Friday, July 31, 2009

Something You Can Live With Forever

Pardon the pun, but I'd like to weigh in with some further reflexions on the "maintenance as weight-loss" approach.

As an IEIT (intuitive eater in training), I tend to be very introspective about my eating style. I feel quite comfortable with the foods I eat. I know that I'm just not that into junk food to have to worry and I also know that sweets do not satisfy me when I'm hungry. The result is that I lean toward a large variety of healthy foods, ranging from proteins to carbs and and everything in-between. I do try to tweek my fruit and vegetable intake upwards, but generally, I eat what I feel like eating when mealtime comes around.

I do not eat with abandon, however. I'm always trying to be sensitive to the little signals telling me when to eat and in particular, when to stop. There's still more than a bit of a struggle between my stomach's usually quite clear message that I've had enough and my brain's needling suggestion that a lovely little dessert might be in order. I'm learning to get around this by occasionally eating just a tad less of the main meal and leaving just a little room for a treat. Let's say a 5-10% reduction on part 1 to give part 2 a little satisfaction. I also try to choose my treats carefully. A bit of cheesecake from the Sweet Gallery* (the purveyor of totally wonderful desserts right at the corner of my street) is a total joy, a pop-tart--meh, I can do without.

I like to think that I am learning to eat normally. Paul McKenna would call it "eating like a naturally thin person". Will I ever make it all the way there until it is so ingrained that I don't even consciously think about it? That would be awesome, but I'm not holding my breath.

We have all had to make some significant changes to our eating patterns to embark on this journey. Probably the number one reason why people gain weight back (and let's face it, 95% of people gain it all back and more) is because they think they can go back to the old way of eating once the weight is off. Intellectually, we all know that you can't go back, but my question is, are you already preparing for your new life once the weight is off? If your approach is "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead", can you operate on full diet-mode for the rest of your life?

I remember feeling very worried when I dieted in the past that I could never find the sweet spot of maintenance. It was up or down and it scared me just as much in the down phase as in the up phase. I'm glad to say that I feel much more comfortable (albeit sometimes impatient, I admit) with my my "slowly but surely" approach, which relies on weight maintenance rather than weight loss techniques. I believe it will serve me well in the long run.

No matter what you're doing to lose weight, think about the future and ask yourself if what you're doing now (even if it's super successful at taking the pounds off) is something that you can live with forever. It might be worthwhile introducing more "forever" into what you're doing today.

* Strangely enough, in the nine years we've lived down the street from the Sweet Gallery, I've only had dessert there two or three times! It's certainly one of the best dessert places in town.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's Not the Food, It's the 'tude

I love words, and mottos and anything to do with language, so here's my new invention:

It's Not the Food, It's the 'tude

I've been thinking about this little expression to explain the attitude that I'm working on developing toward this whole weight thing. In other words, I'm studiously trying to avoid obsessing about the types and amounts of food that I eat. Rather, I'm trying to put food in its place: something essential to my existence, something that's fun, beautiful and enjoyable at the right time and place...and something that I eat in a way that RESPECTS my body (i.e. no stuffing, no starving--think "Goldilocks and the Three Bears": just right).

Of course, as I've said countless times before (dare I say, ad nauseum?), it's an on-going process, but the right process for me.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Week of Eating Consciously: The Wrap Up

Well, I finished the week of eating consciously. It was a fairly interesting experiment although I now realize that I didn't radically change any of the habits that I've been developing since January.

But let's re-cap, just for fun.

First of all, I DIDN'T track food. Unless I found it important to that particular entry (like mentioning how good it is to eat local tomatoes and cheese), food choices were not (and are not) important. The whole idea for me is to eat what I want, but only when I'm hungry and stop when I'm full. Tracking exact quantities was therefore unimportant too.

The biggest realization for me is that I am already eating in what most would call "maintenance" mode. My weight loss is, for the most part, almost imperceptible. I don't know what weight I was at the beginning of the week. All I know is that when I did weigh myself, I was 0.4 kilos (or 0.88 pounds) less than about three weeks before. Although this kind of weight loss is not thrilling, I have learned to keep my eyes on the prize: the weight is coming off and I have the added super bonus of developing the most important skill: eating happily in a way that helps me maintain my new, lower weight.

I realized that it's not a lot of fun to eat consciously when you're alone. The newspaper and the crossword are my two best friends at the table and I went without them for a whole week. It was tough. I think I might start hanging out with them again, though when I actually take a bite of food, I will not be doing anything else. This might actually to help me to eat slower since I will be reading or cross-wording between bites. Hmm. Interesting.

I also realized that my little treats are important to me, but that I don't need a lot to feel that I've had enough. I do, though, have to make that conscious statement to myself: You've had enough. Leave the table.

I am also proud to say that I respected my hunger. I really don't believe that not listening to your hunger is a healthy long-term strategy. The only way to learn to eat (relatively) normally is to eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full. You can't stop when you're full if you don't allow yourself to eat when you're hungry.

And speaking of fullness, I realized that being overly full is not a feeling that I like. It happened once during the week (take-out Indian) and I'd rather avoid that feeling. The good news is that I didn't gorge myself on the food. It was just a bit too much and I felt it.

All in all, it was a worthwhile experiment, but now, on to fun things.

We're leaving tomorrow for the cottage. As I said a few posts ago, there will be no scales involved in the making of this holiday! There will also be very little Internet, since we have to go into the village to check it. I've prepared a few timed posts (one of which I really like) and might give in and write a post or two from the Internet café in the village. So please check in here from time to time.

I will miss the many blogs I read daily and will have mucho catching up to do when I get back, but isn't that part of the fun of vacation?

"See" you all soon. Be well. Be happy.



Friday, July 24, 2009

A Week of Eating Consciously, Day 7

OK, this is it: the last day of this annoying tracking! I'll be doing a review of what I learnt tomorrow.

Breakfast: 8:15 a.m.
  • not exactly what I wanted to eat, since we're not restocking the pantry but it was OK; I'll probably end up having a snack mid-morning and anyway, knowing that I'll be at the cottage soon is great consolation!
  • held off on the newspaper and crossword and chewed my little breakfast consciously
  • finished the whole it easier on Fridays?
Snack: 11:30 a.m.
  • sat down for one minute to have a super quick snack since I was off to a 12:15 yoga lesson
  • walked about 2,000 steps to my lesson
Lunch: 3 p.m.
  • ran a few errands after yoga so I got home really late (total of 5,400 steps)
  • RAVENOUS: made an effort to not eat too quickly but it was tough
  • did enjoy the food, though: it's worth mentioning the beautiful, country-fresh tomato and local, sharp Cheddar cheese sandwich. EAT HEALTHY, EAT LOCAL, EAT FRESH!!!
Supper: 7 p.m.
  • Friday, so we had Indian take-out, absolutely scrumptious
  • did I have a bit too much? tummy says yes, but I didn't go really overboard; will not stress
  • probably ate too fast :(
  • oh yes, and walked to the restaurant and back, another 2,400 steps or so

