Update; eating habits. bodies.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
I had a good weekend and didn't eat like a piggy! Sometimes weekends are hard. Getting in some exercise was nice too! I took a nice long swim, then had a late, big breakfast (veggie omelet!) and did some Responsible Adult Things - we ordered some furniture we've been needing for, oh, a year, and went to the bank and stuff like that.
That's my new thing; I am overwhelmed by the list of stuff we want & need to do since buying a house, so instead of curling up on the couch and watching TV because Maybe If I Ignore It It'll Go Away, husby & me pick 1 thing each weekend. Stuff gets done, but I still have time for fun and relaxing, AND I feel accomplished. YAY!
Food has been going well for quite a few days now, I am pleased. I am also trying to really focus on food, not only on what and measuring and tracking, but really thinking about eating. The other night I had watermelon for dessert, because I love it and had just bought some. I piled up a huge pile, like 2c, plus some cherries.
This all fit in my calories for the day, I just had a moment where I was looking at it and going... okay. I've had dinner. I'm not *HUNGRY*. I just like watermelon. How is this any different from cookies? I mean really, 1c would be plenty. So I'm trying to think more about this. I think part of my problem is, when I put food on my plate, make food, buy food, or pack food to bring with me for lunch and snacks, I do so in HUGE VOLUME. It's like I'm terrified I might get hungry. Which.. why? Being hungry for half an hour is not going to kill me. And I definitely overserve myself, even healthy foods. I need to focus on eating more mindfully - ALL THINGS not just "bad" foods. It's just as important for me to learn to eat 1/2c or 1c of watermelon instead of 2-3 as it is to learn to eat just 1 cookie instead of 5. These are both symptoms of the same issue. I think if, over time, I could learn to put reasonable amounts of food on my plate, and eat SLOWER so when eating out I don't eat the whole portion, I will be better off both for losing & for maintaining. So I might as well work on it now.
So far I have been decently, if not extravagantly, productive at work also! I am in a good mood today as far as work goes, so I'm gonna try to get off Spark ASAP & continue the momentum!
I just want to take a few minutes (or, let's be honest, PAGES) to continue with my Why Am I So Fat series. I mean, exhibit A, the huge portions things. But emotionally. Part of the reason I think it has been so hard for me to lose, and so easy to gain, goes beyond availability of fattening foods & poor habits. I actually grew up with very good eating habits. We always had vegetables. We had a lot of baked chicken. Low fat milk. NEVER soda with meals. Sweets were usually homemade, and had for dessert in moderation. We ate together at the table. My parents never mentioned my weight, ever. All the things I have been reading nutritionists say to help your kids develop good eating habits! So WHY AM I SO DAMN FAT?
I developed the put-too-much-on-your-plate, shovel-it-in-your-mouth habit pretty early I think. My dad eats like that so maybe it's actually genetic, I don't know. I'm frustrated because I was reading a lot of Ellyn Satter this week (if you look her up, she's a nutritionist and has recommendations for how to deal with food & eating with kids to help them learn healthy eating habits) and as far as I can tell & remember, my parents did all the stuff she recommends. They never forced us to eat things or clean our plates. They didn't restrict junk to the point that we became obsessed hoarders. So if they did everything "right", how come I got fat?
The other thing that makes me mad reading her stuff is, all this about "accept a child's natural genetic size & shape", that a person, if left alone and not forced to diet or whatever, will eat what they need to get the body they are meant to have. So basically she thinks I must be "meant" to be obese??? That pisses me off.
Granted, I gained a lot of my extra weight in college- I was cooking for myself but never had been really taught how or about portions. I cooked things I had seen my mother cook (so I ended up with meals roughly for a family of four) then I ate too much so I wouldn't have quite so much leftovers. Grad school was a whole different story... that was emotional eating on an epic scale. I think those are separate problems that developed later, but childhood & teen years... I mean, according to Satter I was just supposed to be fat?
She basically recommends you just let your kids do their thing. The problem is, WE DON'T LIVE IN A G-D VACUUM. It was great my mother never badgered me or made me feel bad about my body, but the other little jerk kids I went to school with did!
I have always wondered how much of my weight was a self-fulfilling prophecy. I think it's more complicated than that (there's other stuff I'll get into in future blogs) but I wonder if, in part, I let myself get fat because I SAW myself as fat. Everyone called me that. I figured it was inevitable and just how I was "supposed" to be.
I was skinny, almost scrawny, until I was about 7. I got chubby around age 8. I went through puberty pretty young - got my period at just barely turned 11, and probably wore bras starting in fourth grade or so. My first bra? was a C cup.
Kids used to follow me around on the playground singing that godawful song about the baby whale... you know, "Baby Beluga"? God I hate that song to this day. My SIL has it on a kids' songs compilation for my niece. I always turn it off. Baby beluga. Because you're so fat you're like a baby whale. Clever! Not.
