I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this weekend. I weighed in on Saturday, after a perfect week of following my program – netting about 900 calories a day, and found I’d gained 2 pounds.
This is not normal. This is almost mathematically impossible. I’ve controlled for all variables and this should not be happening.
First of all, let me tell you what it’s NOT. It’s not that I’m “not eating enough calories so your body is hanging onto weight!” as some very helpful persons who overheard me at a party last night talking with some friends who understand my story advised me. (I absolutely love getting pop-diet bullshit packaged as helpful advice from the morbidly obese.) It was about all I could do to NOT whip out some reality and smash these people into the floor verbally, but I like the hosts so I abstained as best I could to not create a scene. I was giving both of these people the benefit of the doubt in that perhaps they are simply stupid and didn’t understand what the word “netting” means, in that it means that the amount I totaled after the amount I burned through exercise was taken out – meaning I actually consumed about 1200 calories a day and burned about ~300 through exercise, but whatever, I digress. Or, that they honestly believe that the less you eat the fatter you get and that’s why, for example, people who get gastric bypass gain so much weight right after the surgery, and why the survivors of concentration camps are so darned FAT.
I was talking with a mental health professional on Friday afternoon about some anxiety problems I’ve been having due to my very stressful job, and he mentioned that stress has been shown to have very strong effects on weight, particularly in women, and he’s seen cases where women in very stressful work situations have lost 20 pounds, changing nothing in their diet, when removed from the work environment, and it’s due to cortisol, one of the stress hormones. And you know what? I don’t have a better working theory for what’s going on with my body. I picked up about 15 pounds on this job and haven’t been able to shake them no matter what I’ve done – starving myself, high-protein, low-cal, running excessively – nothing works. Cortisol is my new theory. My body is hoarding fat due to stress hormones, because I am constantly feeling a “fight-or-flight” rush of adrenaline on the job, every day here. It sucks.
Anyway, the long-term plan is for me to get out of my job, but my husband needs to graduate from his BA program and get a job himself first, so I just need to hang on for a few more months (hopefully). I can make it…I can make it. So I’m back to normal eating. If the drastic diet isn’t going to do anything for me, because of the high stress environment I’m unable to leave, then I’m not going to kill myself with hunger. I’ll eat sensibly, and wait for better days.