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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dangers of Dieting

Good Morning! It is Saturday and I am happy to have slept in a bit. I am also happy to have my work-out done and out of the way for the day! Today's choice was Vinyasa Flow Yoga with Seane Corn. I have always loved yoga (when I practiced) and asked a friend to recommend a good dvd program since I am unable to depend on leaving the house to attend a live session. This was one I have chosen out of her recommendations. My body feels wonderful, shaky, but wonderful!

Practising yoga in this body, in it's current shape, is interesting. The last time I did yoga, was over a year and a half ago. I was 40lbs lighter. This extra padding I have packed on is proving to make smoothly getting into poses very difficult. I sometimes question whether or not I am getting the benefit out of it and wonder when it will no longer feel foreign to me. If you have never done yoga and think that it can't possibly provide a thorough heart raising work out, you are dead wrong. You sweat and at times want to cry out for mercy as your muscles begin to tremble. What I love about yoga is the way it makes me feel. My body feels stronger and longer. I especially love to do yoga a day or two after an upper or lower body workout. I actually crave it. Because it stretches out all those muscles that feel so sore after a good workout. I also feel that it is a kinder form of workout for your body, on your body.

For me, the transition into a healthier lifestyle doesn't truly begin until I start to work my body. The reason is simple. It is harder to put something unhealthy into my mouth when I know I am working against myself. Also, I find that my body naturally starts to crave foods that are healthier. That could be in my head, but that's fine. Remember, I am not a fan of dieting. My problem is how little I eat in combination with what I finally choose to eat. I can't say that I have ever really been on one. Except once.

A little more than two years ago I was chosen for a weight loss study. I was so excited and thought I was lucky. I was wrong. The participants were placed in groups and were to meet weekly and keep a log. One of those groups would be placed on a powder/liquid diet that consisted of 900 calories a day. 900 CALORIES PER DAY. We were also given pedometers to track our steps each day. We were instructed NOT to exercise, because of our low calorie intake. I was 9 months postpartum (I had to stop nursing to be accepted into the program), 3 children at home and caring for others as well. Making 4 stops at preschools each day, putting 5 kids in the car and taking 5 out at each stop. I was a busy mommy. Did I mention, 900 calories. No exceptions. Boy, did I struggle. They questioned my commitment. I wanted to be healthy and thought this was the answer, so I promised to try harder. But they never, not once questioned why my pedometer was tracking between 7500 - 9700 steps per day when everyone elses were 1500-2000. They also did not take into consideration that I was a young mother, and the others were mostly empty nesters, some of them retired. The people in the group acknowledged this and often asked how I was doing it.

I don't know, looking back, how I did it. I lost about 15 pounds, but it took forever. The others were dropping weight like crazy. It was so frustrating. And then, things started to change. I could no longer think straight. I was forgetful, exhausted, frustrated, and irritable. My sister was getting married during this time and I was planning her shower. I thought I was just overwhelmed, doing too much. I went to my doctor because I wasn't feeling right. I was experiencing frequent palpitations and was often light headed. I told her about the study, she left the room and I could hear her consulting with another doctor. He sounded less than pleased. The problem was, that technically, while in this study, I was under the care of another doctor. My doctor informed me that much of what I was experiencing was the same of her patients with eating disorders (I believe she works in a clinic as well). She went on and very diplomatically told me her feelings on everything. I left feeling somewhat sane, because what I was experiencing was real, but conflicted on what to do. I hate letting anyone down. I felt that if I decided to leave the study, I had failed. So I decided to stay on.

We would be transitioning to a point in the program where small amounts of real food would be introduced into the diet. In the first week of transition, I felt amazing, alive and started to lose. Within two weeks, those familiar bad feelings started to come back again. I wasn't losing anymore either. The study started in May and we were into November. I slowly stopped going to the meetings. Then, I was in the doctors office again. My hair had started to fall out. Thankfully, I have a lot of hair. It was on the shower walls, the pillow, on my clothes. It was falling out and my scalp hurt so badly. I learned that when my scalp hurt, it meant my hair was going to start falling out again. My face broke out terribly. I was a mess. After revealing to the doctor that I was done, finished, by my own choice with the study, she spoke very frankly. She said that while these studies gain wide recognition, they often fail to report the cases gone wrong. That I would fall into the "non-compliant" category . Which was wrong. Because I represent a very large number of people. She was right. She also explained that most, if not all of my symptoms were from a body thinking that it was starving. She was appalled that it was considered at all acceptable for a busy mother of three, 9 months postpartum to even be considered for such thing. She was right, again. I hadn't failed. It was nearly impossible for me to succeed under those conditions. And do you know what happened? I packed on pounds faster than you could believe.

So with the combination of the "Every Monday Diet" that my parents practised and this weight study mess, I have no desire to "diet". I'll eat healthy and nourish my body the way it was meant to be. There will be no dieting in this house!

***I also would like to point out that one of the participants of this study was a pilot. During one of our meetings, he was honest and said that during a flight, he wasn't feeling quite right, so he ate a handful of nuts. He was greatly reprimanded for that. I should have know at that point...GET OUT!

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