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Week of Eating Consciously, Day 6

Breakfast: 8:15 a.m.
  • read the paper a bit before starting to eat; I needed my news fix
  • felt hungry, so I shoved the paper away
  • the food was not my first choice, but we're trying to empty the larder before leaving; ate it thoughtfully and realized that home-made is way better than store-bought
  • did about half the crossword--after I'd finished eating
Lunch 12:10 p.m.
  • I actually really wanted to eat around 11:20 a.m. but decided that I wanted to do the elliptical trainer even more. I know I can't do yoga when I'm starving. It's too slow and thus too easy to stop and respond to a gurgling tummy. I haven't done the trainer in about a week since feeling some nasty twinges that were due (I believe) to using gym equipment last week that wasn't suitable for me. We'll see over the next few days whether I was too quick to go back to using my (wonderful) machine. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
  • despite feeling really hungry, ate at a moderate pace; didn't finish the handful of nuts I had chosen for "dessert"
  • made some slow, minor progress on the crossword after eating
Snack: 5 p.m.
  • starting to get hungry--knew I wouldn't be eating until 7 p.m. or so because hubby was coming home late
  • had a nice snack and then an almost 5,000 step walk
Supper: 7 p.m.
  • felt just the right amount of hunger when I ate
  • one spoonful of sweetness was enough at the end of the meal
  • important realization: It's easier to stop eating something I really like than to continue eating beyond fullness. This is a feeling I'd like to have a lot more often!

Losing Weight, Maintenance Style

Well, I made it to one day past weighing day. Not too bad.

My intuition (actually my pants) told me there would be little or no difference from two weeks ago. I would have said definitely no weight gain, but couldn't have predicted a weight loss either.

The scale gave me a 0.4 kilo loss, or 0.88 pounds. That could easily be considered statistically non-relevant, but I disagree. What I'm seeing is the weight coming off at an almost imperceptible rate. Since January, I've lost approximately 11% of my body weight. Less than half (5%) of this weight loss has occurred since March, when I entered the "hard lard" stage (I found this wonderful term at notothedeuce).

Would I like to lose weight faster? Do birds fly? Is chocolate one of Nature's perfect foods (OK, I know not everyone agrees on that)? Yes, of course. I'm practically, but not completely, in what most would term maintenance mode. And by my calculations, I still need to lose approximately the same amount as I've already lost, if not a bit more. This enterprise could last another two years or so!

In the past, I have expressed great frustration with this glacial pace, but I think I'm coming around to realizing that the slowness, for me, indicates the depth of the change that's happening. It's a weird metaphor, but I feel like I'm creating a sculpture out of stone, not butter. It takes a lot longer, it's much harder to work with, but my sculpture will be there for years to come.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Is This Woman Too Fat to Be Surgeon General?

This is Dr. Regina Benjamin, whom Obama has nominated for the position of U.S. Surgeon General. As Linda Bergthold says in the Huffington Post:
Hold on a moment, folks! Obama's nominee, Dr. Regina Benjamin, holds a MacArthur Genius Award, is the first African American woman to be elected to the Board of the AMA and the Alabama Medical Association and has served a rural community in Alabama with unselfish dedication.
I think all this kerfuffle about her weight is ridiculous.

Perspective, friends, perspective.

My Corner of Paradise

I was going to entitle this post "The Land that Scales Forgot", but then I realized I really am way too addicted to weight loss blogging (see Jack Sh*t's post on this topic).

In a few days, this is where I'm going to be:

And here are my two cutie pies, out on the lake:

I really need this vacation. I can tell. Some of my draft posts are getting pretty ranty.

Let me tell you a story:

In 1991, the year before I got married, I went on a long assignment, travelling all around Canada with a group studying violence against women. Some of the people on the panel didn't speak English, so I was one of the interpreters helping them to understand the presentations and testimonials we heard. While in Quebec, of course, we were interpreting for the majority of the group who didn't speak French.

It was a very draining assignment. Day in and day out, we heard about women who were attacked, maimed, and even killed by their partners, work mates, strangers. We heard from university professors and we heard from rape survivors, we heard from women in big cities, small villages and even women who lived on Indian reserves.

I am very lucky. I have a wonderful husband who wouldn't think of raising even his pinky finger to me. Violence against women is not a personal issue but by the end of the assignment, I felt traumatized myself. It was an unforgettable experience and I do not regret it, but it was very tough on me. I was really, really glad to get home.

Now this might sound strange, but I'm starting to feel a bit traumatized again--by the weight loss blogging world! I suppose I take things much too personally. Reading about the morbidly obese, the suffering of those who binge eat, the despair of those who've lost the 100 pounds and gain it all back plus an extra 50 pounds is very troubling for me. Of course, I'm also reading blogs by some fantastic people who are turning their lives around. And I am even somewhat amazed by what I am doing myself but...

I need to take a step back.

I am pleased to say that I will not have easy access to the Internet for several weeks, starting next week. I have at least one timed post that is primed and ready to go, but that's it. I may give in and do a short blog from the Internet café in the village.

Mostly I'm going to be sitting on the deck, drinking coffee and reading mysteries. Hopefully, if the weather co-operates (and this could be quite iffy since we'll be in the mountains) I'll also go swimming. My husband will be barbecuing almost every evening and we'll buy our traditional large jar of Nutella. The boys will probably have it on toast every morning. I will have a spoonful from time to time and smile beatifically. We will also have a nice glass of wine with supper quite frequently. My husband will enjoy a good Quebec beer.

There will be much eating of grilled sweet peppers and zucchini. We will go and buy incredible home-made country-style bread called "pain capou" from the bakery owned by a French couple. The word for bread in French is "pain". When you live in an English speaking area and suddenly find yourself in a French area, you still read it as pain (ouch!). The bakery has a big sign outside advertising "pain" so going to "pain" for a loaf of bread is our family joke.

I will do my yoga on the deck but unfortunately, there won't be many long walks. The country road is narrow and twisty and I just don't feel comfortable walking on the side of the road. My walks will be limited to the main street of the village. Fortunately, there will also be lots of canoeing. Thank goodness for all those years of summer camp! I can handle steering a canoe with the best of them.

And there's one last beautiful thing about going to the cottage: no scale!

P.S. I'm not gone yet. There's still "the week of eating consciously" to finish and reflect upon so stay tuned!

A Week of Eating Consciously, Day 5

For "parameters" see this post.

Even though I can check the scale today, I have decided not to. Since I have already had breakfast, the most "dangerous" (tempting) time is over.

