First, that this is obviously my personal experience, and I definitely do not want to detract from the weight loss efforts of all the men and women who struggle with obesity. I am so inspired by watching people fight to get healthy. I don't think anyone really took my post the wrong way, anyway, cause you guys are awesome, but I figured I should say that!
Second, since I've opened up this whole can of worms, I guess I might as well outline my personal "diet" philosophy a little more fully.
- Any diet that involves extreme restriction and self-deprivation is doomed to fail. It creates too much tension, so at some point you are bound to snap back. It's not sustainable.
- Cutting out entire food groups leads people to completely bizarre conclusions, such as "oh I can't have that little glass of orange juice, it has sugar in it." What!? It's just oranges! Fruit is good for you!! (If it's medical, like celiacs or something, then ok, I can understand.) There is an entire industry devoted to ripping you off by convincing you that one or another vital food group - protein, carb, or fat, the 3 components of a balanced diet - is making you fat. Did you realize that before the "low carb diet craze" there was a "high carb diet craze," but our actual knowledge of food science hasn't really changed at all in that time? It's insane. As one of my comments pointed out, now "trans-fats" are bad for you but "lard" is in. What?! It makes my head hurt.
- If you don't eat the food that you are craving, you will go nuts. So indulge your cravings, but go for quality over quantity. If you are dying for chocolate, go and have a little square of delicious dark chocolate and enjoy the heck out of it, instead of agonizing for weeks and then having a million-calorie mediocre-tasting fast-food chocolate shake.
- Enjoy your food. Invent recipes. Cook something delicious that you've never tried. The better it tastes, the more satisfying it will be.
- Enjoy your body NOW. This is the real heart of the matter. And of course it's the hardest part, and it's going to be a different process for everyone. But I just... I don't think it's ever okay to postpone your happiness, even though we all do it all the time. "If only I had a boyfriend...", "if only I could get promoted...", "if only I could lose 10 pounds..." - NO. Enough excuses.* Fuck that. Feel better NOW. It is okay to still have goals for the future, but don't fool yourself into thinking, "well I'm not happy yet, but once I lose 10 pounds I will be." If you can be happy now, if you can really like yourself, then it will be easier to do good things for yourself and you will actually lose weight, if you need to.
Believe it or not, self-respect can be a much more powerful and effective motivator than self-loathing. It will get you to your goals without destroying you in the process.
And now I think the postscript might be longer than the first post, so I'm gonna cut myself off.
* To bring in the yoga connection, even Bikram says this. He says this ALL THE TIME. "You always think you are too fat, too skinny, too sick, too old, too young, too lazy, too busy, too poor - you always look for an excuse. That is called lack of self-realization."
** One more thing. It totally makes me cringe that I am about to recommend a self-help book *shudder!!!* but "When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair" by Geneen Roth is one of the best books I've ever read about food and our relationships to it. It had a pretty big influence on me.