Eating More to Weigh Less

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About a week and a half ago, I got fed up. All year I’ve been driving myself crazy with the dieting and the exercising, and you know what? My body refused to respond to it. There I was, entering every single item of food into the Fitness Pal app, drinking water loaded with lime, hoping my body wouldn’t realize it was starving, and exercising until I would literally fall into bed, with weakness.

And did I lose any weight after all these months of misery? No, I did not. Sure, it would fluctuate a pound or two, but at the end of the day, no. I weighed exactly the same, except I felt constantly exhausted. That’s when I began to do something I’ve never done before: I began to feel ungrateful towards my body.

Then the other day, during one of my usual laments about how little difference anything I’m doing, was making, my husband made a comment. He said: I’m sick of this. You never used to care about this stuff and now, all of a sudden, you’re obsessed with losing weight. You are so hard on yourself, for no reason. It’s really turning me off.

That’s when the thought dawned on me: why was I doing this? It started out as a new year’s resolution. I bought the Brazilian Butt Lift DVD and got to work 6-7 days a week, with some hard hitting work-outs. Then I downloaded the Fitness Pal app (that wasn’t a pal at all. If I ate a salad for the day, I’d be dangerously running out of my caloric allowance). I started to feel sore—then exhausted–then weak. My body gradually got so run down, that not even twelve hours of sleep could make me feel refreshed. I’d try to nap for twenty-thirty minutes, but that was even worse. I’d feel more tired. It was as if my whole body was breaking down, but I still pushed it to eat the salad, and run faster, swim longer, and lift heavier. It was basically at it’s breaking point, and frankly, so was I.

So…. a week and a half ago, I changed my attitude about my body. After all, why was I punishing my body? It had always been pretty good to me. It healed every time I cut it, or broke it, or sprained it or punctured it. Why was I being such a B*tch to my awesome little body? It’s survived three decades of abuse, and hasn’t turned up with cancer, or some rare disease. What was I seriously complaining about? I started to really be grateful for my health and decided that instead of punishing, I would look into this thing called: nourishment.

It’s such a funny little word, and they actually mentioned it a lot at Catholic school, but it’s the most basic truth about life. Your body is a machine, and in order for it to perform all the functions, it requires a certain fuel, in the way of food. Why was I depriving my body of it’s fuel, and then expecting it to run as usual? It really was an insane thought, right?

Now every day, my aim is to provide the best kind of nourishment to my body. I try to eat as much dark, leafy greens as I can get my hands on, for starters. I’m not eating them instead of eating other foods–I’m eating them in addition. Their calorie content isn’t important to me anymore, but their nutritional content is.(Side note: Do you know that pregnant women are encouraged to take folic acid supplements before they even get pregnant, to help prevent spina-bifida in their unborn fetus? That’s right! If a newly formed fetus needs dark leafy greens, then so do I, darn it!) In addition to greens, I’ve started to love oatmeal. All my life, I’ve viewed oatmeal as a punishment, but lately I see it as a wonder food. Since it’s a complex whole grain, it helps to control bad cholesterol, provides lots of fibre and helps to keep my heart clean.

I also try to get in a healthy serving of lean protein, in the form of grilled chicken (not my favorite food), local fish, and non-fatty pork or roast beef. Although red meat isn’t an every day thing, it certainly has it’s nutritional value. And even though I am lactose intolerant, I do try to eat yogurt every day, for the calcium and vitamins it has to offer. In fact, every decision I make in regards to food, is not about cutting out, it’s about including. I look at every meal and think, how can I increase the nutritional value of my fuel?

And you know what? I’ve actually lost 2 pounds! Like–seriously.

I continue to do moderate cardio and light weights, for an hour, 4 days a week, because it’s good for my body to be active. I don’t force myself to go past where it feels comfortable. I simply let my body decide when it’s had enough, and that’s usually around the sixty minute mark.

When we were in California, I was speaking to my friend about her pregnancy and the way it impacted her eating choices. Apparently, she’d gone to her doctor seeking advice about how much to eat of certain things, and her doctor gave her some general advice. She said, eat to hunger, drink to thirst. That was her game plan!

It’s not bad advice for us non-preggers, either, I think. Eat to hunger, drink to thirst. Trust your body to know it’s own needs. Well, that’s what I’ve been doing. Not counting calories. I’ve been increasing my nutrition and decreasing the intensity of my work-out. I haven’t deprived myself of anything. I’ve been doing what the doctor said, and my body has decided to drop two pounds. Go me!

I don’t know why I ever tried it, any other way.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Everything in moderation is the key….

    Reply

  2. Good for you Manda. It’s all about balance 🙂

    Reply

  3. Posted by heather on November 18, 2013 at 2:08 am

    your body thought it would never see food again so it hung on to every calorie. now it knows it will get food so it is throwing away what you don’t need

    Reply

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