Rats. I hit my top number. It’s back to counting. Counting up the calories that go into my mouth. Counting the hours I put into exercise. Every calorie, every drop of sweat.
Sure, it would be great to “eat naturally,” to have an inner consumption mechanism that works appropriately and tends to keep me thin. But I don’t have that. I have survivor genes. I am programmed to hunt and gather, graze and while grazing, scan for the next root, leaf, berry, nut, or bit of flesh. Or Klondike bar. I must have come from a nomadic people. People who were on the move almost constantly, grazing as they went. I am built for that. Sadly, I no longer engage in the moving part. My nomadic experiences are all virtual, performed from the comfort of my chair.
Meantime, my energy storage cells (Yes, fat, okay? My fat.) want to do their job. The cells I was born with, and the extra ones I made when I grew morbidly obese (they don’t disappear, they just get smaller). They’re a lot emptier these days, all those cells, and they are always on the prowl, always ready to stash any wayward calorie. And oh the wayward calories in my life! They are everywhere, all the time. Though I am good at finding them, they seem to find me first.
I’ve got to reinstate the border patrol at my mouth. And this time, I think I’ll keep it up for a good long while. At least through the New Years’ parties, and probably until after Valentines, and likely until the ice melts.
Some would imagine I’ve just consigned myself to a horrible punishment. But the fact is, I rather like counting. It calms me down, puts me back in control when my food environment, my nature and my tendencies (couch sitting, napping, grazing) tend to form a perfect storm, or maybe more like a perfect vacuum.
See, since losing a lot of weight, I am hungry all the time. Well, nearly all the time. But it’s such a rare thing for me to feel full, and the feeling so fleeting, that I don’t really feel as if I’m exaggerating. I hear from people who have maintained their weight loss much longer than I have, that it gets easier every year. I’m holding out for that, and can believe it, actually. I’m starting to believe it.
But because food pretty much always looks good to me, and because it’s always there, and because I’m always hungry, and because I have a really terrible memory and a lousy metabolism, I gain weight easily. Very, very, very, very easily. I don’t eat nearly as much as most people, and have to eat a good deal less than most and exercise more than most to maintain my weight loss.
But the hunger and the work, the focus, and the attention, are worth it. All I have to do is go back through my journals to remember how much I hurt, how sick I became. Yes, this way I have to live is a little inconvenient, but it’s nothing compared to where I’ve been.
My weight creeps up, and when I hit a certain mark, I go back to the count. With every reach for food, I grab my Palm or a pen and record what I ate and how much of it. Before every meal, I do the math to see how many calories I’ve had, how many I’ve used, how many I have left to go. Every day. Every bite. Every snack. Every walk. Every workout. It doesn’t take much time. It gets easier as I go, the more fluent I become with calories and amounts.
Sure, I love the sorts of diets that allow me to eat all I want of certain kinds of foods, the ones that promise all-you-can-eat satisfaction at every meal, but I don’t actually lose weight on any of them. They might get me to buy different foods, think differently about nutrition. And I might follow their principals, but I still have to count amounts and calories, and stay under my calorie limit, or the weight simply won’t budge. That’s just the way it works for me, low fat or low carb, Core or points, training or not training.
These are the wages of being built for survival. To survive being built for survival, I have to adapt.
I’m back at it. Calories in. Calories out. Join me?