Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Oop..I AM grown up...


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Diets can SUCK IT

There's a lot of talk floating around, since the holidays, about over-indulgence, followed by self-loathing and need for diets.  Ever year right after New Year's, TV-land becomes infiltrated with gym and fitness commercials:  gorgeous, toned people, who probably never even over-indulged, working out until they get covered in SEXY SWEAT (not the sweat that the rest of us seem to get covered in.  That's simply STINKY SWEAT, and it requires soap). 

*Random Facebook status:  "I'm sooo sick of eating"

*Random Facebook status:  "I'm looking forward to eating normal food again."

*Random Facebook status:  "OMG, I ate the whole box of chocolates"

No, those are not my facebook status messages.  I hardly ever update that thing, except when, months later, my sister or friend tell me they're sick to death of my last status message.

Anyhoo, I'm just going to come right out and say it:

I DON'T DIET ANYMORE. 
Okay, this is going to sound like some cheesy, flim-flam sham diet advertisement, or phony book endorsement, but it's not.  I've just been pondering this whole diet thing lately, because doesn't everybody at one time or another in their lives make "losing weight" part of their New Year's resolutions???


I DON'T DIET ANYMORE.
No can do.  Unh-unh.  No way.  Finito.  No more diets.  I may be pleasantly Rubenesque (or unpleasantly--depends on your tastes, I s'pose), but I haven't gained any weight in nearly 4 years.  If you're a yo-yo girl like I, then your eyes might have widened just a little bit at that statement, because if you have also been on that weight rollercoaster your whole life, you know that not gaining any weight in that amount of time is unheard of. 

I don't know how much I weigh though.  I can't back up the not gaining weight in nearly 4 years thing with any numbers.  I go by how I feel.  I go by how my clothes fit.  I'm still wearing the same (large-ish) pants.  When I go for my annual physical, I never look at the scale.  I also ask the doctor, and nurse not to tell me.  I haven't stepped on the scale at home in 3 years. 

I have 2 goals that I try to meet: 
-eat as little junk food as possible (and that goes for white sugar and carbs too)
-keep my body healthy through food and exercise

DENIAL?  MAYBE!  However, if you're a woman, you'll know that the scale has ruled you since right about that horrifying time you discovered that your legs actually had hair on them.  We've all let it define as as women.  We let it put us in categories of truly beautiful, and desireable.  We compared that number to those stupid body charts that have been presented to us by doctors and physed/health teachers over the years, to see if we fit in to our slot in life, like the nice little peg we should be.  Let's see...I'm 5'5" tall, and I should weigh 155 pounds.  Hm...if I have a 'large' frame...or 117 pounds if I have a small frame...oh no!  I don't FIT THE CHART!  WAAAAA!  Well, F*CK the chart. 

Girls, does this sound familiar to you: 

*I first started dieting when I was 13.  I decided I was too fat (at around 125 pounds), and I lost weight by skipping desserts and doing jumping jacks after every meal.  Seriously.  Makes me want to cry a little bit just thinking about how easy it was back then before I burned myself out.  Jumping Jacks.  Pffft. 

* I was probably on a diet at some point from then on, every year until my 20's.

*I drank those horrible "chocolate" shakes that promised slimness, and ate the horrible meal-replacement bars too. You know what I want at breakfast and lunch though? BREAKFAST AND LUNCH, not a chocolate or vanilla shake!!!!


* In my 20's I tried one of those idiotic high protein, next to no carbs diets.  I lost some weight, but for a couple of weeks I walked around with zero energy, and a really disgusting taste in my mouth at all times. 

* in my mid-20's, a girl we worked with at the casino had an aunt who did a well-known weight-loss company's diet plan, whereby each food is assigned a certain number of "points," and you can eat whatever you want, but you can only consume "X" number of points per day.  This girl photocopied her Aunt's meal guide, and some of us got a copy and went on this diet.  I had a journal filled with foods and their points, which I would use to keep track all day of what I ate, as well as see what I could exclude in order to get that damn piece of cake.  One girl tried not to eat much all day, so she could save as many points as possible for beer. 

