Time for another list

I’m going to try something a little different here.  When it comes to lists, I’m a bit of a sucker.  I like to put together ordered lists of things that are good or bad, and use them to track my progress through many areas of my life.  If you go back through the history of this blog, (which I really must do at some point myself) you’ll find many lists of bad stuff that I do – essentially, lists of reasons why I’m fat.

Those lists then become the route map to thinness, with varying degrees of success, and eventually, the lure of the things on the list becomes stronger than the desire to avoid them.  From that point onwards, it’s just a short trip back to fatdom, and the general unpleasantness that all that involves.

So how about this then?  How about if I try to look at those things differently, and start to ask myself some rather searching questions about them?  I always remember how stunned I was when I realised that, contrary to everything that I knew to be true at that time, I did not enjoy smoking.  Once that realisation had sunk in, stopping smoking was genuinely easy for me to do.

Is it possible that I don’t actually enjoy the things that I do that keep me fat?  And if so, does that open up a new approach to shrinking that might offer a little more hope of longer term success?

Here are some of the things that I do that I believe contribute to my excess weight, why I think I like it, what the alternative viewpoint could be and the likelihood that the alternative could be correct

The Thing I Do/Think Why I Think I Do/Think It The Alternative View Likelihood that view is correct
Eating too quickly Because I love my food At present, I generally wolf things down due to a mix of habit and shame, and get very little enjoyment out of food.  Eating too quickly also makes it harder to spot when you’re full.

Eating slowly makes good food taste better.  You can savour every mouthful, and genuinely enjoy it.   It also shows up ‘crap’ food for the salt-laden rubbish it is – the first bite may give a rush of taste, but subsequent chews taste less and less good.

Very High
Drinking too much diet coke Because I love it and can’t do without it I’m used to it.  I’m probably addicted to it.  When I drink it after something naturally sweet like an orange, it tastes bland and chemically.  It doesn’t taste good on it’s own.  It used to give me headaches – maybe it even still does.  That means it’s an acquired taste, and that means I’ve taught myself to love it – that means it’s an addiction. Very High
Snacking in the evenings Because I can’t help myself It certainly feels like I can’t help it, not over any sustainable period.  By denying myself, it just builds and builds in my mind into something that I simply ‘have’ to have.  The guilt that comes from eventually ‘giving in’ just serves to reinforce all the bad feelings I have about myself.

If I’m hungry, and I’m eating it slowly, savouring every mouthful, then that sounds like it’s not such a bad thing.  If I’m not hungry, then saying ‘you can have it – no problem about that – but you’ll enjoy it more when you’re hungry, so hold on a little’ sounds like a plan.

High
Eating when I’m not hungry Habit, routine, not knowing what hunger feels like Food doesn’t taste as good when you’re not hungry.  That means that waiting till you’re hungry before you eat is more enjoyable.  Doing it ‘right’ is more pleasurable.
Cleaning my plate Habit, reward, being ‘good’ The thing that should determine how much I eat is my hunger.  Not the plate manufacturer or whoever dished up the dinner.

When I’ve stopped feeling hungry, that’s when I should stop eating.  After that point, food stops tasting so good, so it’s a positive thing to stop eating it.

Very high
Finishing drinks quickly Habit, reward, being ‘good’ I’ve never really thought about this before today, and am not sure that it’s relevant, but I certainly find myself forcing drinks down when I’m not thirsty.

Just as with food above, drinking when you’re actually thirsty tastes better, particularly water.

Medium
Not getting enough sleep I might miss something – staying awake is somehow ‘good’. The suggestion is that not getting enough sleep leads to weight problems, as the body has to replace the energy it’s lacking from food, so craves more.

I’m constantly tired.  Constantly.  Getting more sleep must make me feel generally happier and healthier.

Medium
Not drinking enough water I prefer fizzy drinks See diet coke above. High

 

Random musings at the moment, but interesting to look at these things differently.  The above suggests that instead of there being a positive side to some of my actions that counterbalances the negative outcomes, I’m looking at them all wrong.  That in turn suggests that there’s a way to change my approach to these things without it setting off a whole load of self-denial problems.

Anyway, it’s something for me to think about.  More as I make sense of it.

The Shrinking Man.

The Great Egyptian River – It’s all about Denial

I’ve mentioned before that I find my ability to control my eating more than a little frustrating.  Having stopped smoking and drinking successfully many years ago, I’ve never been able to understand why I find this so hard to control.

I think the way I’ve always rationalised it is that with smoking and drinking, I wasn’t looking to control, I was looking to abstain altogether, and that’s something quiet different.  If stopping eating altogether was an option, then I think I could probably do it, but sadly it’s not really viable.  And that means continuous moderation.  And that’s my nemesis.

I say continuous moderation, because I think it’s the continuous element that’s the problem.  I can be remarkably in control of my eating for days, weeks, months and even years at a time, but at some point, I lose that control, and all of my previous ‘good’ work is undone.  It’s also usually undone in significantly less time than it took to do the ‘good’ work in the first place.

I am questioning the very idea of being ‘good’ and the denial that inevitably involves.  I’ve read that the brain is very good at overcoming denial – it goes out of it’s way to help address any suggestion that you’re not getting what you want.  That suggests that as hard as I might work to deny myself the things that I believe I want, my own subconscious is working overtime to address what it perceives to be a shortfall between what I’m getting and what I want.

There’s an underlying theme here, which is essentially me trying to look at this in a different way.  I’m trying to look at it in a way that makes me loathe myself a little less, partly because it’s not much fun, but primarily because the self-loathing seems to join forces against me anyway.  It’s a self-perpetuating cycle of me trying, failing, hating, trying, failing and hating some more.  The shame that I feel is incessant and strong, and much as I’d love it to spur me on to take control, it seems to simply push me further down.

I’m conscious that I’m rambling here, but as nobody is listening, that kind of feels ok :-).

To pull this together in some way, dieting doesn’t work.  In fact it’s stronger than that.  Dieting makes you fat.  Well it makes me fat anyway.  My attempts to lose weight have exacerbated rather than helped over many years, and the sad fat bloke sitting here is the end result of that.  I’m not a bad person.  I’m really not.  I’m not some lazy, slovenly, gluttonous slob.  I’m just a little fucked up.  And I’m not alone.  I have to keep remembering that.   I’m in good company.  It’s not – just – me.

Every bit of advice I come across seems to be coming from a place where the intentions are good, but the knowledge is poor.  If, as I mooted in my previous post, this is been controlled at a hormonal level, then nothing I have ever read about how to control my weight and my eating could ever work.  Nothing.

That’s depressing, terrifying and makes me really, really angry.

Where my hope lies right now is that there are other hormonal processes that I can tap in to that might sit even below the ones that seek to regain the weight I lose.  The most basic physical processes must be based on something akin to ‘eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full’.  If that sits underneath everything, even the ‘must regain weight to get back to where I was before I lost it, and add a little bit more just in case while you’re at it’ then that might be something that I can use to do this.

It’s important that I learn to love myself just as I am.  I’m not a bad person.  I’m more than just my weight.  I do many things in my life, and am good at many things.  I cannot let my challenges with my weight continue to cloud every other part of my life.  If am to be fat, then at least be happy and fat.  Maybe becoming happy with my fatness might even open up new pathways to becoming thinner.  Maybe stopping trying to shrink is the best way to actually start it.

Who knows?  Certainly not me, and if I’m understanding the weight problems across the world right now, then nor does anyone else.

For now, I’ll settle with one sentence from above.

I am more than just my weight.

The Shrinking Man.