Monday, April 25, 2011

Eat What?

I am going to let you all in on a little secret that I don't like to talk about because it makes people want to slap me.  I only need to get this off my chest because it is causing me some serious problems in adulthood that I have no real experience with, even if I do "know" in an intellectual way how I am supposed to deal with these things.

I have never been on a diet in my life.

Go ahead...let the disbelief wash over you.  And now for the "I'm gonna slap this bitch" part.

Up until I was about 25, I was a naturally skinny girl.  In my teens, I just COULDN'T gain weight and was often accused of having an eating disorder.  Sometimes, I just played along and said I did so that people would leave me alone.  When I was 20, I developed really bad hypochondria (and all kinds of anxiety problems to go with it), convinced that I had a tapeworm or cancer or AIDS and I became obsessed with fat people and how their bodies looked compared to my disgustingly skeletal frame.  I also believed that I was allergic to wheat, eggs, tomatoes, potatoes, milk and Chinese food.  Do the math on that doesn't leave much.

When I got to be about 23, I finally started to fill out.  I assumed my metabolism was just slowing down and LOVED the fact that I was finally able to fill out a bra. 

But it never stopped.  Between 23 and 27, I had gained 25 lbs, which wasn't bad except that I really didn't have the money to clothes shop and my shit generally didn't fit for long.  Oddly, when I had Lila, I had little problem taking off the baby weight, losing all of it in about 8 months (I didn't breastfeed and the anxiety of being a new mother meant I had no appetite either).

But something happened when we moved back to Upstate NY.  In 2 and a half years, I have gained another 35 lbs.  I gained 20 lbs in one 6 month period and that alone made my doctor order tests. 

But there's nothing wrong with me physically causing this.  It's other things.

I hate to exercise.  I NEVER liked sports or sweating for that matter and I really don't get it when people talk about "the runners high".  What I DO enjoy is napping.  Oh, and sitting.  I spend a lot of time sitting and even more time snacking.  In fact, after 33 years of eating whatever I want whenever I want, I think it's pretty much a part of who I am. 

So recently, after another round of tests and a depression whose most tedious symptom is this God-awful exhaustion, I have decided that something has to give or I am going to die.  Literally. It turns out that I weigh RIGHT NOW what I weighed when I was 9 months pregnant and I am really pissed that I got rid of my maternity pants because my jeans DO NOT flatter my overflow at all.  Looking in the mirror the other day, I realized that my belly sticks out further than my boobs ad that is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE for someone who isn't pregnant, but it DOES allow me to park in the "Expecting Mothers" space at the grocery store (who's dumb enough to start that argument?).  And I keep hearing that belly fat is particularly deadly and I swear, its ONLY my belly (since I can't see my ass I am going with that, mmmkay?). 

It's kind of like this guy...
I have never been a believer in diets because I have never known anyone who really enjoys them or keeps healthy when it's over.  And I am just way too exhausted for a total overhaul of my life right now.  But I can tell you that I eat A LOT of bad foods.  Seriously.  Really bad stuff.  And a lot of it.  So I decided that in order to help my energy level (which will make it possible for me to not sleep all the time, which will then make exercise perhaps possible, if not totally fun!) maybe I should start watching what I eat.  Baby steps...right?

I am Bill Murry in What About Bob...
So for the last few days, I have been trying recipes from "healthy cooking" cookbooks and websites and have discovered something astonishing about myself.  Apparently my body knows the difference as soon as it goes in.

Let me explain.  First off, it is impossible for me to be "full" eating shit like skinless chicken breast with herb-roasted vegetables and whole grain pasta.  Isn't there some rule about how whole grain stuff is "more filling" than refined crap?  Because I am pretty sure that when I did the same meal with vegetables cooked with oil and butter and a whole chicken with the skin, I felt full after.  I didn't make my portion smaller (remember, baby steps) and yet I found I was hungry after like 15 minutes.

The other thing is that I am hungry ALL DAY.  Grazing doesn't really work either because I will literally EAT ALL FUCKING DAY.  Apple:  not filling.  Wheat toast with peanut butter: not filling.  10 almonds (because that's a serving size...): Not filling.  14 Oreos are filling.  A giant-size Snickers bar (serving size 3...according to the package) is filling.  4 slices of pizza with pepperoni is filling.

So to those of you who have had some success with changing your eating habits, please tell me...How do you fight being hungry all the time?

On a side note...After a nice dinner of turkey burgers, roasted potatoes and a spinach salad I felt full...for 10 minutes.  Then I found myself picking at the rest of the potatoes while I was supposed to be cleaning up and I am fucking DYING for anything sweet for dessert.  Is there some trick to this or is it really a matter of me never developing any will power?  Because I may just have to choose to be fat forever if I will just feel pissed off and hungry all the time. 

