“the choice scenario”

In my previous post I wrote:

“Some could argue that there’s no choice in peeing or shitting, while eating involves myriad choices and it’s up to the individual to make the “right” choices. Don’t get me wrong, I get the idea of being “addicted” to certain foods, like say Cheetos. Not good.”

A commenter responded that “You are correct in the choice scenario of eating. Education and information at the earliest of ages may be a deterrent.”

This is a bad idea. Let me tell you why. In the current environment, education and information at the earliest of ages would create a generation of people who are unable to evaluate how their own bodies feel and make choices for themselves. That was kind of the point of the previous post, which I clearly didn’t present well.

We are already brainwashing people into ignoring their own bodies, thinking that if they’re hungry between meals there’s something wrong with them. I was reading about a doctor who encouraged his adult patients to deny their children food if they wanted to eat between meals, even if the child said she was hungry. He suggested they tell them they’re not really hungry, that they just think they are. This is insane. Again, if your child tells you she has to go potty, would you question her motives?

Another way that education and information at the earliest of ages about the choice scenario is a really bad idea is that the current nutritional advice is just wrong for millions of people, and because Americans are prone to puritanism, any deviation for that “advice” would open up fat people to all kinds of persecution. Yeah. I’m using the word “persecution”.  In my post, I chose Cheetos as an obvious “bad” choice for constant eating, forgetting that the fat nazis assume that all fat people sit around all day not moving a muscle, eating nothing but Cheetos and potato chips and drinking liters of full corn syrup soda. It’s their own fault, blah blah blah. I’m sure some people do eat that way, but millions of fat people do not.

But my real problem with “the choice scenario” in this case is that some of the “healthy” foods we fat people are constantly told to eat, like fruits, lots of whole grains, and low fat, are really unhealthy for a lot of people. If not for the majority of American’s then certainly a significant minority.

The other night I started watching the new Good Eats episode when Alton Brown explains what he did to lose 50 lbs. I’d heard that he’d cut out sweets, even cutting out milk because it goes so well with sweets. However, the first recipe of the show was a fruit smoothie. I pretty much stopped watching after that.

Here’s what fruit smoothies do for me (and just to be clear these are all fruit, no fat, etc): I drink them, feel bloated, then an hour and a half later I’m hungry again, and not a normal hungry, but really like “OMG! I’m starving” hungry. That’s what a lot of fruit does for me, it makes me bloated and/or hungry. I love fruit, love bananas, mango, pears. And sometimes I eat them anyway, but it’s just physically unsatisfying.

However because the diet nazis are so stringent they’re constantly telling fat people what to eat. Fruit is good for you! And because fat people have come to believe that they’re just awful human beings who are insane (why am I hungry if I just ate? how could I have let myself go like this?) and can’t make decisions for themselves, they try to eat whatever they’re told to eat and when they feel hungry they try to ignore it.

But ignoring your hunger is like ignoring the urge to pee or shit. You can only ignore it for so long before things get really messy.

January 7, 2010. Tags: , , . diet. 1 comment.

Conscious Peeing

What is the line between self-acceptance/self-love and change? If I love everything about myself and accept everything, what’s my motivation to change, or put another way, what’s my motivation to do things differently? And since this is a blog about weighting, what’s my motivation to eat and move differently in order to lose weight.

No self help book that teaches self acceptance and self love has explained that adequately. Even Buddhist books just say sit with it and if they go into details, they just seem like any other seemingly compassionate, but really kind of patronizing diet book.  Even Buddhist monks can’t seem to escape the current dogma that weight is a psychological issue and not a physiological one.

In Cheri Huber’s Making a Change For Good: A Guide to Compassionate Self-Discipline, she writes  “…eating, along with every addiction we struggle with, is not about the content, it is about the process, and the process is identity maintenance” (pg 77).

The use of the word “addiction” for so many random things really annoys me. Maybe I’m wrong but I could have sworn that addiction used to mean someone had a physical dependence on something. You were addicted to heroin, just as I am addicted to coffee. Getting unaddicted caused physical pain. (Don’t smirk about the coffee addiction. I once stopped drinking coffee and I had a headache for 72 hours straight.) Now the word addiction is used to refer to behavior like an addiction to gambling.

I find the use of the word addiction to eating just bizarre. Whatever else you’re “addicted” to – cigarettes, crack, sex, bungee jumping – whether it’s physical or psychological, you don’t have to do any of them.  You do have to eat. Even if what you eat is crap you still have to eat. Eating in and of itself is not about “identity maintenance”, it’s about staying alive.

