Weight a lifetime battle
If we look back to my “early years” I realise that I had problems with my weight as long as I can remember. I was a chubby during Kindergarden, I was a chubby child in school and I was chubby teenager. Never really on the fat side of life, but always with a little bit too much weight on my bones. Appetite control or healthy weight loss were never even discussed in our family and, as far as I know, in other families. Both my parents liked a good meal, both did not count calories and the portions were always more than enough.
You have to understand, we are talking the sixties and early seventies. Weight loss or even healthy weight loss was not discussed amongst people, the medias were not yet aware of health and weight issues. Nobody spent a thought about appetite control, because now was really the first time after World War II, where almost everybody had enough to eat, the economy was recovering and for most people and families the life got better and better. Nobody wanted to control anything and for sure nobody was interested in appetite control, because eating was just too nice.
The biggest blame, if one really wants to use the word, was to put on my granny. For her it was important to have always enough, better more than enough, food on the table and in the house. For her having some overweight was not bad, it was necessary to survive the next war. For sure, she did not want to hear anything about appetite control. Quite contrary, I remember her saying many times that I should be happy that I have such a “healthy” appetite. Healthy weight loss, although obviously never mentioned, would have been an oxymoron for her.
Years, actually decades, later I do not have a hard time to understand her and I certainly hold no grudge. Experiencing and surviving two big wars and bringing children through the second, certainly was not an easy life and things like diet, appetite control or healthy weight loss, were never even crossing her mind, because everybody was basically trying to stay alive and not to starve.
Be that as it may, during my childhood and my first teenage-years I was on the heavy side and not even unhappy about it. Most other kids were the same as I was, I always had friends. Never being the most popular kid, never being unpopular. Just running with the majority and within this majority, nobody discussed, or thought about, diets, appetite control, or healthy weight loss. We were just a bunch of happy, chubby kids, playing, running around and just having fun and nobody thought that anything is wrong with that.
Getting out of my childhood and out of puberty, I still was not on the slim side of life. Clearly at that age, I am talking 16, 17, one gets really and seriously interested in the “other half” of mankind, or as some call it: men! And unfortunately this was also the time, when I first realised that being slightly overweight might be a good thing for a war, but was seriously limiting my chances with the boys. So I began “weight management” or better, what I believed at that time to be weight management.
The most popular boys were , of course, the ones which were successful in sport and these boys were only interested in the really slim girls. So I started to raise the issue overweight, appetite control and weight management at home, because I wanted to become one of them. It was unnecessary to speak to my granny about it, so I tried my parents. Weight management was for my father “terra incognita” but at least my mother had started to at least think a little bit about it. It was the end of the seventies and in magazines, newspaper and TV appeared the first reports. And they all said. overweight could be responsible for many health issues, which were appearing in the society.
So, together with my mother, I tried somehow to organise the eating habits of our family in a way, which would enable me to lose some weight and carry on an active weight management.
As you probably know by yourselves, this was the time when counting of calories came in fashion, when watching sugar, fat and carbohydrates became quite normal amongst the female part of the society, weight watchers made their first real public appearances, in general: weight management suddenly was normal! At least for most people, but clearly not for my father! For him weight management was plain and simple a modern way to take a away the good tasting, homemade food and replace it vegetables and plain rice.
My father clearly opposing any sort of weight management, it was left for me and my mother to do it and we tried more or less every diet and every meal plan, we could find. Some was easy and clearly understandably, some were more of the “spherical” kind. Some worked really well, others were spectacularly unsuccessful.
This way I spent my teenage years and my early adulthood with changing weight. A diet worked for some time, I lost weight. Then it got boring or I lost my self-control, I gained the weight again. My weight management was very clearly trial and error. And this up and down stayed with me until my first child.
Although I never reached the ultra slim look I actually was going for, I finally found the boyfriend, who was the real thing. We met during on of my “skinnier” times and during the years we were together, he got acquainted to my “shape shifting”. He, although being not really overweight, was willing and able, to join me in my diet plans. Eating the same stuff as I, he soon also experienced some ups and downs in his weight. All the different diet plans we tried, were not all completely successful, but overall the diet plans delivered, what they were promising.
At that time we did not know that we were more or less lab-rats for big companies, news papers and “diet-specialists”. Nobody knew then that the research on food and diets, what was healthy and what was not, was more a matter of trial and error. Whenever they announced new diet plans, it was more guessing than knowing. Some of the diet plans they recommended twenty years ago, would be nowadays actual reason for court cases.
For example, amongst these diet plans, there was a “grapefruit & egg” diet, which recommended over the course of three weeks no less than 126 eggs (3 minutes) and 42 grapefruits. Additional there was a little bit of cooked fish and once a week, a poached chicken breast. Lets not even talk about cholesterol (science nowadays would say that 126 eggs are enough for two years!); the only real success after the three weeks was that you started vomiting, by just seeing an egg or a grapefruit.
All these diet plans had one thing in common: you lost weight during the diet and you started gaining weight again, roughly three weeks after stopping the diet. The general problem of all diet plans, past and present, is that there is no strategy for after the diet. Most diet plans require a certain amount of self-discipline, which you might master for some time. But normal human beings like me will lose this self-discipline after a while. Small things like using butter again or having a Danish with the coffee, are the first steps to disaster and from there it is only downhill.
For many years, amongst all those diet plans, I did not once find one, where the lost weight stayed lost for longer than 12 weeks. Then it took another 6-8 weeks to gain the weight again. At this point it was then time for the next item on the list of diet plans.