Monday, 29 September 2008

Stages of dieting, part two

Rebound weight-gain, that is weight regained after a diet, is widely called, 'going back to your old habits', but really why would you?

You've been blown away by the sometimes astounding power of your appetite, pushed around by a body determined to thwart your efforts by almost any means available to it. tormented at every turn by exhaustion and boredom, and you've slowly grindingly managed to lose some weight; often over a period of weeks or months, sometimes years, why the hell would you go back to what apparently prompted all your efforts in the first place?

What you associate with all this suffering is what you would go back to, are you crazy? For what reason?

Your experience of your appetite and hunger may well have totally changed, for some for a while anyway, it may have calmed down considerably as I mentioned in stage two; it is what a lot of fat haters assume always happens all time when you restrict calories, they especially believe this with training the appetites of children. In truth it can occur, although it's as unpredictable and almost always temporary. What is predictable is that regardless of sometimes totally different experiences , failure is virtually inevitable. All tend to end up more or less back where they started, eventually; that is short to medium term, very rarely does it take that long.

The 'going back to old habits' is as predictable as a boomerang coming back, this is caused by you throwing it in the first place, in a similar way, the momentum of extreme calorie reduction is what is swinging back, that is the rebound, not conscious choice. In essence your eating is controlled by the very weight regulation mechanisms that you are attempting to ride roughshod over by dieting in the first place.

By dieting, you are declaring a war you will almost inevitably lose, on the very rare occasions that you somehow don't, are such an anomaly. The figure so often quoted is 95% failure, that means, every time you diet, you have a 95% chance of failure, that means out of millions a tiny number will succeed, and most others could spend a lifetime of never succeeding, that is as much a fact as the fact that there are and continue to be fat people.

Stages of dieting, part one

Stage 1

Pre dieting- This is when you've made up your mind, that you are going to start a dietary regime. Your appetite starts to lengthen itself and become more intense, in order to build up as many reserves against your intentions to starve it. No matter when you intend to begin, this will happen, if you decide that you will start after breakfast, your breakfast will be bigger, if it is Friday and you are starting on Monday, you will eat more from then on, whatever time you have, your appetite will expand as much as it can.

Stage 2

Dieting itself- The body fights like fury throw you off the diet, this of course is a continuation of stage one, the body uses it's most powerful tools, in hunger and appetite to achieve this. The intensity hunger can reach can truly beggar belief, you mind can actually enter states associated with mental illness, depression, hallucination even psychosis.

If you survive this bit and continue, the body seems to change tack and can start to fade somewhat, gradually or suddenly. Sometimes it's the other way around, you start off and it's shockingly easy, literally no or little resistance, then out of nowhere-after losing a relatively small amount- you hit a wall, then it's becomes a total grind if you can continue at all.

Stage 3

Post diet- That's when you either can no longer sustain the effort, or you finish your diet( and anything in between), the usual rebound of your hunger and appetite kicks in, as it is programmed to do.

That's right programmed.

It's very important that this is fully grasped, your body is supposed to make good the difference, however much you weigh, however little you have lost; a bit like when you donate your blood, your body replenishes that loss as fast and efficiently as it can.

It's not even unique to weight.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Junk the junk

Why is the term junk food narrowed to a particular set of foods? When so many are so much more deserving of it? Although it is obvious that people of all classes eat hamburgers/fried chicken, french fries, or chips as we call them over here, we still associate them with the lower orders.

Yet class has no bearing whatsoever on the desire and ability to produce good tasty food, we must know this, as we constantly here talk about peasant dishes and how wonderful and ingenious they are.

If you want to talk about junk, what about the uninspired, deracinated mish-mash, of pretention that is served up in certain types of urban bistro catering to certain types who have convinced themselves that they have elevated food sensibilities way above the hoi polloi?

Food that is simplistic, not simple though it often tries to pose as this, that is you get a piece of fancy bread, toast it, drizzle it with olive oil and then you then lean it artfully against some kind of protein, this kind of arrangement is supposed to hide the fact that this is just, a badly made sandwich, impractical to eat without love, only with plenty of life draining attitude, of what? 'I'm not common', presumably, but really who cares? It's a sandwich, and it won't look any prettier when its going down your gullet.

They say you eat with your eyes, but their are plenty of much loved dishes around this wide world that have been beat up by the ugly stick and remain highly favoured and enjoyed, by those who aren't shallow enough to reject good nourishing meals that are all arrangement and no substance.

