Once More Around the Mulberry Bush

Today is grocery shopping day, and with that in mind, and the fact that this has been such a tough couple of months for me, regarding just about everything, I’m going back to the basics.

In fact, after some time off, a lot of sleeping, and being honest with myself, it’s pretty easy to see what I was doing: I was undereating on the weekdays, when I did most of my workouts, and overeating on the weekends.

I remember reading a CNN article that *didn’t* give the “recommended” calorie count for an “active” woman, only a sedentary or moderately active woman, though it gave the calorie count for an active guy at something like 3000 calories.

For those looking for an “active” woman calorie count, guess what? It’s about 2500-2800 calories for somebody looking to be at the weight I’d like to be at, exercising as much as I’d like to be exercising (five days a week of either jogging or MA class, plus morning weights. Thank Hers Magazine for these numbers).

I was putting in about 1700.

And beating myself up about it because it didn’t seem to be getting me any rapid results in the weight-dropping department, though my strength and stamina are, of course, increasing. I’d been listening to a lot of bullshit about how little you have to eat to lose weight, about what “normal” women should be eating, and I was thinking 1700 actually really sounded like a lot. Well, yea, it would be: if I was 5’2 with the bone structure of a bird, and not working out. I could lose a shitload of weight if I was really doing this for a number on a scale: watch all that water weight and muscle loss get flushed down the toilet!

I knew I was at subsistence level because when I skipped a protein bar (like the day when I realized I’d brought a crappy one and didn’t eat it), I get the shakes and my body starts pushing back into binge-mode. What it also meant was that when I got the chance to eat my Thai food, or let myself have a pasta meal on weekends, I’d overeat then to compensate. So I’d somehow managed to get myself onto a different sort of binge-track, even if they weren’t what I’d call “real” binges, and they were “good” foods: I was still overcompensating.

In fact, the time when I was in the best shape, when I was in Alaska, I didn’t much concern myself with food at all. I curbed binges, but I ate what and when I was hungry. I lived mainly on eggs, brown rice, and vegetables, the summer before Clarion, and exercised every day, went on long bikerides, spent about half an hour to an hour a the gym, and did my usual weights routine. But I don’t remember being nearly as food-obsessed as I’ve been these last few months.

And in the last two months, I’ve been watching my energy level for workouts plummet. This has to do with a lot of things, but I’d bet that a crappy diet didn’t help much, either.

Going back through blog posts and looking at all the times I’ve tried to cut out *more* food, or alter it, I see those as being really stressful times, the times when I was the most upset about some manufactured size not fitting, or anticipating that I was going to start dating and remain unloved because my hips and shoulders were the same width.

What it’s come down to is owing up to the fact that getting angry at food has been about punishing myself, about not liking myself very much. It’s about not being respectful.

I’m deeply sick of protein bars, and tired of talking about food. What I find fascinating is that correlation: the times when I’m the most unhappy, the most depressed, the times when I’m the most angry at myself – those are the times when I’ve cut at the food, when I’ve seen it as a problem.

I am incredibly pissed off at the American diet industry, and you’ll see that in a lot of my posts. Mostly, I’m pissed off at it because of this: because the reason I treat myself like shit is because I’m told I’m shit for not “eating properly,” for being “not hungry,” for not obsessing about food. And then when I freak out and try and eat properly, stay hungry, and obsess about food without huge weight loss kickbacks (cause my body’s eating just enough to hover at famine-don’t-drop-any-of-this-mode), I feel like I’m doing something wrong, get pissed at myself, and engage in unhealthy counter-productive freakout behavior.

And I’ve also gotten to the point that I’m obsessing about all this stuff so much that honestly, I feel that I’ve become less interesting.

There are far more important things I should be spending my time on.

Like learning French.

Speaking of which, Jenn’s given me a self-study French book that I can work on at work. A few of my writing buddies and I still hold out hope of going in on a little French country house for a couple weeks and writing like maniacs while lounging around the pool and enjoying big French meals and good French wine.

And spending my useless work-time learning something worthwhile would be a nice change. Spending six or seven hours a day reading blogs and news articles and playing Antz will drive anyone crazy.

Throw food-obsession onto that, and you’re looking at a freakout.

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