Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fat Acceptance

I ran into this one on Slate this morning.  It's a moving article by a young woman who after years of punitive diets, finally had bariatric surgery and is now just normal-chub, still getting weight loss advice but somehow finally visible.  She does not want to be praised for weight loss.  I get the sense she doesn't even want to talk about it.  I couldn't help but note the bitterness that I read in her tone, which reminds me of my former step-mom, who I'm guessing was somewhere over the 300 pound mark, and a few other very high BMI folk I have known.  The hard thing with obesity is that much of the time it more or less follows the rules-- if you eat better food and move more, you will be less fat.  Of course, if you eat too little, you can enter a vicious starvation cycle.  And some folk just can't eat very much without getting fat.  Some can eat carelessly and stay thin.  Being human, our brains make categories, and the underlying assumption is that very fat people are lazy and unmotivated, or at the least they Have Issues.  Which they very often do.  But not always-- or at least, their issues stem directly from the fact that a "normal" diet for some annoying reason makes them very fat.

But the New York Times, Tara Parker-Pope style assertion that lasting weight loss is all but impossible bugs me too.  Maybe because I worry it's true.  And yet I can count... let me think... 1, 2, 3, 4-- 5 friends or acquaintances who've kept off anywhere from 15 to 60 pounds, not counting my dear bloggie friends.  We can all probably name people who say, "Oh, yeah, I got really chubby for a while there."  Even I've managed to shave maybe ten or fifteen pounds more or less permanently from my top number, and I am secretly convinced that a reasonably modest effort could get me back to a place where I don't look or feel particularly fat.

I will say this.  I can't imagine every going on a harsh diet again.  I just won't do it.  I don't believe they work (I could be wrong about that).  I would rather be quite fat or have bariatric surgery first. (By the way, people who view surgery as somehow "cheating" or "the easy way" kind of blow me out of the water.  There's nothing easy about it.  It has lifelong consequences.)  Anything below, say, the roughly 1600 or 1700 calorie mark just doesn't interest me.

Remembering I titled this post Fat Acceptance, so I need to circle back there, don't I?  Do I accept my fat?  Sure.  Can I be sophisticated enough not to assign blame, to reserve judgment (about myself or other people), and still realize that certain behaviors are more likely to result in clearly better outcomes (as in not flinching from cameras, scales, or glucometers?) Here's hoping.

In other news, I am planning to keep shelling out meeting fees and attending Weight Watchers even though I haven't lost any weight since the initial five pounds (in one week, it was startling).  That's because I stopped counting points.  Hmm, a correlation, do you think?  I do like this version because of the leeway in terms of sheer volume.  I seem to be able to burn up (and need) more calories than the average middle aged type person, and as I hold deprivation in scorn and contempt, I appreciate the optional points and working out points and the tacit okay to eat more apricots or pineapple or microwaved apples as needed not to feel hungry.  My leader told me I should not be eating more than five servings daily-- this after losing five pounds in a week.  My mental note was, you don't know how many calories I need, lady.  But I would not say such a rude thing, also she was a pretty formidable, authoritative type of lady :)  I will be up a little on the scale and I am hereby pledging to keep going, since I am mature enough not to be fixated on the scale.  I'm really, truly not.  Right?  Right.  Wish me luck.

PS Edited to say, down a pound for 7 lbs total, and I really want an Active Life thingie.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Weight Watchers Week 1: Review

So, sliding gracefully over my absence, which is happily due to nothing dire, knock wood please God-- today I go to meeting (sounds so Quaker) after being on WW for a week.  Weight Watchers keeps reincarnating-- some years it's a good fit for me, some years not so much.  I could launch into boring discussion but I prefer the ADD-friendly bullet list:

1. My best friend went on it and lost her modest extra poundage without too much angsting.
2. Fruit is free.
3. So was registration.
4. Voila.

I like it.  I could ruminate over whether I'm eating too much fruit, if fructose is going to do terrible things to me, if I can stay with it or gain weight back, but I've decided that's all boring.  So I'll talk about the Plan. 

This latest version is Larkspur-friendly in that you can vary your intake depending on how hungry you are by using the optional weekly or activity points or eating more fruit.  I am very firm about not cutting calories too far or going hungry.  I believe it's Not Good For You, whatever the evidence may say (and clear evidence is remarkably hard to come by).  Regular foods cost more points because fruit is "pre-paid"... sort of an internal taxation system.  The upshot is that by gaming the system and eating lots of fruit you are getting full and nourished for not too many calories, and sweet cravings don't seem to be too worrisome because you can always have something lovely like a bowl of frozen cherries.  It remains to be seen in practice how it will work for weight loss, but so far it is not too different from the clean-eating-with-occasional-cheats method I was using before.  My problem comes around when the definition of  "occasional" gets a little too broad :)

I fixed my new scale when WW also declared me six pounds heavier-- two doctor's scales I could ignore, but when WW sided against me I guess that's a preponderance of evidence.  It was painful.  Two or three pounds kind of blurs together in the brain but six pounds is a vast and concrete difference.  But it's done.  Whew.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Everyone Else's Scale is Wrong

I have a brand new Taylor analog with big numbers.  A 15 pound weight (all I was able to easily lug to the bathroom) weighs 15 pounds.  It is nicely centered on zero and accords with my old scale.  I am down a few pounds out of EEEK range and everything would be so encouraging except my GYN's scale weighs 6 pounds higher, and yes, as a weight-sensitive person I weighed just before my appointment at home with my clothes and shoes on.  Ah, me.

