Wednesday, April 16, 2014

And then it passed

I'm not hungry anymore. I think in the battle of mind over physical sensation, my mind is finally exerting influence as I want it to.

In a previous post, I mentioned that I had mysteriously gained weight between November and February. A lot of weight, weight gain for which there was no explanation. It was particularly vexing since not only was my diet already quite healthy and balanced, I was already perpetually hungry. A few years ago, I talked to a specialist about that and she told me to just ignore that particular physiological response. She didn't want me snacking on anything, not even celery or broccoli. She told me to get comfortable with the stomach growling and hunger pangs because if I could ride it out, eventually, they would stop. The hunger never went away, at least, not until now. It has been a constant force I've been pushing against while I filled my head with logic, reminding myself of the calories and nutrients I had consumed were everything my body needed. There was never a physical need to add more, even if the hunger made me a bit nauseated. Just ignore it until it goes away, May.

The recent weight gain added insult to an already difficult and demeaning situation, but I was moved to make renewed effort to stop it because of Laurel's son's Bar Mitzvah. I need to fit in a dress for this special occasion coming up in a couple of weeks, but how does one diet when living on 1200 healthy calories a day does not stave off weight gain?

Enter Bob Harper of Biggest Loser fame and author of the Jumpstart to Skinny plan. It's a three-week, 800-calorie-a-day plan that is supposed to result in a weight loss of about a pound a day. That certainly didn't happen with me, although I was diligent in following the "Skinny Rules." I did lose 10 pounds, but I was hoping for the full 20.

Readers of Harper's book are cautioned not to follow the plan for more than three weeks to avoid shutting down the metabolism. It made me wonder how that works when the metabolic rate of the person involved is already so slow it mimics that of someone who is either dying or starving. So few calories seemed impossible, but there's something to be said for cups and cups of leafy greens and a little lean protein.

Some days, I don't even make it to the full 800 calories. The first week was hard as the hunger and fatigue were fierce, but by the end of the second week, something interesting happened. I wasn't hungry anymore. At last. I finally wasn't hungry anymore.

Food hasn't been interesting to me for weeks now, and I'm OK with that. There are two bags of sugary Popcornopolis popcorn sitting on my desk, along with most of a large collection of lemon petits-four cakes left over from a community outreach event earlier this week. They are inches away from me and each time I come back into my office, my thought isn't, "Damn, I wish I could have that." Instead, my thought is, "Damn, I have to remember to put these out for people in the office to enjoy." This is a milestone.

Frank was worried last night because I've been putting in some brutally long days, and in addition to a heavy work load, I've been working with a personal trainer at the gym. I got home close to 9:00 p.m. and skipped food entirely. Frank is worried I'm going to get sick, but honestly, my body could sustain itself for six months just from the visceral fat in one of my thighs.

I have stopped losing weight far too soon, but I am relieved that I am also no longer gaining weight.

How many people have you ever met who could work a lot, work out, consume 800 low-fat calories a day (that include almost zero complex carbohydrates) and maintain 175 pounds?

That's just one fucked up human body.

I plan to stay on Bob Harper's plan...forever. A near-total abscence of complex carbohydrates, lots of leafy greens, and egg whites every day. I can do this. I'm not hungry. One of two things will happen. Either I will eventually lose more weight, or I will die from malnutrition. I'm OK either way. If I can never be skinny--and I mean ribs-visible skinny, the American ideal--then I really don't want to live. The culture I live in is just too harshly critical of women who aren't waif-like, and I'd rather be dead than continue to be such an abject failure.

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