(Images courtesy of google images...they're not really mine)


  1. All my guy friends swear that you should eat more real fat. They live on whole milk, bacon, cheese, etc. You are evolved to process animal fat.

    The problem with junk food is it isn't real fat. It's a bunch of carbs and hydrogenated oil, which your body converts into back-boobs.

    My diet is exclusively chicken soft tacos & yogurt. You pretty much hit all the food groups there.


  2. Holy crap! This is my problem too. It's all downhill and ass-tons of work after you have kids. That's my conclusion. The only solution I've found is I can eat whatever the hell I want as long as I work out ALL of the time. For me, it's a fair trade. Other people look at me like I'm insane. They just dont get it. I want the #1 meal at McDonalds but not the fat on my thighs. So I eat it and then do my best to combat it's after effects. Probably not the healthiest of approaches. We do what we gotta do. Good luck to you!!!

  3. Also-eat out more (at healthy, non-chain fast food places). It forces you to slow down and it's embarrassing to order seconds.

    Oh. Beer, soda (especially diet), pastries, and anything with "fried" in the title are your enemy. Diet soda actually makes you more hungry, and regular soda can easily add 3 more meals worth of calories if you are addicted to it.

    For some reason beer seems more fattening than booze. I think it's because you can drink like, 8 servings in a night out (4 pints), where you'd be wasted after 4 vodkas.

    I tend not to drink any calories. Unsweetened ice tea & black coffee.
    -Chimpo again

  4. oh my god. i was just like you in my teens and early 20s i could eat whatever i wanted to, but after 2 kids my body has stretched to the point of no return.

    i also never been on a diet and don't work out ( really lazy ) but one thing i do is before every meal ( when i remember) i drink a glass of water. i have been doing this for 3-4 months now and loss 10 lbs.


  5. I've always been big. Seriously. Always. I weighed nearly 10 pounds when I was born. I come from sturdy stock. Like oxen. One of my great grandmothers was 6 feet tall. Before the dustbowl, in poverty. In 3rd grade, I wore a size 8 (womens) shoe. In 4th grade, I was taller than my teacher. I started my period when I was 10. I've been as tall as I am (5'8") since 6th grade. I birthed 10 pound, 22 1/2" long children. With my vagina. Without epidurals. We're just kind of elephant people. At 5'8" and through with any growth spurts, the thinnest I've ever been is a size 14, and approximately 180 pounds. Completely serious. Now, my only goal is to get under 200. That gives me 39 pounds to go. You can do the math. If I put forth no effort and eat whatever I want, such as you've described? Let's just say I've already lost 20 pounds and still look like this. I could effortlessly weigh 300 pounds in no time, if I just really let everything go. Suffice to say, I have a different sort of metabolism than you do. It's hard being on the other side. I believe you that you had trouble keeping weight on, years ago. I think people are prewired. We can enhance or detract from whatever we've been destined for, but I do think there's something there that we just can only have so much power over.
    I have to try really hard now. I've eaten almost no carbs for the better part of 6 weeks. Carbs haven't (and shouldn't be) entirely eliminated (we need them), but I've learned to become much more selective. I eat more protein. I do actually eat a little more fat, but better fat. No junk food. No sweets. When I have cravings now, I eat dried cherries, and yogurt seems to trick a sweet tooth. Does this sound ridiculous? Absolutely. Do I want to slap people who spout this kind of bullshit? Absofuckinglutely. I never thought this would be me. But if I don't? I'll keep going. My mother has (had, I should say) uncles on both sides of her family who weighed over 500 pounds each. Totally serious. Both sides of her family.
    There is another side.
    But there also is another way. I don't call it a diet. I call it a new way of living. I have to.

  6. One of the biggest challenges with dieting is the fact that you are constantly thinking about food. What you ate last, when you’ll eat next, etc. I find that when I’m dieting the focus on food causes me to feel (or think that I am) hungry all the time. If you can get through the first couple of weeks you won't be thinking about it as much. Unfortunately with the sedentary lifestyle you describe (I'm right there with you), you'll have a lot of time to think about food - instead of being busy with other things to keep your mind off of how hungry you are.

    Here are a few suggestions for you.

    1) Eat fat. Your body needs it and this will help you feel fuller. You can eat everything in moderation – so just focus on the types of fats you’re using (i.e. olive oil only instead of butter).

    2) Stay away from pasta (whole grain or not). It will make you feel hungry. Same goes for other refined products like bagels. Try an actual whole grain – like quinoa or couscous (super-easy to make).

    3) Limit the taters! Potatoes are good nutritionally but are high carb options that should be eaten in moderation.

    4) Eat lots of lean protein (fish, chicken, etc.). Try a hard boiled egg.