After being called fat for more than 6 years of school, I just accepted it as my reality. By high school I pretty much went through life assuming people did not want to be friends with me or be seen with me because I was "uncool," because of my weight. (And also because I got good grades but that's another separate commentary on our messed up broken crap of a society) As a teen I was not really FAT. I was just bigger than everyone else. I had a great body, from an adult perspective, but all the other (cool) girls were willowy little size 0s with no boobs or hips. I couldn't wear "cool" clothes for my age as a 14. Done with puberty, and with a genetically VERY hourglass shape. I looked fatter than I was because I dressed in baggy clothes to hide my curves. It never occurred to me I was fat in the places one is SUPPOSED to be fat. Never occurred to me my huge boobs & hips made me attractive. Why would it? In 4th, 5th, and 6th grades the mean boys used to ask me out as a joke. I never said yes because I could tell just from their faces/voices they didn't mean it. They just wanted me to say yes so they could laugh and go "HA, you thought I was SERIOUS? who would ever go out with YOU??" The girls were mean too - probably because they were jealous I actually had boobs. I didn't entirely get that, but even if I had, that didn't make it any easier...
And you know... maybe if someone had explained to the chubby 8 year old what puberty was and how my body was going to change, I would have been better insulated against all the teasing. Maybe it would have helped to know I was naturally, biologically, supposed to put on extra fat that would later become my Lady Areas. By the time I learned about puberty (5th grade secret hush hush film strip shrouded in shame and misery) I was pretty much done with it! "You're going to get your period, which means..." "thanks, got it a year ago." NOT HELPFUL.
The silence, the discomfort around the topic of bodies & puberty, and the shame, didn't do me one damn bit of good. And high school may have been the beginning of my problems. I never learned how to eat healthier or watch my portion sizes until Spark! So senior year I tried one of those stupid "replace breakfast & lunch with shakes" diets, so I could maybe fit into a cool prom dress.
(I didn't go to prom.)
It didn't do much. Except maybe mess with my metabolism and teach me to be afraid of and start messing up my eating patterns.
I would have been better off learning how to eat more mindfully - put less on my plate, eat slower & listen to my hunger cues, and have "treats" in moderation. Now that I think back, that diet, my very first one, was probably where my "all or nothing" mentality problems began.
I would have been better off taking up some kind of activity I could have built on - like Couch to 5k style running. I also had exercise induced asthma so that was another thing that made me write myself off as "unathletic."
I want to like Ellyn Satter. It goes along with my obsession for reading everything I can so maybe my kids won't have to go through what I've been through. But I can't believe in the body, image, weight obsessed world we live in, you can just model good eating habits, have family dinners, and leave it at that. You have to talk about bodies. You have to talk about weight, and what it means and what it doesn't mean. You have to talk about the bodies you see on TV and in magazines, versus real bodies of the people around you every day. They way other people will react to and treat bodies. Including yours.
I have to talk to myself about all of this stuff, because if I don't understand it, I can't fix it.
Ultimately, does it really matter WHY I got fat? Maybe. I mean I can move forward. I mostly know what to do to lose it. I don't always stick to it. Not because it's impossible, but because these other reasons, issues, and ideas I have been carrying around since I was 8 years old still matter in some way. There are going to be days when no matter how much I WANT to lose weight, there will be an equal an opposite way in which I DON'T want to. Unless I understand that and try to get at the root of it, I will never get all the weight off, and I will certainly not keep it off.
Member Comments About This Blog Post
And by the way...I also pack a ton of food when I head out to work, one, because I am afraid that my blood sugar will drop and I will be stuck with nothing, and two, I sometimes have to wait for a ride and will be away from the house longer than my actual work time.
I am always glad that I have extra stuff with me because I either end up needing to eat it or I can share it with my co-workers.
I just make sure that I am packing healthy!
1128 days ago
I think that this Ellen Satter whats-her-face-woman, isn't thinking this all the way through.
I don't know when she came up with that crap idea...sounds like the line in one of the Jurrasic Park movies...'they can't manufacture lysine, so they are eating lysine rich foods.'
Our bodies and minds may have worked that way in the days of the caveman, when all they HAD was natural foods, or even today in some of the hidden tribes...they eat a healthy paleo diet. But in today's society, at least in most of the developed world, we have access to a sh!tton of junk and processed foods, our bodies may crave 'x'-ingredient or vitamin, but we end up following the mindset of eat-while-you-can-in-case-of-lean-t
imes and end up stuffing ourselves with garbage.
Its not so much a matter of naturally eating what your body needs, as a screwing yourself over because you eat what is available.
As long as my blood sugar stay stable, I give myself permission to have nice sized (ok, giant) portions of fruits and veggies. Watermelon is pretty healthy, and since it has a lot of water, I don't mind filling up on it.
