Tuesday, April 10, 2012

but i don't worry about my weight!

Ever since my growing up days, I have been a classically skinny girl.  Despite not being very physically active, I've been blessed with a high metabolism and good genes and have always managed to eat what I want, with relatively few problems.  There was the time I was working at Culver's and eating lots of Butter Burgers and frozen custard and put on a few pounds, I suppose.  And until I took off my pregnancy weight, I was bigger than I'd ever been (nursing helped a lot with that!).  But without pregnancy or post-pregnancy to blame, I've never carried this much weight.

I had started noticing my clothes fitting tighter in recent months.  But as a rule, I don't weigh myself.  Too many neuroses as an American woman!  I don't need to add to it by obsessing over a stupid number on a scale.  Plus, I accept as dogma that I can eat whatever I want since I have high metabolism.  And I don't worry about my weight.

So you can understand that it was a big shock when I went to doctor's office this past week and found I had put on about 15 pounds in the past year!  How did this happen?

I blame the butter.  Yes, in moderation it is a reasonably healthy food since it is natural (unlike, say, margarine).  But the problem is that me and butter do not usually equal moderation.  I was eating a shocking amount of butter on popcorn many nights a week.  And I was letting unnecessary fat sneak into my diet (full fat sour cream, instead of lowfat, for instance).  This combined with the extra-sedentary nature of winter...well, it wasn't helping me out.

Now that I know I've gained this extra weight, it's hard not to get super obsessive about it.  But I'm trying my best to start simply making healthier choices.  Doing more exercise (which the beautiful spring weather is helping me to do).  Making healthier choices in my consumption (which is difficult since my high metabolism leaves me hungry very often!).  I am trying to get more of my calories from nutritious foods rather than using them all up with fatty butter and sauces (which I know are still ok in moderation).  I REFUSE to eat diet foods or officially go on a diet, however.  I firmly believe these methods backfire.  I won't eat a bunch of pre-manufactured foods, because I believe that overall they are bad for my body.  I won't go into deprivation mode but will simply work hard on finding healthy, delicious foods that still feel like a "treat" for me (like this salad or some crackers with slivers of good quality cheese).

I guess it was bound to happen, humbling this "skinny girl."  We grow older and our metabolism slows.  We get lazy and make bad choices, thinking there will be no consequences.  But I am hopeful that if I am consistent in some lifestyle changes, I will begin to see results!

So, who has healthy recipe recommendations (especially for snacks and lunches!) and words of advice?  I hope to hear from you!

16 comments:

  1. I'm totally with you, it's hard to go from eating whatever you want to being healthy. Also hard not to obsess in front of impressionable young kids (but that's another story). For snacks, I buy a ton of vegies, wash and cut them up at the beginning of the week and snack on them alone, or with homemade hummus. A mister is a great help on the popcorn issue. You can use it to spray a reasonable amount of olive oil on the popcorn and top with a little parmesan. Great, now I'm hungry :-)

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    1. I totally agree on not obsessing in front of impressionable kids. I think that keeps my tongue in check about body image...at least when she is awake, ha!

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  2. I have never been blessed with metabolism and have struggled with weight my entire life...Sadly, some of it was imposed from the outside, now that I look at pictures of myself from high school and remember my family telling me how pretty I would be if I "just lost a few lbs." And now looking at those pictures, I was probably a bit heavier than some girls, but I was by no means obese or fat...
    So, not that I deal with obesity, there are mental things that get in the way as well as food. I'm a relatively healthy eater, which, I'm sure suprises some, but I am. But, I also have to work really hard to get weight off. I also am now hyper vigilant about my food decisions as I battle to take weight off. I've taken off 21 lbs since November. On one side of things, that doesn't feel like a lot, but then I need to remember, that is a little over a lb a week, which is a very healthy rate of loss.
    I'm not not one to deprive myself. If I have pizza, it's one piece, then salad or veggies. If I want chocolate, one good piece of dark, high quality chocolate, not a bag of m&m's. I also have a few snacks for substitutes. I have a weakness for chips (salty, crunchy is a weakness) so Special K cracker chips, are wonderful. (one of the few really processed things we have besides crackers.)
    I do weight watchers because it's not dieting, but just a way to count calories without having to do the adding yourself and my Dr. swears that it is really the only thing that works and it encourages a healthy rate. That's helpful because I have larger amounts to loose. I also have to make sure to drink plenty of water.
    My goal is to make sure that while I'm still healthy, that I stay that way before the statistics get the best of me and I want to get that way before I'm 40.

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    1. I think it's so important to focus on health with kids and oneself. So sorry people said unhelpful things to you when you were a teen. So easy to get off track on that and with photo-shopped magazines staring us in the face everywhere. That's why I don't weigh myself, as a rule. But I don't feel good about my body right now. And the extra weight is terrible for my bad knees. So I need to undertake some healthier practices.

