Friday, August 10, 2007

Me and My Rebellious Alter Ego Are Free!

My tortured attempt at a six-week weightloss program has finally come to an end. What a relief. I had my last my appointment with my nutritionist yesterday and it went something like this (similar to how it had gone the last 4 weeks):

Nutritionist: How did you do?

BC: Bad. I cheated almost every day, didn't write anything down, and just had a big lunch with dessert. I also had wine last night, a brownie, and pinkberry late at night, and the night before had 3 Bacardi and diet cokes.

Nutritionist: (smiling and at a loss) BC, Really?

I weighed myself with slight trepidation, knowing that I did not feel "skinny," and confirmed that feeling when the scale flashed 135 in big, glowing, red numbers. That's about 5 pounds less then when I started the diet, and about 7 pounds more than I ultimately want to weigh. It didn't phase me that much because over the weekend I had been consistently weighing 131 pounds (does anyone else's body fluctuate so dramatically?). The nutritionist congratulated me on losing 5 pounds (and for what we think is really more like 7 as a result of random weight fluctuations and temporary water/waste weight gain), and then we started talking about why I had not been sticking to the diet. Because, seriously, I was the worst on this diet. The. Worst. Em says I was the "problem child" of the program and she's right.

I got several positive things out of the program. I lost some extra weight, got back in the gym, started thinking about what I was eating, and came up with some healthy options for meals and snacks. But, in causing me to really think about what I was eating and why, the program also pushed pretty much every single food issue I have out onto the table. Food issues have dominated my last four therapy sessions, and have also been the source of innumerable conversations with friends of late. On the program, I developed a number of unhealthy habits such as weighing myself approximately 7 times a day and thinking about weight and calories all the time.

I also started to rebel, massively. My wilful fudgsicle consumption is a perfect example of my blatant rebellion. I didn't even try to stop myself from eating the entire box. I just did it because I wanted to and someone had told me not to. Someone also told me I couldn't eat wine, fun alcoholic drinks, chocolate, candy, chickpeas, peas, beets, sugar, carrots, or too much soy, and I didn't like that.

Last week, my nutritionist told me to completely cut out sodium. Her instructions were very clear: NO SALT. That was a Wednesday. Do you know what I did on Thursday? I made myself a large bowl of air-popped popcorn with 1 tblsp butter, salt, curry powder, and cayenne pepper (Indian-style, the way I like it) and ate it for dinner. I was craving salt like mad and it was absolutely delicious. I also didn't overeat or make myself sick so it was totally fine. I brought this up to my nutritionist yesterday and she kind of sighed and smiled again, and then admitted that a bowl of air-popped popcorn and a mango (I had also had a mango) was a low-calorie meal and that "once in a while" it was fine (at which point the ravenous, scary, and super intense 16 year old inside of me jumped up and started shaking her fist, threatening to eat air-popped popcorn ALL THE TIME!!!).

Shortly after I told her the air-popped popcorn story, the nutritionist asked me, seemingly out of a genuine sense of curiosity, "Do these rebellion issues come up everywhere in your life, or only in food?" Good question, right? I'm still thinking about it, but I told her, and I think it's right, that the rebellion issues only come up with food. And, even with respect to food, they're a new thing. Before, I used to eat pints of ice cream on occasion as a reward, to procrastinate, or because I was depressed, but as an act of open rebellion (against who?), no. In fact, I can't remember ever using food to rebel before I started this diet.

(Which is making me ponder whether and to what extent I've rebelled in other areas in my past, but I'm going to have to save that for another post).

This whole development (although I'm sure it relates positively to my emotional and psychological growth as a human being) of using food to rebel, is somewhat unfortunate. This diet seems to have unleashed this rebellious force within me, a force in the form of a 16-year-old alter ego who's balanced on a razor sharp edge between silence and impassioned and indignant rage, who goes ballistic at the faintest whisper of deprivation or grumble of hunger, who can not be controlled, who bristles at the idea of control and wants to ram it down the throat of whomever it is she identifies as attempting to exert the control, who has the power to stomp all over my rules and efforts at self-restraint with her grit-encrusted combat boots, and who can eviscerate my willpower with a single, defiant glance. It's funny how food raises control issues, isn't it?

I'm hoping my alter ego won't feel so put upon now that the diet is over, now that there's not a nutritionist telling her what to do, or the specter of a weekly weigh-in to piss her off. However, I'm slightly worried that she'll continue to feel rebellious and will, in the absence of the nutritionist, see me (and the parts of me that want to be healthy and focused), as the last remaining enemy on the block. She's powerful and if she wants to go to war, I'm pretty sure she'll win. If she wants me to be all rolley-poley and filled with chocolate, so be it. My only hope is that I think she rather likes it when we're all strong and skinny, and feeling sexy and good. I think we want the same things... But, maybe not. Maybe she just wants to eat fudgsicles all day. I really have no idea. She's a mystery.

