The next stage in the saga began tumultuously.
In the past I believed that certain foods were ‘safe’. The safe foods were considered ‘clean’ therefore they were magical. You could eat them in abundance and not gain weight because someone, somewhere said it was so. When anyone would ask me for dietary advice I would whip out my laundry list of ‘bad’ foods to avoid in order to be healthy and trim. If I had really thought about it I could have saved a lot of time and made a ‘good foods’ list because it would have been a lot shorter. It was my understanding that some foods were simply superior whilst others harnessed the ability to single handedly undo ALL signs of weight loss progress even with the smallest bite. If the foods didn’t immediately turn you into a fatty, they’d definitely give you cancer at some point. Or diabetes. Or something else only mindless, inferior eaters could develop.
I cringe inside when I think back to the looks on the faces of the people who were subjected to my spouting of this nonsense in their direction…and even more so, for those who actually listened. I meant well. But I really had no idea what the hell I was talking about. For that, I am so very sorry. To show you how sorry here is a picture I drew of myself being very, very sorry…
I also drew you a majestic, wild pony made of junk food that you are allowed to eat.
Now that I was aware of the error in my ways I had committed myself to only entertaining nutritional guidelines that were backed up with significant evidence. Unfortunately, even when the facts were there…I had years of conditioning to undo.
The researched based evidence had not only debunked my ‘good food, bad food’ mentality but it also made clear to me that weight management was all a matter of energy balance. Calories consumed versus calories expended. So simple!
Basically what that means is that it really is the quantity and not the ‘quality’ of the foods when it comes down to weight management. Flexible Dieting they called it…or IIFYM (if it fits your macros)
I believed it…but I was recovering from years of having my brain ‘brodomized’ and those mental scars ran deep. I wasn’t sure if I was mentally ‘ready’ to venture outside of my comfort zone when it came to my neurotic, clean eating. The bro-science monkey was on my back and he reeked of sugar free, banana flavoured whey.
I decided that I could deal with that later and I got to work on figuring out my calorie requirements. I used a basic formula to work out how much my body burned at rest (BMR)
1250. That seemed about right.
The problem was that once I factored in my training and daily activity my recommended intake was 2400!
Did they want me to be chewing all day!? As far as I knew only men and ravenous wilderbeasts ate that much food. No…that HAD to be wrong.
I was always an absolute failure at math in school so I calculated the numbers once again hoping that my inability to differentiate long division from being sawed in the head was the reason for this gross overestimation.
I double-checked my numbers with other online calculators and the numbers remained the same.
I sat in silence for god knows how long to let this information sink in. I get to eat 2400…of whatever I want…as long as it fits my macros…
How to describe that moment?
Do you remember as a child waking up and realizing that day was your birthday? You’d catapult out of bed the moment it dawned on you and burst into the hall in hot pursuit of the first sign of anything celebratory in your honour. The anticipation of the day’s events gave you the sugar-shakes before you’d even had a sip of the obnoxiously coloured fruit punch. There would be presents. There would be heavily frosted cake with your name written on it in swirly, pink come-hither letters. There would be colourful bowls full of usually off limit amounts of candy that on other occasions a single morsel would have to be earned by an entire week of good behavior. There would be balloons and games and prizes…animals with sweet tarts and starburst shoved up its butt that you could bludgeon into submission. And you were the birthday kid mother fuzzer. You were the king of this candy land and there was nothing the other peasants at your party could do about it. You knew no matter how uncoordinated or mentally challenged you were you would win at least ONE game because it’s your birthday. You were essentially untouchable. You could make requests that would be shot dead and killed with fire on any other day because it was your birthday and you had the gaudy cardboard cone crown to prove it.
That was how it felt. It was on like Donkey Kong.
Except…even with this level of unbridled glee in my system, the bro-science monkey still beat me in the back of my head every time I went to put something ‘off limits’ on my plate. It was a hard time…knowing ultimate freedom was just behind curtain number one and realizing that my motor skills required to pull the chord had been impaired and thwarted my attempts of moving forward. It was like watching my obese cat try to jump on my bed.
Basically…it wasn’t happening.
I decided to ease my way into the transition with hitting my immense calorie requirements with the foods that I loved but didn’t render me catatonic.
I ran into the usual problem that new calorie counters face…wildly over estimating portions of certain foods…
But when the weight refused to budge this problem corrected itself and I became more accountable. Sure enough, I saw results.
