Sunday, February 22, 2009


Before going on my rant, I'd just like to thank those of you who are now visiting my blog. You inspire me to write on!


As I briefly mentioned in a previous post, now that I have become yet another weight-loss blogger, I have found a plethora of (mostly) women who are also writing about their weight loss journeys on the Internet. I've actually started avoiding these blogs because they are all so uniformly sad.

These women have signed on for the hardest, most arduous, most never-ending slog in their lives. They have embarked on what, for most, is a truly impossible journey because we cannot constantly fight ourselves. Who's going to win, me or the food? The enemy: bread, sugar, chocolate, french fries, cookies, chips...and the list goes on forever. Dieting is a constant struggle to put up walls between oneself and food. I can't eat this, I can only eat that, I've eaten too much of the other. Points, calories, struggle, slog, hate myself, starve myself, love myself when I'm starving, hate myself because I ate something "forbidden".

Over the years, I've though a lot about the intrinsic impossibility of success with dieting. Let me explain through this longish digression: I believe I really don't have an addictive personality. Five years ago, when I went through a failed surgery and was on very strong prescription pain-killers, I was able to wean myself off them with absolutely no problem. In fact, as the dose I required went down, I actually felt unwell taking the higher dose and cut down myself. Once my pain was under control, the pain-killers became superfluous. I smoked for about six months when I was fifteen, but realized that it was not a good idea. I had three DuMauriers left in the pack, smoked one, gave the other two away and never smoked again. I love a small glass of wine with a meal, but have no desire to drink more.

However, contrary to tobacco, which is not a human necessity, or pain-killers that some people feel the need to take long after the pain is gone, we cannot eliminate food from our lives. Yes, we may crave foods that are not particularly "good" for us, but we all need food every day. You can't go "cold turkey" with food without dying. And therein lies the problem with dieting: diets make food into a dangerous, controlled substance, that we ingest with fear. Cut it off, you die; eat too much, you get (or stay) fat. When you step outside yourself to look at this conundrum, it is truly frightening. And yet...

Millions and millions of us in the western world live cheek by jowl, every waking moment of every day, with what we love and fear the most: food. We are surrounded by its abundance and yet told to avoid it. We take pills, drink shakes, eat pre-packaged, pre-measured, pre-prepared meals to keep us away from returning to the wisdom that we all had as babies: eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full. I'm sure we all can see in our mind's eye the way a baby pulls away from the bottle or the breast when he or she has had enough. Babies ADORE milk, but a baby would never consider taking one extra sip, just because it tastes so good. Amazing, isn't it?

Of course, there are many psychological reasons why we, as adults, eat to excess, or at very least more than our bodies actually require and these issues must be addressed. But there is a bottom line: eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full.

Eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full.

I don't think one of those many weight loss bloggers I've seen out there has ever pondered this phrase. It is so simple and yet so frightening. How will I know when I'm hungry? How will I know when I'm full? These are justifiable questions if you've been ignoring both signals for much of your adult life. And to be perfectly honest, after so many years, it really is a learning experience to live by this advice. That's why I'm blogging: to understand what this means for ME.

So, dear readers, now you understand why I want to scream at all those lovely, sad ladies out there who in my opinion are fighting a self-destructive, losing battle.

Eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full.

How do we make food our friend, our ally, a real source of nourishment? And how do we learn to find the other types of nourishment we need in our lives from sources other than food?

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