Thursday, January 9, 2014

Eat less, move more Part 1.1: eat more!

Subtitle: Teenagers shouldn't be allowed to make their own decisions.
Subtitle: My blog is about to become real.
Nerd joke. Also I'm 100% sure I've used this joke/jpeg before, but I'm too lazy to check.

I wrote about my HA diagnosis here. I don't plan on writing about every step of our fertility journey on here because although I have about 3 readers, it's still too personal to share with the world. I will however write about this journey as it relates to healthy living and how I got where I am now. 

My mission: to eat more. It sounds so easy. I would think most people would think it sounds fun (me!). However, that has not been the case. This is part 1 of my weird eating story, where I go over how I got here.

Since 2009ish, I have been in a perpetual state of either wanting to lose weight, or struggling to maintain. Every time I thought I was in a good place, I'd relax a little about my eating, gain some weight, and then freak out and cut back again. And when I say cut back, I mean restrict my calories.

Let's go back in my past. Way back. To when I was a chubby kid, a chunky teen, and an overweight adult. In high school, I knew I could just eat less and exercise more and I'd fit in with my gangly peers, but I never had enough self-control. If I was hungry, I ate. If something looked good, I would eat it. My parents made sure my brother and I ate lots of fruits and veggies, but we also always had dessert in the house. I was pretty active during school, doing marching band, cross country (to get skinny), and swimming (for fun.. and to get skinny), so I didn't ever get terribly overweight until after high school.

In college I started to think seriously about weight loss and that's when I began rejiggering my hunger signals. If I was hungry, I'd stuff myself with "good" things in an effort to stop the hungry feeling. Sometimes it stopped there, and I felt triumphant. I had conquered food! If I still was hungry (I wasn't, but I thought since I'd been "good," I could still eat more), I'd eat ice cream or pasta or cookies until I was overly full and ridiculously uncomfortable. I don't know if I ever was a true binge eater, but I would easily polish off a pint of Ben & Jerry's by myself 3 or 4 times a week. I only lost a little weight this way (<10 lbs), gained it all back and then some, and started to feel out of control. To regain control, I went vegetarian part of the way through college, and I used it as a way to eat an unlimited amount of things that were "allowed." This also let me opt out of eating in social situations (I can't eat that, I'm a vegetarian!), because eating in front of people was too much stress for me to handle- am I eating too much? Too little? Am I normal? She's skinny, how much is she eating? I got weirder, but my weight just went up because I was still eating way too much of stuff I deemed ok, then cutting way back, then overeating, then.... I was engaged, and my husband-to-be noticed I was weird and tried to help as I gained weight while obsessing about what I was eating. But he couldn't change anything because I was deep in my hole of restriction/overeating.

And then we split up, and suddenly I was unemployed, living alone for the very first time, and on a limited income. This was the perfect storm for me. This is where I, at the time, thought I won the food battle once and for all. I had much less expendable income, so I cut back on buying food (win!). I had a routine of cheap things I thought were ok to eat, and I ate only those things (win!). I lost 40 lbs in less than a year, and picked up running. I ran for an hour, every day (win!). I had tons of free time, so I spent it watching tv and marching in place to burn calories (win!). This all sounds terribly unhealthy and utterly ridiculous, and it was. I can see that in retrospect. I learned to go to bed hungry, to ignore hunger pains and to drink water to feel full. I was still probably eating over 1000 calories a day, and I lost my weight at a reasonable pace, but I was in a bad place, mentally. The thing is, this was the first time in my life I was happy with how I looked. I was losing weight and people were noticing. I was getting positive attention from guys I had always thought were out of my league. Suddenly, I felt pretty.That just reinforced my thoughts that what I was doing was working. I had everything under control.. except when I bought pita chips. Or ice cream. Or cheese. Or the million other things I couldn't control myself around because I was constantly hungry. I still overate, but "made up for it" by restricting afterwards.

Somehow, I maintained that 40+ lb weight loss since 2009 by being obsessed with food and exercise. I can't sugar-coat it. This is probably a big contributor to my HA, because being in a semi-constant state of caloric deprivation makes your body try and conserve energy by not ovulating.

Standyby for part 2, where I talk about where I am now, in early 2014, and why I'm still struggling, even though the stakes (fertility, bone health) are so much higher now. 

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