I lost 30 pounds thanks to this plan, paired with the strenuous casino job, and was added to the "top 10 eff-able cashiers" list, that was informally bounced around amongst the guys who bagged all the tokens we took in.  BOO YAH

However, I couldn't take writing down everything I ate, no matter how sensible an idea it might be.  Also, I moved to suburban hell when I was 28, and  with the stress and loneliness, watched the weight slowly return. 

* I gained 60 pounds when I was pregnant with Jack. I did lose most of it.  I went to a prominent gym for women, where they were offering a 6 week diet/diet counselling session.  My body was starting to really fizzle out from years of dieting, so I lost about 12 pounds, even though I followed the diet to the letter.  It was very frustrating watching other women in the 'class' lose 10 pounds just from giving up pop. 

* I tried the session again one of the next times it came around, and lost about 8 pounds.  8 pounds in 6 weeks.  Sigh. 

* I gained a TON OF WEIGHT when I was pregnant with my daughter, and stopped checking the scale around the 220 pound mark, or right around when I started to outweight my dad and father-in-law.  Being super heavy, and caring for a difficult 2 year old, and trying to tie my shoes everyday nearly did me in. 

After Ella, not all of the weight came off. 

I was so, so, so, sick of dieting, and being obsessed with food, and bingeing, and feeling ashamed of myself.  I had a raging sugar addiction, and could cram carbs down my yap like a champ. 

So that's when I decided no more.  I wasn't going to diet anymore.  After over 20 years of dieting, and never ever being satisfied with how I looked anyway, I decided I wouldn't do it to myself anymore.  Besides, as soon as I'd tell myself I was on a diet, I'd immediately become OBSESSED with food.  The sense of denial I felt was always overwhelming. 

I'm not trying to sound preachy, but I just made some changes in my life, and that's it.

  First of all, I decided that I was going to eat whatever I wanted, and as much as I wanted--AT BREAKFAST.  If I wanted cookies, I would eat them at breakfast.  If I wanted leftover pizza, I'd eat it at breakfast.  Chips?  Breakfast. Chocolate?  Breakfast.  Why?  Because this is the time of day when our bodily "engines" are revving the highest.  Supposedly.  So at first, I was like HELLZ YEAH, and I chowed down this crap at breakfast.  Because I wasn't denying myself the junkfood, I actually lost interest in it. 

Then I decided I would eat as much as I wanted at breakfast, as long as it was healthy food.  I'd eat as many raw almonds, or oatmeal, or whole wheat toast, fruit, or whatever, as I wanted.  At first, this was fantastic.  And then, I just didn't feel like chowing down any longer.  The option was always still there, but I didn't feel like it. 

Here is the difference between someone who lives in France, and someone who lives in North America (in a roundabout, generalized, overly simplified sort of way):  in France, they don't deny themselves that indulgent dessert, or yummy cheese.  So, they don't mind eating a little bit of it, because it's not FORBIDDEN.  In North America, we see that piece of cheese cake and say; "OMG, I really, really shouldn't eat that...oh, it's so bad...BUT LOOK AT IT, IT LOOKS DELICIOUS...if I just have a little bite, then I won't be 'bad'...THE LITTLE BITE ISN'T ENOUGH!!! I HAVE TO HAVE THE WHOLE THING!!!!!!!!!  Oh, I ate the whole piece.  I hate myself now.  I'm disgusting." 

I no longer beat myself up about PMS overeating.  I don't feel like eating for most of the month.  Honestly--I don't care.  I no longer go PSYCHO for sugar (the sweeter, the better, I used to think), and sometimes I want some baked chips at night, and I'd climb the wall for them, but generally speaking, I honestly don't feel like eating.  But, when I have PMS, for some reason I feel like I'm "starving" all the time.  I need the greasy food, and sometimes the chocolate.  So, for a whole day, I'll listen to my body and eat whatever I want, and as much as I want.  I figure it'll all balance out in the end, and basically it does.  If I feel myself spiralling down into bad habits though, I do rein myself back in. 