As a matter of fact, I don't think I have EVER had a 1 cup serving of watermelon!
As to why we got fat, I think if we don't deal with the emotional side of things and understand why, it will be twice as hard to lose and keep the weight off. Heaven knows, my blogs are full of my dealing with these things! You just gotta do whatever you need to take care of you.
1128 days ago
So, first of all, it took me two days to read this blog. I literally had to take a break and come back later. It’s like a novel.
Okay – now on food volume and watermelon etc. F*ck that. I’m all about the volume. I still eat big portions of the good stuff and small of the bad, but I don’t cut anything out (this is when I’m not in a binge cycle that is, hey, no one’s perfect right?)
I like high volume low impact foods – big salads, mounds of watermelon. It’s watermelon for gawd’s sake! Not Cheetos! BUT each to their own I think.
I think that this Ellyn Satter is just plain wrong. There’s no ‘meant to be fat’ (unless there some sort of medical issue etc.) Kids are molded by their surroundings and are especially vulnerable to body issues and eating habits starting around the age of 6. So okay, once you were an adult you had to take responsibility for your actions but the inherited beliefs and habits that you picked up as a child (and NOT just from your parents, but also from your siblings, your friends (the other little jerk kids as you say), your aunt, your grandparents – you were at an age where you were absorbing other people’s habits and how they dealt with things in the world, how they treated others, things they said, beliefs they had) but they were just that – inherited, usually not consciously. And you can’t blame yourself.
Gawd I could have written half of what you said myself. Same with the bra and OMG that f’ing Baby Beluga song!!! I was tortured with it too and STILL hate it to this day. And yes to the self-fulfilling prophecy part – but unlike you, in high school I just kept gaining and gaining. I think I was probably a size 26 by the time I graduated high school. Oh and as for your hourglass shape – yeah I don’t have that. So I’m jealous of you there. :)
And you are totally right – modelling good eating and exercise patterns for children is not enough. You DO have to talk about bodies, weight, what it means. And you have to make sure that children do not grow up thinking discriminating or fat shaming is acceptable or okay or that there is anything wrong with anyone’s body.
Anyway, it’s a big issue and nothing can be solved or perfected but awareness is a start! Isn’t all this introspection damn hard?!
1130 days ago
Reading your blog is like reading my entire 4 through 6 grades years. I just wish I had the info I have now. But we can do this and we will have those crappy days but we can do this.
1131 days ago
We need a bigger boat. Not because we are big, mind you. We need it because we have a LOT of people in it!!!
My dear, you are NOT alone in any of this. Get it, got it, did it, yep.
Figuring out your "why" may or may not help you. I know my "why" and it really doesn't make it any easier. I'm still fat. I am not as fat as I WAS, but I am still fatter than I WILL BE.
Eventually, I will get there. And the thing about kids? Love them unconditionally and do your best. It's not like they come with instruction manuals!
1131 days ago
I had a similar patter... super skinny until about 7 -- then plump -- then bigger -- then fat by high school. My parents didn't watch what I ate. We always had fruit and veggies, and fried chicken and cream sauces, and bread and pasta and soda and kool-aide...
I don't know what I'm going to do with my kids, but I am going to try to be healthier with them and watch portions. My parents made us clean our plates -- not doing that. My parents let me cook my own food = fried foods -- as soon as I was tall enough and old enough to be safe = not doing that.
I was an emotional eater to deal with a lot of stuff my parents were going through... no one thought to see what was wrong with my coping mechanisms. I'm going to try to be more proactive.
What kills me is my mom always says "I don't know what I did wrong... you were so skinny when you were little. Then..."
1132 days ago
As usual, you are hitting right at the core of it.
I was also not fat in high school. I was heavier than I am now, but I was not fat. I wore a size 12. I was constantly called "the big girl" and when I would get angry at that, people would say "it's because you're tall". Uh huh. Even at 16 I could smell bull hockey. I wasn't athletic either, but I rode my bike and walked a LOT.
I know for a fact my weight gain was a portion control problem. My dad had a super fast metabolism until he was in his 40s, and never stopped eating seconds and thirds. It wound up killing him, I think. I saw him eat seconds and thirds at every meal, and grew up thinking this was okay.
Like you, we ALWAYS had veggies and lean meats. We just had a lot of it. I was, however, a snack cake hoarder. Tastykakes were my thing. I'd eat them and hide the wrappers. Never once did my dad tell me I was fat or that I should stop eating so much. The only thing he ever complained about was me drinking too much soda.
And, like you, I have had to educate MYSELF about diet and nutrition, because I sure as hell didn't get any classes in that in high school. Almost everything I know about nutrition and portion control I learned on the internet. (I most certainly didn't watch one documentary and believe everything it said, like some people on this site.)
Research, research, research, plus a little trial and error. =)
1133 days ago
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