Tag Archives: weight loss

Approximately one million (or maybe fifteen) statements about food I’m tired of hearing (and my mental responses)

1. “Did you see how many calories are in that?”

No, I didn’t. Because I chose not to look. For many reasons. Please stop telling me.

2. “There are no such things as healthy carbs.”

Please take a nutrition class. Any nutrition class. Here, I have a catalog for our local community college for you.

3. “Ohmygosh you can’t eat gluten?! That must be so hard!”

The hardest part for me personally is trying to convince others that life without bread is still worth living and that I rarely have to think about how horribly deprived I am of all the apparent gluten-filled wonders that the culinary arts have to offer.  Well, that, and not being able to eat Lebanese food.

4. “Eat this thing it’s really good. No, really, have some. No, really, you have to try some. My personal worth is apparently attached to whether or not you decide to eat this thing. Have some.”

I have said “no, thank you” like three times at this point. This could be for a variety of reasons including: I’m not hungry, I am allergic to it, I am trying to cut back on sweets, I already know I don’t like it, or I just plan don’t want to.  Please stop harassing me about this.

5. “Yeah, I ate a whole pizza, but I’ll run it off later.”

This is not healthy. Food is fuel. Exercising in order to eat is not okay.

6. “But the calories!”

Like, do you even know what calories are?

7. “I’ve been really good all day, so I can totally eat _____________.”

Food choices are not moral choices nor should food be a reward; it’s fuel for your body. Sometimes we put in premium, sometimes we put in questionable low-grade fuel from that weird gas station down the street. But it is all just fuel.

8. “This has zero calories, so I’m good!”

You do realize the absence of calories means that your body does not recognize this thing as a food source, right?

9. “Juice detox!”

STAWP.

10. “You have to be on the exact diet that I’m on in order to live life to the fullest.”

What. No. Just, no.

11. “CALORIES.”

Just…go read something about calories that didn’t come from SELF magazine. Please.

12. “There are toxins that stay in your body for thousands of years and to get rid of them you just have not eat food for a month, drink only a mixture of water, cayenne pepper, powdered inulin, and take this new wonder herb from the Amazonian rainforest that absorbs all of the toxins in your small and large intestines and–“

I honestly do not understand where we got the idea that our bodies cannot take care of themselves if we give them proper fuel. What is happening.

13. “This is a healthy fudge brownie because it’s sugar-free and fat-free!”

For something to be healthy it must contain actual nutrients from actual food sources that are actually benefitting your body in some form or fashion. Being sugar-free and fat-free does not magically pack a recipe full of nutrients. Technically, using this logic, I could just eat spoonful after spoonful of Splenda and call it healthy.

14. “Ugh, fat!”

Fat is actually good for you in proper amounts and is entirely necessary for many functions of your body.

15. “BUT CALORIES.”

Aaaaaand we’re done.

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Weight loss worries: I’m done with the status quo

I realized early this morning that I have spent more years in my life being worried about my weight than I have spent years not being worried about my weight. This troubles me. I like the way I look right now. I like the way I eat (though I probably have a few too many sweets…). There are a few small changes I need to make for my health’s sake, but not necessarily for my weight’s sake (they are, contrary to popular belief, not always the same thing). So, why am I still constantly concerned about what I eat and what pant size I wear?  When does the worry end?

I know that as a woman in a Western country, I am technically expected to obsess about weight gain for the rest of my life.  The above realization about spending over half my life worrying about weight is hardly a unique one.  Most women (and many men) in America and other countries as well seem to feel as if the desire to lose weight is something to default to.  A few years ago, I was in a basic college PE class. There was a questionaire at the beginning about personal habits and such. One of the questions that I was required to answer was, “Are you committed to losing weight during this class?” Not “Do you want to lose weight?” or “Are you at a healthy weight?” or “What does you doctor say about your current weight?” but “Are you committed to losing weight…?” because the assumption is that we will always want to lose more, that our lives will be a constant fight against physical expansion.

