Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekly Challenge: Stop Holding Your Breath

I used to think dieting was a lot like holding my breath.


I could do it for a little bit, with great effort, but eventually, with a great gasp, I would give up what seemed impossible, and inhale air and food again as if my life depended on it.

Then, I read this:

A diet based on quantity rather than quality 
has ushered in a new creature on to the world stage: 

the human being who manages
to be both overfed and undernourished 
(Pollan, In Defense of Food, p 122)


Oh my goodness, this is me.

My body received plenty of calories throughout the day, and yet was hungry, so hungry, all the time. Craving and eating and craving some more. And occasionally I tried to get it under control, to resist those cravings out of sheer willpower, but I just could not seem to last long this way. And that hunger, that constant hunger, was the enemy. I saw it in myself, and I hated it. 

It is selfish, it is my flesh, it is temptation. Isn't it?
But what if Pollan and others are right?

Overfed and undernourished.

Perhaps the hunger is not the enemy (or, not the only enemy).

Perhaps the hunger is just my body, working the way it is supposed to work, telling me it needs, needs things I am not giving it. Perhaps the processed foods and refined carbs I had been living on are not helping things, but making matters progressively worse.

Am I overfed but undernourished?
How would I know?

Well, I could try nourishing my body for once, and see if that helps.

So I did it. For one week, I went without sugar and refined grains. I ate tons of fruits and veggies (which was easy because my husband bought me a juicer.)

And my body thanked me.

Not a diet

Dieting, the kind that is like breath-holding, is all about what a person can’t have. This new way of living and eating is much more about what I can have. I can have things that are good for my body.  

Giving my body plenty of what it needs is nothing like breath-holding. It’s more like finally breathing in fresh air, after I had been living life suffocating under a pillow. I breathe deeply, drink deeply, and I find myself satisfied, not gasping and craving but satisfied.

Are you overfed and/or undernourished?

This week, try giving your body something it needs, and cutting out something it doesn’t.
Pay attention to how you feel, whether or not your cravings change.

Not sure what changes to make?

Read up on Real Food Basics
Learn more about Basic Nutrition
Learn more about being Overfed and Undernourished

2 comments:

  1. It's so true. We have learned through our experience that we are making a lifetime change, not just a change to lose the weight. We determined we needed to be healthier because we NEEDED to be, and losing weight is the icing on the cake! :) It's been so hard, but SO WORTH IT!!! Keep at it! You can do it!!

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  2. YES! This is an amazing, true, "gotta get it in our heads" statement!
    We need to pay attention to our bodies :0). By the time we are thirsty we are already dehydrated and when we give our bodies less than stellar nutrition, we will feel the loss in so many ways!
    I am on a mission to not just lose 75 pounds this year, but to eat WHOLE, REAL foods as best I can.
    The hubby has Chron's and so he does not tolerate many veggies and whole grains. Twisted thinking I know, but it is what it is.
    I used that as an excuse far too many times to eat white flour pancakes and not make salads...not to mention ice-cream. I do love ice-cream <3.
    This year I am on a mission to not only lose 75 pounds, but to eat REAL, WHOLE foods and NOT go broke doing so. it is a challenge, but we are doing it.
    This is often a long, arduous journey for people. It can be done, but our SAD (standard American diet) does make is hard.
    I recently read an article in Time magazine that has changed my way of thinking. In it Dr. Oz said this:
    "We have made what used to be the exception to be the norm"...as far as desserts and heavy, unhealthy "treats", not to mention the abundance of red meat and saturated fats.
    WOW! Think about that for a second. Just a generation or two ago, dessert was for Sunday as was the big roast beef dinner. Pies were often made of sweet potatoes and apples...not creams and chocolate. And candy was a once in a while treat you picked up when you had a spare dime....AND the portions were smaller AND you often shared it with someone else!!!
    Thing is, we allow the busyness of our lives to dictate what goes in our mouths. We are often running from one activity to another, working longer hours and/or over committing and then we have no "time" to make a healthy meal {which, with VERY little prep does NOT need to take much time}.
    I am so interested in your posts Emily! I look forward to learning and being encouraged by your trip down "Get Healthy Lane".

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