I am a big fan of both the Zaftig Chicks and the Fat Nutritionist. I guess that’s what they call “cognitive dissonance”. It was surreal to see the fallout from a big difference of opinion, expressed in the two posts I linked. For me, it’s fun to see a whole range of opinions that I can sort through and make my own mind up about. I totally get where Silvia (one of the Zaftig Chicks) is coming from. I sometimes question how healthy I can be with the extra weight and have moments where I fantasize about going back on WW for a bit, just to make a dent in the situation. THEN, I can practice Health at Every Size (HAES) and live happily ever after, right?
But then I take a long hard look at my own history. Not statistics, failure rates, blah blah blah. I look at my life. What has all the dieting (mostly on and off WW since age 10) done for me? If I’m honest, it’s made me fatter. When I take an objective look at myself I have to conclude that there must be a problem with the system, not me. The diet industry brainwashes us to think that every time we gain the weight back, it’s our own damn fault. We’re just not disciplined enough. Speaking as someone who has completed two full marathons (both as an “obese” person), I have discipline, thankyouverymuch.
That’s why reading Linda Bacon’s HAES book was such a lightbulb moment for me. There has to be another way besides this yo-yo cycle. It’s scary as hell sometimes and I have gained weight since resolving never to diet again. But just because that’s happened doesn’t lead me to think that going back to dieting is the answer. Experience has taught me that the incredible effort it takes to shed the pounds will ultimately not be worth it. My history teaches me that I can lose weight (although each subsequent time gets harder and harder) but I will inevitably gain it back and then some. What’s the point?
But as a complex human being, I have the ability to choose between more than black and white, dieting and gorging myself to death. HAES is that middle path. I feel great about my twice a week yoga routine and my three time-a-week 10 Minute Workouts. Moving makes me feel better, keeps me flexible, and hopefully, positively impacts my overall health. Do I still eat more than I should from time to time? Yes, it happens, but it doesn’t wreck my day. Now that I have “permission” to eat that chocolate cake (or yummy frozen cheesecake from Trader Joe’s, oh my!) I somehow don’t have the urge to eat gobs of it at a time. There’s no need to get it all in now before the diet starts. Funny how that works.
But yet, I gain weight. I’ve stopped weighing myself but I know it’s happening. It’s frustrating to realize that I really don’t eat “that much”. Objectively speaking, I have a very balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. I don’t binge on fast food or any other “junk”. I eat that kind of stuff pretty moderately. I know that many professionals tend to discount self reporting and think that people like me are lying or just misjudging what we eat. But really, I know what I’m talking about. As many diets as I’ve been on, I can gauge calorie counts and portion sizes with the best of them. I’m not saying I eat a low calorie diet, I’m just saying it’s a normal, balanced one. If you taped me for a week and attributed the amount of food eaten to an average sized person, I don’t think anyone would wonder why she wasn’t 250 lbs.
I could cry out at the gods about the unfairness of it all, but what’s the use? The truth is, I’ve wrecked my metabolism from all the dieting and it shouldn’t come as a surprise. I hope my body will eventually forgive me and either settle at a weight soon or maybe let go of whatever extra it doesn’t need. I know that it’s unlikely that I’ll just keep gaining weight indefinitely – although, I certainly entertain that fear on occasion. But so much of life is really out of our immediate control. I’ve made my peace and will see where it takes me. Because the alternative? It’s just not an option anymore. There are only so many times I can bang my head against the wall and then wonder why I have a headache.
In the end, I can’t help but wish Bianca and Silvia the best of luck with their WW endeavors. All I can wish for any of us dealing with the pressure to lose weight for health (or any other) reasons, is that we can all find “success”, in whatever form it takes. I strongly believe that we all must find our own way through this mess. Me banging someone else over the head about HAES is no different from someone enlightening me about their latest diet. Mind your own business and worry about your own body. I’ll do the same. That being said, I have to admit that I love the snarkiness that’s alive and well (and in such good fun) on both sites and will be tuning in for round 3!