Photo courtesy of Adpearance

But that seems so horrifying.  We must be constantly vigilant lest the numbers on the scales and on our clothing labels creep upward in the night.  We can’t think about food or exercise without ascribing moral implications to it.  Eating vegetables is “being good”; eating sweets is “downright sinful”.  Exercise addiction is the only addiction I can think of that is actively applauded despite the fact that no addiction is healthy.  Eating fresh food items is considered “eating clean”, which means that anything not in that category is dirty, right?

Too many people go through life feeling as if they have to earn any food they ingest. Too many people think that it’s okay to exercise or starve in order to eat this or that and that’s just tragic. Let’s get this straight: you deserve to eat food when you are hungry. Even if you just ate an hour ago. Even if you skipped the gym for an entire week or month or decade. Even if you look in the mirror and you hate what you see. You deserve to ingest nutrients; you deserve to treat your body with respect and to feed it so that it can continue to pump blood, breathe air, move, and heal itself.

I know that these concerns about eating and weight gain are considered natural and even healthy at times.  And I do think we should be mindful of what we are putting into our bodies. But mindful is not obsessive; mindful is not feeling as if you’ve sinned if you eat something with such-and-such calories or sugar or whatever; and mindful is certainly not feeling as if you have to make up for eating a cupcake by depriving yourself of food or by running for an hour.

Cherry red summer apple isolated on white

I know that as an American woman, it would not be unusual for me to spend the rest of my life battling it out with calories and weight gain and fat and cellulite. I’m supposed to fight this battle paying no mind to the fact that I look healthy, eat well, am strong and, with training, am able to do nearly anything physical that I want to do.  I’m not even sure what I’m battling the calories and the fat for any more.  Is it in a quest to feel good about myself? Is it in a quest to make someone else happy? Because obsessing about what I’m doing or not doing in the areas of food and exercise will not accomplish either of those things, and it certainly won’t make me any healthier as a person.

I know I’m supposed to worry about this until I reach an old age.

But I don’t want to any more.

What are your thoughts on the issue of weight loss obsession?

As an aside, I highly recommend this spoken word piece that’s been making the rounds on the Internet. Lily Myers speaks about this issue with eloquence and raw honesty:


Dear People Sitting Next to Me in the Coffee Shop

Dear People Sitting Next to Me in the Coffee Shop,

First of all, Calculus Student, the phrase, “The person with the highest grade in the class gets a uhhundred,” kind of makes my brain hurt. It’s one hundred or a hundred. Not uhhundred.

To the Study Buddy of the Calculus Student, I find it hard to believe that the idea of curving a grade is so incredibly foreign to you. Maybe you haven’t had professors who have used the blessed grade curve, and if that’s the case, I have to say, you’re missing out. Get new professors, ASAP.

And you, Lady Who Wants to Lose Sixty Pounds in Twelve Weeks, you just admitted that losing more than two to three pounds a week is unhealthy. Also, it’s not realistic. The less you weigh, the harder it is to lose weight because your body burns fewer calories with every pound lost. I encourage you to keep up the hard work, but know that it won’t always result in the exact numbers you’re looking for.

Also, Man Sitting With the Lady Who Wants to Lose Sixty Pounds in Twelve Weeks, you may have lost more than three pounds a week when you were sick, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. Also, the boxers you know who lost ten pounds in a day were likely just flushing water weight. Encouraging someone to have a goal like that is insane.

I’m sure you guys hardly care, and I obviously can’t give my two cents in person. But these conversations were bothering me.

I hope you are comforted in knowing that I do in fact listen to all of you. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Chelsea


Dear People Who Want to Know How I Lose Weight

Dear People Who Want to Know How I Lose Weight,

I have a secret: the weight you’ve noticed me losing over and over again for the past year is, in fact, the same five pounds.

Yes, that’s right.  I simply lose and gain the same five pounds repeatedly, and yet, every time you notice that I’ve lost weight, you think I’m getting skinnier. Today, when one of you asked me what my secret was, I played it off like I didn’t know what you were talking about, but I did know.  I waffled on disclosing my secret to losing and gaining the same five pounds over and over again because it is incredibly complex and took years for me to master.  However, I have decided that I will reveal the time-tested methods I have developed that will ensure that you, too, can have people tell you that you look skinnier every four months or so without actually dipping below whatever weight plateau you are currently on.

