the unpopular solution

I’ve seen many people in the last week that I haven’t seen for years, and thus have had many questions about how I lost weight.

“I eat less”.

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t eat as much.”

“That’s it?”

“I exercise.”

“Really, that’s it?  No special diet?  No tricks?”

“I eat a lot of vegetables?”

At this point, I get a head shake, a scowl, and/or a look of disbelief.  I shrug in return.

In the last week, I’ve been accused of eating too greasy, too healthy, too much, too little, too much dessert, not enough dessert, the wrong kind of dessert.   Everyone wants to critique my eating habits.

I’m down close to 50 pounds, and when I last saw the woman who I ate Thanksgiving with, it was July.  Maybe I was down 40 pounds then?  I met her in Monterey and had lunch, and wasn’t allowed dessert.  I was too big, and she was overweight as a young woman (she’s now 87).  I wasn’t going to argue with her, I just shared a few bites of the boy’s dessert, as he was the only one allowed to order it.  (Women aren’t supposed to in general, especially not fat ones).  This time, since I’m no longer “too heavy” (somewhere in the last 10 pounds must have been the line, though BMI says I’m not there yet-damn DD boobs), I was allowed to eat it, though she seemed to think that I ate too much.  At the Thanksgiving buffet, I had one ooey-gooey chocolate truffle, and a small piece of something that they said looked like a Napolean.  I think she ate more than me, she just sampled a bit of everything.  Since I dislike pie, lemon anything, and most everything that’s not chocolate, it just looks like I may eat more, since I ate the whole thing.  Whatever.   I only stuffed myself a little (I don’t like that feeling anymore), and was hungry again in the morning, as opposed to the three days I needed last year.  I ate mostly shrimp and crab, roasted squash and parsnips, and cheese/crackers/salmon, not a beef fan, not a turkey fan, except the skin, and there was none available.

Then there are two other male friends who are gaining weight, and bemoan how inconvenient it is to eat healthy.  It takes planning, thought, conscientious eating.  True, it does.  However, just because one likes to leave the office for lunch doesn’t mean that it has to be for a heavy meal.  Order something on the healthy side, or just eat half of it.  There’s always an excuse, and it’s always more convenient not to bother.  It’s not my job to convince anyone to change their lifestyles, all I ever say is that if/when it matters enough, they’ll get to it.   When I was visiting with my parents, I’d generally save half my lunch or dinner for breakfast the next day.  I explain to my dad that this is how I can eat bacon/cheese/ice cream/butter/full-fat salad dressing,  and still lose weight.  They eat tiny breakfasts, and I need much more, or my eating will be screwed up all day.  He’s pissed because my mom “shovels in huge amounts of crap” and doesn’t gain weight, and he has been dieting for 50 years, is still chubby.  I told him that I avoid non-fat food, and I don’t eat until I’m stuffed.  I told him maybe he just eats too large portions.  He says he just eats what the restaurant gives him, and I said that’s likely his problem.  He says his dad’s obesity ruined his life, because all his kids were embarassed by him.  His cousin’s daughter recently lost 120 pounds, I’ve never met her, was bummed she didn’t come to lunch.  Lots of weight problems in the family, especially my dad’s side, heart disease and diabetes on the mom’s.    I wonder about my mom’s crappy neurotic diet, and all I can figure, is that she probably doesn’t get diabetes because she exercises a lot, diet be damned.    She also doesn’t get sunburned, nor poison oak.  Lucky genetics!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!


11 Responses to “the unpopular solution”

  1. December 2, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Love this, and it’s SO true! People ask me the same thing. “I just watch what I eat” and that seriously is it, and it’s taken me 50 pounds. I just recently started doing the shred, and it’s caused a tiny weight gain (Methinks it’s water in my muscles.) – So we’ll see.

    Congrats on your loss! 😉


  2. December 2, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    That’s why I gave my eat-healthier-foods-and-exercise-more gimmick a name. People didn’t believe I could lose weight “just” by doing those things. One woman at work kept pestering me for “the name! the name!” I tried to tell her I was slowly and steadily making changes, but she kept insisting it had to have a name. Finally, I told her it was The Tippy Toe Diet, and that seemed to appease her.

    Glad you had a nice ooey-gooey Thanksgiving!

