Thursday, June 7, 2007

Focusing on the Positive is Hard

I have been really struggling with my diet lately. Not that I expected it to be easy, but I thought after a certain period of time it would get easier. Perhaps even "easier" isn't the right word. Maybe I expected things to just become a habit, and I would simply get used to my new lifestyle.

It's still a struggle, though not in the way you might think.

For the most part, I haven't been all that tempted to cheat. Since the kitchen is pretty exclusively my SO's territory, I don't go in there. No food is kept anywhere else in the house, so I don't really have the opportunity to snack between meals. In addition, we are on a budgetary "diet" as well, so I don't usually have money (and credit card spending is off-limits) and am not tempted to buy snacks while I am out.

Eating less and avoiding snacks between meals aren't really the problem. I have a lot of willpower. The problem is dealing with some of the physical and psychological effects of eating less.

On the physical side, I'm hungry a lot of the time. Even when I've supposedly had "enough to eat," I'm still hungry. Most nights, I go to bed and my stomach is rumbling. Dinner, which is usually served 3 to 4 hours before bedtime, is a distant memory, and my stomach complains. Some nights, I'll wake up at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning absolutely starving and have trouble going back to sleep. Whenever I feel hungry, I'll drink a big glass of water. Sometimes that will shut my stomach up for a while, often it doesn't. It's hard to work, do household chores or socialize when my stomach is being such a distraction. Go away, I want to tell it, but I can't. My stomach isn't a detachable body party that I can simply unscrew like a light bulb when I don't feel like dealing with it.

Of course wouldn't it be great if body parts were detachable? Need to go to the bathroom but there isn't one nearby? No problem, just screw in an empty replacement and go later. Want blue eyes instead of brown? No problem. Lose a limb in an accident? No problem. Find out you want a sex change operation. No problem!


On the psychological side, food seems to be in my thoughts all the time. I dream about it when I'm asleep, and I dwell on it when I'm awake. I clock watch all day long, counting the hours and minutes until my next meal. When I'm not clock watching, I'm scale watching. If the scale is up a little bit, I feel disappointed. If it's down, I'm happier, but wish it was lower. I'm having a hard time concentrating on the things I'm supposed to be doing, like work, The Kid, and keeping the house picked up. Everything is just such an effort, and though I thought it was supposed to get easier, it just doesn't seem to be getting that way.

I keep telling myself that I need to focus on the positive. The scale was down a bit more this morning (good), the sun is shining (good), my vegetables are growing (good) and overall I've lost more than 13 pounds or 5% of my original body weight (good). It's all good, right?

If it's all so good, then why do I feel so crummy about it?

I think there's a certain amount of depression, pessimism and discouragement that just naturally goes hand in hand with dieting. The Minnesota Semi-Starvation Experiment showed that prolonged semi-starvation produced depression, obsessions about food, and other negative psychological effects in the study participants. Our bodies are naturally programmed to want food, and it's hard to go without, even if what you are eating is nutritionally adequate.

How many times have we all been guilty of being full, but then deciding to have that serving of dessert anyway?

I'll keep hanging in there. I want to quit, but I know I can't. If I do, I'll be doomed to live a life limited by my own body. I have plenty of reasons for wanting to lose weight, so I just have to keep moving forward, even if it is hard.

1 comment:

Lady T said...

Oinkstop, are you getting enough fiber in your diet? it doesn't seem right you should get THAT hungry with what you are many meals a day are you eating?

perhaps you could incorporate a night snack...maybe some green veggies....they aren't sexy but its something to eat and they dont have tons of calories in them....although as i type this i am remebering your developing aversion to salads for dinner....hmmm....well, i think you should eat something....veggies or something else.

durn near starving most of the time will definitely make you feel on edge. thats why i have hated diets that restrict the amount of food you eat in the past.