Like many people, especially women living in North America, I’ve been waging a low level war against my weight for ages.
My first battle started after completing undergrad, followed by a particularly strenuous high-volume degree. I completely let go of my health and the pounds piled on. It didn’t stop once I started working in my first professional job. After I hit a particular number on the scale, I got my act in gear and started getting fit. What does that mean? It meant that I did what Conventional Wisdom (in the form of doctors, nutritionists, the government, Dr Oz and other institutional forces) recommended for years.
1. Low fat diet which includes fruits, vegetables and “hearty” whole grains
2. Calorie restriction, i.e. no more than 1200 calories per day
3. Doing lots of cardio. I hit the gym 5 times a week, for at least an 1 hr per session, all of it spent on cardio.
Being the dedicated and focused bunny that I am, I restricted my diet, killed it at the gym and lost lots of weight, fast. But I hung on to this new-found low weight through a lot of exertion and a lot of discipline. It was a matter of willing my mind to ignore my hungry stomach and tired body.
Constant vigilance was required to maintain my weight, including fighting hunger and pushing myself to go to the gym, but of course, the inevitable happened. After a short while, my weight started creeping back up, to my utter dismay. The more I tried to reverse the weight gain, the more it crept up. I was like a hamster on a wheel.
I found out that I couldn’t sustain my gym sessions, at least not at the rate of 5 times a week, so going to the gym trailed off as well.
It all came to a head when I went to grad school. I was at my biggest. Ever. I felt older, more tired and sicklier than my youth warranted.
It simply couldn’t be this hard to be fit and healthy. This was not right. My situation, combined with other factors that I will get into in the future, gave me the impetus to really research health issues.