The First 100 Days

I read Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon three years ago, and it changed my life. 

I’d been on a diet for more than thirty years. I can remember the first time I looked at myself in the mirror and felt fat. I was eight. I decided to stop eating desserts. I can also remember the first time I hid in the laundry room and shoved Oreo after Oreo in my mouth. It was the same day. 

Everything about HAES (Health at Every Size) makes sense to me, but I still struggle to trust myself. Eating still makes me anxious sometimes. I still struggle to move at all, if I can’t do an athlete-level workout. 

Several months ago, I went to a nutritionist after I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia. I told her I was nearly always tired. Despite running three or four times a week for a year and lowering my calorie intake by 500 calories a day to 1800 (I told you, I still struggle with dieting. It’s a hard habit to break), I had not lost a single ounce. Not one. She told me that I wasn’t eating enough and that I need to aim for 2400 calories a day. 

I haven’t even been able to think about that nutritionist or her advice. I didn’t realize that I’d blocked it out, until recently. I came across a blog recently, and suddenly—it clicked. 

Cutting back to 1800 calories a day for a while, followed by a burst of “HAES” eating where I eat 3000 or 4000 calories a day, or more—is binge eating. It’s not HAES. It’s not intuitive. It’s disordered. It’s not working to keep my blood sugar balanced. It’s not making me feel good. 

I need to eat enough, every day. 

That seems so basic. So simple. And it’s hard. It’s hard to dump a decades-in-the-making mindset. Amanda at Go Kaleo calls it Eating the Food, and I’m going to give it 100 days.

Actually, I’m going to give it more than that, but 100 days seems like a good start. 

My plan is to blog my first 100 days, stay in the 2500 to 2800 calorie range, eat enough protein (essential for blood sugar maintenance), and commit to 10 minutes of exercise a day.

My starting point: 

1. I’m having a hard time falling asleep—I take a sleep aide 4 or 5 days a week—and staying asleep once I get there. I wake up tired most days. 

2. My blood sugar is not under control. I crash in the late afternoon most days. 

3. I’m not exercising at all, and some days I barely move from my computer (where I work from home.) Just doing normal things (shopping, eating out, etc.) exhausts me. 

4. My lower back, neck, and shoulders hurt. 

5. I’m cranky, because of the fatigue and pain. 

6. I feel considerable stress most days. I had a deadline pass recently, and working to meet it was difficult on me physically and emotionally. I had one genuine panic attack. 

I'm posting this on Blogher a little late. I'm on day five. I'll post the first four daily posts right now, then one a day for 100 days!

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