I remember a magazine feature, on two families, one with a child that was fat and one with thin children. They showed what purported to be some of their everyday meals and the latter family, presented a baked potato with vegetable margarine and felafels-there might have been some greenery of some kind-but I was mesmerized by someone who had such a disconnect with what a meal is, that she had no sense of embarrassment about presenting this as representative of, ahem, her cuisine, I pitied her children a little.

Mind you, I didn't think overly of the other family's meals, but one of them was a roast dinner with three veg including potatoes, which is a good old favourite.

They of course got the usual fatuous nutritionist, has there ever been a more superfluous profession? Who predictably found favour with the starch protein overloaders who were exonerated because, they were nutritionally correct by their absurd and and often deranged criterion of disordered eating.

It has struck me for a while that it is unwise to call rich or calorie dense food junk, if we are supposed to be concerned with calories and we insist on eating anything that has a good measure of them, we should be marking this with an attitude of; this has a serious measure of calories, let's enjoy every scrap as if it were our last. Dismissing it as junk encourages us not to savour it, it leads more to us being in denial and being distracted in case we become aware of our sense of shame at our failure to eat in a more unreasonable and disordered manner. It's a form of waste, it's a bit like buying socks wearing them once and throwing them away.

We should hold these foods in more reverent and rapt attention, free of ill will of any kind toward ourselves for consuming them, or the food themselves, leaving us free to fully savour and enjoy.

Respect yourself, if you can't respect what you eat, don't eat it, if you can't not eat it, then you must respect it.

Monday, 15 September 2008

The differences between eating disorders

Looking at this discussion at Laura's blog
My answer to her question;are bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder different diseases is yes and no. They are distinct and different responses to the same crisis, that of trying to alter one's weight or state. The way these conditions tally must provide some insight into the body's reasoning. Bulimia is interesting as it doesn't directly co-incide with any particular distinct stage, it seems to be about the pre-diet stage one;where the body tries to discourage you by leaving your appetite and hunger open- in the overall way it develops, the actual diet itself;stage two- due to the purging/vomitting which can become a low calorie diet by default. It is because of this that it is tied to anorexia but in a way, is the link between all three of the other disorders. The desire to manage weight or responses to life's challenges is the spur for all including bulimia, the body responds to this with the same instincts and urges as binge eating and compulsive eating disorders, the purging is an attempt to thwart this. Probably the naturalness of the vomitting accounts for the instinct to make oneself vomit. What has intrigued me and I've never gotten to the bottom of this, is why so many fat people seem to be phobic about vomitting, to the point where they will bear considerable discomfort to avoid it or find that they cannot. This is not just physical it is overwhelming emotionally as well. I used to thnk this could potentially answer a lot of questions and provide intesting leads. I am aware that this is controversial, especially the linking of anorexia to dieting. I get the feeling that anorexics are not longer quite so aggresively anti this link as they were in the past, but I think they still resist it. The argument used to hang on the fact that doctors used to label anorexia-the slimmer's disease.
I always thought that was a genuinely accurate shortand, but it was felt that it trivialised anorexia, it's funny but in my experience, it's the other way around, this thinking has hopelessly trivialised dieting.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Wholistic metabolism

I take a holistic view of metabolism. Hunger and appetite must be integrated into a whole and not separated out, with hunger being ascribed to morality. This view has gained currency as result of the diet/weight hypothesis which attacks appetite and hunger- trying to bring about a condition which in nature signals the end of life. Restriction is promoted and wastefully expending energy touted as the route to regulating and controlling weight. When all it really does is run around after the fact of the spontaneous metabolic adjustments, that can lead to weight gain/loss.

Even when we let go of dieting, we still are left with a lot of assumptions that flow from its standpoint. It's one of many reasons dieting is so convincing; it doesn't come out of nothing, many of our cherished interpretations not just of eating and weight, but moral regulation, keep it in place.

There was a time not all that long ago in historic terms, when we didn't know that the brain was in our heads, it has been located near the heart and in the stomach ( I'll get back to that one another time) to name two of many locations. Our understanding of eating, as well as weight, which seemed pretty reasonable, now increasingly seems in more dubious and shallow than we thought.

Our adherence to a partial and restrictive view is holding up progress, what is disgusting about it is this is deliberate this is actually malicious, it exists to facilitate social engineering of the most regressive kind.

Returning our necessary desire to eat and our weight regulation to the body as a whole means it is logical to look at the nervous system as a vehicle for adjusting and/or readjusting these mechanisms. Our most direct route to our nervous system is obviously our conscious mind, that is one thing diet culture has right although it is logical.

This is controversial as a lot of people reject this out of hand, it has been tried not only through the concept of willpower, but also through things like psycho-analysis and even horrible aversion 'therapy' tactics such as electric shocks.

