I’m not overweight. I’m really not. I could maybe lose 15 pounds, max. Most often when I complain about the bit of body fat around my waist, people roll their eyes. I think some even get offended, like they’re thinking, “if you can’t handle that much fat, what must you think of all MY fat??” It’s an emotionally charged issue, to be sure.
So when people ask me why I’m on a diet, I sometimes struggle to come up with a great answer. It was easier last year, when I was actively training for a triathlon, because I could say with complete honesty that the point was to run faster! My getting into “fighting trim” was a reason that people could accept easily. And yes, dropping ten pounds helps a lot with one’s endurance – a fact that really came home a few weeks ago as I tried to run two miles around Trout Lake, sucking wind the whole way. But I’m not training for anything right now, so that rationale is out the window.
Of course, I don’t need any reason at all, do I? What I do with my body is no one’s business but my own, and if I want to lose weight or gain weight or get a tattoo of the BHS logo on my butt, that is my right. So we’re just talking about how I explain it to other people here. But other people’s feelings do matter to me – so let me go on.
What I want, more than anything, is control over the way I feel and the way I look. I’ve never been obese, but I’ve felt those feelings of helplessness, being frustrated with my weight and seemingly being unable to do anything about it, exercising hard for weeks and not losing a single pound. That feeling sucks, and I don’t wish it on anyone.
I think one big reason so many people struggle with their weight and feel helpless is that the world is full of really bad information. The whole “a calorie is a calorie” thing is at once completely true, and incredibly misleading. I mean sure, X is X no matter what X you pick, but from a diet perspective this misses the point completely, because it’s about hunger. It’s about how you feel all day, not the calorie count. If there are two ways for me to eat that leave me satisfied, and one requires 1800 calories and the other one requires 3000 calories, that makes a huge difference! And that’s exactly the situation. I won’t bore you with the metabolic details, but eating a bunch of carbs makes your body release a boat load of insulin, which eats up all those carbs and makes you feel starving. It’s like being an alcoholic or a heroin addict, except with bread and coca cola. Take a look at the documentary called Sugar Coated to understand where some of the bad information is coming from. It’s crazy.
So control is the big thing I’m after, and it’s also worth mentioning that I’ve got type 2 diabetes in my genes, and I’m pre-diabetic myself. The circumference of your waist is a really good indicator of your level of insulin resistance, and diabetes leads to nasty things like blindness, amputation and death. These are all things I’d like to stave off for a while.
So do you mind if I diet?