I am past the point in my life where I care whether I am more attractive or not. There were four girls and a boy in my birth family. Two of us girls were more attractive than the other two, and the ones that were not very attractive took it out on those who were, whenever they could. It's not like they didn't have boyfriends, and they both married and had families, so they had lives that were as happy as they allowed themselves to be. People were attracted to them because of their personalities, which is more permanent than just good looks. You either ARE pretty or you're not, and if you're not, it's not the end of the world, for heaven's sake. Personally, I don't give a rat's ass whether someone is pretty or not. It's whether they're a joy to be around, is what I'm concerned with. Pretty people have their burdens. Opportunities come to them sometimes just because they're a pleasure to look at. People are attracted to them in the same way. It's a superficial thing and it's easy to get spoiled by it such that some pretty people don't try very hard to develop their personalities or use their brains. But pretty is lost when pounds creep up, at least in the minds of many people, especially men. And some pretty people don't age very well. When your beauty is lost, you need to have your personality and your smarts to fall back on. That is not to say that there cannot be beauty in people who are overweight. It's just that obesity is hard on overall health, especially when it gets out of hand. And also it is not to say that there are not beautiful old people. Some beautiful old people were not thought to be all that attractive when they were young. The really odd thing is that, when you are beautiful INSIDE, it shines through. I felt this way about one of my sisters for many years. I was pretty crushed to learn how she really felt about me, however. *Sigh*. That is ancient history now that she is 76 and I am 70. The wounds have healed, I'm sorry that she felt the need to do those things she did, and there will always be a scar, but life goes on.
I wish I knew, back when I first started struggling with keeping off the pounds, what I know now. Research has been slow to happen on obesity, due to the widespread opinion of the general public, and most doctors, that obese people are just self-centered gluttons; eating machines that lie around stuffing their faces instead of getting out and doing things. Slugs, if you will. Nobody felt bad about fat-shaming us because we "deserved it", and, well, if we didn't like it, we could just lose the weight, right??? And then we all learned that there are just some people that would be the survivors if ever there was famine, because they have metabolisms that protect their fat stores. The only problem with that is that there is NOT famine, at least not in such a way that there is widespread hunger among adults in our country.
Things began to change somewhere around the 1950's, when the selling point was "convenience", or sometimes "economy". We ran out and bought frozen pot-pies and boxes of Kraft Macaroni And Cheese, Swanson Cake Mix, instant mashed potatoes, Minute Rice, and instant skim milk powder, because the idea of getting in and out of the kitchen in record time appealed to the "housewife". And it was helpful to younger women who didn't have many cooking skills, because along about that time, there was less on teaching "home economics" to girls. Once our food producers found they could take something they had a surplus of to make something for pennies, market it as The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread, and sell it for dollars, the die was cast to the point where we have an abundance of processed fake foods the likes of which God never intended, full of sugar, salt, fat and flavor-enhancing chemicals. The thing we didn't know then was that these "ingredients" turn on certain switches that mess up our metabolisms. Suddenly we are insatiably hungry, all the time. Oh, they SAY that without all their innovative chemicals, there would be world hunger. When you see a morbidly obese person galumping along, consider that actually there IS world hunger -- for healthy, non-processed, non-adulterated REAL food, and that is what it looks like. This doesn't have anything to do with keeping us alive, because in fact we are dying a slow death from it. It has to do with keeping the profit margins alive of the big chemical and food processing plants in our country.
More and more people are finding themselves diabetic and/or insulin-resistant, at which point the weight comes on very quickly and is then very, very hard to lose and keep off. If you are overweight and not insulin-resistant yet, it is imperative that you change the way you eat and lose the weight before that happens. Because if you don't, it WILL happen. Then losing weight will become an emergency health necessity. You will have to work your ass off to make that happen and when you have succeeded, you will have to be vigilant, always, so that it doesn't creep back on.
It's like we are the prey. First the fake food industry preys upon us to get us to eat more. And then the weight-loss industry and the medical industry preys upon us for the rest of our lives. There is one big lie that they tell us over and over, and that is that we must get on a strenuous exercise program in order to lose weight and keep it off. Pie? Sure, we can have pie. Just run three miles to work it off. What they're really doing is making us work harder so their precious profits will continue to rise. They can continue to sell us sugar-, fat-, and salt-laden foods and their peers, who make their money from the weight-loss and physical exercise industries will also be able to make big profits. Keep us well enough to work and make money so we can continue to buy and consume their crap. When we're finally so sick we can't work, we're in real danger of just being "thrown away". By then, they don't need us anymore, because they have the next generation, or two, whom we have trained to crave their processed products. It's a genius plan, actually.