I understand the concept of conscious eating, which Cheri also talks about. Honestly I need to do it more often, because it’s a good idea to do everything with consciousness. But we don’t. And my question is why is eating so vilified?  Does anyone ever have the urge to pee, but then say to themselves “Slow down. Don’t stop to pee. I won’t pee until I can breathe and pee pee consciously.”

All babies do is eat, pee and shit. And they cry bloody murder right away if you don’t recognize. So why would you call eating an addiction? No one ever calls peeing or shitting an “addiction”.  And they’re kind of nasty. What would conscious peeing be anyway?  “Slow the stream, Grasshopper. Know that the pee is a part of you.”

Some could argue that there’s no choice in peeing or shitting, while eating involves myriad choices and it’s up to the individual to make the “right” choices. Don’t get me wrong, I get the idea of being “addicted” to certain foods, like say Cheetos. Not good. But this dogma really goes further than that. Underneath it there’s a sense that if you’re fat, you don’t really need to eat. At all. It’s the idea that eating itself is a choice, not just what or how much you eat. And hunger is an entirely psychological issue with no physiological basis. And if we continue down this road, we’re headed toward a long, long epidemic.

January 5, 2010. Tags: , , . diet. 2 comments.

Getting Past ‘No’

Diets don’t work.

But I know that I feel better physically when I cut out carbs, especially sugar. My skin is clearer, my digestion/elimination is better, my sugar crashes aren’t… aren’t, and I don’t get the wicked headaches I used to get all the time (maybe I destroyed my liver with all the ibuprofen?). I’ve learned that when I do eat too much sugar, like during the holidays, a piece of bacon will settle my stomach. Bacon!  I’m trying to eat this way, for my health, without the focus being on losing weight.

But it feels like a weight loss diet. It has the same texture and pattern, one that insists absolute fealty and obedience to the Diet God (it’s so not a goddess), or in this case maybe it’s the Health God. I feel deprived and bitter and put upon. I feel like I’m holding myself back on every level, weighting for some perfect state of health that’s not going to come. I feel trapped, torn between giving up dieting for weight loss, and eating in a way that works for my body, which is dieting!

Then I read something like this from gluten free girl:

When I found out it was celiac disease, and all I had to do was stop eating gluten to find my health again, I never thought of all the foods I had to live without. I thought only, yes. Yes to being alive. Yes to all the foods that do not contain gluten that I can eat. Yes to food and being awake and my body healing. Yes to all of this.

And I feel small, horribly, horribly small. In spirit, not size.

If I found out I had celiac disease would I be this happy? I doubt it seriously.  I would weep at the thought of never having bread again. I make awesome bread. I have a huge framed poster of bread in my kitchen. I doubt I could look forward to a life without bread and not feel I was being punished for something, I know not what. Because that’s what dieting for any reason feels like, like punishment for unknown and made-up crimes.  But not to gluten free girl. She’s just happy as a clam without bread. And not to anyone who sees a huge restriction as an opportunity to create something new.

I want to let this trapped feeling go but I’m so used to it, it’s all I know. I’m not sure what’s there without it. How do I make the switch from focusing on what I can have instead of what I can’t. How do I say YES to life, when NO has been shrieking at me constantly for so long? How do I drown NO and resuscitate YES?

If you have any ideas, let me know. Alright?

August 15, 2009. Tags: , , , , . diet. Leave a comment.

Here I go again

I want to avoid this. Really I do. I want to be all “hey I’m confident in my body right now as is.” But I’m not. I’m really not.So here I go again, because I don’t really feel that well.

I’m getting headaches again, waking up with them. My knees are suddenly killing me. I’m tired all the time. I feel heavy, like I’m just dragging myself around. And my skin, my skin is not flawless. So. The dreaded D word. I refuse to call it a “lifestyle”. First of all I hate the word “lifestyle” and second, it’s not a lifestyle. A lifestyle is living on the beach and surfing every morning, or a farm and taking care of your animals. This is a diet, plain and simple.

I’m all over the fatosphere, reading the fat positive blogs, so I know that diets don’t work, if by “work” you mean solely that you lose weight “permanently”, then no diets don’t work. But what if by work I mean other things like, having flawless skin, no headaches, no bloating or stomach pain, and no uncontrollable farting. No uncontrollable farting is a goal to work toward.

