Sunday, February 28, 2010

Plans we made together, almost buried in the sand

There's really no point in having an anonymous blog if you can't even be honest there.

Because of this belief, I have a tendency to avoid posting any time I'm doing poorly. I don't want to face/admit to failure, and it would be stupid to lie, so I just shut my eyes and turn away, figuring no one will notice in any case.

Well you know what? That's a perfect example of why I keep screwing up. If I can't even be honest with myself and face my problems like a grown-up I will never, ever get what I want. So I'm going to do my very best to post here every day, whether I'm doing well or not. I have to be accountable to something.

In light of this, I'm compiling a list of the things I need to do every day, and will award myself one success point for each item completed.

1. <250 calories
2. Cardio
3. Weights
4. Blog
5. 6+ cups water

It's not that much, and it's not that hard. I want to shift my focus and enjoy the small successes I have every day instead of trying to be impossibly perfect. It's going to take time to lose weight, even if I do everything right, and I can't keep letting myself get discouraged when I'm still fat after a few days of fasting. My unrealistic expectations are completely ridiculous and need to be squashed, pronto.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A flaw in the plan

And I'm back - after almost a month. Bet you can't guess how well I did, given my disappearance.

(If you guessed "complete and utter failure," congratulations!!! You win the prize! *)

Despite the aforementioned failure, I did still manage to make February a better month than most, life-wise. I went up to Vancouver twice, first to watch Stephen Colbert tape his show, and then to bum about town and attend a couple actual Olympic events with some friends. And even though I went and saw Colbert all by my lonesome, it was by far the most fun of all my Olympic activities. I even made it to the front row on the second day - WOO!!!

So for the good I had fun trips, saw Colbert live, and managed to pick up the official red mittens. Of course the bad is that I'm just as fat as ever. This is something I did a pretty good job of ignoring when not faced with mirrors or photographic evidence, but eventually these things cropped up in bathrooms and on Facebook. And even though this is not new, I'm still continually surprised by my ability to trick myself into thinking I don't look like a chubby mess. Until, of course, I see the pictures.

I've just had a thought: right now I have a picture of myself at my lowest weight in my wallet. It's supposed to keep me from buying food to binge on, but I think we all know how well that's worked out. My new thought is that maybe it would be better to print a photo in which I look fat and disgusting and carry that around. If I can barely stand to look at it perhaps the thought of yet more pictures of its kind will be more effective at staving off binging.

In a new act of pathetically foolish optimism, I have committed myself to a weekend snowboard trip with friends next month - paid for my spot in the cabin and everything. Given my previous inability to EVER lose weight by a deadline this was probably a terrible idea, but I can't give up hope, idiot that I am.

I now have only one month to make myself presentable, and so I am going to attempt, again, an extended fast. With today as day one, I have to make it just 28 days. (Hmm... well I guess I've got a post title for the end of the fast). Being stupidly hopeful, I'm going to pretend that I can somehow lose 28 pounds in that time. A girl can dream, right?

I have at least stopped myself from binging today, despite a nearly overwhelming urge to do so. And maybe it's just half a day, technically, but I gotta hang on to the positive and stop getting so discouraged. So now I'm off to search for tips on how to keep from stuffing my face - wish me luck!

*prize may not actually exist

Monday, February 1, 2010

A crack in the surface

**Today, a rant about the CalorieCount forums:** is obviously a website that advocates losing weight by counting calories, but they recommend a more reasonable, healthy approach than what your typical anorectic would follow. I have no problem with that. I read through the forums when I'm bored, and am constantly surprised by the willingness to attack certain posters for truly insane reasons.

The willingness to spread misinformation regarding 'starvation mode' and being underweight is really irritating. Everyone who posts in the forums is quick to angrily rebuke anyone who dares to eat less than 1200 calories per day, telling them that they will immediately enter starvation mode and gain weight. I understand the desire to prevent people from trying an unhealthy level of calorie restriction, but they undermine their position when they say ridiculous, untrue things.

For one, it's patently obvious when looking at people needing 3,000 calories to gain weight that restricting won't necessarily cause weight gain. Also, it would be impossible to become underweight if starvation mode was an immediate, unerring phenomenon.

Another argument that seriously annoys me is that you will lose an inordinate amount of muscle when eating less than the magic, arbitrary 1200 calories. This doesn't take into account someone's age, height, frame size, or activity level. Someone who is very short will in many cases need to eat under 1200 calories to lose just one pound a week.

Any time a person loses weight approximately one third of that weight lost will be muscle, regardless of how fast they lose it. Of course, if a person loses weight very quickly and doesn't get any activity they are more likely to lose extra muscle, but this is not a given. If the body enters ketosis extra muscle loss will not happen, as ketosis allows the brain to more directly utilize the energy from fat stores and prevents the depletion of protein stores (in muscle).

One of the most annoying points of contention is the truly insane and hypocritical way the forums posters look at BMI. They are quick to tell anyone they can that the upper limit isn't really fair and doesn't take into account frame size or body composition, and then turn right around and vilify people whose weight (or desired weight) is anything less than a BMI of 20. Even though 18.5 is still considered perfectly healthy, these people act as though a BMI if 19 is a danger sign of anorexia, and go so far as to say that anyone with a BMI of 17 who dares to exercise is liable to drop dead if they so much as pick up a dumbell.

This is patently ridiculous, coming from someone who had no trouble (beyond my general laziness) exercising with a BMI of 16.4. I certainly never came close to dying. I would say that exercising with a very low BMI is no more dangerous than exercising with a very high BMI, and it depends entirely on the actual health of the person doing the exercising rather than an arbitrary number. Even in treatment centers patients with low BMIs are allowed to exercise when they reach a certain level, for goodness sake.

The fact that these forum posters and moderators (who claim to know what they're talking about) are so quick to spread and believe crap like this is annoying to no end, and more than a little insulting. I certainly do not advocate starvation diets for anyone. I want people to be healthy. But when you try to turn someone away from a behavior using information that is so clearly untrue, you risk having them catch on to your lies and choosing to disregard even the true things that you say. That's what happens when you reveal yourself to be dishonest and untrustworthy.

**End rant**

I do have to say, if it wasn't clear already, that I obviously hold myself to a different standard when it comes to healthy eating. I am fully aware that in this area of my life I am not being logical, but that is a choice I am making. I wouldn't wish an eating disorder on anyone, but I'm also not going to go on a crusade trying to convince others to give up eating disordered behavior if they don't wish to. I'm happy to provide advice to those who do want to get out, but ultimately the decision to eat healthy or not belongs to each individual.