No thanks

I admit I’m not much of a fan of Thanksgiving, at least not any more.  Last year was awful, with that rude old relative who told me to go workout after dinner, not because she thought I ate too much, just that I was too big and needed it.  This year, it’s the parents, and my dad is cooking, which means dry, unbrined, unseasoned turkey, along with all the low-fat, low-sugar, low-salt, low-flavor stuff they call food.  Which means turkey and salad.  I’m bringing my favorite deep purple sweet potatoes, which I can eat plain (unlike the regular ones), and plan on drinking some wine.  And sugar-free pie, which is gross but okay, since I dislike pie.  Oh joy.  At least my mom has backed off of my weight, they seem to think I’m okay now, though I see myself as still big.

Though really, if the average person eats 3000 to 4000 Cal on Thursday, (not me, I’ll eat much less-nothing heavy at our meal) it doesn’t seem like something to stress about. One of the benefits of becoming a competent or intuitive or whatever you want to call it, eater, is that you realize you don’t have to balance intake every day, as long as it balances overall.  When I’m lucky enough to actually eat a good T-giving meal (still don’t like pie, marshmallows, stuffing, nor barely even turkey), I eat less the next few days. And exercise a bit more.   In many people, this happens automatically, others need to be mindful of it, and if not, weight will probably be fluctuating, if not increasing.

If you stress about it, and think it’s blown, and keep overeating, weight really will be gained.  People just need to chill, even if you do overeat 2000 Cal, you’re still not going to gain 5 pounds, unless you continue overeating.

Other diet stuff that’s driving me crazy lately, and there is much.  While bored waiting for something at work, was reading some random blog, and this woman was suggesting, as the first steps towards weight loss, was to prepare to spend lots of $$ on organic produce and protein powder.  WTF?  What is she even talking about?  What difference would organic produce make?  And protein powder?  Are we trying to be bodybuilders?  Get to single digit body fat?  I don’t understand why something that is theoretically eating less should cost so much more.  How’s this for advice?  Learn to cook, if you don’t know how.  Eat more vegetables, less overprocessed low nutrition, high calorie, low fiber food.  And watch those portions, no matter what you’re eating, especially if you eat out a lot.  And eat out less.

Weight loss blogs can be seriously neurotic places.  This one, included.  Not as neurotic as those who demonize one macronutrient based on shoddy science, cherry-picked data, and vast conspiracy theories.  OK, enough said.

Cute incident Saturday morning, 8:50 am, in the gym’s locker room, in the Mission.  Three old ladies, finishing up from their swim, stop speaking Chinese to break into a round of “Beso me Mucho”!  Made my morning.

My neighborhood corner store:

poster on the corner


And we hate you!

I’m forcing myself to post, not sure why I’m not into it, but seeing as how this is my first post in almost 6 months, and nobody remembers me anyway, maybe it’s past its time.  My life seems very uneventful, and I don’t have much to say.  I’m learning to maintain my weight loss, which is not as fun or interesting as losing it.  Hardly anybody even remembers that I used to be fat, only a few people at my job knew me then, and my friends are over it.  I’d still like to lose 10-15 more, but this seems to be the case often with POW (previously obese women), especially past 40, like me.

Seems to be a lot of trial and error, a constant vigilance against regain, which I will start to do if I slack too much.  I can slack a little.  Maybe the successful maintainers can learn how much and how often they can slack, how many exceptions, special occasions, what-have-you, they can get away with without regaining.  And how not to start increasing portion sizes, or snacking, all sorts of things that all most be monitored, however loosely or uptightly that needs to be for the particular person.

As for the title of this post, a friend of a friend said it to me at a party.  A few of them were sitting around talking about how they were twenty pounds up from their fighting weights, unlike the previous year at this same pool party.  I had honestly never thought about normal-weight women and weight cycling, more used to 50+ pound swings.  Who knew, 10-20 pound swings, on women that barely dip into overweight even at high weights.  One of them says “Oh, by the way, Julie, you look really good!  You can totally tell that you work out, unlike us these days.  And we hate you!  :-)”   All of these reactions had been going though my head, such as “but I’m still fat!”, or “better be, I spend half my life in the gym”, and finally “thanks”, but I didn’t know how to react to the hate comment.   Since I had eaten a very medicated brownie, I decided I wasn’t obligated to respond at all, and didn’t.