First, there a few simple rules to my plan:

1. Drink a smoothie containing at least three different varieties of vegetation every morning for breakfast.

2. Never weigh yourself, except for maybe when you’re at the gym (and you’ll see how often that happens later).

3. Make sure that your wardrobe contains no less than two but no more than six different sizes of clothing.  You’ll see why this is important later.

4. Make baking your hobby so that, no matter what part of the plan you’re on, you’ll always have a steady supply of cookies and cupcakes.

5. Buy only organic fruits and vegetables.  Eat a lot of those, but don’t let your consumption of them get in the way of the rest of the plan.

All right, now that those rules are out of the way, here is my life plan:

Month One

For at least a week, eat chips, with or without dip, for four to seven meals.  For your other meals, eat large quantities of the same vegetable, i.e. an entire head of cauliflower, an entire bunch of kale or a large sweet potato.  Supplement any missing calories with baby carrots, peanut butter on apple slices, molten lava cakes eaten at midnight and/or spoonfuls of ice cream.  Watch a movie that contains ballet and briefly dream about a life as a dancer.  Decide that potatoes and bread are evil for some reason and stop eating them.  Give up the dancer dream when your realize how much more work and how much less cookie eating you would have to do.

Pizza is your friend.

Month Two

Eat so much meat in a three day period that you feel queasy at the mere thought of eating beef ever again.  Become increasingly fixated on a particular spice or condiment (my latest obsession was sriracha) and find ways to eat it with everything.  Mix it into mayonnaise and fabricate reasons to dip vegetables in the concoction, sprinkle it on your baked sweet potatoes for some reason, douse chicken in it.  Whatever gets that goodness in you.

Stand and walk throughout your six-foot work space at your job.

Pizza is your friend.

Month Three

Start to feel like you’re on the upper end of your weight fluctuation.  Wear slightly baggier clothing because it’s more comfortable or because you like the look this month.  Whatever the reason, just be sure your clothing is baggier than usual.

Join the gym/pick up some sort of activity.  Go to the gym multiple times a week for two to three weeks.  Forget you have membership.  Lose membership card.  Lose track of whether the gym is still charging you for your membership.

In the meantime, eat lots of vegetables and fruit throughout the day, with random comfort foods dispersed throughout the week.  A sample day might contain your obligatory breakfast smoothie, a salad and a heaping serving of baked or sauteed veggies for lunch and chicken nuggets and fries for dinner.  Potatoes and bread are now akin to manna from Heaven.  Realize that your previous condiment fixation was kind of weird.  Go back to using normal spices.

Pizza is your friend.

Month Four

As a result of stress or busyness or just life happenings, change your eating patterns drastically.  It doesn’t really matter if you’re eating less or more; just shake things up for a week or so in one direction and then switch to the other direction the next week! This confuses your metabolism and tells your body that it should probably take over from here because you don’t know what you’re doing!

Take vitamins for the first time in three months.

Pizza is still your friend, but doesn’t play as large of a part in your life as it once did.  Start craving soup inexplicably instead, but only eat it from Panera, in a bread bowl.

Instead of all of that drab standing and walking at work, begin getting around by shoving yourself across the room on your wheelie office chair.

Start wearing clothing that is less baggy.  Have someone at work comment on weight loss that you’re pretty sure is imaginary.  With their friendly comment in mind, go home and eat cookies or ice cream for dinner.

And that’s it! If you repeat this entire process, you can literally gain and lose the same five pounds repeatedly (which is, arguably, a part of normal weight fluctuation), but reap the constant rewards of people from work who you barely know commenting on your appearance!  It’s grand! Plus, you get to eat cookies for dinner at least three times a year!  What is there to lose?

I hope this letter has been enlightening to you about how I manage to do what I do.

I’m going to go eat cookies for dinner now.

Sincerely,

Chelsea