Breakfast: 8:15 a.m.
  • made more breakfast than I usually prepare since the portion sizes were small; only ate half since in the end, I wasn't that hungry
  • did eat consciously and relatively slowly; at least I put the food down between each bite
  • thinking more about what I had to do during the day than about anything to do with food
Lunch: 11:20
  • suddenly felt hungry and looked at the time: practically lunch time!
  • decided nevertheless to have more breakfast food, followed by a little snippet of lunch food
  • ate way too fast: breakfast part at the table, lunch snippet on the run
Snacks: 3:45 and 4:10 p.m.
  • one fruit snack while walking; one small snack at home, eaten fast because I wanted to get to the crossword puzzle (didn't make much headway with it; will try again later!)
Supper: 6:40 p.m.
  • ate reasonably, not too fast, chatting with hubby and son
  • didn't eat all my bread--it just wasn't good quality
  • didn't have the impression that I ate a lot, but felt really full afterwards
No urge to snack in the evening.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Week of Eating Consciously, Day 4

For "parameters" see this post.

Breakfast: 9 a.m.
  • still fighting the scale bingeing, but I will not give in!
  • once again, ravenous: awake at 7 a.m., had a coffee with hubby before he left for work, started the crossword, made sure son was up to go to his volunteer work at a local day camp and then went to read some of my favourite blogs; should have eaten around 8:30 if I really wanted to respect my hunger
  • ate food relatively slowly, at the table, having pushed away the morning newspapers but it was too small a portion and I was still most definitely hungry; played with the cat for a few minutes and then made myself something else to eat; ate it all
  • felt satisfied physically and emotionally
  • actually finished the whole crossword after breakfast (is the crossword just as important as my food??)
11 a.m. felt a bit peckish but had other things to do, let the feeling pass

Lunch: 12:15 p.m.
  • fairly hungry
  • ate leftovers at the table, no reading, speed: so-so
  • felt unsatisfied
  • got out bowl for dessert, ending up having one spoonful
In general, I'm feeling bored and sluggish. I think it's because I'm really not busy doing anything. Work is totally at a standstill, which is no surprise and no worry. I'm just a bit bored.

Snack: 2:40 p.m.
  • had a small fruit snack on my walk
Snack: 4 p.m.
  • what I really wanted was supper, but it was too early; had 3 different things, though not in large quantities; last snack (a cracker) was eaten while doing other things
Supper: 6:50 p.m.
  • horribly hungry but ate slowly; it helped that son and I ate alone (hubby working late) and actually talked together
  • enjoyed food (ate it all) but craved sweets afterward; had a small handful of dried cranberries to soothe craving

A 5,000 Step Walk to the Dump

I've been fairly lazy recently. I'm doing my yoga on a regular basis, but I haven't done as much walking as usual. I've also been very un-busy--which is quite unusual, so I've been feeling a bit sluggish.

"Time for a good walk," said I brightly!

Where to walk to? A brilliant idea came to mind.

We're in the fifth week of a garbage strike here in Toronto. Contrary to what CNN and Maclean's magazine are saying, the city is not one filthy cesspool. Actually, for the most part, it's still quite clean, at least off the main streets.

Nevertheless, the garbage is still piling up. Toronto has a pretty elaborate recycling system, so we have been accumulating various types of garbage: organic (food scraps, paper towelling, etc.), recycling (paper, plastic, glass) and regular garbage. Over the past five weeks, our family has filled one very heavy bag of organic waste, 1 1/2 very light bags of regular garbage, a large blue recycling box full of recyclables plus a regular garbage can also filled with recyclables. We have also started putting fruit and vegetable scraps in the backyard "digester". It's a composter, but since we're just throwing the scraps in without covering them with earth, we're never going to get any compost. There's still plenty of room in it, so it's just another place to put organic waste.

My husband had mentioned that there was a temporary dump not far from the house, so I decided to walk over and check it out before loading the car with the three garbage bags (you can't take recyclables to the dump during the strike). There and back put 5,000 steps on my pedometer--a decent amount for a summer's walk.

Hey, you take your steps wherever you can find them!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Week of Eating Consciously, Day 3

For "parameters" see this post.

Breakfast: 9:30 a.m.
  • ravenous, but also feeling an urge to scale binge; beat the urge
  • ate the full portion of breakfast slowly; still bored silly--must take a picture of the kitchen clock and post it; managed to stretch out eating a modest bowl of porridge over 6 whole minutes; thought longingly of the crossword puzzle but stayed away
  • felt about 80% full but had a glass of water and my morning vitamins
  • did the crossword (not completely, it's tough)
  • felt fairly emotionally satisfied
Snack: 11:30 a.m.
  • ravenous
  • quick snack since I was going out for lunch with my cousin. Why eat now? In order to avoid devouring a shoe (or something even less healthy) in the next hour or so.
  • ate the snack quickly, but still, one piece at a time.
  • felt fine
Lunch: 1:15 p.m.
  • did the right thing by having a snack, wouldn't have been able to survive until lunch, otherwise
  • hungry, but not ravenous
  • ate slowly since we were also chatting away; left some of main course on plate and enjoyed a small but scrumptious dessert
  • happy all 'round
Supper: 7:15 p.m.
  • no afternoon snack (hanging out with my cousin), so ravenous by about 5:45 p.m.
  • made a great, very healthy supper
  • ate with hubby and one son at the table--they were mostly reading the paper, I managed to stay focused on the food
  • speed: quicker than I'd like
  • ate complete, reasonable portion, plus a few pieces of mango for dessert
  • felt really full but as I write this at 9:15 p.m., I'm starting to feel a bit peckish
Snack: 10:15 p.m.
  • ate at table, took snack out of box to eat, ate pieces one at a time
  • feeling bored; looked at crossword as I ate--found some solutions but didn't write them in!

I did not scale binge today. Truly a non-scale victory in the most literal sense of the word.

An Attack of Scale Bingeing

Help! I am fighting off an attack of scale bingeing! It's 9:10 a.m. and I haven't had breakfast yet, so the tum is nice and empty. I had to e-mail a small translation over to a client this morning before 9 a.m. so I just had a coffee and got to work. Having accomplished that mission, I thought I'd check out some of my favourite blogs before having breakfast and WHAM!, the attack hit!

I cannot weigh myself before Wednesday. That is the absolute earliest--two weeks after ending a 3-day scale binge. If I want to be even braver, I will wait until Saturday, just before our official family vacation begins and the end of the "Week of Eating Consciously".

The smartest thing for me to do right now is finish this post, turn off the computer and go and have breakfast.

Day 3 of eating consciously is about to begin.

On your mark, get set, GO!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Week of Eating Consciously, Day 2

Note: for "Parameters" see this post.

