Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Friday, March 14, 2014

FAT

Nothing profound or heavy in this post, but what I have to say today is too long for Facebook and the collective ADD that reigns there. And I do think what I have to say is important, because obesity in our country has become epidemic and so many people are at a loss as to how to fix it. So I'm putting it here.

Before: 232.4 lbs.
Some of you know I became a Weight Watchers leader in 2011. I left their employ in January 2014, for many reason that I won't go into here. BUT...since then, I've been experimenting with my diet a little. Weight Watchers, although they do put a lot of emphasis on fruits and vegetables and whole foods,  is very focused on low fat. I can't argue with the results...I lost 75lbs.

BUT, sadly, it's no longer working for me and keeping the weight off has been a real struggle. Thirteen pounds appeared without explanation and I could not get it off. I was on weight probation constantly. That's one of the reasons I tendered my resignation. I found myself falling into some extreme behaviors in order to stay within the two pound range stipulated by my employment contract. I actually became concerned that those behaviors could develop into a full blown eating disorder.

So I've been focusing on putting GOOD fats back into my diet, and focusing on cutting out sugar. Also, I've decided to stop using food substitutes and diet products. For example, I no longer buy processed protein bars and smoothies, which I once relied upon heavily. Instead I eat nuts or cheese or a hard boiled egg. To get good fats into my diet, I've been eating avocados, olive oil, nuts, nut butters, eggs, seeds, beans, and full fat dairy products. I did away with the "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" and started using...ACTUAL BUTTER again.

All of those things were high in points on the Weight Watchers plan, and thus, people avoided them. People were eschewing healthy, delicious, vitamin and anti-oxidant packed foods in favor of low fat food facsimiles!! That was a problem for me. And there we have another reason I decided to leave my job, much as I loved it. My evolving personal philosophy about food and nutrition was no longer in line with theirs.

So anyway, when I made the shift, I won't lie...it was scary. We've been indoctrinated with the idea that ALL fat is bad, but interestingly enough, obesity rates started to rise about the same time that the low fat craze hit. I don't think it's a coincidence. I do think we should have noticed long before obesity became such a pervasive and widespread problem. Fat is not the enemy. Sugar is. And it took almost five years for me to realize that not eating fat was entirely counterproductive to my goals.

Now that I am eating fat again, I see the results in a number of ways. Is the weight falling off of me? No. I'm no longer extremely obese, so the losses will never be huge for me. But I am losing. I am MUCH more satisfied after my meals and I do not feel the need to snack as much. I'm not constantly thinking about food. And when the hunger does hit, it's just a little niggling. Not the sudden and terrifying plunger into devastating hunger wherein I would commit homicide for a hamburger. Do you know that feeling? I get it when I eat a bagel or a bowl of cereal. An hour later, I would mug a little old lady if she had a steak in her purse. Why? Because of the metabolic response to sugar; the spike, the crash, the murderous hunger. So the fact that I no longer experience that on a daily basis is pretty significant. And believe it or not, the difference in my hair and skin is pretty remarkable. I think I look younger. I know that sounds weird, but I don't think I'm imagining it.

This healthy lifestyle thing has been such an evolution in thinking for me. I had absolutely no idea how to eat healthy when I started. I thought I was giving my family healthy balanced meals because I was providing a vegetable, a starch and a protein. Never mind that they were highly processed, loaded with chemicals and sodium and swimming in butter, gravy or sauce (sometimes all three), and usually served with an abundance of bread or rolls on the side. And when I did wake up and realize I had to change my ways, it became all about low fat, low sugar, convenient diet foods and food substitutes. Because that's what I was being taught, not just by Weight Watchers, but the media, the food industry, even doctors and nutritionists!

I really do think our food is killing us and making us fat. The additives and chemicals are completely circumventing our bodies' natural metabolic processes and causing us to get fatter and fatter even though we think we're eating healthy. When people say they don't understand why they are getting fat, it isn't denial or excuse making. They really are mystified. I am not a nutritionist, but I think I know now more than most people about how to eat healthy. And I found a lot of that information on my own, with a little guidance. It can be done.

AFTER: Certified Zumba Instructor
It's hard to know where to start sometimes. But just start. Five years ago, I thought Hamburger Helper, canned green beans and yeast rolls was a healthy well balanced dinner. I'm a little chagrined to admit how much Hamburger Helper we ate. Now and again, I buy a box, just for a treat. You can't deny that it tastes damned good!! But it's an indulgence now, not a staple. And now, I no longer break into a cold sweat at the thought of exceeding my daily allotment of fat and/or calories (reason number three I quit Weight Watchers).

If I'm being completely honest, it's not just about nutrition. I like being able to slip into a pair of jeans or a short skirt and not worry about sucking in my gut. I like wearing a clingy t-shirt without worrying that my muffin top and back fat are on display. I like walking past a shop window and not being horrified by my reflection. I like looking good. I like feeling strong. I like the whole ball of wax and I am determined to keep it.

So the fat (in my diet) stays. Who knew?

6 Comments:

  • At 8:15 PM, Blogger Margaret said…

    My parents have always said "moderation in all things" which is kind of easy for me. I've always hated the sensation of being full, which has helped curb overeating. And I don't like meat much which also helps. It sounds like your sensible approach is working well for you, and that's the most important thing!

     
  • At 12:56 AM, Blogger the only daughter said…

    I have my work cut out for me. Thank you for the (continued)inspiration. :-)

     
  • At 7:54 AM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    I think you really hit the nail on the head with this one... Processed food and unnatural sugars are just full of chemicals that I'm convinced make us fat and increase our risk of cancer and disease... How can it not when we are putting chemicals in our bodies?

     
  • At 7:49 AM, Anonymous Lisa said…

    Yay for you! My mother is a food scientist so I grew up hearing all of what you just wrote. She and I have our issues but she did at least protect me from food-like substances.

     
  • At 4:51 AM, Blogger Gail Armstrong said…

    Here in the UK we just had a programme about the fat/sugar combination - ie in processed food. That when eaten regularly piles weight on, but individually, don't.
    Great blog btw.

     
  • At 2:41 PM, Anonymous SandyG said…

    My food journey was similar in many ways. I threw my scale away around the age of 24 because I knew I had a full-fledged eating disorder coming on otherwise, and I've never stepped voluntarily on a scale since then. I used to think a candy bar and a diet coke was a good balance, but avoided most other full fat items. Nowadays, the nuts and cheese I used to avoid are daily snacks and I don't crave sugar most of the time. But regular exercise that I actually enjoy has also been key-for me, it's yoga and some hiking.
    Congratulations on being strong. You look great, by the way.

     

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