Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dieting and the CIA

Yesterday, I came across two sites that I'd like to talk about.

I came across a comment posted on a site created by people who have lost massive amounts of weight and are dedicated to keeping the weight off. Nothing wrong there, far from it. One of the site regulars (who also has her own website) stated that since she is not an obsessive exerciser, she must keep her caloric intake down to 1200-1400 calories daily in order to maintain her weight loss. She was very matter of fact about this. Though not surprised, I felt quite shaken by her admission. It's no wonder 95% of people gain all the weight back and more. Such constant caloric limitation is actually a recognized torture technique, or, to use a more Orwellian phrase, "an enhanced interrogation technique".

That's where the CIA comes in.

I found an excellent, heart-breaking post of childhood obesity here that links to this article on CIA interrogation techniques. Our diet culture does not work because we have been reduced to torturing ourselves on a constant, daily basis.

In a sense, I wonder if there really is a workable solution for those of us who have been overweight for many years.

I do think that people are capable of overcoming behaviours like binge eating, or subsisting on a constant diet of junk food. It's a tremendous challenge, but we know that with proper psychological help and support, these behaviours can be overcome.

But what of those who eat healthy foods, in reasonable quantities? I think there are many of us out there who, in an effort to lose 15 or 20 pounds have deregulated our systems to the point where our bodies have decided that virtually ANY food (OK, not dressing-free lettuce) can be turned into fat. In other words, has dieting screwed up our metabolisms to the point where normal eating inevitably leads to weight gain? Must we submit ourselves to life-long torture to first lose and then keep the weight off?

I don't know.

But let's end on a somewhat happier note.

I have to come back to intuitive eating. So subtle and difficult for inveterate dieters, but probably the only way to at least make peace with our bodies.

I think it does all start with proper nutrition (that's my mom talking): a diet based on, at least as much as possible, unprocessed, real foods. I don't believe in eliminating "bad" foods. That's like taking all the colour out of life and living in a cardboard box. You don't "need" a painting on your wall, but it's good for your soul. Having a piece of chocolate to end your meal is not a bad thing. Having three bars of cheap, processed pseudo-chocolate that you picked up cheap at Walmart because you want to forget how your crappy husband is treating you is certainly not a healthy thing. There's a big difference between these two chocolate experiences.

Enjoying what you eat and not feeling that you need to stuff yourself--that's another pillar of sound eating.

Getting your body moving, not beating it up, just moving it--pillar number three.

And saying to Kirstie Allie "thanks, but no thanks."

Have a good day, everyone!

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