Recently, I wrote about how early I started having problems with being fat. I'm fairly certain that hormones played a big role, as did environmental factors (parents, peers, media). What likely didn't help was what I did to fight that fat. As I mentioned, I was still sort of active, even though I wasn't good at many sports. And I was not exactly over-eating or eating particularly unhealthy foods. The binging and hiding food and rebellion didn't come until a few years into being "fat."
Because, as I grew, so did my sense of shame and self-loathing. I knew I had to either fight my body, or hate it. Every so often I'd decide to do something about it. I would diet. I would restrict. I would try to stop eating altogether. I'd keep it up for a few weeks or months, until I lost the willpower and "fell off the wagon" or "caved in" or "was bad." The problem with a diet is that when you stumble and fall, you fail. Rather than getting back up, I'd give up. And then the weight would go back on, more than before, and the cycle would begin again.
Instead of just being a little thicker than most kids, instead of ending up just a little bit overweight (as many adults do), I launched myself into being morbidly obese because of weight cycling. I was taught that the way I was, was not okay, and I had to fight to change it. When you put a child on a diet of food that she doesn't like, and doesn't understand, and leaves her hungry, it sets her up for begging food from other sources or learning to sneak it wherever she can.
My behaviour as a child was pretty much exactly what the body does when it goes into "starvation mode": it clings to energy for dear life. When you restrict calories, the body initially responds by shedding weight. But our bodies are still functioning as if food is scarce, and we have to hunt it, and could go days without it. Which is why, after a period of restriction or starvation, it says "hold on, I don't know when or where my next source of energy will come from, so I'm just going to hang on to this while I can." When I was put on diets, I ate whenever and wherever I could, and my body was hanging on to all the fat for the same reason.
I have to remind myself of this constantly, because I'm human and I lose patience with how slow the process is. Especially at times like this, when I can feel that some weight has gone back on. Clothes are fitting snugger. I can see it, I can feel it. And my instinct is to panic and crash diet, to lose a lot in a short time. It's tempting. Except that I know that it will go back on. I know it from experience.
So, slow and steady wins the race. One day at a time, doing my damndest to keep the eating as clean as possible, to get enough calories and say no to chocolate. Ditch the yo-yo, and find a better game to play.