Breaking a fast

I confess that since completing my fast I have been afraid to eat. Over the last 8 days of fasting for 3 days and restricting myself to 400 calories and low to no fat on the other days, I’ve lost a lot of the excess fat I’d put on since my last falling off my weight maintenance goals. Now I’m so afraid of gaining the fat back that I’m reluctant to eat. I know how ridiculous and contradictory that all sounds. It would be great if I could project an image of someone well put together but in reality I am a human being and I am only “trying” to develop a healthy attitude about weight and a healthy relationship with food. I have a long way to go.

I have had a long history of starving myself to stay thin. In the last 5 or so years the habit changed to starving myself to lose extra weight gained during long bouts of impulsive eating under the influence of stress and depression. I’ve been in a never ending cycle of gaining 20 pounds, losing 10, gaining back the 10 plus an additional 10, losing 20, gaining back 10, losing it again and repeating this year after year for at least the last 3 years. ( A note for those who might wonder how I know how much weight I gain or lose if I don’t have a scale and don’t weigh myself, my numbers are rough estimates)

8 days ago I started a fast. Since I don’t weigh myself and don’t have a scale I don’t track my weight loss, but I do check my waist and hip measurements and the measurement of my upper thighs. My goal is really to remove the extra fat that I store in those regions. I’m not particularly concerned about how much I weigh. I am, however, concerned about liking what I see when I look in a mirror.

I like what I see when I look in the mirror today a whole lot more than I liked what I was seeing when I looked in the mirror 8 days ago.

The dilemma that faces me is that I can’t starve myself forever. Not only do I want to eat, but I need to eat. Clearly I don’t need to eat nearly as much as I was eating before in order to be sufficiently well sustained to function. I’ve been functioning remarkably well on next to nothing for 8 days; but once I reach my fat loss goal, I will need to eat to maintain my figure so that I don’t gain back the fat I lost and so that I don’t go down to a smaller size than desired. In other words I can’t go back to my old habit for impulse eating and eating whatever the hell I felt like eating because I will only gain back the unsightly fat; and I can’t continue on a 400 calories per day diet as I will lose more weight than I want to lose.

For me a big part of the problem is that I live with 2 men who don’t care what they eat. My husband brings things into the house that I never pick up when I go to the grocery store. I never buy ice cream. I never buy junk food; but if my husband goes shopping he always buys ice cream. If my son goes shopping he always buys junk food. And my ability to resist eating that stuff is only strong when I am feeling mentally strong. Under the influence of stress and depression it’s harder to fight against the impulse to eat whatever I can get my hands on that tastes good.

So as I get to the point of needing to break my fast I am trying to figure out what I’m going to do about eating from now on. I need to come up with a nutrition plan for myself. I’m not 15 years old any more. I can’t make starvation part of my lifestyle, but I also can’t just go eating whatever I want because my metabolism isn’t what it used to be. I don’t burn fat very easily nowadays. The stuff sticks to me and does unsightly things to my body. I need to monitor what I eat so that I’m not eating foods that will end up being stored as excess fat in my body; and I need to continue working on breaking the habit of eating impulsively.

What I need to do is put myself on a strict eating schedule and stick to that schedule so that if I am not scheduled for a snack at 10AM but I feel an impulse to eat at 10AM I know I cannot act on the impulse because 10AM is not snack time. We do it to our kids. Why not to ourselves? Nothing is wrong with forcing ourselves to be more disciplined.

One thing I have done over the last 8 days and which I plan to continue doing is not have anything to eat or drink before 9AM in the morning. There’s no particularly profound reason for this choice. It’s just my way of trying to discipline myself. I’ll probably start my eating schedule with tea at 9:AM, followed by fruit at 10AM with a maximum calorie count of 150 and no fat. Vegetables for lunch at noon with a maximum calorie count of 250 and low to no fat. That would put me at 400 calories by lunch time. Then I could have a healthy snack at 3PM that does not exceed 150 calories (low to no fat). Then I can restrict myself to 300 calories and 5 grams of fat for dinner. 850 calories is more than enough to sustain me, leaving room to go over by 100 calories and still be reasonable safe from gaining back the weight provided the fat and sugar intake remains low.

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