Dealing with Weight Gain Part Five: Avoiding Extremes
If you've been cruising around on Nourish ME for a while, or you know, have just actually read the title, then you'll know that this is the latest installment in a series that I've had on my blog since January. To give you a very short introduction (as hopefully some of you have been over this with me before, but if you're a new reader then hello!), over the past year and a couple of months I have put on a fair bit of weight, to a point where it has become a little unhealthy for me, considering my height. My Dealing with Weight Gain series has been a way for me to recentre, and tackle topics that have become issues for me as I got bigger in size.
So, first up I had a general post for you, all about how I gained the weight initially, and my goals for the future. Part two was all about how I've been trying to maintain confidence as a blogger despite my weight gain. This covered things like taking selfies when I can see that my face is bigger than it used to be. Next up was all about the idea of clean eating and that to lose weight you need to spend lots of money: I basically think this is a load of bull, but submitted to the hype for a while and chatted about my experiences. Finally, I dedicated an entire post to the taboo subject of stretch marks, and even make a video for you guys on that one.
This fifth part probably has the vaguest title of the lot, so I am going to actually explain it a little, and separate it into two parts. You see, I have days when I'm absolutely fine about my weight; on these days I consider myself a boss bitch who's rocking her life. On other days however, it really gets me down, and I either wallow or start creating silly action plans. On the latter days, neither option is a good one, and this post is largely a little reminder to myself that no matter how shitty I'm feeling, keeping a little balance in my life is always going to be a good thing to stop me going off of the rails.
To eat nothing or to eat everything?
When I get to the point where I've just been totally fat shaming myself, the only thoughts about my diet come in two categories. One is going for some extreme diet, like doing Raw Till 4, which I did for a few weeks in the past and blogged about here. This diet basically only lets you eat raw vegan foods up until 4pm, and then you can eat cooked vegan meals afterwards. It also encourages you to have 'mono meals', which are basically meals that consist of only one food. So I'd be eating a punnet of strawberries for breakfast, 8 oranges for lunch and half a kilo of potatoes for dinner. Although a lot of people subscribe to this kind of diet, it is unarguably extreme. I was miserable, spent all my day thinking about food and got headaches from the amount of sugar I was consuming from the fruit. I also really, really missed 'normal' food.
This is just one example of the kind of extreme diet that I've considered when feeling bloated, or can't fit into a dress I want to wear for an evening out. I am not advising it in any way, and in fact am advising against it. If you're unhappy with your weight, then sure, changing your diet maybe useful, but doing so in a measured manner, making sure you're happy and healthy is the way forward. Also, none of these extreme diets have ever actually helped me.
The other extreme that I consider (and probably do so more frequently) is 'fuck it, I'm fat already, why even bother eating nutritious food? I may as well just gorge on pizza for every meal'. Not a good plan when you have an (albeit fairly mild) lactose intolerance. Whoops. This is when my self-esteem really gets a battering. And do you know what? Yes, sometimes eating a fuck tonne of pizza is what I need on a Friday night to treat myself, but eating like this day in and day out just encourages the nasty voices in my head letting me know I'm a bit of a fatty. Ultimately, I'll lose energy, which makes me feel lethargic and lazy and I'll always just feel worse.
Before I carry on, I'm in no way judging anyone's diet here: I'm talking all about my own experiences with weight gain, and the fact that obsessing over eating less, or giving up eating very unhealthily, always makes things worse for me.
To buy a new wardrobe or keep the old one?
This is kind of related to my dealing with weight gain on a budget post, but here we're talking about the extreme wardrobe disasters I may or may not have brought upon myself. Clearing out all of your clothes that are too small, or a little old, or too baggy seems like an absolutely amazing idea when you're feeling like a boss babe who's in control of her life ... until you realise you have three tops in your entire wardrobe and all of those are dirty. Oh and you're meant to be saving money at the moment so have none to buy new clothes with, whoops.
I got so upset with my weight gain one day that I steamrollered my way through my chest of drawers, tossing every thing into a bag for the charity shop thinking 'even if it fits I'll just look shit in it anyway'. Despite feeling a massive sense of relief at the fact that all the clothes I'd been staring at for weeks, unable to fit into, were gone, the dread soon began to sink in. Reality hit and I realised that I now have to spend a tonne of money buying new clothes, which would involve clothes shopping which would make me equally as sad as before if I was having a rubbish day.
For a good six months before that, I feel into the opposite extreme of hoarding all of my clothes, not wanting to get rid of them because 'I'm obviously going to lose it again in the next few weeks, right?!' Wrong. I ended up with tops I hadn't worn in over a year that might never fit again, and trousers that still had the labels on because I couldn't get the button done up. Keeping these was a way to cling onto the (untruthful) idea that I hadn't gained any weight, and avoid facing reality. However, squeezing into tops so tight you could see every contour of my rolls, and trousers that I wore loose tops over so that I could cover up the fact that the top button wasn't done up was never a winning idea.
I feel like I've finally reached a fair middle ground. Yes I still have some clothes that don't fit that I've clung onto, but that's okay: I don't have to force myself to get rid of them like I once thought. I have however gradually gotten rid of some things that I know I haven't worn in over year, and giving clothes to charity always helps to make me feel good.
I'm sure there were a million other things that I meant to say in this post and have forgotten, but I think it's probably long enough for you all now. My main message here is that making sure I take a middle road in how I treat myself, what I eat, what I do, and what clothes I wear improves my mental well being by a massive amount when it comes to dealing with my weight gain. I really hope this post can help some of you too, and let me know if you feel the same way!