Friday, January 30, 2009

Random thoughts on dieting

I read a blog post yesterday about Bob Greene, Oprah's diet guru. The blogger asked why, if Bob's diet was so revolutionary and wonderful, was Oprah not able to stick to it? If Oprah had found the answer in his diet (she's praised him over and over again on her show), why did the diet fail Oprah or why did Oprah fail Bob????
We who diet know the answer. Diets really don't work. It's a head thing, not a regimen thing. I can follow some dumb ass list of foods and menus for weeks on end but then......a little switch clicks in my head and I want. I want pizza. I want ice cream. I want Pepsi. I want fried chicken. It's not about being "hungry" or even feeling deprived. Something drives me. And it's not sadness or celebration or anything I can actually put my finger on. It just happens. I can usually talk myself out of indulging when the switch clicks.... if I want to but I have to want to talk myself out of it. And I don't always want to. Regardless of the consequences.
And what about the non dieting approach? Eating until you are satisfied (not full) and being mindful of what you eat. All well and good. I can eat pizza until I'm satisfied and savor every delicious biteful. But that isn't going to get me leaner any time soon! Nor will it help me get healthier.
And cutting back a little might work for someone who only has five pounds to lose (like the person who gives up ice cream for one week and voila, they're five pounds slimmer) or someone who has 100 pounds to lose. Both of those people probably will notice a change quickly. But I have more than five pounds and less than 100 pounds to lose. Cutting back a little would take about twenty five years for me to lose the body fat I have to lose to be where I would like to be.
And, one more thing....once you're fat (and I don't mean that you gained a few pounds on vacation!), it will be a struggle to lose the weight and keep it off no matter how hard you try, no matter how satisfying the food on the diet you choose, no matter how motivated you are.
Old habits die hard.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The obesity virus made me do it

A researcher suggests a common virus could be causing obesity in adults by forcing fat cells to produce at an abnormal rate. Whew! That means I'm not to "blame". It's some nasty virus that's making me fat. Not the food I eat. Oh, wait. Read further. Overeating and underexercising is also involved. Damn. Blame again falls in my lap. My ever increasing lap.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dieting and hunger

A dietitian friend, Meg Geiser, said something to me the other day that is totally profound in its simplicity: Dieters need to know that they'll be hungry when they are dieting.
I mean, of course! But the diet books and the diet programs all tell you that if you follow their advice, you won't be hungry! If you eat lots of fiber, according to the diet gurus, you'll be full longer. Well, that just doesn't work for me. Huge plates of lettuce don't hold me for very long even when accompanied by protein and some fat.
A bowl of pasta. That's what I call filling.
But, yes, whenever you restrict your intake you are going to feel hungry. Don't be fooled by the books, the web sites, the pill pushers, the diet workshops or your friends: If you diet, you will be hungry. If you cannot learn to live with it, then you won't be able to stick to it. For the most part, dieting is indeed about deprivation. That's a lesson that this dieting dietitian still has to learn. You have to be willing to be hungry, to give up or certainly seriously reduce intake of many foods to which you have become accustomed to eating.
Although I like vegetables and fruits and whole grains, I also like french fries and ice cream and pizza. At my age and my weight, cutting back on ice cream and french fries doesn't result in much weight loss. I have to cut them out because at my age I would have to reduce my caloric intake just to maintain my weight. That feels like deprivation to me.
I'm working on it. I'm thinking about it. I'm trying to decide. What's important? The taste of pizza or living a little longer. The creaminess of ice cream in my mouth or being safe from chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Decisions decisions decision.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

fat dietitian/dieting dietitian/ confessions of a fat dietitian

Several years ago I wrote an article called Confessions of a Fat Dietitian. It appeared in Today's Dietitian magazine. After the article was published, we started a private list serve for fat dietitians. Private because we wanted to be able to express ourselves freely. Then I started this blog. Today I found out that someone else has a blog called Fat Dietitian aka Confessions of a Fat Dietitian. The owner of the blog is NOT even a dietitian. She's a student. It takes a college degree, a one year internship and passing a national exam to call yourself a dietitian so if you're still in school, you're not a dietitian. I'm kind of bummed that she "stole" my title (Confessions of a Fat Dietitian) although I didn't do anything to make it mine. I didn't trademark it and just because it was published in a magazine doesn't mean it belongs to me or to the magazine. I feel "violated". It's enough to make me eat. Not really. I don't do that. I'm not an emotional eater. I'm a pleasure eater. Food that tastes good calls out to be eaten.
That's all. By tomorrow I probably won't care but today I do care that someone has usurped my title.