I don't buy junk food.  Let's not pretend I'm Wonder Woman here--if I had 3 bags of chips sitting in my pantry, I'd bang them back one after the other, 3 nights in a row, until they were GONE and off my mind.  If I bought cream-centred vanilla sandwich cookies, I'd eat the whole freaking row, and feel tormented by the other 2 rows.  If I had a bag of mini chocolate bars, I would eat them until they were gone.  Junk food is unbelievably hard to resist.  Growing up, our cupboards were CRAMMED with junk food, but it was the forbidden fruit, because my Mom would get mad if we ate too much of it, or opened a new package of something.  Perverse, I know.  The second my Mom or parents went out, or went on vacation, my brother, sister and I would go on a junk-food rampage. 

I hardly ever bake now.  This was a tough one because I love baking.  I think there's a real art to it, and it's fun and challenging to come up with something truly good.  Also, my Mom baked all the time, so it seems like the thing a mom should do.  But why?  Sugar wreaks havoc on our bodies.  Care for a little sugar reading?  Go HERE.  Poor pancreas!  But if we put a cozy, snuggy word on it and call it a "TREAT", then we think it's okay, right?  Oh, I'll just give my baby a bit of pop for a TREAT.  I'll buy the kids these enormous cookies with the chocolate and sprinkles on them for a TREAT.  It's just not good.  However, I'm not Princess Perfect here, and I likes me a really nice, well-crafted dessert.  So, I bake, but only when a lot of people are around to eat it.  That way I get 1 piece of cake, rather than 6 pieces of cake. 

I stopped baking like a maniac for Christmas.  Hoooooo boy, this was a hard one.  I used to make at least 3 or 4 different types of cookies.  I'd fill up a giant tin with them.  They'd look so purdy.  And then I'd eat them.  And eat them. And eat them. And think about eating them.  Then go eat some.  All day.  Every day, until they were gone.  Is that actually fun?!?  To be tormented by food?  No, not really.  Yeah, I made 1 small batch of sugar cookies weeks ago, and 1 Christmas cake.  And that was it.  I also didn't buy any chocolates.  Waaa...that was sad, I'll admit. 

This was the first year ever that I was actually hungry for breakfast on Christmas morning, because I didn't over-indulge in anything.  Mind you, it kinda sucked not to chow down on any holiday snackies, but my voluminous pants still fit. 

Stop dieting girls.  Eat more veggies.  Go for more walks.  Lift some weights, and stop filling your cupboards with junk food.  Yeah, you'll climb the walls for junk like a crack-whore for her fix for a few days, but the feeling will pass. 

Just say NO to diets!  THEY SUCK LARGE.

***okay girls (and boys--sorry, girls just seem to diet more), now it's your turn:  tell me about the stupid diets you've been on! 

17 comments:

  1. as i was reading your blog, gabe came in and said he would like to say,'hi jack how are you doing?' and 'you do good drawing and really good music'. see you later jack, love gabriel and mum.

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  2. oh man, that is so cute. I'll tell Jack when next I see him (haw haw haw..he's visiting his Nana). Gee, I'd have figured that the exuberant Jack and Ella would have scared him off for good. Now I'm verklempt!

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  3. diets; how i hate you let me count the ways,cabbage soup, slimfast,weight watchers [X8] body for life, herbal magic,weigh down,south beach,atkins, and of course crying begging pleading and praying to God to take this addiction away! now i have a 16000 dollar gastric band that makes me barf if i don't chew well or if i am too stressed too sit down to a relaxing long meal,with 2 kids always demanding something or on the verge of breaking something or themseves, i barf alot! the real kicker is that i am as fat as ever ! i am pissed and i want my money back! i hear you karen screw you diets!!!!!

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  4. Good for you Karen! I like what the comment you left on cousin Shelley's fb about the hand guide her hubby didn't read!!
    I can't comment too much because I hate to say it have never been on a diet. I have an addiction to sugar though...licorice or my I eat the whole bag! The Corfield sugar addiction!
    I refuse to read the article on sugar I just want to stay in denial!

