Jennifer & Jessica

I have been contemplating rejoining Weight Watchers recently. I chalk this up to several things including a very motivating ad campaign with a heavy presence on Hulu (my primary source of media exposure due to not having cable television), feeling chubby and slug-like at the end of winter, and being totally overwhelmed  by the prospect of changing my diet in a meaningful way.

Here though are the reasons why this would be a terrible decision:
Last time I was a member I became hyper obsessed with food and didn’t enjoy eating anymore
For me, it’s not a sustainable way to eat. Counting calories or points or whatever feeds into my OCD tendencies and makes me a crazy person
I like to think of myself as a follower and believer of Geneen Roth ‘s way of thinking and she would tell me it is a bad idea

Why then is it so daunting a task to make out a meal plan for the week, put together a shopping list, and go to the store to buy what I need?

I started reading Tosca Reno’s book on clean eating and liked a lot of what she had to say. I also enjoy Michael Pollan. Those ladies who wrote the Skinny Bitch series are a little too mean. I need moderation. Eating at either extreme leaves me either fat and sluggish or skinny and angry.

I feel like I’ve successfully talked myself in a circle. I have a sense that I need more structure in my eating but I can’t seem to identify one that adequately meets my needs.

I understand that I probably would benefit from a diet higher in proteins and complex carbohydrates and a bit less sugar. Okay maybe a lot less sugar. I don’t like meat though and after months of trying to like chicken I think I will go back to being a pescatarian (no meat but yes to fish, eggs, etc.) So incorporate more non-meaty proteins.

I guess the real issue is why do I eat what I eat. The odd part is that it’s not necessarily because I like it or even because I’m hungry.

Here are some of the top reasons I have identified as to why I eat:

Habit
I always order a coke/Pepsi when I go out to eat – it doesn’t even taste that good and I do it mostly for the caffeine
I eat at the times when people are “supposed” to eat
I eat the same things I’ve eaten before even when they upset my stomach or don’t taste very good

Boredom
Well…it gives me something to do…

Exhaustion
Food is a quick pick-me-up especially if it contains lots of sugar

Stress/Anxiety/Procrastination
I find these to be very interrelated. If I am stressed  or anxious about something then I want to avoid it and if I’m eating instead then it buys me some time. The thing is though the thought of something stressful is normally much worse than the thing itself. I create a lot of false emergencies perhaps partly to excuse the purported “stress eating.” Avoidance and procrastination are recurring themes even though I know rationally I am capable of confronting and dealing with almost any problem. Emotionally I have far less confidence in myself.

Okay so if these are the reasons I eat when I am not hungry and/or am eating things I don’t like, then to address these issues is to find a more permanent solution to my food dilemmas.

That is my real problem with programs like Weight Watchers. If there are reasons other than not knowing how to make good food choices that have lead you to being overweight, then you will never  be successful until you figure out the deeper issues and a healthful outlet. When I attended meetings before I remember one short session on such issues. The leaders aren’t trained mental health professionals though and other than losing weight themselves, possess no skills or credentials to help people sort that through.

So here I go. Now that I’ve had some time to wax poetic on the issue, the real work begins. I’m going to start with exhaustion – stop blogging and go to bed at a decent time. I’ll keep you posted on working through some of the other issues.

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