The Down & Dirty: Part 2

In the words of Kermit the Frog, Hi-Ho! In the intro to this series, I explained that it’s fourth dimension to larn upwards closed together with personal. And if Kermit thinks it’s non tardily beingness green, he has no stance how non tardily it was beingness an overweight teenage immature adult woman or immature adult woman inwards the U.S. of A. circa the 1990s together with early on 2000s. (And I suspect it hasn’t gotten whatever easier inwards the decade-plus that’s passed since then.)

So inwards today’s post, I’ll maintain laying the groundwork that volition back upwards the heartfelt posts to come upwards later—the ones nigh how the human trunk really works, together with why calorie counting, fatty gram slashing, together with eating less together with moving to a greater extent than are a one-way ticket to a dark hole of frustration just waiting to suck yous together with your best intentions correct inwards together with never permit yous out. (Okay, to live honest, watching calories, exercising more, together with all that jazz aren’t completely useless, but they’re non the end-all be-all they’ve been cracked upwards to be. More on that when nosotros larn into the science. For now, I’m soundless spilling my guts.)

Okay, hither nosotros go. Lemme just opened upwards up this vein together with we’ll larn started

I am a diet together with exercise veteran. Watching calories, beingness an exercise junkie, the cabbage soup diet, Power Bars together with marathon training—you call it, I’ve done it. I’ve been around the block a few times; it’s non my showtime rodeo; been there, done that, together with all the other phrases that boil downward to, I ain’t novel to this.

I came to report nutrition because after years of next advice that was supposed to larn me results did not deliver those results, I lastly stopped together with questioned why. So let’s come across what those early on years entailed.

Like I said inwards the intro, I was a chubby kid. My parents owned an H2O ice cream & candy store, together with boy, did I aid myself to the inventory. Couple that amongst me beingness a sedentary bookworm together with it’s no surprise that I was a pudgy—but happy—kid. (By the way, how come upwards when “the experts” utter nigh the link betwixt overweight together with excessive TV watching, they conveniently ignore the people who pass hours upon hours reading or studying? Unless I’m mistaken, sitting is sitting, hence I don’t think nosotros tin necessarily correlate weight gain amongst people’s goggle box habits. Talk nigh a serious moral judgment. [My hobby is to a greater extent than highbrow than yours! We both sit down for hours on end, but your sitting causes obesity, spell mine causes higher S.A.T. scores!] But I digress…We’ll come upwards dorsum to the morality number inwards the future, because it’s a biggie.)

Then came this thing called puberty. I became a immature lady, together with I became to a greater extent than concerned amongst how I looked inwards the eyes of the immature gentlemen. I also became much to a greater extent than concerned amongst how I looked inwards my own eyes. Chalk it upwards to my ain personal preference, or to beingness steeped inwards the modern Western beauty aesthetic, but wherever my ideas of “pretty” together with “thin” came from, i thing was crystal clear: I didn’t check either category.

So I did what whatever intelligent individual would do: I started eating a petty differently together with doing a petty to a greater extent than exercise. The cardinal give-and-take hither is “little.” And every bit could live expected, non much changed. So let’s fast forrard to high schoolhouse together with college. I kicked things into high gear at this point, because if it’s no fun beingness a chubby immature adult woman at xiii or xiv inwards our society, it is orders of magnitude less hence at xviii or 21.

Before I larn into the diet together with exercise aspect of my failed attempt to remake my younger self, I desire to percentage why it was hence of import to me to alter the agency I looked. But earlier I do that, permit me state that I firmly believe self-esteem together with self-worth should non together with are non tied to trunk size or shape. Plenty of larger folks feel fantastic inwards their ain skin, dearest the heck out of life, together with alive it to the max. And God bless ‘em. (Please spot that inwards a bottle hence I tin purchase some.) However, when I was younger, I didn’t conduct hold the emotional wherewithal to gear upwards aside my feelings nigh the shape of my trunk or the physical strength of Earth’s gravity upon it (which is what weight truly is), together with conduct hold those not dictate the degree of enjoyment I did (or, to a greater extent than accurately, did not) travel out of life. So spell I absolutely believe weight shouldn’t dictate someone’s self-esteem, for millions of people, that’s exactly what it does. (Hey, millions of people believe joining the Marines is extremely freaking hardcore; doesn’t intend they’re gonna run out together with do it.)

So that beingness said, nosotros tin proceed past times agreement that, for ameliorate or worse (mostly worse), I did permit my trunk size dominion my mind.

Fast forrard to high school. Tired of never having a date, damn nigh nauseated past times what I saw inwards the mirror, together with terrified that I would never, e'er experience “pretty,” I took upwards jogging. I would state “running,” but my 12 to 15-minute miles were truly to a greater extent than of a trot. My speed together with endurance increased pretty quickly, together with I knew I was becoming healthier. What did not happen, however, were whatever changes inwards my shape. I wasn't weighing myself at the time, but my wearing clothing didn't check whatever differently together with I didn't come across whatever changes inwards my appearance.

