Layer upon Layer, A Body of Knowledge is Built

How long have I been doing this?  In January 2013, it will be 9 years since I started this last weight loss journey.  NINE YEARS!!  Nine years of reading and researching how to do it, anything and everything about food and nutrition, various types of diet theories (Weight Watchers, paleo, vegetarian, raw food, intuitive eating, low carb, calories in/calories out, whole grain, you get the picture,) the whole psychological component to weight loss, why some people succeed at maintaining weight loss and what and how they do that, oh, and exercise.  I’m sure I left something out.  But you know.  Its a LOT of information.

And the thing is…all of it is useful.  Even the stuff I have decided is not true for me.

Yes, it is frustrating that there is not more definitive information about obesity, its causes and cures, and weight loss maintenance.  But still, we have an awful lot of knowledge to draw upon.  Layer upon layer, I have added all this to the base of my eating and exercise habits.  When I decided to try The Hunger Game, I did not throw away everything I knew about good nutrition and what works in my favor.  If anything, I am using that information more than ever.

It kind of drives me nuts when people who have been doing this a long time figuratively throw their hands up in the air and act like they do not know anything.  We know a LOT.

Part of what I know is that it is hard work to maintain a lower body weight.  It is hard because as you age, something or other goes on in your body (more efficient?  slower metabolism? hormones?) and your body holds onto weight.  Helen reminded me that you don’t need to eat as much when you get older, and the next day I got an article in the mail saying that women who have gone through menopause need 200 calories LESS a day!  Oh my goodness.

It is hard work to maintain a lower body weight if you have previously been very overweight for an extended part of your life.  That is a theory I believe because of the overwhelming amount of objective information available (evidence gathered by various scientists, and also the testimony of many many people who have lost weight and maintained that loss with varying degrees of success.)

I know a LOT about food and nutrition and how the body processes food.  (Oh, side rant:  I know many of you would be more comfortable believing that the body is a machine–that you can input certain food or exercise and you will receive the same results every time.  I’m sorry, but that is simply not true.  The body is closer to a work of art than it is to a machine. Period.  end rant.)  So at my best, I am easily able to choose healthy, balanced whole foods that will keep me satiated for 3-4 hours.

I know a lot about exercise, and what part it plays in weight loss (very little) and weight loss maintenance (a lot.)  I know that the body gets accustomed to the same exercise and gets more efficient at how it processes that exercise (not fair!) so that it is good to continue to challenge your body with exercise by increasing the intensity or by changing the type of exercise periodically.  I know that it is good for your heart and your mind.  I know that it keeps me from becoming stiff as a board, so I keep doing it!

It took a while, but I do understand very well the part that the mind plays in food choices and eating.  I learned that for me, anxiety was the single largest factor in why I overate.  Just learning that was a tremendous step forward in changing my relationship with food.

So I know all this stuff.  I did not discard one bit of it when I decided to WAIT UNTIL I WAS HUNGRY to eat.  Honestly, it just makes sense to me.  Just one more piece of the puzzle.

12 thoughts on “Layer upon Layer, A Body of Knowledge is Built

  1. I appreciate that you are adding to your arsenal instead of discounting/deleting certain things. I think it’s hard to accept that what works for you at one time may not continue to keep working, and you have to stay open to other options. I love that you do that – your growth on the subject of weight loss over these 9 years (!) has expanded tremendously as your body size has decreased. And anytime you feel bad about where you are now, just look at your before shots. You’ve done an amazing job of keeping off most of your lost weight, especially considering the stressors you’ve had over the last few years. I’m so proud to know you!

  2. Wow, what a wonderful post! I agree with it so much. And all these various approaches need to be personalized, since our bodies react differently to different approaches.

    You may have heard it already (since you mentioned similar ideas) but Jimmy Moore interviewed a lady recently who told the brutal truth about why people struggle, even on a “good” low carb diet. Especially if they are female and older. She said the same thing: you need about 200 calories LESS per day. And some of these online calculators are dead wrong in how many calories they tell you to eat per day. Anyway, I found it to be encouraging info, and answered some questions I had. Here’s the link in case you are interested:

  3. I wish I could find ALL the people who are trying to lose weight and make this post mandatory reading. So, so, so much good in here. I especially love the bit about exercise. It’s so important for good health but I happen to be living proof that one can out-eat their exercise… not that I’m proud of that.

    You remain a motivator and an inspiration to me Debby! (ohhhh, there IS life after menopause, just 200 calories less of it, eh?)

  4. Great post Debs!! It’s like every situation in life: there’s always a lesson to be learned. I think it’s the same way with weight loss, every attempt leaves you with a lesson, either what to do or what NOT to do, and it’s all valuable.

    • That is a good point Jill! I often say I learn more from my failures than from my successes. Not that I want to fail again LOL.

  5. How timely for me since it was exactly six years ago TODAY that I began my final journey to lose 65 pounds. I wish I could say the journey was without interruption, but we both know it wasn’t. But I am delighted to know that at the six year anniversary, I am at goal and seem to be maintaining it. Interesting that my original goal (on Oct 1, 2006, was 10 pounds HIGHER than my weight today and my original lowest weight which I achieved in early 2007, was 8 pounds LOWER than my weight today. The goal weight I settled on and which my body seems to like must be the right one. These ideas in your post are all true and will keep us on track if we’ll just keep reminding ourselves of them.

    P.S. Made muffins yesterday afternoon – always brings back fond memories. Oh and had dinner with Cammy last night. We talked about you!!

  6. Brava!! This post is so awesome because it points to the fact that we really do, in the end, have to know and trust our very own bodies and not leave it up to any “expert” out there to tell us what to do. Besides, Resistant Karen is right there saying, “Don’t you dare tell ME what to do!” 😉

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