  3. December 2, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    I too had a nice normal sized thanksgiving meal and felt nicely full, but not stuffed. However, having my family [all 9 of them] in my house for the whole weekend and my folks till yesterday, I did some fuck you eating. Not sure why, but I’m up about 4 pounds and can feel it. Glad you are in a good place.

  4. December 3, 2009 at 6:31 am

    Jenn-I had to look up what this shred was, it looks like an exercise video from Jillian Michaels? I was asked how I know it’s the food and not the exercise, and mathematically, I assume it’s the food, but exercise seems to have hormone/endocrine effects that I maybe shouldn’t discount to being a purely numbers game. I usually see a heavier weight after hard exercise, I assumed blood volume changes, though I don’t know for sure.

    Cammy-That’s hilarious. People love gimmicks and strange diets, anything but making the effort to make small changes wrt diet/exercise that might actually be effective long term. I wonder if she went home and googled tippy-toe diet?

    Bobby-Wow, that’s a lot of company. Maybe I should consider myself lucky that my family is scared of my neighborhood. I didn’t realize that others did “fuck you” eating, I guess I’m slightly comforted by that, in some twisted way. That four pounds is likely from water/salt, my weight is so bouncy, which is why I get on the scale so often. Even if some of it is fat, it’ll likely be gone within a few days of normal life.

  5. December 3, 2009 at 10:03 am

    if/when it matters enough, they’ll get to it.
    Ain’t it the truth. My mom always used to irritate me by asking, “What’s the payoff?” whenever I was complaining about something. In other words, we get some sort of payoff in all our behaviors, whether those behaviors are positive or negative. For me, binge eating meant that I didn’t have to deal with unhappiness, rage, loneliness, etc. The food just sort of covered it up, and that was the payoff. Now it doesn’t cover up so well, so the payoff isn’t there anymore – so now I’m working on changing. *sigh* Turns out Mom was pretty smart.

    Huh. I don’t think I’d written that last part out or realized it consciously before.

    Also, a big “Yes, indeed” to “fuck you” eating. I do that, too.

  6. December 3, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Oh, I love ‘fuck you’ eating. I absolutely do that sometimes.

    I think part of the reason people are so resistant to the simplicity of weight loss is because believing that there is some magic inherent in the process lets them avoid the hard questions. Like, what emotional issues are they avoiding with food. Or even just facing up to the fact that maybe their professed desire to be healthier is really b.s. and why they feel that way. I definitely think there was a part of me that reveled in a kind of self-destructive mentality for years. Anyway, it’s easier to just shrug and move it aside for later.

    Plus, people are often looking for insta-cures for all their problems so that’s a factor.

    My thanksgiving was mostly good. Sometimes my family makes me crazy and I get bored a lot at home which tends to push me back into constant snacking mode, but I didn’t come back feeling sick or bloated so that’s a win for me. 🙂

  7. December 4, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Glad to hear that you are doing so well!! People are funny, no? The successful ones know that there are no gimmicks or tricks, just inspiration and perspiration. It’s worth it though, don’t you think?

  8. December 4, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Marste – I like the concept of payoff. I’ve stopped a few behaviors, most notably bingeing, by removing the payoff, or reward, thus leaving there no reason to continue.

    Attrice – I agree with you, people don’t want to change their assumptions, or face their emotions, and really don’t want to change their behavior. I think the two guys who asked me about this last weekend aren’t emotional eaters, as much as people who can’t be bothered to cook or prep food, though they exercise. I think as people get older and less active, they can’t eat as they did when younger, and it takes them by surprise.

    Dr. J – Worth it, definitely. The emotional work kinda sucked, and I resent some of the lifestyle changes from time to time, but it hasn’t been all that bad. The alternative was worse.

  9. December 4, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    I too got a lot of responses like you when I told them how I lost weight. So many people want some other answer. I think you have done so well – congratulations!

  10. December 5, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    i think f-u eating is really f-me eating, because i’d be the one who feels rotten afterward.

    it sounds like you had a trying holiday, emotionally. it’s amazing that you ate the way you’d like to!!!!

    when my body image/weight issues were at their worst, i used to ask people not to talk about weight, food and diets around me. often, no one knew what else to talk about it. weird.

  11. December 6, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Diane – Thanks. It’s seem persistence is key, here.

    ihatetoweight – It’s me who doesn’t know what else to talk about. Food and diets are boring, especially if it’s not your obsession, and I would like it not to be mine.

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