      I think it's so harmful to turn yummy food into something evil. My rule has always been, "all things in moderation," but I've not been doing very well with my own rule!

      I agree on choosing high quality choices too. It helps that I GREATLY prefer high quality dark chocolate to M & M's!:-)

      Pioneer Woman has not been helpful with my waist line. So easy to forget how she runs around the ranch all day and hence needs all the extra fat!

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    2. As far as Pioneer woman goes, that is so true. Living on a farm has changed as well. There's physical labor, but not as intense. We use a rock picker, when I was a kid...I was the rock picker, all of us were. You can eat a different diet if you are "working" it off. You almost need to eat the bigger diet to get the physical energy needed.
      Sadly, the helpful things started long before my teenage years. I remember thinking I needed to be on a diet in Kindergarten. Seriously. I know how those little kids feel today. Ugh. I just want my kids healthy.
      I'm so excited for our garden this summer, Ian has already helped me plant potatoes and radishes. I'm hoping they will have a new excitement because we grow it ourselves. I want my kids to "snap" beans when we get ready to freeze them for the winter too. These are memories I really cherish.

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  3. Like I said on Facebook (and I know it's so unlike me that it's hard to fathom), stove-popped popcorn with a little sunflower oil and kosher salt is better than with butter.

    [audible gasp]

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    1. That, my friend, is insane. I don't think I can ever be convinced that popcorn is better with anything besides butter!:-) I am concerned for your mental health.;-)

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  4. I am a guy, and I am struggling with my weight too. When I was in my very late twenties I weighed 10 stone (1 stone=14 pounds). Then I was skinny, because I am nearly 6ft too! This last Christmas I was 15 stone 2 lbs; some difference huh!? I've now lost about 10-12 lbs over the last 3 months or so, but it's a struggle, a real struggle. I get bored dieting, which is I suspect what many people go through. I tend to walk everywhere now and I do 15 minutes on an exercise bike everyday too.

    You wrote: "My rule has always been, "all things in moderation,"" Yes, that is my golden rule too. What is hard is coming to terms with the fact that we can't just shift it easily anymore, we have to work at it; and sometimes, frankly we just can't be bothered! But, it's good to be concerned about this not just for buying new clothes and that, but for health reasons too. I have to add that the American diet by all accounts, and certainly the British diet is largely unhealthy with high concentrates of sugar, fat and salt; in short, it tastes great but is generally bad for your overall health. Those pesky continental Europeans on the whole tend to be slimmer and healthier than us Brits. They say the Mediterranean diet, one high in olive oil, plenty of fruit and veg, less red meat but lots of fish, garlic and herbs, is one of the best diets in the world. As summer comes I love to try the Mediterranean diet more.

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    1. I'm trying to focus on working in Mediterranean foods where I can. It is such a flavorful diet and lots of real whole foods (not processed crap) so you aren't depriving yourself at all!:-)

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  5. Rebecca- I promised you I had plenty of thoughts on this subject.

    Here goes

    1. I think you're right in that weight isn't exactly the total picture of Health. I was out hiking a few weeks back. I set out to hike to a Peak. But I decided to stop since it was getting rather foggy and the distance was still a ways off. I ran into a girl on the trail who was on her way back from the peak. This girl walked at a pace I have never seen before. The reason I mention this is the Girl while quite tall really wasn't all that skinny (I would guess maybe 10-15 Pounds Overweight). I consider myself a rather quick hiker but this girl's pace was blowing me away. There's no way I could consider this girl as overweight when she is obviously much fitter then skinner girls I've associated.

    2. Men's Weight and Women's Weight are 2 totally different animals. I know that if I start lifting heavily I can gain weight rather easy. In fact if one is lifting they probably should aim to gain weight since it defeats the purpose if you don't add muscle. This is especially true for more experienced lifters. But the funny thing about a Man's Muscle tone is Pro Athletes are often considered overweight by AMA Standards due to their degree of muscle. A Women who added 15 Pounds of Muscle would probably be denounced as Fat. So I do believe we have really warped standards of what is considered attractive between genders.

    3. You're right that Hormones have a huge impact on one's weight. I'm never going to be that naturally lean without starving myself. I believe your weight gain could be on some level a negative byproduct of aging. It'll be funny talking to Mothers and Daughters in the Gym who the 18 year old daughter will brag about eating lousy and not being able to gain weight. Where the 50 Year Old Mother will complain how she can't lose. The thing is the Mother is generally the more health conscious of the 2.

    4. I would debate you till the cows come home on blaming your weight gain on excessive Butter. You're right in that Margarine is Awful for a person. I would return to my previous comment how Butter isn't used to fatten Cattle but rather Corn. It'll be funny sometimes after Church I'll cook up over a LB of Italian Sausage in Olive Oil. Then throw a good deal of cheese upon it. If most people saw this meal they'd wonder why I don't weight 400 LBS. The reason is simple- Fat takes so long to digest a person (A very high fat meal) such as this sustains a person for a whole day. Especially if followed by hiking afterwards. Blood Sugar is a huge factor in regulating a person's weight and overall body composition. This is why I rail against the Corn rather then the Butter. This is a lot of the Basis between the Mediterranean Diet developed by Ancel Keys. I disagree with a lot of Keys conclusion on Saturated Fat and the Seven Country Study- but Keys is fairly good on the Mediterranean Diet.