    5) Don’t beat yourself up if you fail. Just get back at it as soon as you can.

    6) Get rid of the junk in your house. If it’s not there, you won’t be tempted.

    7) When you want something sweet, try a hot chocolate. Make it with cocoa powder, skim milk and a touch of sweetener. Or find a low fat hot chocolate mix (easier). I find this satiates me. If you’re a tea drinker, that can also help. Sweetener is not ideal, but hey, it’s better than sugar for now.

    8) Drink! Well, not alcohol…but water, tea, hot chocolate. When you feel really hungry try that as an alternative.

    9) Eat a good/big breakfast. Not eating a solid breakfast has been proven to cause hunger later in the day and derail diets.

    10) Try to set a very, very small exercise goal. Like walk up your stairs four times in a row or walk for 5 minutes around the block. It seems insignificant but if you can get started in a habit, you’ll be able to increase the intensity/length of exercise over time. Again, don’t beat yourself up about this stuff. I know you’ve probably been told this over and over again, but exercise can help with depression too.

    11) I know you’re not in a position to afford it, but when you are, Weight Watchers (no I’m not a spokesperson) is a good system. I’ve been on it before and always lose weight. They have an online version you can do from home without having to attend meetings. That said, maybe getting out to the meetings would be good for you.

    A couple of others posted ideas: drink a glass of water before a meal, try an apple before lunch and dinner. Great ideas – but you’ll need to find what works for you (neither of these worked for me because I never remembered).

    When you’re in the depths of depression it can be hard to focus energy on anything, so I really commend you for trying to make some changes, even though you’re feeling so lousy. I’ve been depressed and I know that eating cookies, chips, etc. is so easy and frankly, comforting. I mean honestly, Oreos do taste better than an apple!

    Chin up. Hope you find something here that helps.

  7. I agree with every single thing in the above post. I know how intertwined food and depression can be.

    I absolutely, 100% understand.

  8. I disagree with #s 1-3 of the longer post above, just for the record.

    You read my blog occasionally, so you should know - Cooking Light, Cooking Light, Cooking Light. Unless you're a really picky eater, in which case, you need to try some new shit and get over it. No artificial shit, the stuff tastes amazing, and it keeps a really good balance of nutrition in almost every dish. The challenge is utilizing the recipes whenever possible but finding the most cost-effective ways to get the fresh ingredients otherwise you'll go broke on groceries. The quickest tip for that? Go with frozen, never canned.

    If your body tells you you're hungry, you should feed it. Just try and keep healthy snacks around - even weight watchers will tell you that all fruits and vegetables are "freebies" - just not salads and shit drenched with dressings and unnecessary fat. Get yogurt, just not the "light n fit" shit with the nutrasweet. You can retrain your body and its metabolism, it's just going to take a little bit of time. When your body gets used to getting the nutrition that it needs, you won't feel hungry all the time.

  9. First off, Yes Amanda, I want to slap you for that shit! LOL.

    And I hate yogurt. I dont know why. It skeeves me out.

    But seriously. Thank you all for the feedback and not being assholes about it. I actually am all about Cooking Light (the magazine) but find that it truly isn't as emotionally satisfying to stuff myself with veggie pizza as it is a Meat Lovers pizza.

    I think its partially emotional but also very much ingrained in me.

    I am determined to just start by eating less refined junk and eating out less (the portions alone will make you fat). I am also going to be easy on myself and see where I am in a few weeks. It isn't JUST about losing weight. It's also about feeling better and that's probably even more important to me.

    By the way...did I mention that I am totally unwilling to give up my coffee?

  10. I cannot give up coffee either. And anyone who would tell me I need to best run as fast as they can, lest the shrinking bitch git'em.

  11. I can totally relate. I sent you an email on this so I wouldn't bore your other readers. :) Hopefully the email in your 'Need to Know' section is still valid.

    In my experience, coffee has only helped me with weight loss as it gives me the energy to actually separate my ass from the couch and get on with my day. I have switched from sugar to a no-calorie sweetner in order to cut back on empty calories (which took getting used to) but I prefer that to the lifeless slug I am without my caffeine. Try to take my coffee and I'll cut you. :)

  12. Sparkspeople. I thought it was a joke until people around me started dropping pounds and pounds. My mother( who hates exercise) did it through moderate eating and within 6 months dropped 30lbs. She is probably too skinny now.

    Good luck.

  13. I am actually on SparkPeople but they want me to eat like 400 calories a day and the shit they want me to eat is like 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans and 2 orange wedges. I was offended...

    I do like their recipies though

  14. Lol! I always planned on pointing 2 my carseat and pretending my baby is in it when I illegally park in that spot at the grocery store!! I forgot the fat stomach!!! Perfect.


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