I was very young, maybe 14, and very woman in my life was an extreme dieter. (Except one, more on that later.)
So in an effort to be thin, I cut calories, lost 10 pounds, and that was that.
No, it wasn’t. By following the lead of all those women around me who acted like drinking weird protein out of a dixie cup instead of eating dinner was fine, I took the first step to 25 years of dieting.
I had absolutely no idea that by suddenly cutting calories by 50%, I was putting my body on high alarm. I didn’t realize that my body would fight back, fight me, and work very very hard to regain that weight. My metabolism would drop, I would develop cravings for high calorie food, I would become obsessed.
What I know now, all of these years later, is that my reaction to that calorie deprivation was 100% normal. It was my body insisting that I survive. It was my body packing on weight for the next famine. And although it caused me so much dismay at the time, I understand, and even appreciate it now.
After all, how long has the human race been struggling with too much food, as opposed to too little? In the scheme of history, it is the blink of an eye. And our ancient survival skills are as strong as they were when we lived in caves and endured a continual struggle to eat enough.
So there I was, at age 14, looking at myself and deciding that I could manipulate my calories and turn myself into a body type that I was not born into. I am a mesomorph. If I were a dog, I would be a cocker spaniel or a golden retriever. Not skinny. Not long limbed. And I wanted to be.
So the first mistake that I made, at that very young age, was that I fell prey to was messages from the diet industry and the women around me that being skinny, even if it wasn’t my body type, was possible and worth the struggle. So I dieted and started looking more like an Irish Setter, or an ectomorph. There are three body types that scientists have long recognized: endomorph: curvy, mesomorph: medium, and ectomorph:lanky.- for more on this, google it! 😉
Trying to diet your way from mesomorph to ectomorph is possible because when you lose weight, your limbs do seem longer. But, to keep that weight off, especially after a diet that cut your calories significantly, is nearly impossible. It is only possible, actually, through a rigid, permanent disregard for your body’s signals to you to eat. In other words, you must forever live with hunger, and cravings that you ignore. And 99.9 % of people will not keep the weight off for the rest of their lives.
And then what happens, is that you start believing that living with hunger and obsessive cravings is normal. And that you will never get away from it.
But, here is what you MUST understand to get out of this hole:
When you accept your body type- And I don’t mean accepting 50 extra pounds, I mean accepting that you are not an ectomorph, and when you being to embrace your body’s signals to you to eat and not to eat, you no longer have:
- obsessive cravings
- a desire to eat without hunger
- up and down weight gain and loss
- a need to plan your life around food
- know and respect your body type
Remember earlier that I said there was only one woman in my life who wasn’t diet obsessed when I was young? Well those of you who have read my book know that it was my grandmother. She was tiny and ate was she wanted. I decided that instead of modeling my behavior after dieters (my mother, stepmother, mother in law, step-mother in law, aunts, etc., ) I would model my behavior after the ONLY naturally thin woman I knew: my grandmother.
After all, if you want to be thin, and by thin, I mean in YOUR idea weight range, why would you copy dieters? Copy naturally thin people instead. So I did.
And that is where my entire Healthy Thin Mentality perspective was born. (16 years ago)
So I spent from age 14-40, dieting and not dieting and hyper focused on my weight, every bite I ate. WHAT A WASTE OF MY LIFE!
Friends, DON’T DO THIS TO YOURSELF. Yes, I am screaming it today.
If you have never dieted, don’t start!
And if you have, let me help you undo the damage.
I am very aware that the number of naturally thin people out there to “copy” have all but vanished. My role model was born in 1900 before all of the nonsense – extreme dieting and extreme exercise, and perfect smoothies, and meal replacements and money grubbing diet companies, and expert of the day, and Dr. Tarnower, and Dr. Phil, and Dr. Atkins and Dr. Oz made millions off of their contradictory diet advice and the food pyramid that was built with influence from the food industry bla bla bla!!
So who are you going to copy? Let me be your “grandmother!!”
I have learned how to be naturally thin. I do things I never thought I would, with ease, without any angst, without even thinking about it- like:
- Skip dinner because I am not hungry.
- Eat a lot of food because I am hungry, without any guilt or bad feelings
- go to the gym because i feel like it and do a workout that energizes istead of depleting me.
- not go the gym without guilt
- go to the movies and not eat popcorn (because I am not hungry) and feel zero deprivation
- go to the movies and get popcorn with butter because I am hungry and feel no guilt
- keep all the food I love in my kitchen with no worry that I will eat it when I am not hungry
- eat dessert because I am hungry for it, with no guilt.
- bring home leftovers
- ignore the leftovers because I craved something else
- happily ignore the bread at dinner
- happily eat the bread at dinner
- be happy, relaxed, normal, have a stable weight, and not be obsessed about any of the silliness…
Of course my new “obsession” is to help you. I see you when I am out. I see beautiful young girls picking at tiny salads and talking about diets. I see overweight women look at my plate of normal food. I see women trying to exercise their way out of heaviness (that doesn’t happen.) I am asked by strangers what my secret diet is.
Ah!!! No secret. Connect eating with hunger. Stop dieting. And for those of you who worry about getting the nutrition you need, you WILL crave healthy food. And what is way worse for you than eating a non-perfect food is stressing about food and your weight.
The most healthful thing for your body is to;
- have a nice stable weight – important for mental health and physical health
- eat because you are hungry, period.
- not eat extra food that your body has to digest, healthy food or not!
- have a positive mental outlook, which food and weight obsession cripples.
Let me know if you have any ideas on how I can help you more. I have written a book and a workbook etc. But I am open to suggestions- Thanks for reading. You CAN do this.