    5. The problem with Low Fat Dairy is it's drained of any sort of nutritional value, and then filled with Sugars and Fake Ingridents in Return.

    6. I'm not sure if Exercise is all that good for Weight Loss. This is coming from someone who dropped a bunch of weight exercising. It saps one's energy level quite a bit and probably just revs up one's metabolism and hunger. I'm not denying that Exercise has it's benefits. But would state the Phrase "Hungry Like a Horse" has some meaning.

    Conclusion: I do like how you don't stress about your individual weight. How you feel about yourself is ulitmately more important. Things like mood, energy level, focus should be bigger factors. Nor do I believe you have to fall into some sort of Societal Defintion of Health. But if you want Up the Fat, Lower the Carbs then See how you feel.

    Best Wishes,
    Stew

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    1. Re. butter: it is more nutritional than margarine but it is also kind of empty calories. I'm trying to get more calories from protein particularly. And whole grains. Don't worry...I will NEVER stop eating butter...love it too much! But I'm trying to cut back. I mean I was eating 3 TBS of butter on popcorn multiple times a week. That's rather excessive (although delicious!). I can still have popcorn with butter but more occasionally. Note too that that was a behavior change for me to be eating that much butter. Until the last couple of years, I was eating much more olive oil.

      I think if through exercise I can get more muscle, I will feel better about myself even if my weight is not too far further down.

      Also, I am concerned about my knees. I'd been told about 15 pounds ago by a doctor that I should not gain any weight because it is very hard on them.

      So after the shock of the scale at the doctor's office last week, I am trying my best to make smarter choices and TRY not to obsess about weight.

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    2. Also, I was shocked recently when someone a container of fat free half and half (what does that even mean?? since half and half is cream and milk!) made it to my house that it had SWEETENER and other crap in it! Gross. I'd rather limit my intake than drink gross stuff like that.

      I am very anti high fructose corn syrup. That stuff is terrible for you. Hence, why I tend to bake my own cookies and cake and I tend to eat few preservative laden items. That which is made from scratch is always healthier.

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    3. I keep thinking of one more reply...having more fat and less carbs is basically a fad diet. It may lead to temporary weight loss but it is bad for our hearts.

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  6. Rebecca- If Fat and Carbs are bad for our Hearts a few questions.

    1. With the advent of the push for Low-Fat Diets in the last 30 years has the rate of heart disease gone up or down?

    2. If you can't answer that question- I challenge you to respond to this guy's arguments-

    http://www.sott.net/articles/show/242516-Heart-Surgeon-Speaks-Out-On-What-Really-Causes-Heart-Disease

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  7. Hi Rebecca; congratulations on opening some really, no pun intended, healthy debate with this post! There are many sides to the health debate; the two I really discern is that we've never been more health-conscious in the West, and at the same time other people couldn't care less what they eat as long as it tastes good and fills them!

    One of the problems for me is the constant arrival, perhaps every few years, of the 'wonder-diet' that will make us all healthy, desirable to the opposite sex and probably get us into Heaven too!! This faddishness can sometimes be a problem in itself, because being mostly ordinary non-scientific people, we just don't know who to believe; one minute carbs are bad for you, the next minute their a 'wonder-food'! Sheesh, no wonder we don't know what to believe!

    I think all told we need a little commonsense and a little of what we fancy now and again might do us some good. I look at the people at the time of Jesus; mostly ordinary people would eat a simple diet, and then sometimes they would feast for a couple of days and enjoy themselves, and then back to a simple diet again for the most part.

    Great post by the way. I'm going to check out Stew's (great name for a post about food!) link.

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  8. Few More Thoughts

    1. If you look at what diets have been growing in Popularity the last few years (Zone, Paleo, Mediterranean)- the Common Themes of these diets are 1. Fat is not the enemy it's been made to be. 2. The average American's carb intake is too high. It should also be noted that prominent diets that led to the Low-Fat, Heart-Disease Craze like the Pritkin Diet or the later Ornish Diet seem to be advocated yearly by less and less individuals. I wouldn't describe this as a fad but changing research regarding the regulation of weight.

    2.Another health trend that really has popped up in the last several years is concerns about how the Human Body responds to Gluten. This at least questions the conventional wisdom regarding Whole-Wheat. The Inflammation that is often caused by Gluten and Whole Wheat has been theorized to really put a strain on a person's body.

    3. As far as Heart Disease and diet. It should be noted that if Fat was the Villian their would be much higher rates of Heart Disease in cultures like Massai and Innuit whose diet is primarily made up of Saturated Fat.

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