On the cusp

A few months back, I made the soft goal of getting to normal BMI by my 41st b-day (yesterday), and I didn’t make it.  In all fairness, when I weighed myself at a friend’s house X-mas morning, I was there, but that’s first thing in the morning, before coffee and breakfast.  So before coffee-normal weight;  after coffee, overweight.  Thus, this proves that coffee is fattening (kidding!)  Close, but probably a few more weeks before I’m not overweight anytime of day.

What’s most surprising to me is how comfortable I am with my eating.  I no longer try for low-fat.  I’m not scared of sugar.  I rarely crave anything, and while not indifferent about food, it isn’t as important as it used to be.  I don’t have to absolutely love everything I eat, it doesn’t need to fill emotional holes, comfort me, or be the high point of everything.  I still enjoy my food, and I don’t deny myself the occasional outrageous meal.  I am starting to trust myself with this.  It doesn’t bother me a bit to eat a 1000+ kcal lunch, because I won’t eat until I get hungry again, and I won’t get hungry again for a LONG time.  Fat kind of works the same way for me.  If I eat low-fat yogurt or cheese in my meal, I will be hungry again in 2-3 hours, whereas the full fat version will last me 4-5, and will likely give me less kcal overall in a day.  Plus, I don’t have to figure out what to eat as often, not to mention it tastes better.  Alcohol, for some reason, doesn’t seem to balance, will not make me feel full, and will likely make me eat more than I would otherwise.  I resented this for a while, but realistically, I have no tolerance at this weight, and want to fall asleep after 2 drinks, so not that much of a problem.  I guess I do therefore restrict alcohol, and resent it slightly, unlike my comfy relationship with food.   If I am going to drink, I make sure I am well-fed first so at least I won’t eat, too (unless it’s a dinner, of course).

Most of what I eat is a modification on how I used to eat.  A quesadilla for me used to be a big white flour tortilla with lots of cheese, and lots of salsa.  Now I eat a small 12 grain tortilla, still fried in butter, but with cheese, black beans, red cabbage, avocado, cilantro, and lots of salsa.  For all I know, it may be about the same amount of calories, but a different variety, likely slower to digest, which means longer until I get hungry again.  Other things are exactly the same, I just eat much less, with extra fruit or salad or veggies to make up the difference.  I’ve always been a fruit/veggie eater, and a moderate exerciser.  I think the main reason I got so big was huge portions, and dieting.

As for my diet itself, it’s healthy enough, in my opinion.  I eat too much salt (cheese/fruit), not enough whole grains (cooked veggies/water).  I seem to eat less, volume-wise, than most people I eat with, and most people who aren’t whole-food veg*n type eaters think I eat too healthy.   Whole-food veg types, otoh tend to think I eat too heavy.   (Why does everybody bloody comment on my eating?  Do I do this too?)  I think that I possibly eat enough fruit to have what might be considered a high sugar diet, but realistically, where most people eat chips, or dessert, or other snacky stuff, I eat fruit.  I’m not going to worry about this too much, not now anyway.  Whatever I’m doing, it seems to work, not only for weight loss, but in helping to keep me mentally stable, and not crazy about food.   I have no problem eating two or three bites of chocolate cake, and I appreciate that I have other friends that feel that way.  Last night, four of us split an amazing slice of chocolate cake, for my birthday.  Only one of us at the table was conflicted about it.  He would rather just eat a whole pile of lettuce than try to moderate anything that tastes good.  Not my approach, but if he can make it work for him, not my business.

I’ve been reading the comments of a NYT blog about whether exercise causes weight loss.  It’s kind of silly, the headline says it doesn’t, but the article says 7 pounds in 3 months with no change in diet.  The comments contain the usual idiocy, from fat hate to the usual “if you want to lose weight, you can never ever eat sugar/white flour/meat/dairy/carbs/fat/do cardio/blah blah blah”, but also a lot of people state what worked for them.  Some of them just eat better/less and exercise (like me), others can only lose by low exercise, strict diet.  Others don’t diet at all, just exercise.  Some eat or exercise a certain way, others completely different.  Personally, I think it still all comes down to calorie balance, but most important is to find something that you can continue the rest of your life.

As for me, I’ll continue with what I’m doing, hopefully I will continue to drop more pounds.  I’m about a size 8 right now, and likely 20 pounds more than I need to be.  But since that’s so far away, I’m just going to think about these 2-3 that I need to be BMI <25.  I still look chubby, though less than I used to.

