I’m late, but I’ll play!
Early life: I was an athlete from a young age. Was skinny enough you could count individual ribs at 11 and 12, but my mother (a lifelong anorexic herself) put the entire family on the classic 90s very, very lowfat diet, because it was “healthy”. Remember having actual stomach pains because I was so hungry. The rare steak nights were the only time I ever felt full. I wonder why?
High School: My father needs to lose weight (despite being fed a very healthy low fat diet for years!), so he goes on Atkins/Sugar Busters. Then the whole family goes on a modified version, because it’s healthy! Only low fat, too, because fat is bad! I resort to getting what fat and carbohydrates I can at school, mostly in the form of candy bars and potato chips, as that was what was available. Somehow manage to gain 50 pounds in high school on a mostly meat and vegetables (and daily candy bar) diet while training 2 1/2- 4 1/2 hours aerobically a day as a serious competitive swimmer. I am living proof that the whole “Calories in, Calories out” stuff is total BS. Mother and swim coach get concerned. Blame it on the candy bars and being lazy.
Freshman, College: Promptly and effortlessly drop about 30 pounds via swimming and actually eating fats for the first time in my life (and carbs!)
Sophomore, College: Get injured, and stopped working out. Get depressed. Stop sleeping. Start eating thousands of calories a day, mostly free of nutrients. Learn how to drink a 2-liter bottle of diet coke for an all-nighter. Gained 50 pounds. Literally managed to gain a dress size in two weeks. Seriously- tried it on in the store, it fit, and then it wouldn’t zip two weeks later. However, I can vouch for the whole weight set point thing. After I gained a lot, I couldn’t put on a pound for a long time. And believe me, I tried.
Junior, College- Bulimia, as I tried to get back in shape for competitive sports. Isn’t life grand?
Senior year, college: Finish sports, go on the “screw it all” diet. This is essentially the diet where you mainline anything produced by Mars or the Nabisco corporation, and sleep from 5-9 am. Lots of binge eating. Gained about 20 more pounds.
Post-College: Attempted to get life back on track. Finally see a therapist who specializes in eating disorders. Ignore her sage wisdom of “eat a moderate amount of ice cream if you want it” and go hard-core paleo. Lose about 30-40 pounds with daily hour long workouts in a few months. Quit because logging every food I eat and circling all the days on the calendar that I wasn’t perfectly paleo is insane. Regain the weight after giving up.
Post-post college: Decide that intermittent fasting and periodic cleanses are the way for me to go. Don’t eat till noon. Then eat candy. Nails and hair commit mass suicide pact for lack of nutrients. Gained enough weight that I didn’t want to step on a scale ever again. Finally start listening to therapist that maybe crazy restrictions aren’t the way to break out of the lifelong terrible food culture.
Post-Post-Post college:At double the weight I was a decade ago, Screw it all diet 2, only with Diet Recovery and a goal of raising my body temperature. Finally understand the importance of sleep. Eat all the Hamburgers. Gain some weight, but feel good. Get temp. up in the 98s and 99s.
I’ve gradually moved into a more nutritious diet, after about 5 months of hamburger heaven. Junk food doesn’t hold the same appeal anymore, and I’ve found that after getting my temperature up to normal, I’ve been slowly losing weight as long as I make sure to get lots of nutrients. I drink two gallons of raw milk a week. I eat delicious soups with potatoes and rice. I actually get excited about cooking and eating. I’m sleeping more, and have made a personal goal to do exercise that I enjoy, not that I feel I need to do. I still feel like I need to lose some body fat for the sake of my long term health, but I’m a veritable furnace and feel really good most of the time. I used to think that I had permanently wrecked my body and my metabolism, but now I feel like there’s hope I’ll feel like a normal person with normal eating habits someday. To someone who has struggled with eating disorders and binge eating for a long time, that’s huge.
Oh- and being too lazy to remove myself off the Mark’s Daily Apple, I had a great chuckle today when I saw that he’s now touting Resistant Starch supplements. It appears the Paleo community is slowly coming around to the concept of potatoes. It gave me a refresher in how much I appreciated Diet Recovery and 180 degree health for attempting to bring back sanity to the diet industry. I would probably still be on some sort of food group restriction if I hadn’t stumbled on it.