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  6. Well karen I am one of those LARGE women. In my early twenties I would say I would have fit the anorexic category.

    Living on hot chocolate, 2 a day and running 2 miles every night.

    That was a diet I did "before" my wedding. Who was I kidding? Diet shmiate I was a dying, sickly pathetic piece of crap.

    Who thought I was FAT.

    Then I bore all those babies....4 of them. I gained about 50 lbs with each kid and lost it all except the last kid...so I was 200lbs 9 months pregnant....and have gained every year since then.

    My diet of choice was chocolate, and chips. And too much main course, of everything.

    Food, was my comfort in times of stress.
    I had baby #4 early, we moved the weekend he was born ( me in hospital with C-section) It was supposed to be renovated so we holed up in someones basement room for a week or more, with a newborn and 3 toddlers.

    They did not renovate, so we lived in a dump.

    A few weeks after my surgery my husband goes in for, hernia surgery.(at that time) He was running two businesses. He worked 13-14 hours a day. He was a pissed off, over tired, crab. Then he started another job on top of that.

    I started therapy. I charged family members with abuse.
    Life turned into living hell.

    Baby was 2-3 months old at this point.

    Hubby was zero support for me.

    We fought like Mad men.

    We moved. We sued a business partner over wrongful dismissal. (long story, and never never do business with people who you call your friends)

    ********************************

    My hubbies best friend stole his business plan and did the whole thing under his nose. And when hubby went to pursue it...somebody had done it....his best friend!!

    This is a different story all in the same year baby # 4 was born...

    *******************************

    We went bankrupt on account of the two FRIENDS above.

    Charges were dropped, against my family. Mother lied to police.

    For the next 4 years I am harrassed, watched and phoned by my abusers. Police can do nothing.

    we move another like 6 times.

    What do I do all this time to survive? I eat CHOCOLATE BARS and CHIPS.

    and do not go on the scale.

    So here I am, a huge woman, 15 years later, and I still don't want to diet because I believe in your plan, but have to get healthy and decide I am worth getting healthy.

    I don't know what it looks like but this is my year....before My body explodes into oblivion, or I get sick with diabetes or some horried other problem. Amazingly enough I had never had an issue with high blood pressure or any other thing...but I think I may be living on borrowed time.

    So thats it in a nutshell.

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  7. Paula, I was a raving carbo-sugar addict for years. Try what I did and let yourself eat as much crap as you want--GUILT FREE- at breakfast. Eventually, you won't care, and you won't feel deprived, and then you just won't want it.

    Years and years of dieting. Aren't you tired of it? I don't know if you buy the cookies and things--I used to, because I believed a house is SUPPOSED to have them. Forget it. It's like leaving bowls of cocaine around for the addict. Way too much pressure.

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  8. well Pam, you've always been naturally slim--and you look great. Just be glad your not on that woman roller coaster of wrestling with your body! That's a good thing. Or maybe you are in a way, since no woman ever seems to be satisfied.

    yeah--what the hell was her husband thinking??? If Jon had said that I looked pregnant again, he'd be in HUGE trouble.

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  9. Wow, Melissa--thank you for sharing that. Do you know how courageous you are for telling me/us this? That's phenomenal. Women: we bear A LOT on our shoulders, and we bear a lot of it on our own for the most part, even if we have loving spouses, because we are strong, and we are meant to in some ways.

    No more dieting. Food is EXTREMELY COMFORTING. The first thing I do after a doctor's appointment still, is to eat, eat, eat. BUT, I don't beat myself up for it, because I won't do it tomorrow.

    Eat your chocolate bars and chips: AT BREAKFAST. Don't feel bad about it. Tomorrow, decide you are going to eat as much as you want when you get up. Eventually you will not want to. Then switch that to eating as much healthy food as you want for breakfast. If you want three pieces of toast with penaut butter, as well as a big bowl of oatmeal, go for it.

