“Obesity is just a fad”

I was chubby for most of high school. I joined my high school rowing team in grade 11; somehow, a girl I was working with at the time convinced me to join up, I didn’t even really think about it to be honest, I just did it.  I loved it and it was hard work, the most I had ever exercised, but I never really thought about weight loss until I stepped on the scales at the end of the year and realised that I had lost 10kg. I participated in club rowing over off-season for the two years but couldn’t compete at school in grade 12 because I dropped a 20kg plate weight on my big toe (crushed fracture, oh yeah baby). Post high school I went to the gym regularly, I had no idea about what foods to eat but I gave it a good shot and I maintained a fairly low weight for a couple of years out of school. I was lucky that my family eats fairly well.

I’ve almost always beaten myself up about what I eat, I couldn’t have this or that thing without physically feeling disgusting. For the last several years I have played the on and off game with the gym. I would get to a point where I felt really horrible about myself and decide to get back into gym and give it ‘everything’, going 3 or so times a week, starting from 6 months, to maybe another 6 months, to a few months, to a few weeks, basically just going until I felt better about myself and then blowing it off because hey! I feel better… and I can’t be bothered… and I wasn’t changing up my routine so I would get really bored.

Another problem was, I was always confused about exactly what to do to lose/maintain my weight and I was constantly playing mind games with myself. I picked up the MX (free, local newspaper, I think they have them in Sydney and Melbourne as well) the other day on my way home from uni because I saw the words “Obesity is just a fad” taking up half of the front page. It was a very small article in a not entirely credible paper but it said “A new survey shows almost two-thirds of women blame diet and exercise trends for causing Australia’s obesity epidemic.” Obviously it’s a little much to blame obesity entirely on any one thing, not to mention that these “studies” can be seriously flawed, and calling it an “epidemic” has always seemed a little bit much to me anyway. However, I think there is some truth behind that idea though, that diet fads/messages create mass confusion.

Over the course of my life, since even before high school (though I’m not about to go as far back as primary school here, you’ll be glad to know), I have been told varying things to do with weightloss/maintaining weight. At first it’s pretty simple, diet and exercise. Then you start being told not to eat carbs, not to eat baked beans or bananas, to do cardio after weights, the next thing is that you can eat a few, but not too many carbs, then you are eventually told that some people calorie count… “but how is that different to carb counting? I understand carbs better, I’ll just keep doing it that way.”

Then one day you start a shake diet and you lose 5kg and you think it’s great but you still don’t know how to eat properly, and then when you start on the “second phase” of the diet you feel bad for eating sandwiches for lunch because “How can I still lose weight like I have been now that I’m eating carbs?” and you wonder and wonder, constantly, all of the time, “When can I eat bread again without feeling bad about it? When can I eat anything that I want to eat without feeling disgusting (yes, disgusting) and like I’m ruining all of my hard work.” as well as “When can I stop going to the gym? Because I’m bored out of my mind.”

6 months? 1 year? Never? I don’t want to never eat carbs again. I don’t want to do this boring exercise every week for the rest of my life, besides, I’m feeling like I look better anyway.” Not to mention how, by this point, my head was so full of information that I couldn’t start to comprehend.

This is turning out much longer than I had intended but what I’m boiling down to is that I’m loving the 12WBT so far because for once I’m feeling in control, and I know that the girl in the photo at the end of this will not only be smaller but stronger and healthier and one who actually understands how to take care of her body. When can I eat carbs again? Only tomorrow morning. That’s when. I’ve eaten baked beans and bananas about three times each this week. I’m working out 6 days a week and I’m not bored. It hasn’t been a perfect journey so far, I’m not always jumping on clouds or farting rainbows (have I mentioned that I think farting is pretty much the funniest topic ever? I seriously just laughed out loud re-reading this. How immature.), but I feel like I’m on the right track.

I’m a little bit worried about what will happen when I feel “okay” again, but less and less every day because every day I feel a little more like this is a lifestyle change forever, not just for now. I can thank you all for inspiring me as well. I think Michelle was right when she said that this isn’t another fad that will lead you right back to where you started, but I do need to really want this for myself.

Man, that was really long, kudos if you got through it all. I’m actually not really one to dwell on past events (I’m much too busy over-thinking present and future ones) but between the excuses pre-season task and reading other people’s stories it’s just gotten me thinking about what things have been like up to this point regarding my weightloss. I have also been thinking about this whole thing a lot over the last 12 days, picking up newspapers, watching people eating (in a non-creepy way…mostly haha) and realising just how little we are all informed and how hard it is to become informed. I’m not saying the 12WBT is the answer to everyone’s problems but I think it’s the answer to mine, and hopefully yours.

