Welcome to my little corner of the web. I am thrilled for you to visit and I hope to connect with as many of you as possible. I am humbled by the messages I have received and I am grateful for the reminder that I am not alone on this journey. Obesity is hard and long term weight loss is even harder. I don't pretend to have it all figured out, but I have learned a few things that work along the way. I had no idea that I would end up on the front page of Yahoo this morning, but I don't think it's a coincidence.
I am still unpacking a recent setback, trying to understand how and why I went from a loose size 12 to a tight size 14 over the course of a month. After much introspection and many heartfelt conversations, what resonates above all is being kind to myself. The first few weeks back from vacation, I was not. I felt desperate to lose weight (a feeling I know all too well) and I was angry at myself and my body. Motivation that comes from a place of fear never works, yet there I was.
As a culture, we have started talking more about self-care, but what does that really mean and how are we putting it into practice? How does this apply to weight loss, loving our bodies, and ultimately accepting ourselves? Self-care is at the very core of a healthy, happy life, yet so many of us spend our lives seeking a diet plan or training regimen as the solution.
I have been preparing to announce a new community initiative called the #SelfCareProject as a way to inform, support, and celebrate self-care habits. I'm not quite ready to share all of the details, but I would be remiss if I didn't use this opportunity to invite you all to join me. The project will officially launch on Monday morning, so please sign up for my newsletter if you're interested in learning more. It's totally free and I promise it will be really fun.
Thank you again for being a part of my journey. We are stronger together than we are alone. You can also find me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and twitter.
Disordered eating can range from mild to severe and from intermittent to constant, but its core characteristic is eating in response to something other than physical hunger. Like drugs and alcohol, food can be an escape from uncomfortable emotions. In particular, foods such as sugar, refined carbohydrates, and dairy are known to have properties which affect the reward centers of our brains. This also numbs our feelings, enabling us to go about our daily lives without ever acknowledging or addressing how we really feel. Crazy, right?
If you are like me and the idea of being an emotional eater, compulsive overeater, or binge eater resonates even a little bit, you’ve probably tried every diet in the book — twice. The problem is that diets don’t work, at least not in the longterm. This is why I and so many others have lost hundreds of pounds, only to regain them. Diets create an environment of emotional and physical deprivation, which inevitably results in binge eating.
A year ago, I moved to San Francisco on a whim. I felt like I was spinning my wheels in Los Angeles and I knew something needed to change. It was terrifying to walk away and start over, but it was also exhilarating because I knew in my heart it was what I was meant to do. I never could have imagined how amazing the last year would be. Like truly amazing, and it's only because I continued to say “yes” to things that scared the heck out of me. Obesity, disordered eating, body image – the solution is ultimately about learning to show up, love ourselves, put down the food, and trust the still, small voice that continually nudges us to face our fears and chase our dreams.
I hypothesize that foods containing starch and sugar create an addictive response and that overconsumption of these foods creates an an inflammatory response in the body. This inflammation manifests differently across populations, is almost certainly influenced by genetics, and remains the root of all major modern disease and epidemics, particuarly obesity.
The elephant in the room here is that ‘Obesity' is simply a fancy name for food addiction. We don't really want to see it or believe it. We want to find a way to have our cake and look good too. But we can't. I mean, I know I can't. I have been trying to find a way to moderate these substances for years, but it's too much work and I'm not very good at it. Science shows that we are able to regulate our energy intake and expenditure naturally without thought or struggle. If we aren't already doing this naturally – which, let's be honest. why would you be reading this if you could – you are addicted and any attempts to moderate will only stress your willpower and abilities further.
I personally would rather be using my mind to think of cool solutions to help myself and others change their behavior to be happier, healthier, and more productive. I think it's important to have a creative and empowered population and that means finding ways to overcome the everyday addictions that make us miserable.
My Obesity Hypothesis experiment is as follows:
My attempt to adhere to strong dietary changes to support my recovery from food addiction and cure my lifelong struggle with obesity will be documented to for the period of 1 year – from August 26, 2015 through August 25, 2016.
This includes the following food-related changes:
- Completely abstain from sugars (simple carbohydrates) and starches (complex carbohydrates).
- Replace with copious non-starchy vegetables at every meal. This should be primarily from the leaves, stems and flowers, and fruit categories. Root vegetables contain excess starch and will be excluded for this period to assist in physiological addiction recovery.
I enjoy desserts or starchy meals in the same way that I used to enjoy a cigarette. Sure, it tastes delicious and that gives me a hit of dopamine, serotonin,and delight, but in the end, I feel bad – physically and mentally. It upsets my digestion and I carry around shame and feelings of failure. I want to be free from the battle with food choices and obesity. I know from experience that the most effective way to overcome addiction is complete abstinence.