In the past three years, I’ve gained too much weight. Some of this is a normal result of aging, but not by any means all of it. I’ve spent the past three years carrying a load of stress that I would not wish on anyone, and I’ve “managed” this stress with food.
On January 3, I checked my weight for the first time in several months, and I was three pounds heavier than on the day my daughter was born. For basic health I have to lose at least 40 pounds, and 50 would be better.
I changed my eating habits and lost seven pounds in five days. This is too much too fast, and in the following weeks I put a pound on, took it off, and then began to lose more sanely. After thirty days, I have lost nine pounds altogether.
My birthday fell in this period, and I was taken out to dinner and lunch by friends and family on several occasions. In addition, a very attractive colleague asked me to dinner to discuss diction issues and generally hang out, and I had a wonderful time. The food was good too.
And I still lost nine pounds.
I’ve started monitoring my protein to carbs ratio; ideally for me to lose weight I want that ratio to lie between 1:2 to 1:4 most of the time. In one of my blank books (see February 2011) I started a journal of what I consume and when. I recognized that I would have to find ways to eat less without being self-punitive; that is a trial in itself. But the biggest challenge is not punching people in the face.
To stave off social offers of snacks, I let people know that I’m working to lose weight. Generally, I get some kind of polite acknowledgement which is entirely appropriate. Much too often, however, I have to deal people who want to tell me how to lose weight. They tend to fall into two groups: those with fad diets that worked for them, and those with “tricks” that are based on faulty science. These folks don’t know anything about my medical history or my activity level. They don’t ask me what I need—they simply tell me what to do.
I have struggles with food addictions, and I have struggles with depression, and I have struggles with self-image that have nothing to do with my weight. I don’t really need to also struggle with my community for the right to self-determination.
They don’t mean to be patronizing or controlling. They aren’t asking me to correct their ignorance of basic nutritional chemistry, and they are not really volunteering to be punched in the face. So I listen politely with my hands otherwise occupied. And I try to keep my angry shame to myself.
Please know this: If I want help, I know how to ask. If I don’t ask you, it’s not because I don’t value you, it’s because I’ve chosen another resource for this particular struggle. Thanks.