I’ve been on almost every diet that exists. More than once in fact. I know all the rules. I can look at a food and guess it’s weight, calories, fat, protein counts. I know how many calories a day I have to consume to lose weight, maintain my weight, or gain weight. If there were a test on the various diets, their principles, the dos and don’ts, etc. I’d ace it.

But I know that when all of the diet plans have been wiped away the basic truth is that the “secret” to weight loss is simple. If you take in more calories than you burn you gain weight and if you take in fewer calories than you burn you lose weight.

I love to exercise. Running, swimming, biking, yoga, taking long walks. I like to be active. I take the stairs instead of elevators. I spend most of my day on my feet.

With this combination I should be a normal weight. I should never have been fat. I should never have had to spend all these years struggling and fighting and being overweight even when I wasn’t fat.

But I’m not a normal weight. I was fat. I have spent years struggling and fighting.

And I can’t do it anymore.

I am 30 pounds overweight. I tell myself that when I was 10 pounds overweight I was unsatisfied with the numbers on the scale. When I was 100 pounds over weight I was unsatisfied with the numbers on the scale. I can’t win.

For years, though, I could diet. I could pick a diet read the book that went with it, clean the kitchen out, shop for the requisite ingredients, follow through for a few months, and lose the weight. I’d usually lose steam about 5-10 pounds from my goal. Then the pounds would creep back on and a year or so later I’d be back where I started.

That pattern has changed. The cycle has shortened. By a lot. I have successfully maintained my weight within a 10 pound window for the past three years by dieting for two week stretches. This wasn’t planned. It’s just how long I can last now before I cave in, give in, give up.

But this winter the scale crept up past that top threshold. Only by about 3 pounds. But it’s scared me.

Where do I go from here?

Over the weekend I was looking for a sign from the universe to help point me in the right direction. Two different people talked to me about the diets they are on. Two different diets. The Dukan Diet and Body for Life. I went through the cycle of dedication, weight loss, and rebound in my head in about and hour for each of them.

I asked my husband what he thought. He told me that he’d support me no matter what I chose, but that he didn’t want to see me discouraged when after two weeks I cheat and then stop losing weight and then get despondent again.

He knows me well.

He knows me well enough to know my pattern.

He loves me.

He knows me and loves me enough to have made me laugh when he said it.

He knows me well and I know he’s right.

But where does that leave me?

Do I diet? Do I not? Do I accept the near inevitability of further weight gain if I don’t? Do I accept the despair that comes from failure?

The programs principle of “just for today” would help me here, but I can’t own it, employ it, make it work for me, so it’s not helping.

When I first went into the OA program 12 years ago I didn’t know how to put together and eat normal meals. Most of what I ate was either a snack, a binge, or a rigidly controlled diet dictated meal. My first abstinence was simple: three meals a day, no snacks. Meals had to include equal portions of protein, starch, and vegetables. Fruit was dessert. It taught me that a pizza wasn’t dinner. A slice of pizza, and a salad with some low fat protein on it could be a dinner. More likely it was broiled fish, salad, and whole grain rice.

It taught me what it needed to. Now, that’s how I eat. If I go three days without a salad I start to crave one. It feels good to crave vegetables.

But this leads me to a new problem. Now that I know how to eat, and do eat that way generally, I’m still not losing weight. I’m still stuck in limbo land. What abstinence is out there for me? What do I need to learn?

I think I need to learn how to put down the snacking and the junk food. But I want to live a normal life. I want to have cake on my kids’ birthdays.

I want to have my cake, and eat it too… and lose weight too.

I think if I were praying regularly, and being honest about what I want, I’d pray to have my food obsession lifted, and to become thin again, and to still be able to eat whatever I want.

I remember a few years ago reminding myself that normal eaters and normal sized people don’t eat whatever they want whenever they want to. They aren’t magically immune to the effect of fat and calories.

But I don’t know how to say no to myself. I don’t know how to deprive myself when there are so many areas of my life where I feel deprived already.

Deprived of the right to put myself first.

Who is imposing that?!

Our children?

Our finances?

Me?

What a tangled web I weave. But who am I trying to deceive?

Advertisements