    Then, eat 2 more small meals, and 2 snacks for the rest of the day. Dinner should be the size of lunch. I grew up in a house, like everyone else, where dinner was the biggest meal of the day, and you CLEAN YOUR PLATE. And then you have "seconds," because that shows your appreciation.

    But the next time you go for groceries, buy one or the other: chocolate or chips. Decide which you can't do without. I can't buy chips all the time. I'd eat them all the time, plain and simple.

    At first the withdrawel from these foods is TERRIBLE...but after about a week, you will not crave them all the time.

    I don't know...i think when the mind changes, the body will follow as well.

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  10. p.s. Berries: you ARE worth it. One of the most important people in anyone's life is their mother.

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  11. I've decided that I love food SO much that I will never deny myself.... I just don't care. Because one day I'll be dead and I won't have to worry about sweets anymore... Until then, CRAM FEST!!!!

    However! I'm trying DESPERATELY to gain that self control that Mom always had. She was ACTUALLY able to just eat 1 or 2 squares of her favourite chocolate bar and put the rest away for another day. How did she do that?

    Portion control. Sounds easier than it is. I obsess and obsess and obsess over food. If I have a bag of bulk barn chocolates in my house and I LITERALLY can't stop thinking about them until i just give up and eat the hell out of them. A bag of mini reese peanut butter cups??? Oh that baby's gone in one sitting. So I only buy something like that once every couple of MONTHS. And then I'll have a super light and healthy lunch and dinner and save myself up for the goodies. haha.

    What is the answer? I'm trying to master portion control... and I always enjoy eating healthy too.... and if I could just jam in a good walk every day... yeah.

    Karen and I grew up in food central... Mom was always cooking and baking and offering more and having forbidden snacks and... Phew.

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  12. What I told you Karen is not even the half of it.

    I do eat healthy. The phase where I ate chocolate bars everday now are few and far between.

    Even the chips are not an everyday or every week thing.

    It just has accumalated over time.

    And I eat too much at one sitting. That is the problem.

    Oh I can make the healthiest food,I just eat it all.

    instead of 6 brussell sprouts , 12 would be good.

    Plus, I have food intolerances that I should be careful of that I have not followed protocol for and I know that plays into it as well.

    I just have to decide I am worth it, and I don't need to be this way.

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  13. Yes you do dammit, because WE ARE AWESOME! We cook, we clean, we create nice places to live besides that!

    I am a little stumped about the 12 brussels sprouts thing...green veg..shudder...
    ANYHOO, well, what if you had those 12 sprouts, and less potatoes? I know, I know--easier said than done. Yeah, as I type this, the Man is heating up the oven to throw in some frozen hors d'oeuvres snackos. Oh well, I never do this, so I don't care :) Much :) Maybe a little :(

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  14. besides, Berries--what about those kitchen cabinets you made-they're FABULOUS. Surely you don't think the average idiot could do that???

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  15. Hey Karen,

    What I do, and what I am maybe in my mind are two separate things....but, I think I will switch things up.

    Today I started my gluten free life again.

    I feel so depressed after a long bout of eating wheat and at the 3rd day wheat free, Holy smokes Batman....do I start to FEEEL great!

    The last time, I did it it felt as if I walked into sunshine after living in a cave.

    This time I have eaten wheat for 2 years straight and my adrenal system is dying.

    I was off of it for a full year prior to that...and my cholesterol was at a 90 american...the Dr. said that was the lowest he had seen in 15 yrs. Plus I take a green drink everyday.

    ( or do when I remember)

    So I know all the "right" stuff, just "doing" it is the issue.

    And Potatoes just don't do it for me anymore...yuck.

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  16. hm...tell me more about this green drink! Good for you being gluten free. I don't eat a lot of bread, but still don't know if I'd be able to do it...it's in so much of what we consume.

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  17. Mother's Day is coming. I made an order for 2 bottles of Birds Nest soup (http://hongkong-bird-nest.50webs.com/index_e.htm) as well as 4 packets of Chinese tea that's supposed to be good for regulating cholestrol. My mom's cholestrol has been pretty high lately, or so she tells me.

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