At dinner with friends last night, a conversation about weight control got started. It reminded me of how hard I used to work to stay thin, and how dangerous some of my methods were.
–In my late teens, I got the bright idea that I could party and drink all I wanted on the weekends with no danger of weight gain if I starved myself during the week, often living on one cheese sandwich a day. As a little treat to make it bearable, I chain smoked in the storage room next to my bedroom.
–My senior year in high school I wanted to drop a lot of weight fast. So for two weeks straight, I ate nothing but raisin bran from a mug two times a day and nothing else. I also ran laps around the basement for two hours a day. It worked so well that I adopted it as my post binge regimen every few weeks. It lasted into my early 20s.
–In my late 20s, after years of vicious binge eating sent my weight to 280, I lost more than a hundred pounds through some healthy means and some fairly stupid tactics, like fasting for half of Tuesday and most of Wednesday. On Wednesdays, I would also triple my workout time on the elliptical cross-training machine at the gym. All this so I would be happy with the number on the scale come Thursday morning, my weekly weigh-in time. Thursday through Saturday, I would eat like a pig, then severely pull back on the eating by Sunday. Call it the 3-4 program (binge three days, starve four days, repeat).
–In my early-to-mid 30s, some of my most vicious binge eating happened. For a while, though, I kept the weight down my walking 3.5 miles every day, no matter the weather. I also never ate dinner, but would eat like a pig earlier in the day. This was while I was working a night job, which allowed me to get away with the dinner-skipping part. That worked great for a couple years, but then the dam broke and I binged my way to a 65-pound weight gain by the end.
Today I put almost everything I eat on a little scale and I avoid flour and sugar. I don’t exercise as much as I should, but I’ve maintained a weight that works for me. I am three years into that program.
I don’t always get it perfect. I’m also nowhere close to skinny.
But I’m a lot healthier — and probably a little smarter — than I used to be.