Friday, March 12, 2010

On Weighty Matters

The other night someone was telling me about a new diet plan. It is really hard-core: it has really specific foods and you can only eat about 500 calories a day. But supposedly it "really works." I guess it is supposed to be revelatory that eating only 500 calories a day will make you lose weight. I think they used to call that "starving yourself." That works too. At least temporarily.

I actually have a new plan that I follow for losing weight. It's a mix of a couple different programs. I do Weight Watchers but I don't count points very strictly. I add in a "free day" to eat what you want like Body for Life, but I skip Body for Life's hard-core exercise and eating only whole foods 6 times a day. I follow the principles of my mom's 90-day OA high veggie, no white-flour or sugar diet, except I don't have quite as many veggies, I sometimes eat refined carbohydrates and I don't weigh and measure my food or plan my meals in advance. I love the idea of eating only "clean foods" but I make exceptions when it's expensive, inconvenient, I don't feel like it or something looks particularly delicious. I love Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food," and make a concerted effort to eat less meat and more plants (except when I'm tired and meat is easier or veggies are too hard to chop). But no matter what, I always limit my portion sizes-- I just have lots of small portions if I happen to be particularly hungry.

I'm sure you get the idea. My plan of "mixing of a couple of plans" for losing weight usually ends up with me pretty much doing what I've always done and weighing what I usually weigh. I was successful at weight loss once before. Losing weight is fairly simple and straightforward (but by no means easy... I wish!):
1) You change your habits permanently and your weight will change permanently
2) Make healthy food choices and control your portion sizes. It helps to eat veggies and whole grains and other foods that help you "feel full," but ultimately, it comes down to a) Finding a plan and sticking to it and b) Eating less. Neither of which is very fun.

And I love food. No, I really LOVE food. I enjoy eating. I love to feel full. I love to eat treats. Luckily for me, I also love veggies and whole grains and I love to feel well-nourished and I don't enjoy the blech feeling of eating too much junk, so my weight has never gotten horrendously out of control. But I don't like to feel hungry. And I don't like losing weight. Not one bit. And did I mention I love treats?

But I like being skinny too. And right now I'm not. I know, I don't look awful, but I'm still technically "overweight" according to my BMI and could use shedding 10 or 20 pounds. So I go back and forth. Part of me is OK with how I look and enjoys eating a relatively well-balanced diet punctuated by delicious treats, but the vain part of me still wants to be skinny... I know that it is a slippery slope. Even when I was at my skinniest, I still wanted to be yet skinnier.

When I'm being honest with myself, I don't know if I care about it enough to expend huge amounts of energy right now just so I can coddle my vanity. But I'm going to try to keep taking baby steps in the right direction: a little bit more exercise, a little bit less of the treats.


Jen said...

Oh the travails of being a foodie! What can a girl do who simply LOVES food? LOVES to be full? Isn't that part of appreciating life?

Richard and Nicole said...

hey karen - found your blogger from the book club groups. I agree with your plan. I worry the most about people who are skinny because they freak out about what they are eating all the time. like you said - I think it's best to as good ole gordon B. says "try a little harder to be a little better" (: little less treats -litte more excercise. Can't wait to discuss in denfense of food with you - nicole buhler