Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Rules of Dieting

Hi my name is Michelle and I have a very unhealthy relationship with food and dieting and the small amount of fat that resides on my mid section.

There is something empowering and depressing about this all at once. It's empowering because I recognize it and I can sometimes remember it and control my brain, but it's depressing because I'm sure it's something that will only be fixed by therapy and time and I don't want to put in the work. Also, as a MO it's really one of the few vices I get... and really there are worse vices.

As some of you know I was in the running to be on a infomercial. With it came food delivered to my door (no eating out of the box!) and 6 day a week, butt kicking bootcamp classes. The food was pretty yummy (although left me very hungry) and I really enjoyed the bootcamp after the first week of being so sore I could barely move.

But then things started going wrong. First, it was HARD to stay on track when people around me were eating such delicious things. Second, my life kinda sucked. Most social gatherings revolve around food so I knew I didn't have the will power to resist so I became a hermit. As most of you know I'm pretty social... so sitting inside all weekend being hungry isn't really something I enjoyed. So the way it broke down was I was at a job I hated so the week depressed me, then I was starving and locked inside my apartment so the weekends depressed me. I basically had nothing to do that would keep me happy.

Then we had visitors... and I was doing really well... I would steal the occasional thing from Chad's plate but mostly be okay... till we went to Indian food. Let me tell you- there is no diet friendly food at an Indian restaurant. I got the Okra cooked in tomatoes (green veggies are usually okay "cheat" items) but Chad got this Indian food feast and I couldn't resist. So I had bites here and there... but then I felt so guilty about it. So guilty in fact that I headed to the bathroom and attempted to do something I haven't in a long time... make myself throw up. That was the tipping point for me. I went back and after we split with our friends Chad and I talked about it and he asked me a great question, "What's the worst thing that will happen if you get cut?" and I realized that the worst thing would be that it would be a blow to my ego... but since I just spent 5 minutes in a small closet of a bathroom in an Indian restaurant trying to puke I really didn't have much of a ego left to salvage.

I am being very open here about the remnant of my eating disorder, don't worry this isn't a call for help or me dismissing how serious they are... I know they're serious.. I had one and obviously there are still some triggers. What I would love to hear about is from a girl who didn't have any sort of eating disorder (starving, puking, exercising obsessively, intense dieting) and would like to know how they were raised so I could replicate it... 

So, anyway, in a few days I got cut from the program and you know what I was HAPPY! I didn't have the stress anymore of feeling like I was starving all the time or not eating anything outside of the small amount of food they were sending me and I lost 11 lbs, gained some serious muscle and set up a habit of exercising. 

So all this jibber jabber is finally leading to this, the rules/mantras/beliefs I created for myself.

1. working out is the priority 
how many times do we cancel our workout to do something else? I do it too often.. And with stuff like this there is no excuse to not workout
2. one treat a day 
Honestly, this is the hardest thing for me... I have such a sweet tooth, but I decided I mean one processed sugar treat a day... so if I have a treat at lunch then an apple is okay after dinner 
3. fill up on veggies and protein
But eat some carbs- because they're yummy and when I don't I'm grumpy, but FILL up on the good stuff 
4. nothing is BAD somethings are just BETTER
This is so key for me... I use to eat a cupcake and then berate and hate myself for it because it's "bad" and I "shouldn't". Self hating does not make for a healthy lifestyle
5. Love your body however it comes-it does amazing things
It really does! I mean my body has climbed me up mountains, swam me around oceans, walked miles and miles and kept on going... 
6. The key is health and strength not torture and hate and unhealthy ideals
This is the most key thing I think. The big question here is "am I doing this because I want to be healthy and respect my body or am I doing this because I want to be skinny and "more attractive  in the worst sense

So there it is. The new Michelle mindset and how I'm going to live my life... I'm going to workout, I'm going to focus on eating things that are better for me, but not torturing myself if I eat something that isn't as good for me. I'm going to love myself more.

So if all that came out of that torturous bootcamp was this then I would say I didn't even fail- I did better than anyone, even myself, expected.


kayla said...


I love that you were so upfront about this. I have never had any eating issues. I think part of it has been because I've lucked out with genes--I am small in stature, and have been blessed with a quick metabolism.

That isn't to say that I haven't gained weight (usually in the summers between semesters when I would just eat, eat, EAT, and then sit at a desk for 8 hours a day) and haven't had people poke fun of that (from people that know me the best/love me the most--it can be hurtful).
But mostly, I've been blessed with family and friends who have never truly judged me for what I eat and how I eat, or how I look, comparing me to everyone else.
I've never tried to diet, because in all honesty, I love food too much to do that to myself (you and I have that in common--we're major foodies!)
Lately, with long work days, early morning dance rehearsals and not a lot of time to shop/eat, I've changed my eating habits, and not in a good, or healthy way. I've cut out breakfasts, not because I don't like breakfast (I do!) but because I'm running late and don't have time to eat. I'll eat a large-ish lunch. But typically, I would be eating out every day for lunch because it was easier. I'm trying to cook more often so that I have leftovers to bring to work with me, and it's worked (it helps when I have someone to cook for--use Chad!) I also wouldn't eat dinner as often, because I would typically eat a later lunch and then not be hungry again until later that evening. Not exactly healthy. I also was dancing three to four times a week. I loved it. I love it. It caused me to lose weight though. So, of course, people have noticed, but I have to remind them that I'm not dieting, that my schedule is such that I'm not eating as much as I should.

My suggestion is to follow your plan. It sounds like a good one. Don't refuse yourself something you want or crave. Just limit yourself. Don't binge. Eat what you want, when you want. But find something that you enjoy doing on a regular basis that gets the body moving, and will use the calories you're putting into your body in an appropriate way.

I've been a fan of a blog for the last year or so, of a girl who lives in NYC, suffered through an eating disorder, and now offers her advice for eating. It sounds reasonable. And she sounds happy. It's worth taking a look at (right now she's writing about why she doesn't have sugar) http://www.megfee.com/2013/05/28/what-im-eating-day-one/

I think you're strong and beautiful and wonderful, and I'm glad to call you a friend. Keep pushing on. You'll get to a place where you feel good about yourself and the things you are doing. And never forget, there are always others out there that will support you no matter what!

Chazlyn said...

I just want to say you are awesome Michelle. You are honest and real and intelligent and I'm so sorry that you struggle/struggled with body image because you are amazing and you look amazing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I really agree with your take on diet and exercise and I think endorsing a healthy lifestyle will help to protect others from destructive and unrealistic ideals. Raising two girls gets me thinking a lot about how to promote health and modesty in a world of eating disorders and promiscuity. Thank you again, it hurts my heart to think of you not loving yourself so I am so glad to hear you are in a better place. I can't believe how much growth we experience in our 20s. I am so proud of you, glad we're family.

Chazlyn said...

Also, I hope you don't think I'm weird and thanks for reading my blog.

britt said...

The funny thing is I was just about to sit down and compose a blog post about my weight loss struggle (as I'm crushing a bag of dark chocolate m&ms.) Do you know why I love you Michelle? Its because you get me. I'm so happy there are girls out there who don't have to deal with crappy jobs and eating disorders and challenges of being "mo," but I'm really blessed to have such a good friend who can empathize with the obstacles life sometimes puts in my way and still give me encouragement to get back up and keep going. You make my life better. Thanks for posting. I love you.