I guess I’m glad that somebody who actually saw me in a bathing suit thinks I look like I go to the gym, though I’m not quite sure how to feel about this compliment, but I’m learning that the gym isn’t useful, in terms of functional fitness.   I played softball (for the first time in 20 years?) tonight with my work team, and I can’t sprint, as in run for the ball.  I can, but it feels awkward, and I’m not used to it.  I can’t throw the ball very far.  WTF have I been training for in the gym?  Maybe i should find a soccer team as well.

While most of the country is scorching, we are having a chilly summer.  Today, even the areas normally hot were 20F below average.  The pool party I mentioned above, last year was low-90s, this year mid-70s.  Even places that usually are much warmer only get there sometimes.  As for where i live, which is considered a marine layer, has been given an adjective, exuberant.  I now live in an exuberant (or was that exaggerated) marine layer.  This is my coldest summer that I remember.


Random sight on my walk home, had to look twice


Low-Carb Gurus and skinny people eating sweets

About a mile and a half up the road is a cute neighborhood bookstore, and Gary Taubes did a book signing tonight for the paperbook version of “Why We Get Fat“.  I’m not one of his devotees, but he’s made such a buzz among certain circles that you can’t read the comments on any mainstream media blog post about weight without someone referring to his books, saying calories don’t matter, fat doesn’t matter, exercise is useless, and all that counts is carbs>>insulin>>obese!

He’s actually kind of funny, surprisingly.  But here’s the things he said that didn’t pass my sniff test.  First was the Pima, a tribe that used to be skinny and now has a high proportion of obesity and the highest diabetes rates in the world.  He made it sound as if they used to eat nothing but fish and meat, then Whitey came (obviously I’m paraphrasing here) and then there was famine and then they were fat.  He doesn’t mention that their diet back then was a lot of starch (70-80% carb diet), they were farmers too, not just hunters and gatherers.

Second thing that struck me wrong was his explanation of calorie counting.  He asked how many people in the room tried to balance their calories.  A few of us raised our hands.  He went on to say how silly it was, how if you’re even 10 calories off, it causes however much weight gain or loss, and nobody can count that carefully, thus the whole concept fails.  I don’t think it works like that, the body regulates much better than that.  I don’t think eating an excess or deficit of 10, probably not even 100 calories a day, will cause weight change, I think most people subconsciously adjust, (or fidget, run warmer or colder, etc.)  unless they’re actively dieting, in which things can go wonky.  I think regular overeating is needed to really gain a lot of weight, and for most of us, difficult efforts to lose much.   I don’t count calories, I get on the scale, and if it’s moving the wrong direction, I eat less of them.  I don’t need specific numbers.

Which leads to thermodynamics.  I did not enjoy physics nor physical chemistry, though they kind of blow my mind, and while I can’t explain most of the concepts very well, my bs detector works decently.  He made an analogy of why are more people coming into the bookstore than leaving, thus thermodynamics tells us nothing.  Wait, what??!?  He seems intelligent, and has a physics degree, I don’t see why he’s feigning ignorance.

I got a chance to ask him a question, so after thanking him for getting me off of low-fat eating, I mentioned that I used to be about 60 pounds larger, and though I don’t eat low-fat, I also don’t eat low carb.  Not just fruit, grains, beans, but even sugar in my coffee, even occasional french fries (he talked about them a lot).  In other words, Eat Less Move More worked for me.  He said, I’m lucky.  Or maybe he’s wrong.  And though he hates to say it, as I get older, it might not work so well.  I’ll give him that point, but the current empty calories in my diet tend to be both high in carbs and fat, as they always have been, now just much less of them, and I don’t see much reason (or science) in just blaming one and giving the other a free pass.

I didn’t buy the book, instead bought a book about the strange phenomenon of science denial.   I like neighborhood bookstores, I try to support them when I can.  Five years ago, I would have gotten a cookie or a brownie, now I just go look at them, and all the skinny people eating them.   I’m not thin enough to eat that stuff, I go home and eat blood oranges, write this post.


Fat Trapped?

OK,  I’ve been thinking about that NYT article, The Fat Trap, and maintenance in general, and overall, I didn’t like the article too much.  Everything I’ve read on the subject, not to mention common sense, indicates that the faster it comes off, the faster it comes back.  Starvation diets just seem to be such a bad idea, torture to go through, trauma to pull out of.  I don’t completely understand the hormone interaction, but I think hormones control weight (and just about everything else), and cannot be trivialized, it’s not just calories in/out. 