Breakfast: around 9:45 a.m. (it's Sunday after all)
  • didn't feel particularly hungry
  • ate at table, studiously ignoring Sunday paper (a bit difficult, but successful in doing so)
  • ate at moderate pace, which feels like a snail's pace to me
  • wanted to read the paper! but at least got to chat with hubby a bit about what was in the paper
  • enjoyed food, felt physically and emotionally satisfied Note to self: drinking lots of water helps
  • ate full portion
Lunch: 12:10 p.m.
  • started feeling hungry as I prepared my lunch
  • ate at the table, taking time between bites and putting the food down...but I challenge you all to take a full 6 minutes to eat a moderately-sized sandwich, while doing nothing else! I think it's a loooong time.
  • decided not to have the fruit I was planning to eat
  • felt physically satisfied, but really looking forward to doing the crossword!
  • went for a nice walk with hubby
Snack: 2:15 p.m.
  • ate the fruit I'd been planning to eat with lunch
  • ate quickly but since I wasn't doing the crossword, I was aware that the cherries were getting past their prime
  • did the crossword!
Snack: 4:15 p.m.
  • quick handful of nuts, eaten one by one at the table
Supper: 6:30 p.m.
  • felt very hungry
  • ate complete portion, ate at the table, no reading but it was tough; the food was extremely tasty
  • decided not to have seconds since I wanted dessert; got the dish out for dessert but realized I was too full, put dish back
  • went out for coffee with hubby and son, had 2 bites of son's dessert at café
  • felt completely satisfied, physically and psychologically
And now, off to bed (11 p.m.). Didn't feel like a snack tonight. Go figure.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Week of Eating Consciously, Parameters and Day 1

After writing a post about how I want to really put conscious eating to the test, I decided to follow the lead of many fellow bloggers and really try to chronicle the process.

First, here is what I WON'T be tracking:
  • The actual foods I eat. With rare exceptions (i.e. fruit snack), I will not mention whether I ate eggs, bread, cake, chocolate, cheese, etc. etc.
  • The amount I ate, i.e. one apple, 3/4 of a sandwich.
  • I am not weighing myself at the beginning of this experiment. I'm not yet sure when I'll weigh myself next, possibly in the middle of next week since that will be two weeks since my recent bout of scale bingeing.
Here is what I WILL be tracking:
  • My hunger level as I start eating.
  • The speed at which I ate.
  • Did I eat everything that I'd served myself?
  • My physical satisfaction at the end of the meal (stuffed, full, still hungry??).
  • My psychological satisfaction at the end of the meal (I've had enough, I want more, and if so, what do I want, how long does the psychological disastisfaction last?).
  • How I felt while eating (bored, satisfied, antsy).
By tracking my feelings about my eating, I'm hoping to get a better handle on the whole issue of satisfaction and see if I can guide myself towards greater satisfaction while eating in a way that's healthy for me.

DAY 1:

Breakfast: I hadn't yet decided to do this experiment so there's no use talking about breakfast.

Lunch: around 11:45
  • quite hungry
  • tried to eat more slowly, but feel that I still ate quite quickly
  • did not eat everything I'd put on my plate
  • felt physically satisfied (not too much, not too little to eat)
  • felt really bored while eating; desperately wanted to read the paper
  • felt psychologically totally disatisfied; wanted more but couldn't really identify what I wanted; felt the struggle between physical and psychological satisfaction/disatisfaction
  • disatisfaction lasted at least an hour
  • went for a long walk
Snack: around 2:30 p.m.
  • realized I no longer felt disatisfied, just a bit hungry
  • eating speed still high, but how to stretch out eating a very small portion?
  • ate the whole snack
  • felt physically satisfied
  • felt bored while eating (where's the paper??!!!)
  • felt only mildly disatisfied (two glasses of water, one before, one after really filled me up)
Snack: around 4:15 p.m.
  • tiny bit peckish, somewhat bored
  • ate snack moderately, went back to pantry for another small snack, ate it at the table
  • felt physically satisfied, but also tired
  • felt bored while eating
  • felt psychologically tired too, missing hubby who had to go into work (it's Saturday)
Snack: around 5:30 p.m.
  • felt very hungry
  • ate small, extremely healthy snack, but ate quickly while watching video with hubby
  • enjoyed snack immensely but regretted not having eaten the whole bag with hubby (it was a VERY healthy snack)
Supper: around 6:30 p.m.
  • really hungry but tried to eat at a moderate pace
  • ate at table, talking to hubby and son (unfortunately, they were half reading paper/half talking to me)
  • ate full portion but did not go back for more since I wanted a (relatively healthy) dessert
  • finished dessert...but didn't lick the bowl!
  • felt quite full and emotionally satisfied
  • 15 minutes later felt slightly overly full
Snack: around 10:30 p.m.
  • felt peckish
  • ate snack standing in kitchen, concentrated on food though standing, ate quickish
  • felt physically satisfied but a bit sheepish about time and nature of snack
We'll see what tomorrow brings!

The New York Times Weighs In: Two Interesting Articles

Intuitive eaters rejoice: read this!

And let's not forget HAES (healthy at every size) and read this interesting article.

...because I do believe that there's a huge (pardon the pun) difference between someone who's morbidly overweight, sitting in a corner and eating themselves to death and someone who's definitely heavy by our society's standards, but is also active and really participating in life.

Eating Consciously

I am grateful to not be a binge eater. We hear so much in the media about the horrors of anorexia and bulimia. I may be wrong, but I think there's a lot more sympathy out there for the life-threateningly skinny than for the overweight who overeat as a result of equally serious psychological issues. Since I started reading weight-loss blogs, I've been shocked to read so much about binge eating. It's pretty foreign to me and I definitely feel for those who fight these urgest every day. My heart really goes out to them.

I am grateful to have been raised in a home where we ate healthy, unprocessed foods. As I've said many times before, I'm not a food purist. Nothing's banned from my menu. It's just that fortunately I never have a Big Mac Attack and (unlike my late mother-in-law) Coke is not one of my main food groups.

I am grateful for the ability that I once again have to be able to walk. After a 10 years of increasing disability, followed by a year spent on canes and crutches, much of the time non-weight bearing on one leg, I can now enjoy living in a city with great public transit. I use the car less and less when working in town and walk more and more. I'm even thrilled to have discovered how much a Tensor band helps my knee on a long walk!

I am grateful to have finally discovered that diets don't work for me. That's for me, not you. Whatever you do that works for you is fantastic. Keep it up. There's no single way to a healthy weight and a healthy life.

Indeed, I have much to be grateful for.

Of course, I also have challenges, weight being merely one of them. We all have challenges.

In my world, it's very small things that make the difference between weight gain, weight maintenance and weight loss. I play with quite a small deck of cards in terms of how much energy I can take in based on the amount of energy that I can expend since arthritis severely limits the amount of vigorous exercise that I can do.

I think the greatest challenge I face is learning to eat more consciously. No, I don't shovel my food in, but I know that I'm still eating way too fast and not concentrating on the experience. I think I've always eaten too fast. I also expect myself and others to understand things very quickly, to perform instantaneously, to get things done in a flash. It's a professional deformation. They don't call it simultaneous translation for nothing. Like many people, I'm also a multi-tasker and this too is exacerbated by my job (listen, understand, translate, talk--all at the same time).

