Chronically Awesome: Why You Don't Want to Lose Weight Like Me

Losing weight is often seen as a good thing. Those who do are often praised, and looked up to. We associate weight loss with happiness, and weight gain with feelings of guilt, and sadness. And it makes sense in a way. We are constantly taking in videos, pictures, and audios of others saying that we will be happier if we lose weight. The result? An obsession with being skinny, even if it means losing the weight in an unhealthy way.

Most doctors and dieticians will recommend losing weight by eating healthy and exercising, but doing this can take a while for the pounds to fall off. A lot of people want a quick, and easy way to lose weight. But I'm not going to be specifically talking about that. Today I will be talking about how people viewed my weight loss, and why you probably don't want to go about it like I did.

Little background, maybe two or three years ago I had to go on a high dose of steroids because I was extremely sick. They worked great, and I felt like a new person overnight. But there is a reason doctors try not to put patients on these types of steroids: they aren't all that great for your body, and the side effects are usually pretty extreme.

Some of the side effects that I had were insomnia, increase in anxiety and depression, some suicidal thoughts, and (what we're focusing on today) weight gain. I was constantly hungry. I would go through two or three bags of grapes (you know the big ones you get at the store?) a week. I was a vegetarian, and had to start eating meat because meat was the only thing that could keep me full for a reasonable amount of time. Needless to say, it was a major change from the little girl who couldn't eat anything. When I finally got off the steroids six or seven months later, I was 180-185 pounds, and 5'4.

I am now 5'5 and 114 pounds. What. The. Fuck. Happened. Here's the thing. I lost a good 90% of the weight in the past year and a half. Along with the fact that I lost it in big chunks from not being able to eat. I would be losing 5-10 pounds a week. I didn't lose the weight through hard work and determination, I lost it through pain and suffering.

One of the most annoying things to be ask is, "What is your weight loss secret? How did you lose all that weight?" Because, in reality, if I told you how I lost the weight, you would run far, far away from my "weight loss secrets." Because my secret? Don't eat. Food is the enemy. I can only give you the very basics on how to lose the weight in a healthy way, but I can spurt off a list from the top of my head on how to suppress hunger triggers, and how to avoid eating.

We naturally gravitate towards quick and easy when it comes to weight loss, but do we really think of what happens when we deprive ourselves of food (which is what a lot of diets suggest you do)? One of the big things I noticed with myself was that I lost all sense of hunger. I could go for very long stretches of time without feeling any hunger at all. I remember having a conversation with my mother, and she told me I should be feeling hungry roughly every four or five hours. I realized after that that the last I had eaten was 17 hours ago.

It took a long time for me to get my hunger back, and it didn't return quickly. I had to set alarms on my phone to remind me to eat. And, whether I wanted to or not, I had to consume something. Sometimes it looked okay, other times it repulsed me. It's hard to eat food on a full stomach, and it's even harder when you know you'll have to eat two more times before you fall asleep.

But I think that the worst thing about it all is how it has changed my view on food. It altered my perception on how much food, was actually a lot. I do not wish for anyone to see food how I do now. When eating 900 calories is considered a lot. When you look at everyhting, and decide what to eat, not based what looks appetizing, but based on what will hurt the least.  I do not wish for anybody to see food how I do.

The next time you see someone lose a lot of weight really fast, or in big chunks, know that they might have a chronic illness, or an eating disorder, or another type of mental illness, or something else in their life that's causing trouble. Because losing a lot of weight really fast isn't as desirable as it's cracked up to be. Let's stop associating being skinny and weight loss with happiness. Instead, let's try to associate happiness with healthy habits: exercising, eating more fruits and veggies, taking time to focus on ourselves. Because I wish that I had gotten to lose the weight one of those ways, and it definitely isn't the path that I'm currently stuck on.                 

Comments

  1. Steroids can be tough. But yeah- that must have been an agonizing way to lose. And I think it's so easy to get off balance with hunger/ fullness triggers, or whatever, especially when powerful drugs or chronic illness is concerned- it just throws everything out of whack? I've been trying to go more or less vegetarian, for health reasons but ethical ones too, although I still eat fish, and I feel better for doing it, but it has been an adjustment in that sometimes I'm like am I hungry? What does being full mean now that I'm eating all kinds of different stuff??

    The other thing too is when you're trying to force yourself to eat, or feel like you should but don't really want to. That's hard too! Anyway thanks for sharing, you're right about a lot of weight loss assumptions people make...

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    1. Yes, my hunger signals have been out of whack for a couple years now, it's kind of interesting though. I've been at both extremes, and I gotta say they both suck in their own ways.

      Oooo, it's exciting that you're going vegetarian! I'm a vegetarian right now, and for a while I was even whole food plant based. I might suggest adding a bit of protein to your meals if they aren't lasting. Something like an egg, or almond butter, or beans might help. Also, nuts are great sacks that tend to keep me full (but I'm probably not the best source when it comes to that, lol). Good luck! :D

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    2. Thanks, I can use the advice! I actually like giving up red meat, I just feel healthier, and I like fish so I'm good there. Finding healthy snacks is hard. :)

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    3. It is! I feel like I'm still trying to figure it all out, lol.

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  2. So sorry to hear that you are battling with an eating disorder - someone close to me is also struggling with this disabling, life-altering illness and so I have an inkling of what you are going through:(. Best of luck to you...

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    1. Oh no! I don't have an eating disorder! I'm sorry if I made it sound that way. I have chronic illnesses that mess up my digestive track.

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