Touristing around SF


13 Responses to “On the cusp”

  1. December 28, 2009 at 2:45 am

    Happy belated birthday! You certainly don’t look 41!

    I don’t worry about my fruit/raw veggie consumption either. It beats snack cakes. 🙂

  2. December 28, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Happy birthday, Julie! Fantastic post. Have I told you lately that I love you?

  3. December 28, 2009 at 10:37 am

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Being comfortable with food has got to be one of the best birthday presents ever.

  4. December 28, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Happy B-day! You look adorable and you have great hair.

    I am in agreement on the low-fat thing. I came out of the low-fat era and I think it did me a terrible disservice.

    I read your other post about sugar addiction with interest. I agree ‘addiction’ doesn’t seem like the right word, except in the sense that we ‘re all addicted to food in the same way we’re addicted to oxygen. But then I’ve never classified myself as a binge eater (except when I was anorexic as a teen, not surprising). Other people seem to find the addiction model more helpful than I do.

  5. 5 RA
    December 29, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Happy Belated Birthday! Completely agree with the low-fat dieting, and that it is counter productive. I use a small amount of rich cheese to put flavor in some items and I stay full much longer. And I really don’t believe that our nation became obese by eating fruit…just my 2 cents!

  6. December 29, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    This is all great news, Julie! You have done so well, and just keep on improving. If this keeps up, you will probably be writing a best selling how to diet book 🙂
    Seriously, I love how you have found such a, excuse the term, normal way to be around food. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone 🙂

  7. December 29, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Cammy – I don’t live like most 41 year olds either. Must be all the smoking? 🙂

    NewMe – Thanks for the laugh, and also the reminder that nobody has said that to me in a very long time. 😦

    Sagan – Yes, it’s a much better way of living, though I still struggle with trusting it. A new bicycle would be useful as well, but I can buy that, as opposed to a healthy-ish relationship with food.

    Larkspur – Thanks for the compliments. I think regarding food addiction, there’s disagreement about what the term really means, and I’ll likely think this one over more.

    RA – I don’t think anyone’s obese from fruit either, nor “starchy veggies” like turnips, carrots, beets. Odd that most other countries don’t even have low-fat options, all are thinner than us.

    Dr. J – Hmmm, “Stoner’s Guide to Excruciatingly Slow Weight Loss”? I’d better just stick with chemistry! 🙂 Thanks.

  8. December 30, 2009 at 7:38 am

    Hey don’t forget that most people in the “Overweight” catagory of the BMI tend to live longer than the normal’s and the underweight’s combined. Don’t let yourself get too psyched by that number. Especialy if your working out, BMI doesn’t look at body fat %.

    And Happy Birthday! You did a great thing!

  9. December 30, 2009 at 11:33 am

    David – I’m not really convinced that overweight is healthier than normal or underweight. Possibly underweight, but the results are not so clear cut when they look at intentional weight loss, as opposed to weight loss from cancer or other disease. I’m willing to look at the studies if you have references to something else.


    As for me, yes, I go to the gym, but I am not muscular. I don’t need no stinkin’ BMI to know that I still have lots of excess body fat, I can look in the mirror. Thanks for your comment!

  10. December 30, 2009 at 11:45 am

    It’s great that you have been able to master the art of intuitive eating. I wish I could just eat food without calorie counting and still eat below maintenance, but I’ve found that it’s very difficult if not impossible for me.

    • December 30, 2009 at 8:22 pm

      It’s not “pure” intuitive eating, I’ve been re-thinking this since reading Attrice’s last post, as it is still eating to lose weight, but it’s far from calorie counting. I couldn’t get any other way to work.

  11. January 2, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Many, many people struggle their whole lives and really aren’t able to eat intuitively. I am impressed at how well you are doing and all that you have accomplished. Good job!

    I never would have guessed you were 41 – you look much, much younger!

    Here’s to a fabulous 2010 for you and your family!

  12. January 4, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Great Post. I would like to think “I’m there”, but I’m not. I still eat things without thinking about the consequences, still crave things that I know aren’t good for me, and still, on occassion, ‘use’ food to deal with my moods. Perhaps that should be my focus for 2010… being present when I eat all the time, not just when I’m making the effort to well, prepare food, etc. Thanks for the inspirattion.

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