This really grinds my gears:
– *Someone offers me a cookie.*
– “Oh no, thank you,” I politely decline, “I shouldn’t.”
– “WHAAAAAAAAAAT? You’re not on a diet, are you????? Don’t tell me you’re trying to lose weight! You’re tiny!”
Yeah, thanks for the support, jerkface.
I was pretty overweight for most of my young adult life. I’ve been substantially fatter than I am now. In relative terms, I know I’m “not that fat.” In fact, a lot of the women who chastise me for calling myself fat could fit most of me in one of their pant legs.
But you know what? After I had kids, I worked really hard to get in shape and get healthy. No shortcuts – just a diet overhaul and a commitment to regular strenuous activity. I went from 220+ pounds down to 140 over the course of a couple years.
When I started working as a commercial baker a few years ago, I gained about 10-15 pounds of it back (part muscle, part “quality control”), but held steady around the 150 mark. For a fairly muscular woman, that’s not terrible. I like being thinner, but it didn’t make me hate myself. I could still run, and jump, and climb, and even do a few chin-ups.
Then I got sick – all thanks to a single, tiny little bastard by the name of ixodes scapularis; better known as the deer tick, a well-known carrier of the b. burgdorferi bacteria. I was sick for nearly two years. It was debilitating – with my most prominent symptom being crippling nerve pain that would wax and wane and migrate to different areas of my body, along my spine. I struggled to find a doctor who would even believe that I could possibly have the disease – because blood tests didn’t detect the expected antibodies, and because the standard course of antibiotic treatment failed. I found the tick burrowed into the back of my leg, and I developed all of the classic symptoms right away – but I was treated like a hypochondriac; apparently a common occurrence for “Lyme Disease” sufferers.
Thankfully, I finally found a doctor (actually a nurse practitioner) who was open to reading some of the more recent research I’d found, and was willing to prescribe a combination of antibiotics – instead of rolling her eyes and giving me another round of the standard course to make me go away. That seems to have worked. Previous rounds of the standard treatment always left me with lingering symptoms which “grew back” over a few weeks or months; this time around, I’ve been entirely symptom-free for five months and counting.
But I’m still dealing with the fallout of being sick and sedentary for so long. At the height of my illness, I ballooned back up to 195 pounds. I’ve cut myself a lot of slack for this, because I was REALLY sick. Even during the weeks and months where I was feeling relatively well, physical activity (something as simple as walking half a mile) often made my body hurt in ways that were frightening.
Now that I don’t feel sick, the extra weight is wearing on me. The battery in my scale is dead, so I don’t have an exact figure, but I’m probably right around 170 pounds. I’m not huge, but my clothes (the ones that even still fit me) are tight. I can feel the extra padding under my arms, and on my back, and around my hips and midsection when I sit down. I jiggle when I try to run – and it’s harder on my ankles. I couldn’t do a chin-up to save my life. My engagement ring still fits, but it’s harder to get on and off.
I. AM. FAT.
And I. am. sick of it.
And I’m sick of this modern culture which tells me that I should throw in the towel and be happy with my current size – or worse, that losing weight would be UNHEALTHY for me simply because I am not grotesquely obese. People these days are neurotic about food, conditioned to think that they’ll develop some kind of deficiency or die if they’re not constantly shoveling a huge variety of foods and supplements into their faces. The notion of “micronutrition” has eclipsed any sensibility that once existed with regard to proper macronutritional moderation. I, myself, have even fallen prey to the fear that I might suffer some ill-effects if my diet isn’t always sufficiently varied.
Now, I’m not a nutritionist, but I think this is crap. So as of a week or two ago, I’m on a diet that I made up all on my own, with not a doctor in sight to try to tell me that I need to focus on whatever “dietary requirements” they’re shilling these days.
In the morning, I have two small cups of coffee – no sweetener – with a total of five ounces of half and half (200 calories). Around noon, I scramble six eggs in a little butter (~550 calories) and have that with 6 oz of kimchi (90 calories). At dinner time (if I’m hungry, which sometimes I’m not), I let myself have a small-to-moderate portion of meat (I don’t weigh this, but estimate in the ~300 calorie range). If the kids are eating something sweet and I have a serious hankering, I let myself have no more than two bites – or a portion about the size of my index finger.
After about a week on this diet, I can already see results in the mirror – and I feel great (aside from being in the midst of a persistent head cold which is making the rounds in my house). I don’t feel hungry or deprived, and I don’t have uncontrollable cravings.
It’s almost as though my body prefers – even benefits from – a much more limited and routine diet.
It’s almost as though burning through my excess fat stores is *gasp* good for me, even though I in no way resemble a miniature hippopotamus.
It’s almost as though the bulk of modern dietary advice is largely geared toward sabotaging people’s efforts to maintain their health and fitness, and generating profits for the industries that manufacture food and supplement products… and perhaps the “plus size” fashion industry.
Now there’s some food for thought that you can shovel down your gullet.