Thank you to everyone who commented and emailed me supporting my last blog post. It is wonderful to know that I am not alone in my thoughts. Since I took a bit of a stand on said quack’s page, she has blocked me from posting anything more on her page. Which is a bit of a sad indictment for social media as she is allowed to roll on, raking in pretty penny, unchecked and remaining unaccountable for the unfounded and dangerous advice she gives her audience.
It made me wonder how her audience come to join her and what propels quack defence with such fervour. In my last post I alluded to the desire to be “terminally unique”. Whilst this could be one driving force, I also read more into what advice is selling these people. Yesterday, a “success story” was posted on the Facebook page accompanied by an emotive quote,
“For the first time in my life, I’m not fat. For the first time, I’m not hungry.”
The obvious aim when including such a quote is to have the reader thinking that this particular method is going to solve all of their problems. They don’t want to be fat and they don’t want to go through the pain of a perceived pain of a calorie deficit. Thus being satiated and being the body shape they desire would be very attractive, especially if there wasn’t any work or thought involved.
When I questioned a follower who proclaimed that her particular way of eating didn’t make her hungry and that everyone should join the quack’s membership page (no thanks), I asked her nicely what the fear of hunger represented. My response:
“Hunger is one of the body’s natural processes and need not be feared as (said quack with all of the emotive “you won’t be hungry” posts) implies”
I believe in personal freedom and the right to be able to choose – nutrition intake included. My beliefs about nutrition are influenced by my university studies. However, I think it’s important to realise that you can eat exactly what you like, when you like and how you like. It’s also important to own those choices – for example if I habitually overeat, then I’m probably going to see the effects of that somewhere down the track in regards to fitting into my clothing.
Finding your own personal truth in a world saturated with a bizarre mixture of crazy diets, overtly skinny Instagram models and ads spruiking junk food is confusing to say the least.
In the turmoil of the bicycle crash, the hamstring avulsion and subsequent repair, dealing with the uncertainty of recovery, gaining weight as a result of using food to deal with my feelings in a maladaptive way, I’ve come to my own personal truth.
“I choose not to deprive myself…. of life”
In that frame of thinking, achieving a small but sustainable calorie deficit is a no brainer. I’ve spent months and months convincing myself that as an endurance athlete, I needed to eat a bit more than what was actually necessary. We have been taught that hunger is a bodily sensation that is to be feared and controlled whereas I have been allowing myself to practice feeling hungry again and it’s not nearly as scary as we are led to believe by these silly quacks and other associated media. They are confusing the normal phenomena of hunger sensations with starvation – no wonder some of us are filled with nervousness about missing the next meal!
When you choose not to deprive yourself of life, it means that you start to make decisions about your eating habits based on how you want to feel. In my experience, this has taken a long time to learn. It’s all too easy to want the quick fix or soothe that we perceive food to give us. It’s when we realise that we’re after something bigger that the scales really begin to tip in our favour (pardon the pun). It’s easy to develop the habit of self soothing with food and after a particular stressful evening yesterday, I opened the refrigerator to three gigantic packets of Lindor balls. One packet was open and I could hear a faint conversation rumbling around my brain about how nice it would be to eat one. The conversation became louder and more insistent. I had just eaten a decent sized dinner and wasn’t physically hungry. I suddenly realised that although I love Lindor balls and rate them up there as an all time yummy food, that what I was experiencing was a passing urge, and that I really didn’t need to eat one right then – even though I can eat them at any time.
It is these moments of dealing with uncomfortable thoughts and feelings on a consistent basis and a generally sound handle on nutrition (and that doesn’t mean being ‘perfect’) that I believe is a key for my long term weight stability. Since I decided not to deprive myself of living, the scales have dropped consistently over the past two weeks. There’s been mindful consumption of Lindor balls, vegetables,fats, fruit and protein plus the grains and dairy these quacks despise so much However, I could have achieved the same result eating any combination of macronutrients as long as I kept the thought of how I want to feel at the forefront of my mind.
There are some great resources out there that address the mind/habit connection as well as what to eat from an evidence based nutrition point of view. First cab off the rank is Georgie Fear’s book, “Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss”. Georgie and her husband Roland, are Canadian based and own One by One Nutrition in one of my favourite cities, Vancouver. The book covers the material in Georgie’s coaching course. I did Georgie’s course nearly two years ago and whilst it made excellent sense to me at the time, only now everything is starting to click into place. Georgie also heads up the Lean Habits Community page on Facebook where you can find further information – which is free.
The other book I have found helpful is one called, “Eating Less” by Gillian Riley. This book takes a slightly different approach to Georgie’s and addresses the idea of some emotional eating being underpinned by an “addictive urge” (the addiction part is not set in concrete, Gillian uses it as more of a descriptive term). Both are available from Amazon.com and no, I’m deliberately not posting an affiliate link. Sadly, as witnessed in the whole ‘quackgate’ episode, not everyone has your best interests at heart.
In the spirit of keeping it real, I can share with you that there will be days and meals where I overshoot on the hunger/fullness index. Some days I might record my food intake. Some weeks I won’t – but the overarching thread in all of these thoughts is that there is no one truth path to health and wellness.
As you can imagine, I believe that there is way more to solving weight issues than following a prescribed diet or macronutrient ratio, hence my criticism of quacks who believe their way is the only way. What do you think?