Now, I have a lot of smart friends these days who are strong advocates of fat acceptance, and proponents of Healthy at Every Size (HAES). Lots of them claim that diets don't work, that people who lose weight dieting almost all gain it back again within five years, so trying deliberately to lose weight just makes you crazy and miserable for no good reason. I'm still trying to figure out what I think about all that, especially because I also have lots of doctor friends who seem to still believe in the old calories in / calories out equation. And after all, when I cut my daily calorie intake down to 1000 calories a day (or 1300 + burning 300, even better), I do steadily lose weight, about 1/2 pound to 1 pound a week. I've done it before, and lost about fifteen pounds that way, and then kept most of it off for a couple of years, pretty much until I got pregnant. So it's hard for me to believe my friends who say 'diets don't work.' That one seemed to work. I don't know.
I do know, though, that cutting back those calories was truly miserable. I was a little bit hungry all the time. I decided it was worth it then, a short-term sacrifice in exchange for the hopefully long-term weight loss. But I'm hesitant to try it again, both because so many folks whose opinions I normally trust are telling me that diets don't work, and because I feel like I'm stressed enough at the moment as it is -- I don't really want to cope with deliberately added unhappiness.
That's why this whole intuitive eating thing sounds so appealing. I'm not sure it would work well for me -- among other things, if there's some food I really like in the house, I tend to just keep eating it, over and over and over again, and sometimes a ridiculous amount of it. Not because I'm hungry, but just because it tastes so good. There's been more than once where I've made a pot of beef and potato curry, for example, and put some on a couple slices of bread, and it's so yummy, so I have some more, and in the end, I eat through an entire damn loaf of sandwich bread, plus all the curry that goes with it. That can't be good. I always feel sick afterwards too.
A lot of January/February was like that. Oh, no entire loaves of bread -- I haven't done that in a while. But seconds on dinner (even occasionally thirds), just because it was tasty. And then feeling too full afterwards, not to mention mad at myself. A bad pattern. I ate what I wanted, and what I wanted wasn't good.
But I think with intuitive eating, you're not really supposed to do that. You're supposed to forget about 'bad foods' and 'good foods' and eat what your body wants, to assuage your hunger. When you're not hungry anymore, I think you're supposed to stop. Or at least pause. (If I actually put the food away, I'm much less likely to keep eating. Weird, huh?) So when I had some rice and curry for breakfast this morning, that was okay. Ditto the rice and curry for lunch. And maybe even the little bit of curry and bread for a snack? And when I found myself craving a cheddar/ham/honey mustard sandwich for dinner, it's okay that I made myself exactly that? It did taste incredibly delicious.
I don't know. I don't think I have the energy or the brainpower to spare right now, to start counting calories and undereating again, making myself a little hungry and a little unhappy all the time. Maybe in a while. But right at this moment, maybe I'll just try this intuitive eating thing, see if it feels good. I really do want to lose the pregnancy weight at least, especially if we decide to have another kid. I'd like to lose the weight from one pregnancy before I gain weight from another!
HAES folks are big advocates of exercise, and I did also finally start exercising again -- yesterday, I took Ellie for a longish walk, and today, while Kavi was napping, I jumped on the treadmill for 20 minutes. Nothing too strenuous, but I got my heart rate up to 130 and kept it there for a while. And I read a book while I was walking (Persepolis 2, loaned to me by one of my students, very good) so it wasn't too tedious, and I felt great afterwards, really energized. Hopefully that part, at least, I'll keep up. If I can find the time.