Some days ago, both a skirt and my measure-y jeans fit differently than they were supposed to. Tighter. They've been touch and go (not the light-deadlift kind of touch and go, where everything is easy, either) for a bit now, but those jeans, man, they just refused. Not even close to buttoning. And one could say that I had a bit of a tantrum about it. Maybe one could say that. And not be wrong.
When the crazies start to flare my head starts to hum with anxious energy. I try to play it off like I'm fine, no problem, it's just that my pants don't fit, and before you know it I'm up in the middle of the night at my boyfriend's place doing calorie math on my phone calculator. ((Total daily energy expenditure calculation on an active day x 3) + (TDEE on a non-active day x4) - 3500) / 7 = daily calorie target. And then how many weeks, how many months? Do it again. Google some more things. Rerun the calculations to hold the same 500-calorie deficit over active and non-active days.
It must be awfully boring to the people who have to keep hearing about it (my therapist; the internet) to hear me do this lather-rinse-repeat of symptomatic thinking-inkling of a clue-back away from the ledge. But...that is where I am. That is what I'm working on. When I am thinking symptomatically, it is very, very difficult not to run off in the direction I'm currently facing (the direction of dieting—calorie counting and "just wait half an hour whoops maybe an hour"-ing and weighing and projecting numbers into the long-range future). It seems so reasonable when I'm there. Or, if not exactly reasonable, at least necessary. Urgent. "Yes, I know, diet-y, but still so many more calories than the diets of yore, because now I'm smarter about my actual caloric needs and expenditures and have put in a bunch of time towards metabolic health!" Even standing on solid ground now, there is a part of me that wants to start counting, start watching, start calculating and planning. But: does it work? (But this time I'll do it right.)
Because the fact is, I would like to lose a little fat. I would also like to gain a lot of strength, which is very nearly impossible on a deficit, and those conflicting goals are something to be discussed with a professional at a later date.
But for now I know that I cannot put myself on another plan. I can't do it. I'm not ready. That feels weird to say. It is never not a good time for a diet, right? For a project, a promise? But I'm not there yet. What I'm doing now—regardless of what I will do down the road—is this: eating to hunger (even when that hunger is so vast that it frightens me, like yesterday and today), lifting a bunch of weights, and trying to catch myself before I hurtle down any appealing rabbit holes.
I have been thinking about what I will tell a new nutritionist, whoever that person ends up being; how I will frame my central concerns.
(I have an appointment with my own nutritionist next Tuesday.)