped doing Atkins,, my heart beat irregularly, I stunk, and I was done. I thought...I'll do south beach. So I did. Except I was hungry ALL THE TIME. I gained every pound back. You see, I was never full. There was always more room. Because it wasn't physical hunger.

I quit. My final decision was quitting quitting.
I was never going to (die)t again. I got pregnant not long after I quit Atkins. I weighed 239 pounds. I miscarried. I went to the doctor and He said "Maybe if you lost some weight, you could have had a better chance of carrying that baby".
You would think that would have woke me up...but it didn't. I slid into a depression that lasted over a year. That year was a blur. That was the year of katrina, my miscarriage, my brother's aids diagnoses, my husbands 2nd and 3rd tour to Iraq, my friends husband's death in Iraq. I almost had a nervous breakdown. I felt so far removed from life, the only thing that kept me going was the dailyness of it all. Get up, do school, clean up, go to bed. I started taking Kate to a self defense class. I watched this dude who was so full of passion, teaching these kids how to protect themselves. I thought "Where is my passion?"
I didn't have any. I felt dead inside.
I took a five day trip to vegas to see my little brother. On that trip I made quite a few decisions. The biggest one was this. I only have control over me.
Then as I thought about where my passion for life had went, I realized that I had never really had any. It was beaten out of me when I was young. If I wanted some passion, then I was going to have to discover it.
That was my second big discovery. That discovery was this: It's not what I'm eating, it's what's eating me. You see, I had read self help books out the wazoo. I had tried everything I could think of to NOT CARE ABOUT MY PAST. To let it all go. The things was, I never dealt with the crap. Really dealt with it. I mean in your face, I am going to settle it, once and for all....deal with it. Telling my mom how I felt growing up. (check) Calling he who shall not be named in person and telling him he was an abuser. (check) Finally telling people how my (not biological)grandfather had called me his "petite princess" and had touched me inappropriately.

It was Learning Not to gloss over my marriage issues, learning to face people head on...no matter how frightening it was. Instead of simply responding to the needs, wants and desires of others. I had to learn what I needed, what I wanted, what I desired. I had to deal with my sh*t.
If you don't deal with your sh*t, you will never lose weight. Oh, you might drop 100 lbs. but you will gain it right back. If you don't figure out why you are fat....and I hope to God that for the majority of you, it is really as simple as; "I like to eat."

For rest of us: Our fat is our protection, our gaurdian, our friend. Oh, out loud you don't call it that. You want to get rid of it. You hate it.

But, have you ever really looked at it?. Have you never looked at why? If you have started losing weight, someone notices and then....you binge. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but there is a deeper reason than just, "I like food." If you find yourself eating when your not hungry, to fill a void, to feed the loneliness, it's not just, "I like food'. If you keep getting to a certain number and are unable to pass it, there is a bigger reason. There is a mental block to going lower. You are going to have to figure out why.

You need to understand why before you will ever lose the weight. If you understand why...that is the first step in fighting back. The very first step in reclaiming your life. Understanding why is the key to unlocking the mystery. You have to understand it, and then face it...and then resolve it.

My fat was a combination of physical, sexual and mental abuse as a child.
I wanted to A.) protect myself by being 'too big' to harm. B.) Making myself as physically unattractive as possible to ward off any sexual interest and C.) It was a middle finger to the world, a way of saying "I don't care what you think, I am not here to decorate your world."
Except that I did care, I was miserable fat, and I was miserable thin.

Once you understand what your fat does for you, then you need to ask yourself "Why do I want to be thin?" IF you don't know why, then you have no reason to really obtain that goal. You will quit halfway through, because your reasons for being fat, the pleasure of food, the protection it gives you, will always outway something you are doing for no real reason at all.
I know my answer, do you know yours...
quick clue....if it's to look good for the ten year class reunion in the next six months...red flag. If it's to save your marriage...red flag. If it's so you can be loveable....red flag. If it's because you think being thin is going to make you happy, I have a newsflash. It won't.
Tommorrow is part two. Good reasons to be healthy, to be fit....and how to really get there. I know some of you out there are thinking, what is this chick talking about...she's only lost 44 lbs. How can she know that this time is the final time. I will tell you, tomorrow, how and why I know.
God bless,


Unknown said...

Everyone is on a diet. It is just that some of us are on good diets :p

Good post, looking forward to tomorrow.

Katie J ♥ said...

Very poignant post Chris. I am looking forward to tomorrow's post as well.

IMHO 44 lbs. is a great accomplishment!

Roxie said...

Thank you, Chris. I needed to read this.

Easy Losing Weight said...

Chris- That was amazing! I know in my mind that the reason Why you want to lose weight is more important than anything else. It does not matter how is the "how to" is if you don't have a strong enough why.

Unknown said...

Fantastic Post - I'm looking forward to Part II.
Thank you!

Jack Sh*t, Gettin Fit said...

I see those same "failure" flags on a lot of blogs. Once you gain a deeper understanding of how all of this works, the journey becomes much more manageable and much more enjoyable.

As for your threat to kill a kitten, can I offer up a decrepit old porch cat who's decided she's too lazy to use the litterbox anymore instead?

Unknown said...

Great post! :)

Keep up the good work!

Hanlie said...

Great post, Chris! I fully agree with you and I for one know that there is a lot going on underneath this fat... It's covering up things that I have been afraid to show to myself and the world. The last two years I've been doing so much emotional work and this current "withdrawal" of mine is mainly due to the fact that I feel that I'm on the verge of a breakthrough, but I have to be available for it.

vickid said...

Wow .... I've been reading your blogs chronologically. First, you are an amazing writer. Second, I feel like you should send me an invoice for therapeutic services rendered. Third, and most important, this is the post that will save my life.

I thought my fat was someone I loved, my Grandma, who used to nurture my sad little soul with treats. But the fat is actually the person she was protecting me from, it's my mother. And the fat is trying to murder me. I've let my mother take up residence right up next to vital organs, with me 24 hours a day, tormenting me.

When I misidentified the fat as my grandma, I ate for comfort, as her companionship was always comfort to me. Now I realize that eating without regard for my health - eating empty calories is the poison that will kill me.

Isn't it funny how my mother has never expressed "concern" for my weight. Instead, she's always pointed out everyone else in my family with a "cute" figure. Her biggest fear is that I quit ingesting the poison.

Amazing ... an epiphany. It only took 49 years. And I honestly would never have gotten here without you. A stranger who I will probably never meet, but who will no doubt end up being one of the most important people in my life. Thank you.

I can't wait to hear the rest of your story.