Mmm…rabbit food!

I got my diet inwards line, too—or, at least, inwards trace amongst what my misguided teenage immature adult woman hear thought was the surefire agency to lose weight: swapping out the “killers” (red meat, butter, cheese, eggs, etc.) for skim milk, mutual depression temperature breakfast cereal, skinless white meat chicken, pasta, bagels, together with just nigh anything low-fat or fat-free yous tin imagine. 

My running regimen continued. I was working hence difficult to lose weight -- harder than anyone I knew. Most of my friends seemed to live those genetically gifted freaks nosotros all know together with dearest to abhor -- the people who don't exercise at all, swallow “all the incorrect things,” together with yet facial expression fantastic. I was putting forth to a greater extent than sweat than I e'er had, together with I just could non roll my caput around why I wasn’t losing a unmarried ounce. Call me a glutton for punishment; I kept on running. And I kept basing my diet on depression together with no-fat carbohydrates. Isn't that the Definition of insanity -- doing the same thing over together with over together with expecting dissimilar results? If that's true, I was downright certifiable.

Damn you.
Damn yous a thou times over.
Things weren’t much dissimilar in college: hours together with hours spent exercising, together with turning dietary deprivation into an fine art form. And the results were precisely the same—namely, no results. All that sweat for nothing. I was a petty fleck older, but non much nigh the public seemed different. To me, sparse soundless equaled beautiful, together with I was far from thin.

I was quite the accomplished petty dork, band geek, go-getter. I was a straight-A student, inwards the jazz band, editor of the literary magazine, had a work-study job…the whole ix yards. But yous know what? None of that mattered. None of it mattered because the i thing I wanted—the only thing I wanted—being “thin”—eluded me. And it eluded me despite incredible amounts of exercise together with a low-fat diet. And it came so easily to my friends, most of whom wouldn’t know a barbell if it landed on their breast together with pinned them to the ground, together with who’d sooner cutting their feet off altogether than spot a pair of running shoes on them together with become hitting the pavement.

I came to the natural determination that I just wasn't working difficult enough. After all, if I was working difficult enough, I would conduct hold seen results, right? So I did what whatever sensible individual would do: I spent more fourth dimension on the treadmill, more fourth dimension on the bike, together with ate less together with less. Looking back, it’s a wonder I had plenty spot out energy to larn through long days of classes, a campus job, band rehearsals, some semblance of a social life, together with and hence add together inwards exercise on top of that. I tin only chalk it upwards to youth.

More effort, to a greater extent than deprivation, together with soundless no results. Clearly, something was just manifestly incorrect amongst me. There was no agency that someone could live working every bit difficult every bit I was together with still non brand whatever progress. I knew I was healthy. I knew I was fit. What I was not, was “thin.” This longing for something I stance I would never conduct hold came to define my adolescence together with toxicant my 20’s.

It made me bitter together with angry toward some of my best friends. Bitter toward the people for whom it came effortlessly. And, of course, it made me bitter together with intend toward myself. So what does a individual who hates herself do? Yep, yous guessed it: punish herself.

A veritable feast, at the time.
There was a fourth dimension many years agone when I was unemployed together with living amongst my parents. Being unemployed, I had petty else to do but apply for jobs together with operate out. So I did operate out. A lot. Over 3 hours a day, inwards fact. I went to the gym inwards the morning time together with i time again at night. And I ate a low-fat diet. Whole wheat toast amongst I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter Light. Honey Bunches of Oats amongst Almonds cereal amongst skim milk or, when I was feeling wild, 2%. Fat-free yogurt. Low-fat cheese. Rice cakes. Granola bars. You know the drill.

And the weight didn’t budge. All that dietary fatty avoidance, all that exercise, together with nothing. Zip. Zilch. I continued to exercise together with “eat right,” together with yet, I was soundless carrying hence much to a greater extent than trunk fatty than the people around me—people who barely exercised, together with lived on steady diets of fast nutrient together with heavy drinking. I was at my wit’s end. (Can yous blame me, really? When yous follow the advice that all the “experts” repeat over together with over, inwards every root yous come across together with hear, together with yous don’t come across the expected results, it’s logical to assume you are non next the advice hard enough, or good enough, right? It’s logical to assume you are to blame, rather than stopping to enquiry whether at that spot mightiness live something incorrect amongst all that “expert advice.” Remember this idea. It’s gonna play large inwards upcoming posts.)

