Sometimes I wonder how many different theories about weight loss or gain, metabolism and self-image most of us have investigated over the years. How many programs, schedules, “good or bad” foods? Should I eat breakfast? Is it still breakfast if I don’t eat it until noon? Is it better to eat three times a day, or six, or once? Should I weigh myself every day, once a week, never? Should I measure portions or calories? If I learn to estimate a serving by the size of my hand, is it cheating to pretend I’m bigger than I really am?
Since my struggle with weight began during my early teen years (giving me over 50 years of experience) I have been able to observe the succession of diametrically opposed, “this is really the way to do it” advice on what is the best, healthiest, latest scientifically proven, fastest, or most dangerous way to lose weight.
At 19, when I first tried Weight Watchers, for example, the plan required that fish be eaten five days a week, beef maybe once and in a portion size that today would constitute a slider at your local bar (minus the bun). Forget wine, beer, liquor. Don’t even think about butter or ice cream, unless it was non-fat or totally fake (meaning made of chemicals that are probably now known to cause cancer, but at the time were considered a miracle food).
Of course, the constant change in advice did provide those of us still struggling with an easy out. Well, obviously, I am still overweight because the plan was faulty, so even if I had followed it religiously, it wouldn’t have worked. What’s next? Because this time, I will be a good girl and do it right!!
It still comes down to a gray area as far as I’m concerned, and that is the place where I struggle to make the connections between what I think (either consciously or unconsciously) about myself, what I know intellectually and what actually goes on inside the human body. It’s no secret that much of life’s success or failure comes down to our emotions and those uncomfortable inner feelings we have about ourselves.
I once encountered the advice that I should “make friends with my fat.” Seriously, I thought about it for maybe two seconds and then began to laugh hysterically. Imagine my bemusement when learning that scientific research has determined that fat is a vital, necessary, and good component of a human’s physical and mental well-being. There also is some indication that periods of fasting and consumption of fats (at least certain ones) may not be as harmful as previously thought, and instead may even be helpful in maintaining a healthy weight. I’m reading a book “The Secret Life of Fat,” by Sylvia Tara, Phd, that is most interesting, even if a little more scientific than I can appreciate. I’m only half way through and haven’t gotten to the practical section yet, which is naturally the part I’m most interested in. But just being able to read about fat and fasting without fear and anguish is a refreshing change.
So now, I am once again re-evaluating my thinking about weight, eating and how to live in harmony with myself. And maybe I have made friends with my fat after all. Now I just need to treat myself as I would my “real” friends. Maybe that is the secret.
If I had a lawyer I am sure she would advise me to put in a disclaimer, in case anyone is foolish enough to consider this medical advice. It’s not advice at all, but a sharing of my personal journey.