Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Day 21, and some Random Thoughts

I've been thinking about some stuff, and I thought I'd write about it here.

I'm part of a Facebook group, largely made up of people doing Medifast, with some others doing other things (including me, now, although I joined it when I was doing MF), but all of us are trying to improve our health, in whatever way seems best to us. Let me start by saying that I believe Medifast is very, very effective for rapid weight loss, and when you've got a lot of weight to lose, it can be a great tool to help you. I'm pretty sure if I hadn't been doing it since June, I wouldn't have lost the 39 lbs I lost using it, and probably wouldn't have lost any weight at all in that time, because I lacked the motivation and energy to do anything else. But I stopped doing it because, although it was working really well, I didn't feel good. This is not typical, many, many people doing Medifast feel great while they're doing it, and many of them who have more than 100 lbs to lose when they start stick to it for a year or more to get all the weight off, and feel great the whole time, at least after the first couple of weeks. But another member of that group posted about not feeling well and being lightheaded and dizzy enough that she fell, and she was asking whether others had gone through this and had any tips. 

Now, everyone is different, and sometimes we have to go through unpleasant stuff to reap the benefits of whatever it is we're trying to do, and there's a big difference between truly not feeling well vs whining because something is difficult, but when someone says they're lightheaded and dizzy and fell in the shower because of it, they're not whining about difficulties, so I was a little surprised when one of the tips was that this person just needed to keep going and get through it, and it would get better. I'm not saying any of this to say that that's the wrong advice -- I'm going to assume that the person offering that advice went through something similar where she didn't feel well, but kept going for the benefit at the end. And sometimes that's the right answer, especially if you know the bad part is only going to last a couple of weeks at most, and the "bad" is feeling a bit yucky, and tired, and run down, but still able to function. But I read exactly the same question, and my thought was, if it's making you feel that bad, there's something wrong, and something needs to change. And this difference in the way two people could respond to the same situation got me thinking:

Why do we think it's okay to put ourselves through crap in the name of health (or being skinny or attractive, for that matter)? 

Why isn't it obvious that if you feel really, really horrible, to the point that you're dizzy and falling down, that something is really wrong? Why do we even feel like we have to ask if this is normal on this particular diet, or if others have gone through it?* And this isn't just one person, I've seen a few other people on the Medifast forums asking similar questions about whether certain symptoms are normal or not, when to me it seems obvious that based on either the severity or the duration, they can't be. Have we gotten so out of touch with what it feels like to feel good, that we think feeling bad may be okay? Or do we believe that it's just something we must endure, a punishment for being fat? And that's just physical symptoms -- have you ever stopped to think about the things we'll do in the name of weight loss? Everything from eating food we really don't like solely because someone, somewhere told us it's good for us, to logging, in detail, everything we eat, to opting for scientifically engineered food-like substances full of ingredients we can't pronounce because they're low-fat or low-carb while avoiding fruits and starchy vegetables because they have carbs. These things don't seem like healthy behaviors to me.

Clearly, I am not a poster child for good health. Despite losing 39 lbs over the last few months, I still outweigh heavyweight boxers, who are all a foot or more taller than I am. I was put on blood pressure medicine a few years ago, at the ripe old age of 35. I've counted calories, and Points, and carbs, and fat grams. I've weighed myself, and when the weight goes up when it should've gone down, I've beaten myself up wondering what I did wrong, what kept the scale from cooperating when clearly I was eating fewer calories than I was using. I've followed (well-intentioned, I'm sure) instructions to cut pictures from magazines to use as a goal or as motivation. (Want to know why that's a bad thing? Go check out Indy Ink's Don't Compare Yourself to Celebrities Pinterest Board.) I've felt guilty for having dessert and for occasionally choosing chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes instead of grilled chicken and steamed veggies. I've eaten rice cakes because they were a low-calorie choice to tide me over until my next meal -- never mind that they taste like styrofoam. And what's really sad is, when I look around the internet on weight loss forums and blogs, it seems that while I've done these things, I've been much less extreme about them than many, many people out there. It's scary the things people will do to lose weight.

So again, I have to ask, why are we doing these things? Does it really have to be this hard to be healthy? I don't have the answers, but I do know that I don't want to spend the rest of my life entering every bite I eat into a calorie counter. I don't want a number on a scale to determine my happiness or self-worth. I want to eat food that tastes good. If occasionally that food that tastes good includes dessert, or something deep fried, I don't want to feel guilty about that. (I may feel a lot of other things, including sick or bloated, but I don't think eating a particular kind of food should make me feel guilty.) And I don't want to feel bad that my body doesn't look like some ideal body that is impossible to achieve, or that I can't run a marathon or do burpees or dead lift some astronomical weight. I just want to be healthy. I want to feel good and have the energy to do the things I want to do. I don't think that's asking too much.

*(For the record, any diet that has you cut your carb consumption a lot, whether it's Medifast or going to the Whole30 from a diet that includes a lot of bread/pasta/sugar, will make you feel kind of yucky for the first couple of weeks, but you shouldn't be extremely weak or dizzy, it's usually being achy and tired and having headaches and wanting to sleep a lot, but being able to function, albeit not at your best. It's known as "carb flu." But it usually lasts only a few days, and shouldn't last more than two weeks. If it's extreme enough that you can't function, or if it lasts longer than two weeks, it's something you may want to talk to a doctor about.)

Anyway, if you're still reading after all of that, thanks for putting up with my ramblings. Here's what I ate today:

Breakfast -- breakfast casserole (this week it's two sweet potatoes, shredded, some turkey sausage from extra I made last week, and some diced prosciutto, with sauteed onions and garlic, with 10 eggs, divided into 6 servings), some raw celery and carrots, and an avocado with lime juice and salt.

Lunch -- some spaghetti squash topped with meat sauce (okay, really, it was some ground beef, browned, and a jar of Monique's Marvelous Marinara Sauce

Supper -- tuna steak topped with mayo and lime (and then overcooked, oops. And I've got a second one that I cooked at the same time -- that'll be two overcooked tuna steak meals this week. Yay.), some roasted butternut squash, and salad topped with garlic-dill sauerkraut.

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