Thus, my goal is not to change what I eat but rather how I eat it. I have to lay down the gauntlet personally and publicly. This is my week of eating consciously: lots of chewing, lots of pausing between bites, lots of laying down the utensils during the meal. NO newspapers, NO radio while eating, even though I'm a total news junkie (I never eat in front of the TV so that's solved). NO eating of out the container or the package. If I want the nuts, I take a handful, put away the container and eat each one individually.

It's not the food, it's the 'tude.

An update to follow...

Friday, July 17, 2009


The wonderful Sean Anderson (if you don't read his blog already, you're in for a treat!) made the following comment on my "blogging world" post:

I guess it all depends on how each individual feels and the way they choose to view it, but I honestly feel like if you took 200 people that are trying to lose weight... 100 of them blogged and the other 100 didn't...I would almost guarantee that the bloggers would have greater success. Writing is therapy. And therapy is paramount, I believe, for substantial and long term success.

This is so true. But I'd like to take this a step further and coin a new term: "blogcountability". It's the personal accountability that blogging gives or IMPOSES on us.

What we're doing, we do first and foremost for ourselves (and often, by extension, for our loved ones). However, when we blog, we "put it out there for the world to see". Others start watching. The people who read us are just plain curious, but I would say that most weight-loss blog readers also read blogs to learn, to share, to find support and to give it in return. The result is that we find ourselves becoming accountable to others. We realize that letting ourselves down is no longer a private act. Our friends out there in cyberspace are out there rooting for us. Yes, there is jealousy (Lyn, at Escape from Obesity, has a moving post on this), but we all want to succeed and I sincerely believe that we want our cyber-friends to succeed too.

One of the foundations of success is accountability. The more accountable you feel about your actions, the harder you try. Let me give you a simple example:

The post I made last night ended with my mentioning that I had one more exercise to do before wrapping up my day. It's a simple exercise and the whole thing only takes about 10 minutes. I was really tired after a long day of both work and fun, but how could I not do it, having publicly promised that I would? So I did. Of course, I don't not always live up to the goals I set--no one does--but saying it "out loud" in cyberspace just adds a little extra push, which is really helpful.

I had the same experience with Jack Sh*t's half-pound, half *ss challenge. At the last minute, I decided to sign up and gosh darn it, it worked.( BTW, last night I went back to the same restaurant where I'd eaten during Jack's challenge and once again had mussels...I might be off them for awhile. I didn't feel so hot this morning. I love mussels, but they have to be super fresh otherwise your tummy will let you know!)

I think I want to put myself out there even more, but I'm still a bit shy about setting goals. The intuitive eating approach that I'm taking is probably 80% maintenance and 20% very slow weight loss. So I feel hesitant about saying that I'm going to lose X pounds in X weeks or months. Is this a cop out? I don't think so. If I lose just a few more pounds between now and next January, I will be very happy. I know that for myself, the faster I lose, the faster I gain back. So the 80/20 maintenance/loss ratio is right for me.

And even if I'm not setting specific goals for myself via this blog, I feel that being a member of the blogging community has definitely made me more "blogcountable" to both myself and the community!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Blogging World

Unsurprisingly, I am once again out of town for work. Actually, I was a bit surprised to get this assignment since the summer months are extremely slow in my line of work. Fortunately, I'm an organized person and although I can shop and spend with the best of them, I always make sure that there's enough money in the bank to get me through until October when the pay cheques start flowing again.

So here I am, blogging once again from a hotel in the home town of Spunky Suzi. Sorry I didn't get in touch, Suzi. Our schedules just don't mesh although I'm hopeful that we will finally meet when I'm back again in September.

This is a three-day gig, so I've been out to supper twice with my colleague. We've been having a great time, working hard in the morning and then shopping and exercising in the afternoon. Yesterday, we spent the whole afternoon in a little village called St. Jacobs. Its small main street is chock-full of great stores. I bought a little antique footstool so I can sit more comfortably and read in our newly renovated sunroom and I also bought a few pieces of clothing. My new, slightly slimmer self has really been enjoying buying clothes...perhaps a bit too much. This time, thankfully, I didn't really go overboard and just bought a few pieces on sale, including a great little blouse that I was SURE would not fit but I tried it on anyway and, to my great surprise, it did fit!

Today, we went to the St. Jacobs farmers' market. Such beautiful, fresh local food. It was a real delight. After the market, we went to the gym and I did the elliptical trainer (20 minutes!!) and some yoga. I had a funny thought while doing the elliptical: while so many of my weight loss blogger friends need to stick close to home when it comes to eating, I feel that way about gym equipment. I really missed my Tunturi elliptical trainer. I swear they made it for tiny people like me. Even the floor mats at the gym weren't the kind that I like for my yoga practice. However, I did my best and am quite pleased that I made the effort. Tomorrow at noon, I'm driving home (it's about 1 1/2 hours drive) and going straight to a yoga lesson. My lessons are sacred.

Over supper tonight, I was talking to my colleague about my blogging and the weight-loss community I've met on-line. She thought it was all extremely weird. She can't see why people bare their souls on the internet and I certainly didn't try to convince her that everyone should do it. In fact, my blogging is actually a very private act. Some people who know me in the "real" world know that I'm a weight-loss blogger, but none of them even have the address for my blog. I don't offer it and they don't ask. Not even my husband. He also blogs, but in a totally different field and he is quite well know in his own blogging world. He blogs on topics that concern his profession and rarely mentions anything personal (he did mention his mother's death recently and blogged about a conference that he took our older son to, but that's about it for personal comments).

I am very happy to have made a number of friends in the weight-loss community. When it comes to this part of my life, I feel that my virtual friends and readers understand me a lot better and certainly provide me with much more support than any of my friends, family or colleagues. As I write this, it sounds a bit sad, but that's not at all how I see it. It's just a part of my life that I share with a select group of people: you!

I have to admit, I wish my husband were a bit more "on board". He and I have gained weight together over the past twenty years and I'd be really happy if he shed some of that weight. He's turning 47 in the fall--it's a dangerous time for men. Of course, he hasn't ever gone to a doctor since we've been together (thank goodness, he does go to the dentist regularly) and though he rarely gets ill, I worry about his weight, his cholesterol, his BP. I guess the only thing I can do is set a good example myself and maybe, maybe one day he'll come around.

So here I am: blogging and reading others' blogs, learning and trying to give support to others too. No profound words on weight loss today, just a hello to everyone out there as I sit typing in my hotel room, listening to the cars going by on the highway.

Now, I'm off to do one last exercise for my knee!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Aloe Juice

A few years ago, I started going to a naturopath who my cousin had recommended. I didn't see her for long, we just didn't mesh, but she did turn me on to something that has made a great and positive change in my life.

Warning: this post deals with poop, though only in the most delicate, tasteful way possible. If you don't want to hear about bodily functions, stop reading now!

