Sunday, November 15, 2009

Eating Disorder?

Last week I was reading a chapter on eating disorders for my nutrition class. I must admit I read with indifference. One look shows that I'm not anorexic. I really dislike throwing up, so I'm not bulimic (nor do I use laxatives or extreme exercise). There was a table with five columns about how people feel about food and their bodies. The first column was the unrealistic ideal, for those who have no body issues and food is strictly a means to nourish the body. The fifth column was for those who have serious, life threatening disorders. I was mostly in the second column, which reaffirmed this chapter didn't really apply to me. I read for the assignment and to see if anyone I love was in danger of a eating disorder.

Then I came to a part about chronic dieting. My first thought was "Something else that doesn't apply to me". I don't "diet", as in I'm not on or off a diet. I've never tried the Grapefruit diet, the Atkins diet, or any other "diet". I've modified my lifestyle, by trying to eat less fats and sugar, more healthy foods and overall less calories. I remember a couple years ago I was trying to loose weight slowly by moderately reducing my calorie intake and moving my body more. I began making progress.

I had several people tell me that you couldn't be serious about losing weight unless you dropped your calories to around 1200 per day. I balked at that. I had taken a nutrition class and learned that 1600 calories was the baseline of what a woman's body needed. But I kept hearing the 1200 calorie thing and somewhere along the line I gradually reduced my calories to between 1300 and 15oo per day. That's Chronic Dieting!

About a year ago I gained back the little bit of weight I lost and its coming off even slower. Now I have an idea why. The University of Nebraska did a study that showed severe dieting (less than 1600 calories) causes people to loose more lean muscle tissue (that's the good stuff) than fat. A moderate decrease in calories (300-500 per day) and a moderate increase in exercise will help you loose more fat and keep your metabolism up, than significantly cutting your calories, with or without exercise.

In the labs I've finished for my nutrition class, I've been consistently low on my intake of important nutrients, from antioxidants to fiber to calcium. At first, I figured it was OK because I take a multivitamin. Now I think it's because I haven't been eating enough, especially of the right foods, since I exceeded the recommendations sugar and for some types of fats.

I think I'm going to take a break from logging my food and when I start again, I'll be going back to shooting for 16oo calories a day! How exciting to have the answer be to eat more!

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