Thursday, July 30, 2009

Katie: On Eating

Every now and again there are posts that I feel like I just need to write. Not because I want people to sympathize with me, not because I want someone to necessarily give me an answer, but because I'm willing to share. Over the last year and a half or so, I've sort of made a name for myself by talking very candidly about the facets of my life. I've had mixed reviews from things I've written, and on some ocassions things I've written have even gotten me in trouble. But regardless, through it all, I've been myself and shared my life experiences. Often with the hope not that someone will somehow find an answer to an issue, or tell me how to fix something, but that something I've written will resonate with someone else and let them know they're not alone in how they're feeling in this crazy mixed up world.

If you've noticed that food seems to have become a hot topic for me lately, then clearly you're paying attention. I would like to openly in front of God and everyone who reads this, admit that I have had a lifetime of food issues. When I was younger I found that my mother had been keeping food journals. Today, it's a commonplace thing. It's a way to keep track and make oneself accountable. But what was happening with my mom wasn't just about keeping track. She was skipping meals to make up for eating "bad" foods, and being really harsh on herself for the things she did eat. She even kept notes detailing what she should and shouldn't do. Later, that same sort of behavior caught up with me, and in high school I started to become very restrictive with my foods. Constantly skipping meals and eating minimal amounts of things, despite being a 2 sport athlete and very active in my concert choir (which kept me at school late at nights when we began working on our musical productions). Regardless though, my restrictive measures brought results and no one ever pointed out that they were actually counterproductive. At some point though I felt I had gotten skinny enough and began to eat again.

In college there were times where some of that same behavior came back because, well, it had proven affective in the past. Nevermind the fact that I was a college athlete and now also older. I was hoping for weight loss and wasn't really thinking too much about my performance. The funny thing was, this time, the results didn't come as quickly. I was baffled, but regardless, continued again until I felt I had hit a weight that was acceptable for me.

Fast forwarding to a few years down the road, I got into CrossFit through someone who I cared very much for at the time. This person has since left my life, unfortunately, but regardless, I still credit him with showing me the way. When I started CrossFit, I wasn't thinking that hey, this sounds like fun. I was thinking, I was unhappy, out of shape, and really needed to do something about it.

As the movements and weights began to get easier for me, I finally began to shift my attention to my diet. The Zone is plugged so fervantly by the CF community, that by about March (7 months into my CF journey) I was starting to wonder what all the hype was about. Not only that but by March, I had also realized that, while I may be able to lift more and move better, I was still seriously unhappy with my body. So began my Zone journey. After about 2-3 weeks on the Zone I began to see progress. I noticed weight coming off, the scale was lower, and this nudged me to keep going with the Zone. At first, I couldn't give up my soda. I was a hardcore addict, but by April, with my numbers already dropping, I decided to try a little experiment and see how much the number would drop if I dropped soda out of my diet. Wow. All of a sudden things dropped even more drastically and I could calculate by the THOUSANDS the calories I was saving myself.

My Zone was strong. Cheating was a big no no for me, and I really felt empowered by staying within these strict structured guidelines of eating snacks and blocks, and I really felt good. I was leaning out, weighed less than I had in YEARS (and I mean like, sophomore year of high school kind of years)and I felt great. I could almost say that I took the Zone to an almost extreme level.

But then somewhere around October, something switched. Those guidelines began to rub. I hated the weighing, the measuring, the rigidity, the same meals everyday, and I fell off the Zone wagon hardcore. I had lasted roughly 6 months on the Zone before I began my downward slide. At my very lowest, which may have been a fluke because I only saw it one time, I weighed 153 lbs. Now, fast forward to this spring when I realized just how much weight I'd gained back.