One of the worst things about yo-yo dieting and fad dieting is how they do a number on your digestive tract. My mom used to call me a "fruit baby". I need my fruit. I like my fruit. But crazy dieting put my tummy in a knot and I spent many years eating a huge number of prunes in a sometimes vain attempt to get regular. Don't get me wrong, prunes are great and tasty too, but as fruits go, they have a whole lot of natural sugar.

During my operation year from hell (Nov. 2003-Nov. 2004), I spent a few months on Percocet, an extremely strong painkiller that stops your intestines dead in their tracks. Nothing helped. It was absolutely horrible. I was lucky to get off the Percocet without going into withdrawal (addiction can be a side effect), but it sure didn't help my tum.

Enter the naturopath.

She suggested I start drinking aloe juice, which I did and ever since then, my digestion has been wonderful. I drink 3 ounces in the morning and that's it. Works like a charm.

I did a little bit of reading about aloe juice on the Internet. Fans of the nasty tasting juice believe it can cure anything that ails you AND melt off the pounds. I don't think so. But it certainly works at keeping me regular.

Just thought you might like the information.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Exercise and Disability

If you passed me on the street, you probably wouldn't realize I have a disability. I walk more slowly than most people, but that's in part because I'm short and have shorter legs. However, there's more to the story than that.

As a child, I was pidgeon-toed. The treatment at the time was to make the child sleep in shoes that pointed outward and were attached to a bar. During the years that I slept in this contraption, I ripped a lot sheets my mother could ill afford. It worked, but it also set me up for serious problems later in life. I was no longer pidgeon-toed, but my knees, instead of facing forward, were also pulled out to the side. Today, when I stand looking straight ahead, my knees don't face forward. If I adopt a pidgeon-toed stance, my knees are straight. Combine that with being knock-kneed and you get a person whose finest physical trait is definitely NOT her legs!

I also inherited osteoarthritis of the hip from my mom. Her sister, my aunt, also had it, as does my aunt's granddaughter. To top it off, I was born with a very slight case of spina bifida. Putting the crooked knees and the arthritic hip together with the spina bifida and you get...three ruptured discs over a period of about 25 years.

I have had one back surgery and two hip surgeries (1 failed hip replacement, 1 that fortunately worked). I have been in the ER three times because of my back.

From November 2003 to November 2004 (in re-reading this post, I made a correction), I spent the better part of seven months on crutches, not allowed to put any weight on my right leg. My left, seriously arthritic, knee took a pounding.

In May 2007, I ruptured a disc in my back for the third time. I'm not sure of the reason--perhaps a combination of stress and the poking around behind my lower spine during a colonoscopy. The pain and ensuing depression were both horrible. Thank goodness I found yoga therapy.

And I have always been slightly to more than slightly overweight.

When I first discovered intuitive eating through Paul McKenna's book, I Can Make You Thin, I was thrilled. McKenna's approach to eating like a naturally slim person made huge sense to me and I began to put the principles to work immediately. The book also comes with a CD, which I listened to every day for several months. There's nothing subliminal in it, but his soothing voice tends to put you to sleep, or at very least into deep relaxation. One of the suggestions on the CD that I always consciously heard concerned exercise. He made a very gentle suggestion just to move more--no exhortations to lift weights, run marathons, swim laps, ride your bike--just move more. This was an idea that I was able to take to heart.

In conjunction with my new blog, I also started (somewhat obsessively) reading other weight loss bloggers and I realized that, for several reasons, I was in the minority. I was not on WW, not counting calories, not planning my meals, not eating "clean" (I believe I eat healthily, but that includes forays into all food categories except perhaps Twinkies and the like) and perhaps most tellingly, not exercising, shall we say, religiously.

Although I have come to terms with the "not dieting" part of my journey--and, I might add, strive to be totally supportive of whatever method people use to reach a healthy, comfortable weight--I felt myself "lacking" on the exercise front.

Then, I started thinking about the road that I have to take. And I had to come to terms with the fact that I am disabled. I have to be extremely cautious in how I exercise. "No pain no gain" is a phrase that only signals danger for me. Virtually all the pain that I feel is pain that indicates that I am in a danger zone. I rarely feel muscle pain. The kind of exertion necessary to bring on muscular pain would dislocate my hip or bring on another bout of sciatica (and I when I get sciatica, I end up in the ER) or further destroy what little cartilege is left in my knee.

As I read about weight loss bloggers' adventures in exercise, I began to feel really depressed, since aside from swimming (which is a poor time management option for me), heavy-duty exercise was out of the question.

Nevertheless, I did not give up. I took it upon myself to find a way to exercise more while avoiding "danger signal" pain. Recently, I discovered that using a knee brace (or sleeve) would allow me to use my beloved elliptical trainer. Before the brace, I would be in pain for several days after spending 2-3 MINUTES on the trainer. I am now up to 17 minutes, about twice a week. This may seem laughable to someone whose only physical limitation is excess poundage, but for me, it is a huge step forward.

I went to a physiotherapist (or PT, as we say in the hip-replacement blogosphere) and was prescribed one simple knee exercise that I do at least 5 times a week. I continue to make slow but real progress with my yoga practice. I use my pedometer religiously and manage to walk upwards of 10,000 steps, usually several times a week. I wear my light-support knee sleeve on walks and my heavy-duty, PT prescribed sleeve on the elliptical. I have yet to try the stationary bike. I'm not sure that my knee will react favourably, even with support, but I will try.

I'm writing this post not as a justification for my less than stellar exercise programme. I realize that I could do more, certainly on the upper-body front, without harming myself. And with time, I probably will. Rather, I am writing as a shout-out to my fellow bloggers who may also be slightly to more than slightly disabled and are doing their best.

Keep it up, my friends! Do what you can. Don't compare yourself to others and be proud of the sweat that you break--even if it's only from walking a few blocks or cleaning the kitchen or doing whatever YOU can do, not someone else!

You are trying your best and I salute you!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Life Ain't Fair...and Then You Die (P.S., this is a funny post)

Today, while surfing the weight-loss blogosphere, I found a post that prompted a response from me and I thought I'd just share the story with my readers.

My late mother-in-law was really scrawny for most of her life. She did gain weight after her husband's untimely death when she was only in her 50s but managed to get back down to a reasonable weight for her size. During the 20 years I knew her she wasn't particularly skinny nor was she fat.

MIL ate one real meal a day at around 5 p.m. She would have a reasonable portion of protein (often chicken), some veg and rice or bread. The rest of the day she stuck to the major food groups: caffeine, nicotine and sugar. She would have 3 huge mugfuls of coffee with her morning cigarettes and the daily newspaper. Coffee #1 contained 5 spoonfuls of sugar and cream. Subsequent coffees were taken with milk and artificial sweetener. Sometimes she'd have a muffin, a bowl of cereal or a piece of toast for breakfast. I never saw her eat lunch.

In the evening, after her healthy 5 p.m. meal, she'd start in on the sweets. Her living room was a junk-food emporium with boxes of cookies, salted nuts, chips, chocolates and candies strategically placed all around the room. Interestingly enough, though, she did not gorge on the stuff. She needed her fix and that was all. I found it hard not to go overboard myself when we went over to visit.

