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04 May 2010


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I appreciate your reflections on this stuff so much. You're fantastic at putting this into words. I lost 15 kg from October to January by cutting out starches and sugar (and automatically eating less in the process) and then sort of hit the skids, lost 3 kg more slowly over the next few months and now have put 2 kg back on in the course of the last two weeks. It's so frustrating, perhaps because it's so psychological and it feels so much like self-harming, but easier to hide (at least until the muffin top starts squishing out again). The secrecy and fear/desire of it is just so sordid. Especially the fear of someday NOT desiring it.

Yet having gone months without eating starches, it's amazing how not interesting they are when you get out of the habit of them and what you learn about your own tastes. Who would have thought that I would ever find potatoes boring? (Even now, sliding backwards into the ditch, rice does not attract me AT ALL.) And I love salad, even for breakfast (though I hate making it). The biggest surprise was when sweet things were sitting right in front of me, I could ignore everything but gummy-whatevers. How embarrassing. I seriously thought I loved chocolate and it turns out I was just eating it because I could and because it was easier to eat it than withstand the impulse to do so. :-(


Thank you for this post! I love this series and I was finally inspired to get serious about getting healthy. On your recommendation I started Sparkpeople and it's been eye opening. I had no idea my meal portions were so distorted. It was also eye opening to realize that I could and should go to bed hungry. Wow, hunger isn't a bad thing, who knew?!? I've lost 12lbs in the last 6 weeks and have 38 more to go. Thanks again for allowing us all to have a window into how you made changes in your own life.



Rebekka, too true -- habit is a huge part of our eating decisions. (So, I guess that even though you don't love chocolate, you love gummy-whatevers? I can relate... I also love gummy-whatevers...)

I stopped demonizing bread/rice/potatoes a long time ago -- I did lose some weight on low-carb a few years ago, but found it too hard to stick to -- but there are still some kinds of that type of food I have to keep out of the house or otherwise be very careful with because I will inhale it if it is lying around. Saltine crackers are my bane and I wish they came in one-sleeve boxes at the grocery store so I could buy them just for meat loaf (I suppose I could make 6 meatloaves at once and use up the whole box at one go). White rice too -- grains in general. I try very hard to make just enough so there won't be any leftovers...


Erin, isn't sparkpeople great? I don't always agree with the health articles (I don't do low fat -- period) but it's such a user-friendly site. If you decide to make a homepage there and want to share, let us know!

I am often surprised at how common "portion distortion" is. I thought my years of dieting had hammered in to me the right size portions of things -- I could rattle off, for example, that a serving of any bread ought to be about 80 calories' worth, that sort of thing -- but when it came to arranging things on a plate to eat, I always took too much. They aren't kidding when they say it's a good idea to keep the kitchen scale on the counter. It was very eye-opening to realize that my "healthy snacks" I was having 3 times a day were really large enough to be called a meal, and they only looked smaller, er, in comparison to the size of the meals I was eating.


Since you mentioned it, do you have any advice on purchasing a food scale? I've been tracking everything via volume, but the chemist in me is itching to get a scale and use weight. I've done a little looking, but I'm not sure what criteria I should be using other than I want it small enough to sit on my counter at all times.



Weight Watchers makes a great electronic scale that measures in grams and ounces...

Erin, thank you so much for posting this... I love reading your posts about this. It is very helpful for my journey :)


Don't overthink the scale too much... any decent kitchen store will have a small battery powered scale that measures in grams and ounces. Buy one small enough to keep on the counter that will wipe clean and that has a TARE button. I'll put a link to the scale I own in an update to this post, since I have disabled links in comments.


Marybeth, thank you! It is helpful for my journey back to my prepregnancy weight to post on it. You'll know I'm back to where I want to be when I start writing about some other stuff :-)


I know I started out demonizing carbs, which is easy to do when you read any of the low-carb books, fx Protein Power (holy cow, who needs that much protein? The thought makes me ill.) Although I thought Good Calories, Bad Calories (mine is actually called Diet Delusion) was good and much more neutral.

Underway I understood more that non-sweet starches were basically just a big fat habit for me, and that I could eat huge (HUGE) amounts without feeling satiety, and when I'd gone a little while without eating them I lost interest in them. Then I could eat like 2 small potatoes instead of 8 with my dinner, or none, and it was ok. I think I've fooled myself that sugary things were similar, though. More recently, as I've been struggling more, I understand that sweets are both a habit and a trigger. I don't "need" as much as I think I do, as often as I think I do, and if I'm not really, really scrupulous, it gets harder and harder to say no and suddenly I'm eating cake for breakfast again. So now I need to get myself back to that place where I can think "mmm," but still be able to say "meh, no thanks." It's just seeming much harder the second time around.


Rebekka... now I am thinking that a good weight loss mantra would be

"mmmmmm-meh, no thanks."



For me to loose weight I had to become healthy. I know that sounds backwards, but I had symptoms that were signs of deficiencies and imbalances in my body. Once I started studying and consulting with natural doctors and then taking supplements, etc. many of my cravings went away, disappeared, evaporated. I felt good and feeling good helped me eat well and have the energy to exercise. I think the health issue is primary. I have a thin sister who is very disciplined, eats lightly, runs daily (and in marathons), but has always had infertility problems and was diagnosed recently (at forty somethings) with diabetes.

Margaret in Minnesota

This is an amazing post. I will be--ahem--chewing on it for a LONG time.

Truly, I am not trying to be flip. Thank you, Erin.


I wish I could come to that place. I am currently in a place where I'm obstinately eating MORE instead of less (giving in to that little voice that says -- why not?), only thinking about the moment and then regretting it later. This post is very helpful though. Maybe someday I can come to this realization -- I feel like I'm close.


Lisa, there's always "fake it till you make it." It may be worth a try.

You ask yourself, "If I really wanted to stop eating so damn much, even though I still heard the 'why not?' voice in my head, what would I be doing?"

Then when you have some answers, try them...

Kate Wicker @ Momopoly

Amazing post.

Might you want to share your journey with Faith & Family magazine? I write the health success stories for the magazine and am always looking for encouraging stories to share. :-)


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