Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Who Dunnit?

I just read "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taub and am working my way through The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I'll post my review in a bit. In the meantime, I've been pondering the great mystery, why did Americans start getting much fatter starting around 1980? What happened? I'm looking for suspects that become significant around thirty years ago, when the curve really took off.

Here are some of the suspects, in no order:

1. Automation/lack of physical activity
2. Climate control
3. Late nights/poor sleep
4. High fructose corn syrup
5. Steep rise in soda consumption
6. Diet soda/artificial sweeteners
7. "Fat free" mania
8. Social norming
9. More two income families=> no time to cook or engage in active play
10. Shorter lunch times-- 20 minutes to eat?
11. Climate control
12. Decline of family meals/eating on the run
13. Corn in everything
14. Rise of Omega 6 vs Omega 3 fat
15. Estrogen-like chemicals leaching from plastic
16. As mothers get fatter, our kids get preprepared for fatness in the womb
17. Rise of Internet, Xbox, DVDs and DVRs
18. Indoor versus outdoor play sets the stage for more fat cells in childhood, which means fatter adults
19. Explosion of easily available, cheap, heavily advertised, hyperpalatable foods
20. Fewer people in the middle class
21. It was my fault. I hit puberty in 1978 :)

Did I miss any? Who do you think the major culprits are? Tomorrow we'll board the luxury railroad car, I'll take up my Miss Marple-style tatting, and tell you who I think is responsible for fattening the body in the library.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Do you find funny little roadblocks on the way to your goals?

I wanted to make pillow shams. I had cut the fronts too small and found I had to go buy more fabric anyway. I kept flipping my new fabric this way and that, trying to find a way to make the old, too-small pieces fit and how to make the things go together generally (I don't use patterns for this kind of sewing). It was like I didn't want to burn the calories mentally to get it right. I finally realized I had to go back and cut new pieces the correct size. After that, assembling the shams was easy and they went together in an hour or two.

I like to drink iced tea. I have a snazzy electric teapot but I don't like the put the hot water in a plastic pitcher (one of my minor phobias, Plastic Leaching. Plenty of real estrogen here, no need to supplement with the chemical kind.) So I kept shuttling mentally back and forth and then I'd go get myself a glass of water or (no!) a Diet Pepsi. Today I made myself stop and think. I used to do this all the time. What did I use? I had a metal pitcher. Aha! I found the metal pitcher, and I was able to make tea without it being an arcane process involving three containers.

These are minor silly problems and possibly just a byproduct of a lazy brain, but I realized that sometimes you have to put the effort forth to get the basic pieces in place. Then it all goes smoothly. Can anybody think of an extension to eating well and keeping fit? I can think of a few!

Reading Leah’s blog today reminds me that while I am happy to be maintaining, there is more work to be done. I'm letting unseen roadblocks keep me from where I need to go. So I'll be doing some thinking about what some of those barriers are, and report back.

Today's MIP (thanks, Cammy!)

1. Laundry (which is like eight loads of MIP, but o well)
2. 5-factor workout
3. Make Sunday dinner for all

Friday, August 13, 2010

And a Short One

With a bow to the lovely Diane who posted a few days back about making very short, modest goal lists-- 3 things on a card. It's amazingly difficult in my kind of life not to get blown miles off course by the needs or wishes of others. I'm smack in the middle of three generations and while in many ways I like my spot and feel lucky to be here, it can also be (as many have written before me) a case where your own seemingly trivial needs get placed forty rungs down the ladder while you take care of 39 Won't Take Longs for your deserving loved ones. And then you end up pissed off because you haven't done anything you hoped.

(And little stressors can mount up amazingly. We are fostering a very sweet cat for friends and either it misses its people or something else is not right in its cat world, because at regular intervals from evening till morning it wakes us all up meowing loudly in the hallways for something-- we can't figure out what. AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!)

So here's my list.

1. Go to Zumba.
2. Make at least one of my shams-- yes, it's trivial, but it's been on my list for weeks and I haven't been able to make the time to do it and I want the satisfaction of a project complete, damn it.
3. Make up with my husband (tails pinched ==> meaningless fights).

Wish me luck! What are your 3 things?

Edited to add:

1. The shams.

2. The shoes I wore to Zumba, plus I wanted to show you a bit of my new Dash & Albert birthday rug. Zumba should be compulsory for me. It does a lot of good things but the most important, I've decided, are the anxiolytic and antidepressant effects without having to mess with actual psych medication.

3. No photographic proof that I made up with husband, you'll just have to take my word for it :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010


It's been a month since my last post. Computer problems plus 8 well-loved family in the house (both grandfathers here, one for the summer, one for 2 weeks, brother for the weekend) and trying to do right by 3 kids over a busy summer = no damn time. I am sure you can all relate. I notice the blogging moms with kids at home get a little more reticent over the summer.

My bullet-style update:

1. Weight is stable (yay!)
2. Lots of informal exercise (powerwashing, Hershey Park) but not much formal (sniff, no Zumba)
3. It is interesting that my body seems so far to be happy to stay at this weight, and even when things get crazy I don't have that much trouble staying stable. So that's one vote for "settling point" versus "setpoint," bearing in mind that point whether set or settled is not that low.
4. May have lost some muscle. Afraid to use my Omron till I do a bit at the gym.
5. Still fighting the good fight and hope you are doing the same!