My mother-in-law passed away last November, aged 82. She had a heart attack in bed around midnight and that was it. She was found the next day, her hand on her chest over her heart.

I hope she didn't suffer. I don't think she did. She lived and died as she had wished, in a home that reeked of cigarette smoke and overflowed with junk food. But she was happy...and she wasn't fat. That's life, eh?


When did I stop being in family photos? Or at least, when did the number drop significantly? There are a couple of answers:

First, the babies. I went picture crazy when my kids were born. I love those guys to bits.

Second, I'm the family photographer so I'm usually behind the lens, not in front.

Third, I gained weight and began to detest the few pictures of me that sneaked through. Especially now with the Internet, well meaning family members would snap a few pictures at family gatherings and send them by e-mail. How I hated seeing that pudgy, ruddy face of mine. (My mom, of course, always said I had lovely rosy cheeks. Contrast that with the esthetician in Paris who gave me my first facial ever, back in the early 80s. She said I had "rougeurs diffuses"--blotchy skin. They really know how to make a girl feel good in Paris!)

Fourth, I'm getting old. The die-hard feminist in me is now actually thinking non-surgical face-lift. Arg!!!

But I'm happy to announce that things are changing!

I have decided to post my Obama T-shirt picture on my profile. I still would like something better, but I'm tired of hiding my face! Yes, it does make a difference to feel better about yourself. I have invested in some new clothes, including a pair of really skinny, low-slung jeans. Maybe in a few weeks, I'll post a picture of myself wearing them.

I'm not getting any younger, but I AM getting healthier and I'm not going to hide it either!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Scale Bingeing

When I get on a roll, I just can't stop. So here's post #3 for today!

Did I invent the term "scale bingeing"? If not, I used it for the first time today and haven't heard it anywhere else. I think it's sort of cool.

I try to keep my scale checking at bay. Once every two weeks is plenty for a body and a mind to take. Everyone can go up or down a pound or two every day (maybe more, if you're over my magnificent 4'10"!), so it's no use checking every day. It's just like recovering from an operation--something I have too much experience with: you have to compare your progress week over week, and eventually month over month. Comparing progress daily is counter-productive. There are days when the pain is almost gone and then, bang!, you need a couple of pain-killers or you just have to rest instead of walking that extra block.

So it's a really weird experience when I go into scale bingeing mode. For me, this means weighing myself every day and (gasp) sometimes several times a day. Something has to set me off, like Jack Sh*t's Half-Pound Challenge. It's OK, Jack, I forgive you! Anyway, I checked a few times during the week of the challenge, but then I couldn't stop. Arg. The day after the challenge ended, I was down another 0.2 kilos (that's .44 pounds for anyone over the age of 10 who grew up with pounds and inches) and then no change, no change, no change. OMG, I was scale bingeing!! Check in the morning, check before lunch. Weird, weird.

This morning I was able to get it under control. I haven't checked my weight today. I will not check it tomorrow. I will wait at least a week, but my goal is two weeks.

Things certainly could be worse. It's only scale bingeing, after all!

Woo-hoo, Yeah Hooray!!

Right now, I'm famished. I had some food about two hours ago and though I really need to eat NOW, I have to share a "woo hoo" moment with you:

I was chatting with my cleaning lady at the door just before she left today and she told me how good I look. She noticed that I am losing weight. I am conflicted about complimenting people on their weight loss, since I sometimes wonder whether the unspoken message is how bad they looked before. But I think that a bit of positive reinforcement never hurt either and I usually know when the compliment is heart-felt and given with love. That's the kind of compliment I got today.

So woo-hoo, it's off to eat I go! And then off to take a walk to the pet food store so that my svelte, yet highly neurotic cat won't starve.

If I Could Go Back in Time

As usual, in recent days I've been thinking a lot about different weight-loss approaches and styles. I realize that I tend to be pretty dogmatic, despite my heart-felt attempts to live and let live when it comes to weight loss. After all, who am I to question anyone's weight loss journey--especially if that person is making true progress!

So please keep in mind that although I may sometimes (arg, often) seem to question the path you have chosen, I truly do admire each and every one of my fellow travellers on the weight loss journey.

And now, on to today's musings:

None of us were born weight-loss bloggers, none of us were born professional dieters. We were once all children who, at least in our very early years, just ate food we liked, turned it away when we were full and tried desperately to avoid food we hated.

Then we started growing up.

I remember being younger than 10 and feeling fat. I remember (and this is truly weird), looking at my shadow on the wall and trying to push the belly fat up and hoping that it would rise and eventually turn into breasts, leaving my tummy flat.

I don't think I tried to "diet" as a pre-teen, but the anxiety was building. As I've mentioned before, my mother was a health-food proponent long before it was a mainstream thing to do. The fact remains: it is just as easy to overeat on beautiful whole-grain bread, covered in preservative-, salt-and sugar-free peanut butter and honey as it is to stuff your face full of Twinkies and Coke. Believe me, I still remember those thick slices of bread, peanut butter and honey like it was yesterday.

Was I a particularly fat child? No, just a bit pudgy and a lot wider than my best friend, A.H., who looked like a concentration camp survivor. A.'s mom was a squat little lady who made incredible, thick home-made soups that I found disgusting and would probably adore today. I think A. was just naturally thin.

Finally, at around 15-16, the day came when I started my first diet. It involved starving myself one day a week (only liquids like water, tea and coffee were "allowed") and limiting my food intake at all other times.

I had officially begun to fear food.

Sadly, I think that fear of food is the hallmark of dieting and a source of immeasurable wealth to the weight loss industry. Here in Canada, there's a commercial playing on TV right now for one of those weight loss plans that mails you every morsel of food that you are allowed to put in your mouth. The "success story" woman talks about how she thought everyone was looking at her because she was FAT and that now, thanks to the XYZ plan, she doesn't have to "think" anymore and can just live. XYZ thinks for her. I'll admit that sometimes I've thought XYZ might be the solution for me too. Fortunately, when I see the plastic-looking pizza and the shiny squares of pseudo-chocoate stamped with the company name, I am quickly disabused of the idea!

Essentially, "traditional" dieting reinforces our fear of food. We think that if we cut out ... or ... or ... (fill in the blank with the food category of your choice) as if it were a cancerous tumour, our weight problems will be solved. The problem is that all these "bad" things a) surround us and b) are not actually bad, as long as they are eaten in moderation.

Have you ever felt like it would be easier to quit smoking or drugs or alcohol than to lose weight? I have. And it's embarrassing, because I feel that it trivializes the incredible difficulties involved in breaking an addiction. But I know that I've felt that way because I know that one can live without tobacco or alcohol or cocaine whereas it is impossible to live without food.

