I looked up from some stuff I was doing--some researching, some writing--and lo and behold, it was 11:30 and I had not had but one meal, breakfast. Some eggs, papaya, boiled yuca (cassava), and coffee. That was it. Maybe 600 calories. Under 25 grams of protein, most likely.
I didn't want to end the day without enough protein (and yeah, still not really hungry), so I have a spinach-cranberry-almond-cheese salad , a protein shake (Swanson protein 17 g with some lowfat organic milk) and drank some beef Gelatin powder in water for more protein. Maybe 500 cals. I should end the day at a not too bad 1100.
I really think it's dangerous not to get enough protein and not to eat enough, period, in terms of holding on to lean mass and not making some bonkers hormonal reactions.
So, while I'm chewing, I decided to type. Cause I was still pondering an article I read a couple days ago, the one you ALL must have seen, read, and read people respond to. It was rather dire. You know which one I mean?
It was by David Wong over at Cracked.com with the title: Fat is Officially Incurable (According to Science).
You should read it if you have lost weight, are losing weight, or WANT to lose weight. It's not really saying something very different than what those of us who have kept up with the research over the years ALREADY know. I remember reading something very similar--diets fail, nearly all the time--by a bariatric specialist when I was early in my weight loss blogging. It scared me, but it made me want to be one of the few freaks who keep it off. The minority.
I'd blogged before about how it's the few, very few, who lose a lot and keep it off, barring those who have bariatric bypass, since they have much greater chances of keeping it off, but might suffer complications that are hard to live with later. (And we've all seen famous bypassers regain, like Carnie Wilson. We've seen fellow bloggers with some form of surgical intervention regain partly, sometimes back into obesity. It's not a guarantee, but it does have better stats.)
This was also one of the reasons I never aimed for THIN. Thin, I knew, just knew, was beyond me. I aimed for NOT OBESE. That's all. Just not obese. Just overweight.
And I'm here now. Not obese. Not Thin. Just overweight.
I have no idea if I'll be one of the very few who stay not obese. I want to be, but I'm not gifted with future-vision.
All I can do is remember that it's EASY to regain. What will happen if I get the wild hunger so many "losers" report after hitting target or near-target weight. The mad urge to eat that is verified by science--studies that show hunger hormones elevated in those who dieted, lost weight. Even a year later, amazingly, a year after not being on the tight caloric regimen, hunger hormones remain HIGH, and need for calories LOW. (Lower than never-fat folks at same weight.)
It's scary. Really scary.
It's unjust. Sure. We say that.
But don't despair. Do read this balanced response over at 180 Degree Health by Rob Archangel, and just assess where you are and where you can be and how you can improve in the various health areas.
Sometimes, we damage ourselves trying to get to a perfect weight, or an ideal weight, when what we need is just to be at a healthy place, and that healthy place might be at an overweight or even mildly obese place. (I cannot be convinced that serious obesity/morbid obesity can be a healthful place.)
I lost 3.4 lbs this past week in a not healthy way. It was effortless, but it was not WELLNESS.
Some would say, "Shut up, take your losses and celebrate."
I would, except that I want to be WELL, not thin. HEALTHY, not skinny. FULL OF ENERGY AND STRONG, not a size 6.
I'm a size 12/14/16 depending on who/the cut/the style. And I'm okay being here as long as I'm here with good habits--sound food and good movement--and not here doing weird stuff or stressing out or having disordered eating or just laying around and turning to skinny mush.
Rob Archangel is right. We want health. Let's do what is good for health, and not be yo-yo dieters or obsessive over-exercisers, destroying our joints, or life stifling food perfectionists, trapped in orthorexia and unable to even enjoy a dinner out with friends or a holiday celebration.
This isn't just a scale thing. This is a quality of life thing.
If we can't focus on anything else once a good amount of weight is gone, if we can't learn to eat in a sane way and maintain that sane way of eating and moving, then there's something wrong with whatever plan we have. If the weight is bouncing up and down and up and down, then it might be doing more damage than just working on other issues until the weight can be addressed with more calmness and strategy.
Just jumping into a fad diet out of despair at not fitting into a fave outfit might mess you up.
Weight loss requires a lot of work and planning and discipline, and it requires MORE to keep it off. Be aware, you newbies. Take time to learn.
Yes, you, if you're just starting your journey to a healthier weight, please remember the odds are bleak, but YOU can be one of the few successful ones. Do it right. Eat well of real food, move without hurting yourself, rest, meditate/pray, have supportive people around you (online and off), and accept that it's a lifelong vigilance, lifelong good habits that increase our odds of making it into the minority that KEEPS weight off.
Now, with hope, we move on....to be well.