So this whole situation doubly sucks. Because now I have to give up all the foods I truly truly love, and I’m not even going to fucking be skinny.  What’s the point?!?  See above.

I love sugar, I love bread, I love jams and jellies and crepes. It’s not fair, it’s not right. What am I suppose to do for fun and pleasure now? Pooh was right, Pooh was right.

April 28, 2009. Tags: , , . diet, fat acceptance, weight loss. Leave a comment.

Can’t I be just a little attractive?

I read this article, When Medicine Makes You Fat, in the New York Times.

Is it me? Or is there absolutely no consideration that it’s possible to be attractive and fat?  And she was really upset to be a size 8? Really?

I’m not saying she has no right to complain about side effects. I’ve been on enough medications to know that they are real and sometimes as bad as the disease itself. What I am saying is that a young woman who assumes that if she gains weight she should hole up in her apartment because her life is over. What?!?

She may be “more than her disease” but she certainly doesn’t think she’s not more than her waistline.

April 6, 2009. Tags: , . diet, weight. Leave a comment.

float

183

I haven’t been writing here because:

  1. I haven’t been losing weight
  2. I’d been extremely busy at work, and
  3. I just came back from a much-deserved vacation in Mexico where I was on a Las Olas Surf Safari!!

The Surf Safari is something I’d wanted to do for three years. Yes, 36 months. I finally stopped weighting in October when I signed up to go so I could be there the week of my 42nd birthday.
I ate whatever I wanted. The food was good and fresh and the shrimp became a habit. The first couple of nights the bread/tortillas didn’t agree with me, but after a while nothing bothered me. I didn’t eat anything sweet for days into it; I didn’t even put syrup on the pancakes at Rollie’s! I was outside all the time, even when I was in my ‘room’ which had a terrace almost as large as my apartment with an outdoor kitchen.

And there was of course surfing!! Paddling out, popping up and falling back in, just to do it all again. It was my dream vacation.  While I did cease weighting long enough to register, weight rarely left me while there.  I noticed immediately on arrival that I was the fattest women there. And, the old I-would-be-so-much-better-at-this-if-i were-smaller stayed with me much of the time.  Getting my leg up far enough is even more difficult on water than it is on my yoga mat.

The day after getting back I weighed myself. 183. About the same as it’s been for the last month. The idea of going back to my low carb/high fat diet seemed limiting. But I know what’s best for my body now and I can’t ignore it. Sometimes I wish I could.

February 29, 2008. diet, goals, surfing, vacation. Leave a comment.

What are you weighting for?

I weigh 182 pounds. I haven’t weighed this little in about 4 years. I’ve lost 13lbs in 17 days by cutting out most carbohydrates from, and adding fat to, my diet.

I’ve never been diet crazy. I am not one of those people who’s been on every diet under the sun. In fact I’ve only been on Weight Watchers, which I think is the most sensible low fat, low calorie diet plan out there. In the past 18 years I’ve joined WW half a dozen times. Two of those times I lost 50+ pounds. Unfortunately they were the same 50lbs. I would lose that much weight, then stall around 175. My goal weight was always 25-40lbs away. I would keep the weight I had lost off for 2 or 3 years then it would come back.

When I moved to Austin 5 years ago without a job and not knowing anyone, I gained 40lbs in 6 months topping out at about 220. I decided dieting was insane (doing something over and over and expecting a different result). I consciously chose not to diet, but work on just doing what I wanted to do anyway and accepting myself as I am. My barely subconscious goal was to lose weight by exercising. Biking, running, swimming, karate, scuba diving, yoga. I wanted to be as active as possible to take off the pounds. I also stopped eating at the fastest of the fast foods like McDonalds. I lost 20lbs. In three years.

I’m not very good at this blogging thing: I didn’t weight myself or take measurements the first day. I weigh myself erratically. Although I’m starting to weigh myself on Saturdays. That seems like a good day. I’m not following any specific book, not Atkins, not the Zone, not whatever else is out there. I don’t want to follow random rules for the rest of my life. I’m just eating meat, fish, eggs, cheese/dairy, vegetables and fats. Butter is good. I just added fruit back into the mix a few days ago. When I lose more weight I’ll try to add whole grains back into my diet. A life without bread seems kind of sad. Especially since I make amazing bread. And a life without sugar… too bad I went to pastry school.

January 14, 2008. diet, fat acceptance, Uncategorized, weight. Leave a comment.