Also, I’ve read some critiques that label that Bridges woman as eating disordered, as she monitors and weighs her food, tracks her exercise, is extremely strict with what she eats.  I’ve read enough blogs of maintainers to know that some do that, and while it seems obsessive to me, it’s worth it to many.    Maybe I don’t have to because of the way I exercise (I LOVE high intensity cardio, and do strength training also even though I don’t love it).  I’m not sedentary, even without the gym, and though my dad and his entire family runs overweight, my mom eats lots of crap, exercises a lot, and is thin.  Maybe though I’m not so strict with my diet, perhaps the high fruit/veggie intake, or even just not often overeating is enough for me to stay not too chubby (as opposed to the frequent, habitual overeating that got me fat in the first place).  My on-again/off again cigarette habit.  My weight has been annoyingly stable for at least 1.5 years now, since I began tracking it, though 10 pounds higher that I’d like. 

What I did like about the article is that it showed why “calories in, calories out” isn’t as simple as it sounds.  When the idiot chemists that I work with don’t believe that I exercise, since I’m not thin, I could point them to this article, if I wanted to get into it with them, which I don’t.  It does take long-term dedication to maintain weight, and I do use the scale to monitor my behavior, lifestyle, constantly.  I have to work with myself, though, and accept my limitations.  I definitely tend towards hedonism more than any semblance of austerity, which basically means my will-power sucks, and I’d best not rely on it for anything.  Anyway, a much better post on a mostly political blog, is this one.  I like his sense of humor, and surprisingly agree with his politics (as far as I read of them)


NY day, after a hike, having dinner while waiting for the traffic to die down so I can drive home:  The woman at the next table, upon finding out that the children’s cheese quesadilla comes with french fries, (I could feel her cringe when she heard that), to her boy, who wanted french fries, not the veggies that he was getting isntead:  “The whole world wants to feed you crap.  I’m the only one who ever cares if you eat anything healthy.”

About two weeks ago, at my Sat AM step class, while setting up my barbell for the following class:  An older man thanking the instructor for bringing him from a C cup to a double AA.  She thought that was funny, as did I.  A few days later, different class, different gym, he introduced himself to me, said he quit drinking and joined AA 6 months ago.  My first instinct was to worry that he’s going to want to talk religion, but turns out he was worried about abortion being banned – much less controversial. 🙂

Anyway, he’s 60, he lost 40 pounds from quitting drinking, 20 from the gym, glad his knees are holding out.  Funny guy. 



Holidays, finally

Not stressful for me, don’t really celebrate, but my work shuts down Thursday, doesn’t reopen until Jan 2, and I don’t have to fly anywhere.  It’s a strange time of year.  The gym is much less crowded than usual, though in two weeks, it’ll be busier.   I get that people kinda throw in the towel on any kind of dieting between T-giving and NYE, but I would think they’d still be at the gym, just to burn off all that’s eaten at parties.  Or at least, that’s my downfall.  And all the cookies, fudge, cake, etc., that’s been showing up at work.   The scale rises quickly on that sort of food for me, I finally had to lay down some restrictions, as in one desserty thing a day.  I haven’t really stuck to it, but am a bit more mindful of what I eat (only the really good stuff).  I’ll break that one in slowly, after the New Year.  Does that make it a New Year’s Resolution?  I do better when I make things goals, and move there slowly.  Also, keeping up better with cleaning my apartment, which I’ve been working on a month or two already.  And keeping aware of the news, politics, too many wars to count.

Speaking of war, my boss is from a country with a problem.  He claims he is perfectly comfortable about people not agreeing with him – though you must be nice about it.  The man who runs his original country is absolutely not okay with it, and is on a killing spree.  The town he comes from is about 4000 years old, and has seen its share of brutal dictators.  He says in ’82 or ’84 (can’t remember), 10% of the town was killed.   He often can’t reach his parents, still there.  Though I’m ignorant of most history (crappy high school) and not current on current events, this inspired me to be more aware.  Less weight loss blogs, more politics.

Interestingly enough, he has only organic dairy at his house for his kids, as all the hormones, etc.,  accumulate in the fat.   He thinks the liver can’t handle many fake sugars.   He’s somewhat vegetarian, unless he has access to halal meat, which few restaurants do, though there are plenty of markets.  My favorite market is halal, though I don’t buy the meat.  I can’t remember if he has his PhD in pharmacy (edited:  pharmacology) or chemical kinetics, but he seems quite intelligent, and isn’t prone to believing woo.    Though he’s deeply religious, he isn’t offended by my lab-mate, who worships the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

It would be a good thing if more people were reasonable, and weren’t threatened by those who don’t agree with them.   Some nutrition blogs are extreme and dogmatic, people are so emotionally attached to their way of eating, they can’t accept that others don’t share their opinion.  Sometimes, not even their facts.

