My least favourite subject: food

To say I have a complicated relationship with food is an understatement.

First and foremost, when I say “diet” I mean “what I am eating” NOT “my plan for losing weight.” There’s an assumption towards the later, which tends to bring out the WHAT THE HELL IS THE MATTER WITH YOU?! from others in my life, since even strangers will step up to tell me that I need to gain weight.

*deep breath*

To say I have a complicated relationship with food is an understatement. I’ve maintained over the last 20 years or so that I am not starving myself and that my dimensions are genetic. This is only half true in the last decade.

I do come from eerily thin stock, don’t get me wrong. In fact, as far as I can tell, I’m more or less a carbon copy of my great grandmother in terms of height and body mass. My brother is very lean (and lucky man, much taller than I am). We are both ectomorphs, which means we’re those irritating people that can eat poorly and not show it in weight gain.

Having always been small, I was encouraged (read: forced) to eat beyond what I desired in a bid to get larger. It did not make a difference, but this procedure did instill on me that I couldn’t control even what I put in my mouth. And so, when I moved out on my own, one of my first decisions was to eat what I wanted, when I wanted to. I was free! I could eat when I was hungry! I could choose my own meals! Awesome!

Except for one small problem: I really don’t experience hunger. Which means, logically, that I don’t really eat.

I get the vague idea that I should eat. Maybe. Eventually. I’m not really hungry right now… about 4x a year, I’ll actually get hungry enough to experience discomfort. Clearly, I cannot trust my body and my brain to work together on informing me that it’s time to eat.

Stress ElephantAdd on that when I experience stress, I also experience nausea or further depression of my appetite. Stress is the Elephant In The Room of my life. Everybody say hi to the Stress Elephant!

So, now what?

The only point in my life where food has worked was a few months in 2010. I had signed up for a Fitness Bootcamp and it came with an Eating Plan that featured 3 + 2 meals and a 45/35/20 ratio of carbs/protein/fat. Being one of those follow the rules kind of people, I stuck to that meal plan as if I was going to be graded and judged later.

After a few weeks, the miraculous started happening. The mood swings just … stopped. I was cheerful. I got things done. I was some uber-perky version of myself.

Then the payoff came: after 5 weeks or so, my skin cleared up. As in, people couldn’t stop telling me how great my skin looked. I’ve had acne since I was 12. I’m now 33. So trust me when I say this was a Big Deal.

And then work got crazy, I sprained one ankle and strained the other, and the inevitable slide began.

I stopped measuring my food. I started skipping meals. I gave myself permission to slack off.

And now it’s a year later and the way to go is pretty clear: get back on the plan. Set timers and reminders if I have to. Track it all and just keep trying.

You are what you eat is gross understatement. Without food, I’m a grouchy, miserable, zit-plagued depressive with a mantra of GET OFF MY LAWN!

So, today’s task is to restart the Bootcamp plan in its entirety: measure where I am and start recording the food in a meaningful way.

Posted by Opal

I'm small, blunt, and terribly useful. I build websites, specializing in compliant CSS and XHTML. I like quilting, cars, and critters.