I feel blessed that I still am able to lose weight by just cutting back on portion sizes and avoiding fake food. But that doesn't mean that I don't still hear the siren song of ice-cream, pie, cake, cookies. It doesn't mean that I don't start to salivate when the food commercials come on TV. But at least my brain knows that I am under assault at that time, so there are many times during which I can feel
I do have certain health issues that would decrease dramatically, or in fact might go away entirely, if I got my weight to a normal level and kept it there. And I want to be healthy and feel well as long as I possibly can.
It wasn't all that long ago that doctors had the opinion that all you had to do to not be fat was to "push yourself away from the table". Finally, they're beginning to understand that it's a lot more complicated than that, as are most things in life, it seems. But they still want to hand you a diet sheet, or prescribe a pill. They do not seem to know yet that weight control is not cookie-cutter. And it's not going to happen with temporary fixes. It involves learning how your particular body works (or doesn't work) and how it reacts to certain things, then managing it, as one would manage any incurable disease. What that means is that permanent lifestyle changes must be made, some of which may not be entirely pleasant. But is it pleasant, what being overweight does to our health? Yes, you do need an exercise program in order to be physically, and mentally, healthy. But it doesn't have to be the workout that consumes your life. Prior to 1950, the percentage of our population that were overweight was much lower. And what they call "morbidly obese" was just practically unheard of. But only bodybuilders went to the gym. Everybody else just lived their lives. What has changed? LOTS of things. Nobody had a television then. Lots of people didn't even have a land-line phone. We loved the radio but it was a big thing that had to be plugged into the wall. I remember when the transistor radio came out in the 1960's. I got one for Christmas when I was about 16. OMG. Best Christmas Present EVER! Heh. It had EARPHONES. I could listen to Wildman Jack late at night while Mom thought I was asleep.
Personally, I think a tendency to obesity is learned. Food has come to mean love to too many. When people want to celebrate something, such as an anniversary or maybe they're just out on a date, what do they do? Why, they go out to eat. And now that we live in such a stress-filled world we're anesthetizing ourselves with food. A bad day at work, a fight with our best friend or our love-interest has us eating ice-cream out of the carton with a spoon. At most family "get-togethers", there's so much food that everyone just stuffs themselves. Then everyone sits around, actually miserable, with their belts loosened until the discomfort passes and then they go back into where the food is and do it again before they go home. The industry is now telling us that our problem is that we SIT too much. What the hell?? People, throughout history, have sat whenever they wanted to and have not been obese. It's not the sitting. It's what we're spooning into our mouth while we sit. Several industries are in a symbiotic relationship with each other, they want us to be hyper-exercisers because it benefits the food industry, in that we can still shovel it in, AND the physical exercise industry, where we then must turn so that we can burn it off. Plus there's the clothing industry that supplies us with all these cute exercise clothes that we think we have to wear to the gym, and all those expensive running shoes that we're told we have to replace BEFORE we wear the bottoms smooth, in order to protect our feet. And then we wear out our joints and doom ourselves to plantar faciaitis so that we can thus have surgery to remove heel spurs and to replace our joints with metal ones that are far inferior to our original equipment. Make no mistake: this industry is second to none.
Hubs and I went to a grand-daughter's high school graduation last week, and we got there early because we wouldn't have been able to get a good parking place or a good seat if we hadn't. So we sat there for about an hour before anything started happening and, being on the front row, we had the sad opportunity to watch people as they filed past, searching for seats. I have to say that I think the obese percentage has increased from 30% to at least 50%, if not more. I mean, here I sit, having gone through my closet trying to find something I felt like I looked nice in, only to sit there and watch people go by in short or skin-tight clothing that left nothing to the imagination, not that I would try to imagine because I would find that unpleasant. I have true compassion for people who struggle with their weight, mostly because I'm one of them, and I understand. But sometimes I wonder if a lot of us even know we're obese. And then I wonder how some of us can not see how much better we'd look if we wore clothes that fit looser. I am
The workout center where Hubs and I go to exercise has a section that is devoted to people who have been ordered to go there by their doctors. Usually it's a heart condition, and the cardiologist has delivered a speech about how they will be dead in pretty short order if they don't do something. So they arrive in varying degrees of sheer fright all the way down to annoyance at their doctor, and everyone that's there for the sole purpose of helping them. One man in particular comes in, swipes his card to show that he was there on the computer, then goes to the break room and reads the paper. Many times someone will have brought something from the bakery to share with the others because they've had a birthday and I seriously don't understand why a hospital wellness center even allows anyone to do that, but anyway, if there are birthday treats in the break room he will always have some before he rolls up his paper and sets out for home. My heart just goes out to some people that come to the workout center. They are so obese that they can barely walk. Not to mention how labored their breathing is and how just getting where they need to go makes them break a sweat. There, but for The Grace of God, go I. Each painful step has to be made carefully, lest balance be lost. No one wants to fall. One of the therapists where I go for my shoulder says, "It's not the fall that hurts. It's the landing and the getting back up."