I genuinely cannot blame people for feeling this way, but we must remember not to throw the baby out with the bath water. Bullies, the privileged classes, societally validated big mouths, don't own parts of the body, because they make a show of knowing it all, when they guided mostly by their own self serving instincts. Eating and weight, must be returned to become knowledge based again and what passes for the so called 'morality' of willpower and other bilge is returned to the utter irrelevancy that they are. I don't think it matters worth a damn whether people are greedy or not or whether their appetites are sufficiently dainty or whether apropos of nothing they should expend energy solely on the basis of fitness.

We own our bodies, they are ourselves and we are as entitled as to contribute to the defining the reality of the human condition, through intelligent perception and understanding of what happens to us.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

The purpose of the obesity crisis for a fat person

One of the things I often ask myself about the crisis is, what's the purpose of it for me?

For obvious reasons, it can't be about losing weight, because been there done that, not interested, personally anyhow, although I do retain a curiosity about how to do it in a natural and gentle way that goes with and respects the body.

No what really has been exercising me even pre-FA, is what am I to learn from all this?

I just know it's something, many things possibly.

The most obvious one being related to how I get out of the 'obese personae/ mentality'.

There are other things, but that is the most pressing one because my overwhelming feeling after stepping off that train is, that was one hell of a mindwarp and it's not enough to just stop-admirable and wonderful first step though that is. I feel I must rescue some parts of myself.

Being obese for me has been a little bit like, getting in with a bad crowd. We all know a lovely misguided person, who's got issues and is maybe taking a wrong direction, but we have faith that this person will get through it and sort themselves out. Then, our lovely diamond in the rough gets involved with a bad crowd, they latch on to our twinkles rebellion, and sparkles latches on to their aire of hauteur, that turns out really to be nihilistic and destructive.

Whatever way the situation works itself out, we often hold a deep grudge against the bad crew, we know our star involved themselves willingly, but somehow, we just feel they were exploited and taken advantage of and used for purposes which if they had been explicit, would not have signed on for.

That's how I feel about the obesity thing. I was willing, and yet somehow, not. This has left me feeling that so much about me that is not admirable has been played up to the extent that could only be tolerable whilst under the influence. Now that I'm no longer, those have to go too.

In a way, it's about ownership, I was so owned by it, the aftermath is a hollowness that will not just go away. I need to be what I might or would have been if I'd not allowed myself to be so derailed by it. This also feels like a kind of apology to myself, to my younger self who I so maligned, I don't care if that sounds strange, I wish to offer myself an unconditional apology, I was genuine, I was trying, that was trying, that's what trying is like. I was not fake, I was not false or bearing false witness.

Until that no longer evokes any sense or echo of doubt, I'll keep on with that. That doubt is not real, it's the conditioned response of someone who doubted themselves so thoroughly that it doesn't just go away when you consciously realise the error of their ways.

Seeing the tide of vitriol aimed against fat people is highly visceral and upsetting at times, but I occasionally find myself thinking, take a good look at what you thought was better than you, are they better than you? Is it possible to aspire to be like them, and what is that anyway?

I sometimes can't believe that I felt in anyway inferior to people who've let things hang out that I would be embarrassed to admit feeling, even if I did. This is /supposed to put us off feeling or being fat.

It sometimes feels as if they are screaming at us, we aren't any better than you, we can't help you, see, how many ways do you want us to show you? It's like a counterpoint to being abject about your fatness, droning on about how disgusting and bad you are.

I think I'm beginning to get that message, at last.

Intuitive eating is like.............

A brilliantly efficient unsung worker, who often doesn't appear to be doing much of anything, but always seems to get things done and quietly takes care of business regardless.

Along comes an insecure, promoted to the level of their incompetence boss, who lacking insight decides that this worker is 'suspicious' and requires close supervision. This idiot stands over the worker inter-bloody-fering with their beautiful rhythms telling them everything they already know and nothing they don't.

Until our hero(ine) is about to scream and then resign.

Finally, after numerous warnings from everyone who knows the score, the boss finally withdraws, tail between legs.

The hero is our eating and weight mechanisms, we with our diets and brilliant schemes based on true scienz are the idiot boss, sorry!

Some people like to call our wising up,'intuitive eating', but this is all about the dregs of our belief that we consciously are in total control of our eating and therefore weight. We have found neither to be the case.

Now I don't believe that we have to continue to be rubbish at making adjustments to those mechanisms, anymore than I believe some unfortunate people in the world still have to get polio, forever. But we actually have to come up with ways that are subtle, sensitive and above all actually work.