Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kara you look great!

I was at a friend's 40th birthday party on Saturday night. Truth be told, I was apprehensive about going to the party in the first place. Of course I wanted to celebrate my friend's birthday milestone, but I also knew that three people from high school were also going to be there. People I haven't seen since graduation 22 years ago.

Twenty two years ago when I was a whole lot smaller.

I had a great time. I chatted with a group of other mothers, we swapped kid, house, work and commuting stories. I nibbled at the vegetable tray. I caught up with one of the girls from high school; towards the end of the night I talked to the other girl.

"Kara you look great!"

Immediately I give her a funny look; my eyes narrow and I tilt my head. I haven't seen this woman in 22 years, I'm half a person heavier than I was in high school and the first thing she tells me is that I look good?

"So Kara, when are you due?"

My lips tighten. I feel slightly embarrassed. I'm totally annoyed.

I tell her that I'm not pregnant.

She had the good sense to look mortified. She noticed that I wasn't drinking alcohol so she thought that I was pregnant. I'm sure my larger size also helped her to come to this conclusion.

"No May, I just don't drink any more." For some reason, I felt compelled to add: "My weight was fine until I had kids." (This statement was mostly true; my weight fluctuated greatly before pregnancy, but my weight exploded during the two pregnancies. Right now, I'm approximately 30 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight.)

"Oh, so when did you have kids?"

I give her a strangled look. It's not lost on me the fact that she focused on how recently I was pregnant rather than asking about my actual children (hey - how many kids do you have? How old are they?)

"You're killing me May. Really, just killing me. They are two and four years old."

I have to admit the more she put her foot in her mouth the funnier the situation seemed to get. We were laughing at the end of our exchange over our mutual embarrassment.

Good times, good times.

So what is the moral of the story? If you see someone for the first time in twenty years and there is a possibility that you may look pregnant, just have a glass of wine to eliminate confusion.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Instead of gluten-free, why not go for less gluten?

 My friend Tania sent me a link today to an article in the Globe and Mail. The writer decided to eat a gluten-free diet for a week. This article brought to mind another friend who adopted a gluten-free diet last year. She attributed the absence of gluten for taking off five pounds from her core area including a slight pot belly (her words, not mine; if she had a pot belly, it certainly wasn't noticeable to me).

Both thewriter in the article and my friend completely gave up gluten. However, this post isn't really about offering an opinion about the merits of a gluten-free diet (for those of us who do not have an allergy or an intolerance to wheat). This is a post about the merits of completely eliminating an entire food or food group.

Why is it necessary to be so extreme as to completely eliminate certain foods or food groups?

Before therapy, giving up certain foods or food groups didn't seem like an odd thing to do. It was just one of those things that we had to do to shed weight. But now, I see it as a sure-fire way to fail, especially when the eliminated food is wheat and so many foods are made with that grain. 

What is wrong with moderation? Why as dieters do we find it necessary to change our eating habits overnight? Why can't you go from eating gluten one day to perhaps eating less gluten the following week or month?

In order to achieve permanent weight loss, we need to make changes that can be maintained permanently. There is no way I will completely give up gluten. However, what I can do is switch to a eating a piece of gluten-free rye bread at lunch.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

You need to change how you think about dieting, food and eating

A comment from Munchberry, on the post It takes time a practice to change.
I don't think I am there yet Kara. I want to be. I read your very helpful hints and some I have been able to fold into my life, but.. I think I am not trying hard enough.
How do you keep from slipping into your old ways?
I keep from slipping into my old ways because I changed everything.
The good thing with an extensive history of dieting, I have a good working knowledge of foods to eat and proper serving sizes. As a former athlete, I like to exercise, and I don't let my chunky thighs and FUPA stop me from pulling on a swim suit in public.
But, if you are a serial dieter, you may be coming around to the idea that this food, this eating, this weight thing is not just about diet and exercise. A huge chunk of the puzzle is to work with, rather than against your psychology. Yes, food choices and exercise is important, but you also need to change how you think about dieting, food and eating:
  1. I don't diet. I will overeat if I feel like I am on a diet. That means no calorie or point counting, no food journalling, no foods are excluded and no restrictions on the amount of food that I eat.
  2. I have many food routines, such as weekday breakfast lunches and snacks. I switch up breakfasts on the weekend and I always have a big salad at lunch no matter what day of the week it is.
  3. Diets tell you what you can and can't eat. Now I'm the one who decides. This power (and lots of CBT) allows me to choose to eat healthy foods over processed food.
  4. I spend time organizing and preparing food to make it as convenient as possible. Convenient food that is bought is not good enough for my body.  
  5. I've come to accept that my journey will progress slowly, but progress is progress. 
  1. I changed the foods that I crave; I want fresh, nutritious food that is simply prepared. I no longer crave processed snack foods (snacking was always my downfall) and ready-made frozen food. This new craving for healthy foods is so strong that I prefer my husband's home-cooked meals to food prepared in restaurants.
  2. If I want to eat cookies, chocolate and ice cream, I can eat cookies, chocolate and ice cream. By saying that I can eat those foods that if I really want it, I no longer crave these foods in such an intense, obsessive way.
  3. Calorie dense food processed does not necessarily mean that it will satisfy hunger.
  4. I no longer see food as good food or bad food; it's just food. Some you want to eat more of, some you eat occassionaly. Try referring to food neutrally - we foist alot of judgment in every forkful of food we eat.
  1. I don't restrict the amount of food I eat. If I restrict my serving of potato wedges to eight pieces, immediately I'll want ten. Therefore, I start of with eight pieces, but mentally allow myself to eat more if necessary. This keeps the dieting anxiety to a minimum.
  2. I no longer feel the need to be a perfect eater. Dieting spawns this weird all-or-nothing mentality that just sets us up for failure. I strive to eat healthy and nutritious most of the time.
In any case, this is where my journey has brought me. I wanted permanent change, so I needed to make changes that I could carry on permanently. 

Munchberry, I know you are not quite ready to tackle the dieting/food/eating psychology, but when you are, I think you will find peace at the end of the road.

Good grief, I gotta go to bed!