You who come here to read regularly know how I feel about sugar and other sweeteners, corn syrup among them. I know that this is the culprit as far as I'm concerned. And that is true for many. Once free of the "sugar demon", I find myself craving salty things. What the hell?? Will it never end?? There is still so much confusion and contradicting information available to us that it all just feels conspiratorial to me, but maybe it's just that we're learning right along about how obesity happens and some of the "experts" have gotten behind. I've seen "truths" become "untruths" and back again such that it's like the stoplight down at the corner. Now and then I'll pick up a book about one diet or another at a garage sale. I mean, I already know it didn't work for whoever bought the book, or it wouldn't be so poorly regarded that it's offered up at only twenty-five cents. But sometimes I'm curious as to what it is that makes this or that "diet" so popular. I have found that, after awhile, the books all seem the same. The first half of the book is case histories and arguments as to why this method is THE method. Then a few pages about how to implement the diet. Then the last of the book is recipes on how to make healthy food taste like the unhealthy food does. *Sigh*.
The fact that I have reached a goal with my weight loss plan does not mean I'm there yet. I have at least 25 more pounds to lose, if not more. We'll see when I get there. In case you're interested, following are things that have been working for me:
- Eat to live, don't live to eat. This is imperative and for me, required a complete re-tool of many of my attitudes that I had about food in general.
- Food is not love. Do not self-medicate with food. Replace it with something else. Write a letter you will never mail. Go for a walk. Dig in the dirt. Work a puzzle. Do a craft. Visit or phone a neighbor or a friend.
- Don't eat just because it's time to eat on the clock. Put it off till you are feeling hungry, but not so long that you are ravenously hungry.
- Eat REAL food whenever possible. Read those labels. Avoid soy and corn because almost all of it is GMO grown. (soy beans and corn, grown in your own garden, is fine though). Watch for hidden sugars (anything ending in -ose is suspect). Remember "cellulose" is a filler product so they can say it's "high fiber" and can be anything from ground-up wood to GMO cotton.
- Pay attention while you are eating. Savor it. Imagine how healthy it is making your body. There is merit to eating slowly. It gives your stomach time to signal your brain. Know that the human stomach is only meant to hold about a quart at a time, so that if you have eaten too fast, you will be able to stop eating before the signal is given, knowing that it will be sent when the stomach catches up. There is merit to chewing food well. Chewing is the necessary breaking down of food tissues so that the acids in the stomach can begin the digestive process. The reason why juicing is considered to be so healthy is because the chewing process has been done for you, and the trip from mouth to the intestines is much quicker. The problem with juicing is that you need that fiber going through your intestinal tract too, because it isn't just undigested food tissue that you excrete. It's other body waste materials as well, and they don't pass through the intestinal tract as well if there is not fiber. And yes, you need that daily BM, because you don't want your body's waste materials laying around somewhere in your body waiting for enough to accumulate so that the signal will be given that it's ready to be ejected.
- Water is necessary to flush out the "ashes" of burned fat and to keep your BM soft enough that it is easy to expel. Also seems like it doesn't smell as bad. Water dilutes any salt that might be present in your food. I do not salt anything, and I'm learning to taste things as they are meant to taste. But many things already have salt in them. Cheese, for example.
- I weigh every morning. Some people don't like to do this. But I write my weight on a calendar I keep just for that purpose. After awhile, I'm able to see ups and downs and know they are cyclical, or the result of something I ate that I might want to eat less of in the future.
- Many people believe it is too expensive to eat healthy. I had to rethink that. Think what a bag of M&M's costs. Or a package of Oreo's. Or a carton of ice-cream. Or that package of potato chips. The price of all these things has sky-rocketed just within the last few years. So has the price of a doctor's office visit. I remember, in the 1970's, it was only $8. The last time I noticed what the cost was, it was $145.
- I don't drink diet soda. I drink water, or unsweetened tea. Oh, yes, I miss the fizz, but not as much as I used to. It's not too hard to imagine that fizz dissolving my bones, either. That's what an imbalance of phosphorus in the absence of calcium does, according to my orthopedic specialist.