Thus, my weight loss challenge involves embracing ALL foods. I guess I should be thankful that my dreams never revolve around Twinkies and I very rarely drink more than one small glass of wine. I swoon over runny Brie, crusty baguettes and the gooiest chocolate cake you could imagine.

So what would I have told the 15 year-old me?

Food is not your enemy. Good food (yes, that includes fine chocolate and cheese) is your friend. Food nourishes you and can be a source of pleasure. But you have to find a way to get along with the food you eat. If you're not eating enough, you'll feel weak, your concentration will be shot, your marks will drop (remember, I'm talking to the 15 year-old me who was obsessed with getting good marks--that's another story). If you eat too much, you'll feel crummy, your stomach will hurt, your clothes won't fit and let's be honest, your self-esteem won't be too great either.

So clean out your ears...your inner ears, the ones that can hear your tummy talking. What's it saying? "I'm hungry, ooh, thanks for the food, that's better, STOP, I've had enough!" Learn to distinguish "stomach talk" from "mind talk". Here's an example of mind talk: "Yeah, yeah, that cheese sandwich hit the spot, but don't you just want to finish off your meal with a spoonful of peanut butter? Wouldn't it TASTE SO GOOD? How about a little cup of chocolate pudding? What's life without dessert?"

Eat more slowly. Taste your food more fully. Ask yourself if you'd prefer the whole sandwich or just half so that you can have that chocolate pudding too. Because once you're full, you've got to close your mouth, shut off the switch, just put down the food and walk away slowly, little missy.

Would I have listened to someone telling me this when I was 15? I don't know, but I really regret not having heard this advice over the years. Maybe it would have sunk in earlier and I would have saved myself a fair bit of grief and teeth gnashing. But yesterday is over and today is upon us. Carpe diem, friends...seize the day!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Down to My Highest Weight

One month ago, on June 3, I wrote about my "highest" weight--the weight that represented a number I just couldn't imagine going over...until I did, the weight that I left in the dust (in a bad way) probably over ten years ago. And I promised myself that I would blog about getting DOWN to that weight when the day arrived. Well, the day has arrived. Actually, a few days ago.

So now I'm down to my "highest" weight! Sort of reminds me of "Back to the Future". The trick, now, is to not let this freak me out; to keep going, doing what I've been slowly learning to do: eat what I want, when I'm hungry , eating my food consciously and stopping when I'm full. In other words, I am continuing to eat intuitively.

One of the beauties of intuitive eating is that I don't have to really plan ahead. This is extremely important to my lifestyle. There are times of the year when I travel a lot. A day out of town here, three days away there: it all adds up to being away from home a lot. So I have learned to make pleasant yet sane choices, no matter what the menu offers. Here's an example:

Last week, I had to have breakfast twice at a restaurant called the "Golden Griddle". I don't know if it exists in the States or just Canada. It's our version of IHOP. The menu was heavy on bacon and eggs and of course, pancakes. On Day 1, I did have bacon and eggs, but only ate what I felt I needed to eat and left the rest. On Day 2, I ordered pancakes. The smallest order was three, good-sized ones. I ate one, with syrup (I've never felt the need to drown my pancakes in syrup, fortunately). As I was eating, my ex-fashion model colleague arrived and I offered her the other two. She had one, no syrup (God forbid she should exceed her current BMI, which I suspect is around 15--no kidding). I had a bite more of my second pancake, but that was it.

The route that I have found for losing weight is truly the right one for me. Just as I would probably be extremely unhappy working a steady job (as a freelancer, it's often feast of famine, OMG, what an appropriate image!!), I am also constitutionally incapable of following a standard diet. As the years went by, and as the pounds crept up, I just felt angrier and angrier at the idea of dieting. My relationship with food was becoming increasingly confrontational and I felt like a victim of my own metabolism, height, health, whatever...

Today is just a point in time. And a number on the scale. I don't know what the day holds for me food-wise, although I do know we'll be going to a restaurant tonight with my sister-in-law and her family, who are making a flying visit to Toronto today and leaving tomorrow evening. I'm not particularly worried about making the "right" choice on the menu. I do try to eat healthy foods, but that's it.

I realize that I'm in the minority in the weight-loss blogosphere, somewhere in limbo between the dieters and the fat acceptance people, but that's sort of been the story of my life both personally and professionally. I'm a hard one to pin down. I guess my road in life involves just learning to be me--a calmer, healthier me!

P.S. Happy 4th of July to my American friends! Hope you're having good weather and a great time!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Operation Beautiful

I just discovered Operation Beautiful today (with many thanks to Cranky Fitness--see my blog roll). I've got to get my post-its ready for action.

How about you?

Sorry Jack , but it's the truth: it's harder for women to lose weight

A few days ago, Jack Sh*t called me out on whining about how much easier it is for men to lose weight than women. Well, Jack, weight loss may be hard for everyone, but be happy you're a man.

Women and men naturally have different fat to muscle ratios. Basically, we're still built on the model in use back in the Stone Age. Men need more muscle to run after animals and beat them to death so that we can have to meat to survive and women need more fat to be fertile and make the babies that will eventually grow up and slaughter animals or make babies...and the cycle of life continues.

Sadly, for we of the baby making sex, muscle burns more calories than fat. So, not only are men usually bigger than women and therefore able to eat more calories, but pound for pound, they're also burning more calories due to their higher muscle mass. That's the bottom line.

To lose weight more easily, women not only have to cut consume less energy, but also have to make an additional effort to build more muscle. Furthermore, hormonal changes during menopause also add to the weight loss challenge. There's a plethora of literature on menopause and weight gain on the Internet--enough to make any woman turn to chocolate for solace.

So when a man tell me how easy it was for him to lose weight once he started or or just cutting out eating junk food, the best I can do is smile wanly and go back to my free weights.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

Yup, it's that day again. I'd like to wish my fellow Canadians a Happy Canada Day. We're 142 years old, we're still officially bilingual (which means a job for me) and we have universal health care. In my books, that makes for a lot to celebrate!

I Met the Jack Sh*t Challenge!

After much hemming and hawing, not to mention some severe belly-aching and much complaining (both in my mind and on the Net), I decided to enter the Jack Sh*it Kick-Ass Half-Ass Half-A-Pound Challenge, fully expecting to gain weight.

Well, the results are in: a loss of 0.6 kilos, which to most of you (and even to me) translates into 1.32 pounds. And no points or calories were counted in the losing of this weight. Let's make this clear: if you count points or calories and it works for you, more power to you. Definitely keep up the good work. As for me, counting gives me hives (so does trying to learn chess, but that's another story).

Here are some of the highlights of my week on the Challenge: I was on the elliptical trainer twice (BTW, after yesterday's elliptical training excitement, today my knee feels a bit puffy, but not too bad). I did NOT walk 10,000 steps every day, although I did have one 11,000+ day. And I had supper out on at least four days of the Challenge since I was out of town for work. (I had two scrumptious meals of mussels in two different restaurants.)

I'd like to thank Jack Sh*t for kicking me in the *ss. .