On another note, it is also Food Photo Friday so here are some of my favourite snaps from the week since last Friday:

foodweek2-6926

foodweek2-6929

foodweek2-6939The Sweet Potato and Roast Capsicum Pizza! I can’t believe that I forgot to mention this in our favourite foods for last week. I added cherry tomatoes and mushroom to mine, and mixed the garlic into the ricotta with oregano, salt, pepper and chilli flakes. The pasta sauce was a great replacement for tomato paste too.

foodweek2-6957

foodweek2-6983Studying and Jarrah Frothy Classic hot chocolate (47 calories).

foodweek2-6998-3The Roast Cinnamon Pumpkin and Feta Salad. We swapped the walnuts for pine nuts, and I was a little skeptical because I’m used to salads with at least some sort of dressing, balsamic vinegar or lemon, but we thought it was really nice.

foodweek2-7148The remains of our roast chicken.

foodweek2-7061-2Monday’s Banana Bruschetta.

~ energyandEmily

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14 thoughts on ““Obesity is just a fad”

  1. I really enjoyed reading this Emily, and could relate to much of it. Thank so much for sharing. So pleased you have found something positive in the 12wbt. And as always, your photos are fantastic and definitely inspire me to try recipes I haven’t got to yet. Keep up the great work.

    • Thank you, I just found myself thinking a lot about it and it is nice to be able to get some thoughts down on paper (so to speak) and to talk to people who are feeling/have felt the same way.

  2. I feel like I could have written this (er, minus the rowing) – we all have different paths but I think we can all relate to that horrible relationship with food and ‘when can I go back to normal?’ You’re right – the 12wbt does feel like normal. I get so excited about cooking new things (one of my non-weightloss goals for the year, anyway) that I forget it’s a program!

  3. Hi Emily. I finally feel grounded in my eating, more in control and more balanced but it has taken a while for me to get to this place. Every day I speak to people and many people still believe in no carbs/low carbs/no fruit/shake/paleo etc etc etc and the funny thing is they all work to some degree. But I believe in the 12WBT too and it has had great mental benefits for me and my relationship to food. Great pictures BTW

    • I think I will still a few mental battles to fight in the next few weeks but yeah I’m feeling positive. I guess that’s why those diets all still exist – they do work for some people and some people find that they fit into their lifestyles really well. For other people it is just a big, confusing mess. Thank you 🙂

  4. This is a great post! 🙂 Since becoming “enlightened” by the 12wbt I too watch other people eating (in a non-creepy way) and wonder if they realise the impact it’s having, or wondering if they’ve made an informed choice lol. And it’s hard when other people tell you about their shake diet or whatever and you want to say nooooo don’t bother with fake food! But people have to figure it out themselves I guess. I’ve never considered that national obesity problem could be caused by the diet industry itself. Chicken and the egg maybe? I love your photos too 🙂

    • There is a little sandwich/hot food shop near where I have most of my lectures and I often watch people buying/eating pies and sausage rolls and wonder what their normal eating habits are like.

      I was actually talking above about my own experience on a shake diet, my aunty went on one years ago and lost a few kilos so I thought I would give it a shot. At first I thought it was great because I was losing weight but then I realised that I still had no idea what I was doing in regards to food and health. The 12WBT just seems so much more realistic and sustainable. Also, you’re right, I was probably just drinking chocolate flavoured chemicals for two meals a day for a few weeks, not very healthy at all.

      It’s an interesting thought, hey? Chicken and egg, indeed.

      Thank you!

  5. Pingback: Week Two in Review | energyandEmily

  6. Banana bruschette… I am so eating that tomorrow. I have been avoiding the berry bruschetta because it is out-of-season, but bananas are always in season in our house!

  7. Emily, yours is a journey a lot of people will relate to, me included. I don’t know about obesity being a fad though or that it is mainly caused by dieting. I work in public health and it is pretty clear that obesity is growing as an issue (no pun intended) for a whole lot of complex reasons, but mainly because we are moving a LOT less and eating way more calories than we used to. It’s mainly because our types of work and working patterns and roles have changed and high calorie food is much more freely available at low cost. But you are totally right, it is by changing your lifestyle, like through the 12WBT that you can bring about a change in your weight and fitness and feel so much the better for it. I loved this post of yours – so thoughtful and I totally got through to the end as it was way too interesting to stop reading!

  8. Pingback: I’m Choosing My “Hard” | energyandEmily

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