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Well & Good
In an extract from Sam Pease's actually-very-funny new book Eat Less Crap Lose That Fat she addresses the hard truth that we make ourselves fat, and that being unhealthy doesn't feel good.
Pease, a self-described 'carb connoisseur' could not diet, she'd fail every time and drown her sorrows 'in a mountain of food'. But through trial and error, and finding a system that still let her eat cheese (we like her priorities), she lost 28 kilos over five months.
"One of the many things I discovered while writing my book was that fat people sit and slim people stand. When I was fat I was spending most evenings sitting around eating. I looked like a couch, only less comfortable. Now I stand more in the evenings and my ass no-longer looks well-upholstered."
In a chapter from her book called 'What Made You Fat?', Pease describes how the first step to health is admitting there's a problem ...
I didn't become tubby because I was in a good headspace. Far from it. I felt like crap, so I was subconsciously punishing my body with crap food. I'm not sure of the exact moment it started, but at my worst I was able to eat an entire large pizza in one sitting, along with several large sides. At record speed. I was literally comfort-stuffing and food-numbing every day.
Sometimes twice a day, sometimes (embarrassingly) three times a day.
I had become a fast-food addict and, because I was eating so much, I got fat. Walrus fat. I gained 28 kilos in half a year, which on a 162 cm frame is not exactly flattering.
Clearly there was something triggering me to self-medicate with food.
To get slim again I had to work out what made me fat in the first place.
The previous 18 months had been challenging, to say the least. They included:
- Ending a marriage while newly pregnant, then miscarrying
- Being dragged through a hostile divorce and nasty custody battle
- Parenting a toddler who was struggling with his parents' divorce
- Watching my mum fight breast cancer for the third time, knowing it would be her final battle - it was
- Friendship betrayals at a time when I needed my support system more than ever
- Moving from my beautifully renovated marital home to a minuscule flat in a less desirable part
of the city.
Dealing with all those stresses made me feel like my head would explode. Bizarrely, and without realising it, I
was mimicking that sensation by stuffing my stomach until it also felt like it would explode.
So what made you fat? The following list may help you to understand your weight gain:
- Medical issues or complications (which of course can alter your body shape)
- Emotionally challenging or traumatic events in your life. Generally speaking, any overindulgence in substances
comes from fear, guilt and sadness.
- Small comfort-based changes to your diet. If you started eating a piece of cake each day, you're adding around
200 calories to your daily diet. Do that for a year and you'll be 9 kg heavier. A decade later, you'll be 90 kg bigger.
- Inactivity. Eating stodgy foods late at night and slobbing on the couch can increase your clothing by more than four dress sizes each year. Easily.
Take some time to think about it: something made you reach for fatty and junk foods in large quantities, and something's making you continue to eat like it's your last meal.
Perhaps you're setting unrealistic expectations with your diet. Ditch strict food-elimination and exercise regimens - they're almost impossible to sustain. Let's face it, you're not going to give up sugar, carbs, fat and fried foods, and run 20 kilometres each week.
Maybe you've adopted the cross your fingers and pray approach, hoping that one morning you'll wake up thin.
That will never work. I tried it. And failed.
Right now you have to accept that you made yourself fat. It may be upsetting to admit, but it's true. You put
the food in your mouth. There may be a series of triggers that set you off on a binge, but you are responsible for
what you eat.
Work out where it all began; try asking friends for their perspective. You'll never get your weight under control
until you work out why you got fat in the first place.
Treat this like a special mission and you will succeed.
It's time to let go of the past, and stop hurting yourself by overeating. You can still eat crap foods that you
crave, but you have to eat less.
- We have three copies of Eat Less Crap, Lose That Fat ($24.99) to give away. To be in to win email firstname.lastname@example.org with your best weight loss tip.
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