- My biggest challenge has been that I have to cook for Hubs, and he will not eat many of the things I eat. He makes his own breakfast, and he buys sandwich fixings for his lunches because that's what he insists on doing. So I only have to cook his evening meal. I make his favorite dishes in quantity and portion it out into freezer meals. Usually I do this cooking early in the morning when I've had my breakfast and am not hungry. You know, this is just the best that I can do. He tolerates his "frozen dinners" because he doesn't want to have to eat what I eat or cook for himself, and that's what would have to happen. It's not like he doesn't know how. Sometimes he buys fast food. And no, I don't think, "Boo-hoo, I can't have any." I think, "Woo-hoo! I don't have to cook!!" Frankly, KFC is GREASY. Burgers are on buns that are tasteless and downright GOOEY. Many deep-fried foods have a bitter aftertaste.
- I get to have bread whenever I want it (within reason) because I grind local wheat for that bread and it is truly 100% whole wheat bread. No preservatives, only enough salt, olive oil and honey to make and hold the yeast rise and nothing more. Water as the liquid ingredient, not milk.
- I try not to overdo the caffeine. I add water to my coffee, about 1 part water to 2 parts coffee.
- When I shop, I look for short ingredient lists without additives. Mostly fresh fruit and vegetables. I like cottage cheese better than yogurt. I buy olive oil and coconut oil and real butter.
- This is not to say I don't eat meat. I just eat less of it. The Frugal Gourmet used to say that meat should be used as a flavoring, not as the main ingredient, and I agree with that. We buy our beef from a local butcher shop. Pork is usually bought by the loin when it goes on sale at one of our local grocery stores. It is already well trimmed of fat, and we have it cut into slices and cook it grilled like "chops", or the slices are cut into small chunks and used as one of the ingredients in stir-fry or casseroles, with plenty of vegetables, and with the starch component served on the side. Hubs will usually eat these, too. I buy grocery store chicken and I'm aware it's not the best choice due to several factors, including the fact that they add salt water to it whenever and wherever they can. I just haven't found a source for anything better yet. I save the bones in the freezer till I have enough for a batch of bone broth, which only takes an hour in my stove-top pressure cooker. I would be lost without my pressure cooker. (This is not the same as a pressure canner. It holds six quarts of liquid, not jars.) I can make a batch of beans in less than an hour and a batch of rice in much less time than that. (Use the metal insert that comes with the cooker. Pour in about two cups of hot water. Then put the rice and the correct ratio of hot water necessary for cooking it in a bowl (I use a Pyrex 2-quart bowl) and set it down onto the metal insert. Put the lid on and begin. Only takes a few minutes once the pressure has started to build. For white rice, all you need to do is let the pressure get to the point where the weight begins to jiggle, and that's all you need.)
Really, I try not to think too much about food. Been there, done that, doesn't work for me. I cannot tolerate my stomach chewing a hole anywhere, but beyond that, I try not to pay too much attention to it. Eat to live, remember?? Some people don't want to eat the same things every day, but as long as it's something I like, I don't mind that, at least for awhile. I can change it up any time I want to, and I do make modifications sometimes. For awhile, I was having an egg, fried on a lightly-oiled cast-iron griddle, on half a bun with melted swiss cheese for breakfast and then fruit later on in the day instead of toast. Sometimes the fruit that I have is different, depending on what's in season. For awhile we had fresh strawberries and sometimes there are grapes. I try to always have some type of melon or cucumber every day because it helps me with water retention. And the banana is a good source of potassium. Not so good for those who are easily constipated, though. When the weather is hot, I might use that banana, blueberries if I have any, some dry milk powder and a little vanilla protein powder and some ice and make a smoothie in the blender. The protein powder is artificially sweetened, so I don't use very much of it and sometimes not any. Banana and blueberries have a lot of natural sweetness and I don't mind not having any additional sweetener. At any point, if I just want a little pick-me-up, I'll make a cup of hot green tea and put a spoon of honey in it. I buy honey every summer at our local farmer's market. It's from TuckerBees in Kansas. Near Niotaze, I think.
Well, this is just about all I can think of to say for this time. Except..... (and you knew that was coming, right?)
I want you to remember, if you are carrying too many pounds, that you DESERVE to be the best YOU that you can be. You DESERVE to feel good, and to be healthy. You DESERVE to look your best, and to enjoy looking in the mirror. You DESERVE to show those people who love to shame you how pounds can be lost, but stupidity and cruelty are forever with their host. It sucks to be THEM, but it's THEIR problem. God gave you your body, it is one of His true miracles. He expects you to take care of it, and He knows joy when He sees you at your best. Hugs xoxoxoxo