Did anybody run across this study, reported in the Journal of Oprah and presumably elsewhere?

"Two groups of overweight and obese people were instructed to consume the same number of calories daily (1,400 for women, 1,600 for men); the difference was that one group ate a modest breakfast each morning, while the other went all out with a high-calorie (600), high-carb (60 grams), high-protein (45 grams) meal that included a sugary treat.

After eight months, the dessert-at-breakfast group had lost an average of 38 more pounds per person than the traditional dieters. An interesting twist occurred halfway through the study: During the first 16 weeks, both groups dropped about the same amount of weight. But over the next 16 weeks, the big-breakfast eaters continued to slim down (losing another 15 pounds) while the small-breakfast eaters gained back more than 75 percent of the weight they'd lost. Why? They'd started to cheat—which makes sense given that they reported feeling hungrier and had higher levels of the appetite hormone ghrelin.

Jakubowicz's golden rule for lasting weight loss? It actually seems quite simple when she boils down her findings. 'If you're hungry before lunch, you didn't eat enough protein in the morning, and if you crave a sweet in the afternoon, you forgot your cookie at breakfast.'"

Who wants to try it?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Try Something New for Thirty Days

I have been in a Personal Development Phase recently, and I need something to amuse me while I'm driving youth around.  I listen to a lot of TED talks.  This is a good one:  Matt Cutts on trying something new for 30 days.  TED talks are like healthy snacks for your brain.  They replace popular mental tapes such as What Could Go Wrong, Should I Have Said That? and My Career Is In the Toilet.  I've found that I can tune to a happier mental state if I use techniques I've derived from my various forays into self-betterment, but the trick is, I have to keep doing them.

Three of us in the family are Trying Something New for 30 Days.  I am cutting out dairy, if you don't count the small amount of butter in my chemical psuedo-butter spread.  DD #1 is going vegan for a month.  She's already 5'9" so maybe I shouldn't worry about its interfering with her growth, though I do worry about protein a bit.  Peanut butter seems to be her main source at the moment.  The Best of Men is doing gluten-free which is ironic since I swore on our recent vacation with our friends that no way, no how was I figuring out gluten-free vegan meals.  The way it works out is that DD eats the vegie and the quinoa or whatever it is.  Attempting pizza will be interesting.

I am still tracking calories on my phone and feeling enthused about it.  It's an inexact science but I seem to be eating in the 1800 range and losing slowly.  Pecking around blogs it looks like my calories are on the high side, but my firm professional opinion is that I don't care.

I can't hang around figuring out a symmetrical way to end this post so I will finish with a knock knock joke:

Knock knock
Who's there?
Control Freak-- okay, now you say "Control freak who?"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chalk Another One Up for the Obvious

Time for a bullet list.

*Still gushing about my phone app.  I use Lose It, there are a bunch out there.  I have generally failed spectacularly at food tracking.  With the scanning doohickey, this takes seconds versus minutes busy people like me cannot possibly spare when we have important  Babylon 5 reruns to watch (kids are at camp, can you tell?)  I'm finding that it shapes my behavior and of course I obnoxiously prod my loved ones about what does and doesn't constitute a good calorie value.  Aiming for 1700-1800 and I do eat back exercise calories, though I'll stop if I am not pleased with my progress.

*Have boldly faced my glucometer (100 fasting) and my myomeasure, which is my gadgety measuring tape which makes a loop & tightens in a way that is supposedly statistically more reliable (or is it valid? And I just had Stats).

*This is me in the dress for my friend's wedding with my head cut off.  No one gets to see my head.  It is classified.  You can also see that I am experiencing a jewelry crisis.  MIL lent me plain pearls.  You think?

*If you could use a giggle, check out this one this one from Jack S__.

*Finally, have been doing my 25 minutes weights/abs/cardio routine in the mornings since that's supposed to help with insulin resistance and cravings.  It does help.  

*What the hell is up with my background text color? 

Friday, June 15, 2012

That One Again

First:  results from yesterday.  Yes, all those techniques worked brilliantly.  Any hunger I felt was tied to direct need, rather than that restless "something's not right" feeling.  Per my phone app (this thing is a BLAST, you just scan barcodes for the most part and the most obscure foods come up instantly) I ended up at about 1940 calories and 194 carbs, or a Zone-y range of 33% fat, 38% carbs, and 28% protein.  It was a lot of calories but I lifted weights, took a short bike ride, and tromped around Hershey Park for 3 plus hours, so I feel good about it.

