Dieting makes me cranky

I’ve tried three different times in my life to dramatically alter my intake of food. Why? Because I don’t look like a model, basically. Sure, I’m active. I mean, I don’t go to the gym or anything, but I play soccer three times a week, I hike on the weekends, I take my dog on walks everyday. I try to do something that physically exhausts me at least four times a week.

Not because I think it’ll make me skinny, but because I like the way it feels when sweat is dripping down my back and pouring down my face, when my shins and arms get slick in the heat, and when my muscles start to tell me to stop and I start to slow down. And sometimes my body stops altogether, but when I tell myself to push through that and I get to the other side and feel a surge of energy, it makes me feel powerful.

But, there’s this part of my body that I hate. When I look at myself in the mirror, it’s all I see. My stomach turns into a blubber pit of white flesh, my love handles seem to grow exponentially—and then of course I jiggle it a little, just to make sure I can still see that my body isn’t perfect. That I’m disgusting.

Believe me, I realize it’s not true. But, nevertheless, it never fails when I eye myself in that reflective glass.

It’s a ritual I’ve carried out for many years. Since my teens, I would say. Here I am 15 years later, and I still feel the same way about it—the feeling hasn’t changed throughout my years, whether I was lean, fit, a little chubby, or out of shape.

It’s my cross to bear, I guess. My demon of sorts, and three times in my life I’ve attempted to rid myself of my five to 10 pounds extra through dietary means. And well, this last time took place over the last four days.

It was the low-carb, no-sugar thing that’s been all the rage for the last however long. No grains, no starch, no fruit, no high-carb veggies. Also known as that fad that started with Mr. Atkins of South Beach. Florida. A quick fix.

I don’t eat a ton of grain- or starchy-veggie-based carbs, mostly only at dinner, and of course I eat fruit, so I didn’t really think it would be a huge stretch for me to pare down my eating habits and up the green-veggie ante.

My friend lost seven pounds in seven days. I thought, if I lose seven pounds in seven days, I’ll finally look like a model. WRONG! I’ll never look like a model, because, well, I’m not a model.

What I’ll always look like is me. The question is: What kind of me do I want to be? AND How do I want my body to feel?

Here’s the thing. That super low-carb, high-fat diet effects everyone differently. And it turns out, that weight everyone loses in the first couple of weeks in water weight. The real weight loss doesn’t start until about a month into it.

And these last few days, it was like I couldn’t consume enough food. Even after I ate I was hungry, tired, and pretty cranky. Especially this morning, when I woke up feeling depleted. Completely depleted. My muscles felt like they were empty. They hurt in a way I’ve never felt before—a deep, empty ache.

Last night, I played soccer. For the first 20 minutes, I felt good, although I felt a little off, kind of jiggly and unstable. For the rest of the hour we played, I was completely useless. My muscles felt like lead and I couldn’t convince myself to move. My body felt like I had just done strenuous physical training—anaerobic sprints and plyometrics—and then I was trying to play soccer.

I realize that I’m older now, and your body changes. But I played two separate times last Wednesday and didn’t feel this way. I’ve had a headache for the last three days because I’m going through carb withdrawal, which sounds like I have a carb problem and should go to a carb-eaters anonymous meeting, but really I could just cutback on the beer intake and do pretty well.

I ate breakfast this morning and was still hungry. I’ve eaten so much food since Sunday, I’ve eaten more protein in the last five days than I have in the last three weeks, and I’ve eaten a lot of greens, but i always eat a lot of greens. I have been perpetually hungry since Tuesday. My stomach has been a broken record of growls, and it gets worse after I eat.

I feel like my body’s eating itself. Which, I suppose is the purpose of the whole diet thing. Maybe I’m just bitching, but it feels unhealthy in a weird way. Like, I’m missing something in my diet. I would say it’s that portion where I get my energy. That stuff my body metabolizes when I’m active—it’s called carbohydrates.

And what’s really strange, is everybody has an opinion. Yeah, I guess I probably am too much of a sharing-type person. But, everyone has a different opinion on why I’m feeling the way that I am. It’s kind of funny, in this day of the internet and global nutrition, we’re all experts.

Truth is, no one really knows except for maybe someone who has studied nutrition their whole lives, and even then, the conclusions they’ve drawn all stem from a subjective point of view. All we learn is spoon-fed to us by “experts,” we run around counting fat intake, calories, carbs, and sugar. We are obsessed with the backs of packages, exercise and diet fads, and nutritional supplements. It’s become a way of life.

It’s just not the way we’re meant to live. And it makes me tired. And cranky. I’m going to take the less-diet heavy path and stop eating carbs before I go to bed. “They” say it’s bad for me anyway.

Not that dieting doesn’t work for some people, and more power to them, they have a higher level of self control than I do. It just doesn’t work for me.