OK, I’m really cranky and have to go clean my kitchen (see NYE resolution started some weeks back).   Hope everyone has Stressfree Holidays and Merry New Year!

Oh, and here’s some pictures.

Oakland church on my walk home, each cross with the name of someone killed by violence in town this year

In Memory of Our Troops - a memorial for those killed in Mid East. The sign says 6088, but that was months back


Bad Relatives (or 89 years of weight watching)

I should have stayed home sick on Thanksgiving.  Or, at least, been unwilling to drive, going hiking instead.  I was offered a room in a motel with my cousins, but I’m not a good sleeper, and I hardly know them.  It’s not a close branch of the family.   Anyway, I drove almost 3 hours South, pretty area, but too far.  Dinner was at a restaurant, at a golf resort, where my great-aunt lives.   We had sushi, ribs, fish, chocolate souffle, and wine.  My great aunt asks why I’m so large.  She thinks I must eat too much fast food.  No, no fast food. 

“Well, what is it?  Do you live on potato chips, ice cream?”  WTF?  Back off, bitch.  I shrug, turn away, talk to her son, who is about the only one I even know there.  His daughters start talking to her about something else.  Later in the evening, she says I shouldn’t bother to wear a skirt, my legs aren’t ready to be shown off yet.  On the way out, she offers to let me into her gym, which is in the building.  Great idea, let me go in there in my dress and fucking heels, and go for a run.   I was pissed by this time, and left, drove the 2.5 hours home (different route, less traffic).

I didn’t see anything to her that night, but she emailed to apologize for the crowded sleeping arrangements.  I emailed back that I thought she might be apologizing for her inappropriate comments.  She offered no apology, but said she’s been battling weight problems her whole life, and even at her age, she eats as little as she can get away with, and exercises as much as she can.

 I’ve never known her to be anything but thin, but she was already close to 50 when I was born.  She eats reasonably, though not a whole lot.  Very healthy for her age, doesn’t walk well, but swims just fine.  I’m only 10 pounds above my lowest adult weight, which probably was where I was last time I saw her, 1.5 years ago.  I’m much smaller than she’s seen me in the past. 

So, did she motivate me to go lose weight?    I’m losing at my slow, not-willing-to-diet pace, a pound or so per month, anything faster would probably backfire, especially this time of year.  But she pissed me enough to buy a pack of ciggies and smoke them.  That’ll increase weight loss, but not worth going back to.  Nothing but suffering that way.  And now, instead of feeling like I’m just 10 pounds overweight but doing fine, now I feel fat and disgusting and ashamed to be out in public, no point in trying to dress nice, or look presentable.  And I’m having nicotine cravings.  Even my mom doesn’t do that to me anymore (but only because my dad made her stop)  

 I guess we all have some nasty relatives. 


Mars and Venus lose weight (or don’t)

I’ve been fascinated by what my co-workers think about losing weight.  I think about it and talk about it too much, which was stressful when I was bigger, but amusing now.  Anyway, see if you can tell the men from the women.

Coworker #1:     (After a barbecue lunch put on my work)  “I was having a hard time deciding whether to eat another sausage, or a brownie.  In the end I had the sausage, but they had switched brands, not as good.  Should have eaten the brownie instead.”  (As for me, I ate two sausages and half a brownie, though no buns, pasta salad, potato salad, or anything but the green salad.  I don’t like their brownies, too much sugar, not enough butter.  I don’t like most sausages, either).

Coworker #2   After being invited to a restaurant that it takes months for a reservation “I can’t go.  I have to go to the gym EVERY DAY after work”  (Two months later, hasn’t started yet)

Coworker #3  “I would really like to lose 10 pounds, and I tried riding my bike for miles and running, and lost a pound.  I tried dieting strictly, lost a pound.  It’s annoying, but I can’t do anymore”.

Coworker #4  “I can’t lose this tummy.  I did a successful cleanse in the past, cut out gluten, dairy, meat, soy.  I’m going to start that soon”  Personally, I think skipping the bag of chips every lunch would work just as well, but not my business.

Coworker #5  “I started gaining weight after working here.  I was doing no exercise, none.  At all.  Now I run on the treadmill, for 15 minutes, and have returned to normal.”

Coworker #6 “I don’t know why I’m gaining weight.  I have never had a belly roll before.  I do not like exercise, don’t want to do it, though I probably should”

Coworker #7  “I don’t understand this goal of losing weight.  Where I come from, it’s a compliment to be called fat.  Personally, I used to be normal weight, now I’m much too thin, and though I’m trying, I don’t gain weight.”

**Not exact words, but close.


November 2019
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