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Starvation Mode

May 11, 2010

I am not a thin person.  I haven’t been a thin person since college.  And even then, “thin” was a relative term.  I am five foot, 6 1/2 inches, and the thinnest I remember being since being full-grown is 130 pounds [size 6].  For me, it was quite thin, and I liked it.  Then I got married, and somehow put on 20 pounds in a year [size 10].  Then I got pregnant.

Need I say more?

There was a time when the Ex and I were on our downhill climb to separation and divorce that I became completely obsessed with losing weight and used exercise as my escape.  I got back down to around 145 pounds then (2001/2002).  I personally think I looked awesome. [size 8]

Ahh, those were the days.

Since then, I’ve been up and down … not as low as that 2002 low, but as higher or higher than I was when at my most pregnant with the girls.

This past December, I had foot surgery.  I had bone spurs in both big toe joints and a bone fragment from an old (2002) injury in one of my ankles.  The bone spurs had started to hurt so much that they were keeping me from exercising, and so I had to take care of it.  The surgery was on 12/22.  Yes, right near the holidays.  Which means … food.  So between the pain before the surgery, the inability to exercise for a while after the surgery, and the … well, food.  I found myself staring at the highest number on the scale yet.

And now my feet are better, and I don’t want to feel like this any more. I find myself not wanting to leave my office to go downstairs to get lunch because people will see me, and I’m fat. [size 14/16]  This is bad.

Sometime in April, I decided it was “time.”  Time to take care of this and get healthy.  At first, my goal was to reach my weight goals slowly but surely over the next couple of years so that I am where I want to be by the time I hit 40.  Long-term goals aren’t really my “thing,” it turns out.   Once I get started with something, I tend to either (a) get bored and blow it off, or (b) become obsessed.

I became obsessed.

I downloaded an iPhone app* that allows me to track calories I eat and exercise/calories burned.  It also does Basal Metobolic Rate calculations, and tells me how many calories I should eat in a day in order to lose the weight I want to lose.  And then, being me, I decided to one-up the know-it-all app, and lop a few hundred calories off what it told me to do.

In the first couple of weeks of watching and tracking calories, as well as exercising, I lost approximately 8 pounds.  WD was doing it with me, so that helped.

This was my old pattern:  Eat nothing but coffee for breakfast, eat a salad for lunch, maybe eat a yogurt in the afternoon, go home and eat tons and tons and tons of whatever delectable dinner WD had cooked for me, along with “a glass of wine” which often turned into a few glasses of wine.

When I started to track my calories, I had to look super-close at that “glass of wine”-that-wasn’t.  Because man, that’s a lot of calories.

This is my new routine:  small smoothie before I leave the house (100 calories); coffee when I get to work (90 calories); hard boiled egg or 2 (75 or 100 calories) at some point in the morning.  Then for lunch, I eat a salad.  Almost the same salad every day.  It has lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, feta cheese, chicken & light olive oil vinaigrette dressing.  315 calories.  Then for dinner, WD’s been keeping things low-cal, and then supplementing for the girls with rice or potatoes or noodles.  Dinner’s been coming in under 400 calories.

It was feeling like plenty of food.  And it was under 1000, and I was thinking I would lose so much weight, so fast.

Instead, the scale got stuck at the 8-pounds down mark.

I did some reading and trying to figure things out – I felt like I was eating healthy, and wasn’t hungry, and was exercising.  So why the stuckitude?

Everything I read said that if you go below 1200 calories/day, your body will go into “starvation mode” and hold onto your fat, thinking that if it doesn’t, you’ll die.

Troublesome, really, how much you have to trick your body, and manipulate it into thinking how I think.  Even though it is me.

So I kicked some calories back into my diet.

I was dubious.   How can eating more – when I’m not hungry now – be the way to lose weight?

Instead, another 6 pounds fell off in a handful of days.  Then today, another 2.

Das’ coo.

I guess my body did decide that I needed more food, or else I would starve to death.  Quite the independent thinker, this body of mine.

* Seriously. There is an app for everything!  This “Lose It” app that i use to track calories consumed and burned is definitely my most-used right now, but my second favorite and second most-useful app is by far iPeriod.  I track my period, and my PMS symptoms, and it sends me emails!  I get an email telling me “your period is expected in 2 days.”  That is so much better than every 3 weeks or so saying to Writer Dude, “so, um, honey?  do you happen to remember when I last had my period??”

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2 comments

  1. I’ve been walking backwards through your posts, feeling so very Kindred Spirit-y, thinking I would comment later when I’m actually at a computer (all the way across the room!), but I couldn’t wait any longer when I read about the iPeriod!!! That alone makes me want an iphone, even though I have a near- holy loathing of Apple. I could reeeeeeally use an automated reminder, since our birth control methods are shoddy at best and downright careless at worst.

    Anywho, lovin your posts and feeling inspired by your diet story! I have recently committed to being Fit by Forty. No way do I want to squander anymore of my…uh…relative youth! 🙂 Also, besides being about an inch shorter than you, it sounds like our weight has followed almost exactly the same pattern–even including the part about weighing as much as I did pregnant! With twins! (To be fair, I only gained about 30 pounds with them, and they came 7 weeks early so I didn’t get the chance to be truly huge. But still!)
    I have always been fascinated by the Law, but have thus far lacked the discipline to even complete a Bachelor’s degree (75 credits and counting), so I won’t expect to hit Law School any time soon. 🙂

    Anyway, nice to meet you, Suzie-of-the-Juris-Doctorate!


  2. […] I’m probably in overkill mode (again) by doing 3 programs at once – 30 Day Shred, 100 Push Ups and I’m trying to the Couch […]



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