Today I had popcorn for a snack which I suspect is a no-no.  You can founder yourself on air-popped popcorn for relatively modest calories, but I'm past 200 carbs already and I haven't had dinner yet.  Also under the weather today so I'm not going to exercise & it will be more difficult to use them in a productive manner :)

My husband and youngest daughter came home from Florida today.  Woot!

Bought some spinach.  Perhaps tomorrow I'll attempt my first green smoothie.  Way behind the pack here, but that's okay.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

End Run

Sweet cravings have been a problem for me since, oh, forever.  When I first went on old-style Weight Watchers I was all of 13 years old. I was surprised how full I felt and how I was able to resist sweets-- don't forget, that was back in the high-protein days when you were limited to 2 slices of bread a day and there were no sweets allowed at all.  Classmates knew I was good for a cupcake when treats were passed out (rarely back then-- not out of fear of obesity, maybe it just wasn't expected or thought of or would have been considered spoiling).  Come to think of it, I am rather proud of that diligent young person turning down cupcakes.

Which illustrates the difficulty.  One cupcake would not have made me fat.  It was stimulating of the desire for sweets that could (and did) make me fat.  Personally I think my (then) hypoglycemic body was particularly crappy at handling sweets and that is true for many of us.  Which brings me to last night-- I was feeling fine, had a leftover tootsie pop (don't ask), wasn't sure if I needed it, thought why not-- and then spent the evening uncomfortably struggling with the drive to eat sweet things.  (Fell into cereal and raisins-- just as much sugar/calories as cookies.)

Since I firmly feel that the best way to manage bad situations is not to get into them, what prevention efforts work?  Shall we use a bullet list? I love bullet lists.

  • Morning exercise-- according to the Great and Powerful Oz, this helps address problems with glucose tolerance and I have found it experientially to be very helpful.  Especially weight training for some reason.  In my head?  Dunno.
  • Protein, fiber and some fat at every meal.
  • I'll bet drinking water would help.  I resist this.  Ah well, I'll get a glass when I'm done.  Promise.
  • Bag the diet soda.  Sigh.  See above.
  • Don't stock raisins.  
  • Measuring portions and knowing how many calories and carbs I'm eating.
  • And--?
  • And what else?
  • Open to more ideas here.
I am also amassing ideas for good meals, so here's breakfast today:

Chocolate Protein Shake

1/2 c water
1/2 c whole milk
1 T flaxseed
1 t honey
1/2 scoop whey powder
2 T unsweetened cocoa

Also Ezekiel toast and PB.  1 T PB had more calories than the Ezekiel per my phone app.  Eye-opening, isn't it?

Delicious and it stuck with me solidly for four hours.

The neckless guys with big shoulders and tight pants (sweet cravings) are coming at me.  Let's see if I can outwit them before they knock me down and give me a repeat concussion.  Ok, the analogy doesn't hold all the way.  You get the idea.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Why do we blog?  Lots of reasons.  But the bottom line, for me, is the reminder of what I want to do, and why I want to do it.

Getting out of touch-- slipping into sloppy or indulgent behavior around food and health-- is a form of disengagement that ends when you wake up, metaphorically, and don't like where you are.

I want to eat well and take care of my body so that I don't have to disengage from the scale, from the glucometer, from clothes shopping, from photos and hikes and all the rest.

I can have perfectly nice food and keep my weight down.  But I have to think, I have to plan ahead, I have to recognize danger situations and have a routine in place to deal with them.

So I think that will be the focus of my next few posts... identifying careless-eating scenarios and coming up with a better way to handle them.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Just Casually Sliding Back In Here

Resolutions can be made at any time, right?  No reason you can't have a resolution for the last 11 months of 2012.  This is mine:

I resolve to bring it down a notch.

As has been expressed in these pages before, DH and I are nicely tucked into that sandwich generation with widowed or divorced parents in their 70s and 80s and kids still very much on the books.  Various domestic dramas play out around here as people need things from other people and do or do not succeed in getting them.  And I find myself talker faster and louder and getting more and more revved, until the MIL's ER visit on top of the Friends That Don't Want to Take Their Cat Back and the Family Member Who's Still Pissed Because I Posted His Picture on Facebook generate more angst than Arms for Hostages.  Which, incidentally, is not good for my body.  Stress is not good and the sweet treat to soothe my feelings (it works, unfortunately, whatever the literature says) is not good either.

I'm not sure what I can do about the internal dialogue, but I can moderate my physical reactions-- smile, shrug, make a joke, notice when I start talking like a cartoon character on fast forward.  I think on some level I expect people, family people, to understand that this supposed linchpin is, on the inside, not that far from the ten year old who could never find her shoes.  I can find my shoes now.  I can even find other people's shoes.  It's okay.

Hear my dulcet tones?