Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Feeling Dirty (and not in the good way)

Have you reached that point in your weight loss journey (I swear to God if I have to write the phrase "weight loss journey" like I'm some sort of dumbass Chicken Soup For The Dieter's Soulu author, I'm going to fuh-lip OUT. Please, please, please open your thesauruses (thesaurii?) and give me a new phrase. Good people, I beseech you) where you are so obsessed with your own weight you can actually feel how much you weigh?

And you know those amusement park people who stand by a scale and give you like a free inflatable whale or a coupon for kettle corn and three hot dogs if they can guess your weight within five pounds? If I were that person, and my doppleganger happened to be patronizing the Six Flags over Bumfuck Nowhere where I'd inevitably be working, I would wager I could guess my clone's weigh down to the ounce, because that's how freaking in tune with how fat or not fat my body feels at any given time.

I happened upon this article some mental health researchers in the UK published a couple years ago about the mental phenomenon of "feeling fat". The short version is that apparently an area of our brain controls whether or not we feel our bodies shrinking or expanding (adorably labeled the "Pinocchio Effect" and "Alice in Wonderland Effect") so, scientifically, being fat is a state of mind.

And of course I ran across this article as I'm spending another week feeling my body slowly expanding in all directions like a Macy's Parade float (if such float were 5'1" and blonde and tripped over cars and tall people as it made its way through Manhattan) It's so weird, this plateau thing...how for a couple days you can be at a new lowest weight and then one thing can screw it all up so you spend the next week fighting off those 3-4 lbs. you've already actually lost. It's kind of demoralizing, this up and down, and I'm starting to get frustrated with how quickly I plateau after a little loss. Not super angsty frustrated, but just kind of whatevery about the whole thing. I'm not going to give up, but I'm not sure exactly what I should be doing differently.

The weirdest thing about this whole "feeling fat" phase is how kind unclean I feel on the inside. Do you ever get that feeling? Where everything's kind of puffy feeling and your body is sluggish and maybe there's just this...not right feeling just under the surface of your skin? Yes? Maybe? Are you backing away slowly and not making eye contact? It's okay. I forgive you.

My friend Veggie B, who's moved to Asheville to become a professional hippy and WHO NEEDS TO UPDATE ONE OF HER BLOGS PICK ONE I DON'T CARE WHICH ONE BUT IT'S BEEN TWO MONTHS, WOMAN! would say that feeling that way means you're either filled up with physical toxins or emotional toxins and you need to clean them out somehow. I don't know how much I believe in toxins, but I do know this happens every single time I eat some less than wholesome food. Obviously, the weight gain isn't permanent, because it would've taken at least a couple weeks of making very unwise food choices to accumulate the calories to make that happen, but it's just weird how long the scale sticks up in the high numbers and then only falls a half pound or a pound each time. Wish there was a way to kind of get things moving along again.


Lauren said...

Thank you for writing this, been feeling that way recently myself. And for me it's more that I must feel dirty all the time because it's when I feel clean that I notice.

Jarrett Meyer said...

For me, being active is important. I'm a year away from earning my black belt in karate, and I want to work myself up to running a marathon in 2009. Those are my goals. Completing those things will require a lot from me. I don't have some weight goal. I have a fitness goal. I want to be able to do those things. Weight goals just seem so arbitrary and self-defeating.

Why do you want to lose weight? Do you plan on being a model, where your weight - just the raw number - is important? Are you going to lounge on the beach in a way-too-small bikini all summer long?

Do something! Make the weight loss a secondary effect of some bigger goal! Make your life a physical one. And? It's really hard to be depressed after spending an hour at the gym. How can you not feel good after that?

It worked for me. It worked for my wife. I'm not saying it's perfect. Just something to think about.

Anonymous said...

I TOTALLY know how you feel! In fact, I woke up this morning feeling exactly that way. I think it was psychological, though, because I was dreaming all night about binge eating. But, no, you're not crazy. I, too, have felt that everything was kind of puffy and sluggish and just not right. Good to know I'm not the only one.

Shauna said...

oh you're so right... (and so eloquent as always :) it really is a physical feeling. i can never tell if it's emotional or real but it feel like something nasty is running through my veins instead of blood, like liquid dough. or lard.