So I ruined myself. Absolutely ruined myself. Self-esteem-wise, none of my accomplishments mattered. Not the 4.0, non the writing awards, non anything. People who know me “in existent life” know that my not-so-secret dream is to be a novelist. But for years, I couldn’t write. How could I write when all I could think of when I sat downward inwards front end of a reckoner (or old-school newspaper notebook!) was how broad the bridge of my thighs was when I sat downward inwards the chair? (True story. Yes, it’s pathetic, together with yes, it’s sad. But yes, I truly did that to myself. My immature woman’s hear was that far off the deep end. And I suspect someone out there—maybe a lot of someones—know just what I’m talking about. To those people, I offering {{hugs}}.) And instead of just getting over it together with writing, I would choose care of someone else’s novel together with become read for a spell because jumping into someone else’s fictional public distracted me from my feelings of worthlessness. Same goes for TV together with movies. Better to escape into fantasy than bargain amongst my ain reality. I’d live embarrassed to acknowledge how much TV I watched inwards those years rather than doing whatever writing. Let’s just state I could in all likelihood recite a dyad of Quantum Leap together with JAG episodes give-and-take for word.
This is a very, really dark 
place to be.

Aaaaanyway, I was hence used to feeling bad that feeling bad felt good. It was my comfort zone. I knew what to do amongst those feelings. And when I would conduct hold i of those rare days when I felt good, I liked it, together with I enjoyed those happier feelings, but I was sort of unnerved at the same time. Uncomfortable. Because I didn’t know what to do amongst those feelings. It was like, “Who are yous together with what conduct hold yous done amongst Amy?”

I of late read a quote…don’t recall where it came from, but I’m pretty certain it was Robb Wolf on Twitter. He said something like, “The divergence betwixt a groove, a rut, together with the grave is depth together with duration.” Whoa. Powerful stuff. I was inwards that rut for hence long that I liked it. It was my home. It was what I was used to. And when I had a goodness day, I was out of my element. My hear was hence accustomed to the rut that it didn’t know how to arrange to the new pattern, to a higher identify together with exterior of the rut. So, invariably, I would autumn correct dorsum into it, together with normally breathe a sigh of relief when I did. Whew. This, I tin bargain with. Here, I know where I am.

Sad, huh? And it’s fifty-fifty to a greater extent than distressing to me now, because I imagine at that spot are a few people out at that spot who are reading this together with nodding their heads, because they know exactly what I’m talking about.
City of Pittsburgh Marathon, 2001.
Notice how pudgy together with inflamed I look.
Thanks for that, tons of 
running together with carb-loading!

I think business office of the argue I felt similar such a failure is because I was one. Let me explain. I wasn’t a failure at life. I wasn’t a failure at beingness a goodness daughter, a goodness friend, a goodness student, or a goodness employee. But I had failed to attain the only thing that meant anything to me (in my misguided hear at the time). I did swallow less together with displace more. I exercised similar crazy. I crossed the destination trace of the Pittsburgh Marathon, for cryin’ out loud. I wasn’t afraid of a difficult workout. I drank diet soda. I baked frozen potatoes instead of frying. I was such a virtuous petty calorie counter together with exerciser, together with yet, I was soundless losing the weight loss game big time.  

My poor self-image became a prison. I'll never know if I would conduct hold had a to a greater extent than enjoyable social life inwards my teens together with twenties because my self-consciousness together with nonexistent self-esteem prevented me from fifty-fifty trying. I spent hence many nights alone, wondering why it seemed hence tardily for other people, why I couldn't conduct hold the i thing I wanted most.

The lightbulb moment.

Then I did lastly halt together with wonder nigh that “expert advice.” Somewhere deep inwards the recesses of my broken mind, it occurred to me that for all those years, 2 together with 2 hadn’t added upwards to four. Eating less together with moving to a greater extent than had gotten me just about nowhere, together with continuing to do to a greater extent than of the same would maintain me at that spot indefinitely.

Being that I’m forthwith a nutritionist helping others travel out of that rut, it’s rubber to state I’ve gotten out of that nowhere place. Like I explained inwards the previous post, I soundless conduct hold bad days. (And I think a few hither together with at that spot are normal. We’re only human.) But they’re non debilitating similar they were agency dorsum when. Now, I recognize them for what they are: the products of wacky hormones, poor dietary choices, insufficient sleep, or going likewise long without people together with activities that convey me joy. And they’re just that: bad days. They’re non the arbiter of my worth every bit a human beingness or my deservingness of love.

So the large enquiry forthwith is, how did I get to this place? How did I hook my agency out of the hole?

I’ve got i or 2 to a greater extent than posts to percentage amongst yous nigh that together with and hence we’re going to jump into the science. Because that’s what this is all about: sharing the noesis amongst you. Because when I tell yous that this onetime dietary fat-fearing “cardio queen” forthwith regularly enjoys bacon, egg yolks, kokosnoot oil, heavy cream, together with reddish meat, what underlies that is an agreement of basic human physiology. (And past times the fourth dimension we’re done, you’ll sympathize why I larn hence furious at those ridiculous 100-calorie packs of cookies, together with larn even to a greater extent than furious when I come across recipes inwards Diabetes Forecast magazine that telephone call upwards for raisins, whole wheat flour, together with apple tree juice. *Sigh.*)   

Until side past times side time...

Remember: Amy Berger, M.S., NTP, is non a MD together with , LLC, is non a medical practice. The data contained herein together with the services provided are non intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or forestall whatever medical condition.


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