So I knew the approach worked…but now it was time to test it fully…the moment I had been waiting for: To venture out of my comfort zone and eat actual people food. BUT WHAT TO EAT FIRST?
I bolted to the groceries and burst through the doors with new zeal. This was really happening…I could eat anything…
I had ten years of deprivation backed up in my system. There were thousands of forbidden foods that had been stalking me in my dreams. And that was just in the sweets department. There was also the entire realm of savoury indulgences and convenience foods that I had been avoiding like the plague…all now had been released from their cages…and all now screaming at me to take them home first.
I couldn’t bear to break any hearts so I bought them all.
Within the short amount of time that it took me to raid the grocery, my mother had managed to ninja one of her pineapple cakes into my house.
I hadn’t had this in years…and it was right there and freshly made. The decision was made for me. This would be my moment of liberation…
It was so good. But so 'bad'. My mind was torn between reason and my deep seated fears that maybe, just maybe I was wrong and this cake was going to kill me. It had been so long since I had allowed myself to eat anything so deliciously 'sinful' that it was as if the panic button had been hit in my brain...
In that moment the only logical solution seemed to be to eat all the cake before I changed my mind or anyone else saw me eating such an 'unhealthy' food...
Before I knew it…that cake had been annihilated.
It was all a blur. I didn’t even stop to count the slices or estimate how much I was eating. I just knew that it was gone and it definitely didn’t fit my macros.
The guilt consumed me.
I was failure face all over again. I had the tools to break free from my food fears but I just couldn't let go.
When I finally rekindled my will to face the world I decided to try and work out how much I had eaten. I think it was a zillion carbs, a shitton of fat and 2g of protein.
There was no point even considering exercising this off. I could barely even move my legs. I would just have to pick up and try again the next day.
The cycle continued for some time. I swung between my manic, enthusiastic highs inspired by the knowledge that I really could eat whatever the fuck I wanted.
And the desolating lows brought on by the smaller, yet still existent bro-monkey that told me that I was no longer healthy because I ate things that weren’t deemed acceptable by elite dieters.
I’d like to say that I just snapped out of it due to common sense…but the cycle continued until I realized…nothing bad was happening.
Despite all of my fears I didn’t feel unhealthy even though part of my intake had become 'forbidden' foods…in fact I realized that over the course of the time I started eating this way I hadn’t been sick once.
I didn’t get fat despite including all of these 'fattening' foods in my diet. In fact I had actually gained a noticeable amount of muscle and even appeared leaner as a result of it.
I was stronger. I had more energy (except during the self induced misery-mode) and altogether I had a better quality of life. I could eat out with friends, I wasn’t condemned to slaving in my kitchen for all of my meals…life was actually better.
It was the final unveiling of the absolute bullshit that the health and fitness industry had drilled into my psyche. I changed my body and my quality of life without supplements, detoxing, starving OR entirely cutting out the foods that I enjoyed. It took a lot of convincing...but the results spoke for themselves. It was finally over...the monkey was dead.
And now…I have a huge bee in my butt.
I’m not here to call out people by name…but I'm sure you know the kind of folks I am talking about.
I have once been a person to pedal the same nutritional dogmas. I really believed it. But part of it was that I was too damn lazy to think for myself. Maybe I would never have plummeted as far if I took the time actually look into the information that I was swallowing. I do take responsibility for that. I took the time to check the calorie content and ingredient list of the food I was eating but not to check into the active ingredients fueling the information I was so readily parroting as gospel.
However, not everyone is as interested in studying the matrix. People put their trust in certain media presences and it’s their responsibility to not be an ass hat. Yeah, I want to make money off of this too…but I also don’t want to make a living at the expense of others in THAT way. I know I am not the only one who has experienced the utter dismay and self condemnation that comes from failing yet another diet plan. I know I am not the only one who wasted days of my life feeling guilty and inferior because I wasn't able to maintain the unrealistic standards that were being set. Maybe they don’t know the damaging effects of such things…or maybe they don’t care?
Whatever it may be, I've certainly had enough.
That's why I'm proud to be a part of www.stackingplates.com. Just the facts. No fluff.
Up yours you pseudo-scientific, broccoli farting, hot air balloons.
Up yours you pseudo-scientific, broccoli farting, hot air balloons.