Time will tell. But, for the moment, I think I'm as relieved as she is that we're done with the stupid diet. Yay!


bug said...

hmmm. what abt the whole just listen to your body and trust it and if you want to indulge every now and then do theory (even allowing 12 fudgsical slips bc they're just slips)? like when you want salt, have a little, when you want something sweet, have a little. when you want the pasta, revel in the carbs, and when you want the fish, enjoy the protein... bc perhaps the bod is self-regulating? real question: is the body trustworthy? also, i'd just like to point out that i'm a good six inches shorter than you, and weigh ard 120... and sure i'd be happy to lose a little and get into some healthier habits, but i feel sexy and womanly and real. circa 125 at 5'10" seems a little agressive to me, but i supoose whatever makes you feel good...

Buttercup said...

Bug, That theory and approach would be fantastic. The issue is more that, as I've discovered, I don't seem to be able to do that right now. I have some issues. As far as the weight, I would be a bag of bones at 125. I'm not aiming for that. Just between 128 and 130. BUT, that being said, it's not about any stupid number, it really isn't. It's about where ever it is that you feel good. I know that my body has not felt, on a consistent basis, balanced and good and that's ultimately what I'm striving for. Does that make sense?

Willow said...

My inner self always rebelled when I went on a "diet", which is why I refrain from using that word now. As soon as I say I can't have something, it's all I want! It's a frustrating struggle!

Hah, and I wish I weighed 135! I'm only 5' tall and I haven't seen that number in years. *sigh* I'm not complaining, because most people don't think I'm overweight. That's when I tell them "you haven't seen me with my clothes off." LOL

I too am trying to eat healthier, and I'm trying to find some kind of exercise that I like so much--I can't stop! Hmmph. Hasn't happened yet though:) Which is why I love your blog so much--you are always inspiring me:)

Hope you have a great weekend!

Buttercup said...

Willow, You are no doubt voluptuous and gorgeous. That is so sweet that you said my blog was inspiring, and frankly it was something I needed to hear today. I'm feeling quite grumpy and a bit blue. I don't know it's the weather, the fact that I just got cancelled on, or the fact that my stomach hurts from the stupid South Beach Meal Replacement Bar that I had for lunch... But anyway, thank you for the kind words. xo

Miss S said...

I am the exact same way - rebellious, but just about food. I suppose since I am eighteen, I am only two years too immature, but still, it is to my detriment. Every time my mother says "Just so you know, that muffin/candy/ice cream has tons of calories/fat/cholesterol, I take bigger bites, and grab a second when most likely I would have only had a few bites anyway.

Oh wait, now that I think about it, I am the same way about fitness. But just dieting and exercise. In every other way I'm a perfect angel. ;)

Miss S

Sammy B. said...

Buttercup - What is wrong with chickpeas? Just curious.

Buttercup said...

Sammy B - Nothing. On the diet chick peas, peas, beets, and carrots had too much sugar in them. However, they're obviously way better than candy or a cake. It was just the way the nutritionist had the diet set up, so that people theroetically did not have to count calories (which I think is a fatal flaw... but anyway). So, eat the chick peas. I'm going to.

Miss S - I can not believe you are 18!! That makes me love your blog even more. I never would have known it, so please take that as a compliment. You're wiser and mature beyond your years (or maybe I'm just the opposite - :) ). Also, good grief girl, eat the freakin' muffin. You don't have to worry about your metabolism changing until you hit 30 like moi.

gravelly said...

What a hysterical post!! Between the rum drinks, the fudgsicals (sp.) and the question from the nutritionist about rebelling in other areas (YES), I was laughing so loudly and it was soooooo great: thank you for your wonderful posts. Have a fantastic weekend, pus och kram.

Starshine said...

If you are using the word "free" to describe how you feel now that you're off this diet, I think it's really great that it's over. :)

Greg said...

Your "nutritionist" sounds like a loon. Was the no-salt thing because of high blood pressure or some real medical concern, or was she trying to get you to loose a few pounds by reducing the salinity level of your body and thereby cause you to retain less water?

The latter is unhealthy. Just as those no-carb diets are unhealthy for people without much body fat. Your body's principle fuel is water and carbohydrates. If it can't find the carbs, it tries fat, if no fat, then it's protein. You don't want to feed your body off protein. Only people with excessive fat should try a no-carb thing, but even then "diets" are the wrong mindset.

Changing you diet, as apposed to going on a diet, is the healthiest approach. Eat balanced meals. Weight concerns should focus more on activity levels then what you shovel into your mouth. Maybe I'm just too amored with the sensualities of life to fully understand self denial.