Monday, January 12, 2009

curmudgeonly remarks

If one more skinny person tells me how easy it is to lose weight, I'm going to scream at the top of my lungs (which, by the way, is blood curdling). It's not that I don't think a thin person knows how to lose weight. We've all read the same books, seen the same gurus on TV. Sure, the skinny so and so knows. The same way I know how to change a flat tire but in reality I can't do it. And if Miss Skinny ever gets fat, I'd like to be there when she starts following her own advice.
On the other hand...would I trust some fat person who has not lost weight to advise me on how to lose weight? I mean, wouldn't I just say to her, "If you can't do it for yourself, how do you expect to help me?"
Oh, and don't you just love the people who tell you, "I was so busy that I forgot to eat." Really? So busy that you didn't notice you were becoming lightheaded. And was the room so noisy that you couldn't hear (or feel) your stomach rumbling?
How do you ignore the signs of hunger? I don't like physical discomfort. And being hungry is uncomfortable. I respond to discomfort by trying to change my environment so that I will be comfortable again. That's why I eat when I'm hungry.
Whatever. One of those days.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Facing myself

So I've told Oprah off. Now it's time to face myself. Many months ago when I started this blog, I proudly proclaimed that I had conquered my eating demons. That plain food tasted good. That I was learning to control my appetite. That I was paying attention. That I was virtuous. Alas, all bullshit. Well, I believed it at the time.
I was so proud of my shrinking waist measurement. Being able to zip jeans. And looking in the mirror without cringing (as much). The pride was misplaced. The jeans no longer zip. The mirror is again my enemy.
Started with the trip to NYC. I didn't even go all out. Controlled lots of my urges but also gave in over and over again to high calorie foods in huge portions. Came home and faltered over and over. Finally threw in the towel sort of. I mean, I still haven't eaten pizza. I can't believe it. I've avoided the fried chicken restaurants (although I look longingly at them as I drive past). But the reality is that I am fat AGAIN.
Remember, the weight issue is not to fit into a slinky dress or to be able to wear a bikini. No one wants to see a 64 year old woman in a slinky dress or bikini no matter how good she looks. And I'm healthy. But I want to stay that way. And although I would accept this weight if there were no health risks associated with it, I know I am not eating in a way to maintain health.
So, Oprah and I are focusing on health. Eating fruits and veggies. Whole grains. Trying to reduce sugar intake. Working on it. Making no promises. Hoping not to miss the foods I love....none of them health!
Life may not be fair but that's the way it is.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Message to Oprah

I'm a fan. I'm not a fan. I was a fan. Oprah has changed through the years. She's so needy. She appeals to the neediest among her fan base. She sometimes creeps me out. I'm so sorry that she's gained weight. I'm especially sorry that she still doesn't understand. I'm not into the spiritual thing like she is (I'm spiritual...but in a religious way and that isn't what she means when she says spiritual) and these people she had on her show yesterday send shivers up (or is it down?) my spine.
Oprah, Oprah, Oprah. This crap about "being good to yourself" is a trap. You are already too self indulgent. You are already too good to yourself. You eat mashed potatoes when you feel bad. That's self indulgent. You stay in bed when you should be out there running the treadmill. That's self indulgent. You work too hard? Honey, we all do!
I have to tell Oprah to stop searching. This is all there is. Live with it. Love it. And, please, Oprah, learn to accept that you will never look like Cher. Jeez. Who would want to! Not the way she looks now, anyway. You can only look like "your best self" (there, that's Oprah language so maybe she can understand).
And looking like her own best self might be weighing 200 pounds. In a work out suit. With sneakers on. Wind in her hair as she jogs through the snow.
And these diets she goes on. She doesn't want to eat the way Bob tells her to eat. She hates eating that way. So she cannot follow that diet forever. Bob eats that way because he likes it. And because eating that way makes him rich!
You know, I don't know if this "blown out" thyroid thing is real or not. But she's been fat so many times before that I gotta say, "no". That's not it. She's fat because she eats too many calories compared to the number of calories she uses. End of story. If the thyroid is the "excuse" du jour, what was the excuse all the other times?
I'm sorry, Oprah. Get real. Get "authentic" (another one of those meaningless words that the spiritual people fling around). Stop looking for reasons past your own hand to mouth!
Now, my own problems. I'm fat because I eat too much. See, how easy that is? Just cop to the truth and you'll feel oh so much better.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

This poem says it all!

Succinct. True. Perfect.
From the "Prolifically Raw" blog (a writer's blog):

Breakfast Poem

I am so sick of starving myself
Counting points, I only get 23in that Weight Watchers book from the weekly meeting I don’t go to anymore
The Buddha said if you are hungry—eat
If you are tired—sleep
I am sick and tired of worrying about my weight.
I’m hungry for olive oil, butter and bread.
I am going to eat.