All those old feelings were returning and I was vowing to get back on the Zone. But with a packed scheduled, a stressful job, and lacking the same motivation I had last year, it became virtually impossible. My soda and coffee intake, not to mention all the sweets in the teachers' lounge, were sabotaging any good food choices I was making and the scale continued to climb. I think between May and the end of June I gained four pounds. I tried to step slowly into the Zone, eliminating things and bringing things back. It didn't work. As the summer started, I tried to go cold turkey, I derailed. And each time with this sense of guilt, like I was failing everyone. The girl who a year ago was a poster child for the success of CrossFit couldn't stick with it. God did that just smack me with irony.

So now, here I sit again at another unhealthy weight for someone my size. 168 lbs. One could argue that I've gained muscle since October, but let's be realistic. Only approximately 3-5 lbs of that gain may be muscle. I feel very frustrated because I hate the fact that I have so many friends who can eat as they please and remain a twig. I hate that for me, this has always been a lifelong struggle and will continue to be. I hate that for me this has again been a yo-yo, and that I gained so much so quickly, and that I didn't really even notice. But the worst of all is that nagging feeling of guilt, and the way that I look at food. This isn't just about losing weight anymore. This has got to be about finding an inner peace with food. We're focused on performance at CF but as Jerry says, you can't outtrain a poor diet. He's absolutely right. So how do you take a client, like myself, and circumvent all the old lingering stuff? I don't do well with failure, so I will admit that in lieu of that, a little of that old adage has snuck in. If you don't try, you can never fail. I'm tired of failing on the Zone. It's frustrating me.

But, I am going to continue to look for something that will work for me. A fellow Cf'er gave me a book that seems to possibly have a solution for me. Something sensible, but manageable. Perhaps this will help me get my focus back on track. But going back to my original point at the beginning of this post, I'm not sharing all of this because I want sympathy. I'm not sharing because I want someone to find me a magic pill and make it all go away. I'm sharing because I'd be willing to bet some money that somewhere out there, is someone else going through something similar. And I'd be willing to bet even more money that they're just as frustrated as me. And I'd be willing to bet even more money than that, that it feels good to read that they're not alone. Weight control is never easy for people who have battled it constantly. And sometimes just knowing that others are fighting the same fight you are, makes it a little easier.

I know how great weight loss success feels, and now I know just how awful return gain feels. I've felt it, and God it blows, but you know what. Eating the ice cream isn't going to make it any better. Having the fries, the pizza, the Chinese, whatever your comfort food is, is not going to help. Looking from the bottom of the barrel, really I can say is that it's time to go up. I'm more than willing to share my story. I need to stop being so damned afraid of failing, because as Byers says, sometimes you have to fail to learn. So, here I go...


Justa said...

I've been following The Primal Blueprint for the past month, and it has been quite eye opening. I've shed eight pounds in that month effortlessly....and it hasn't been muscle. I'm serious. I don't walk around craving or walk around hungry. In all honesty, I'm not weighing crap out and measuring stuff. I eat primally, and it's working like a charm. I have allowed myself a treat on the weekend, but I'm finding myself to be less and less interested in even having it, and after I do, realizing it just wasn't that good.

Check out, Katie. I bought the book too. I'd recommend the same thing to anybody that is struggling. This lifestyle is the real deal.

Christine said...

Okay, Katie... I bite... you wrote it for me....

Something else worth reading... The Genotype Diet - its in the FCPL...don't buy it. Not that I would recommend steering away from Primal, but because it will probably confirm what you already know. Also the book has good lists of things that are healthy for SOME people and toxins to others... for starters caffeine is really bad news for some people... others shouldn't have it from coffee.

more nonfiction for that summer reading list..;)

Erin said...

we're eating twins girl. my vices are french fries and ice cream. I'm a stress eater--I work out to eat, or I used too...not anymore. Know that YOU are not alone.

I'm still waiting for the magic weight loss of more than 5 lbs. I too lost 10lbs last summer and was down to 150, but that only b/c I was so sick and barely ate anything.

August is my month to attempt to minimize my dairy intake and read my "food books". the quest begins.

Katie said...

Erin, jump on board the train... Christine and I are hitching a ride... :)