Thursday, February 3, 2011

Healthy Living - a rant.

I swear it wasn't a new year's resolution, so much as an impending deadline that caused me to make some changes in my life. They included "healthier" eating and a focused commitment to working out.

Before you get all huffy with me about my body image, let me admit that I know I am vain and shallow. I also realize that I'm not fat, and I don't think I'm fat. I am, however, what some might term "fat-skinny," which means I'm a fat person trapped into a skinny person's body. Like, basically I eat crap and am completely out of shape but I let myself off the hook because I'm sort of slim. I was okay with that until I started morphing into "fat-kind-of-skinny," and then into "fat-used-to-be-skinny."

So, in September, I started working out. I started going to classes so that I wouldn't fall into my usual fitness rut of gingerly tapping on the elliptical until I started to sweat and then hopping off with self-satisfied smugness.  Fully aware of my limitations, I didn't attempt to factor good eating habits into my new routine. I told myself that I was "preparing my body" for being healthy. Haha - doesn't that sound genius?

Really, I just knew my will power was no match for Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas.

I promised that in January I'd kick it into gear.

Why? Because in March, Ben and I are getting on a plane and heading to Hawaii for an early celebration of our 10th anniversary. (Yes, my very important husband leaves me too much for his job, but I've been a supportive wife and my reward is that all those frequent flier miles are paying for my vacation.) I'm so excited that I'm already sad it's going to be over.

I have one goal in mind: to look good on the beach. Yes, shallow and vain, right here. Blah blah, I know, I know. But really, there was a day where I did look good in a bikini. Not, not bad, but good. I'd show you pictures to prove it, but that's just creepy. And I've had babies, nursed them and just as I was getting my body back to normal tried to induce lactation for adoption. (Unsuccessful, by the way.)  All that to say, my fat-skinny body just got a little.... not sure the word for it, but "lumpy" comes to mind as does "droopy," "sad," and "squishy."

It's February, and I have to say I've been doing pretty well. I've made some good choices. I stopped going to senior-citizen water aerobics and started focusing on exercise more likely to make a caloric impact. I met with the fitness counselor at the Y and came up with a game plan. I even let her measure me and pinch me with those horrible, horrible fat pinchers. She jiggled them to "separate the fat from the muscle," or "separate my dignity from my soul," not sure which. It turns out that I've made progress, but have "very poor" flexibility, so I've even gone to yoga. (once.)

I've cut out snacks and desserts... well you know, except on "special occasions," like birthdays and tuesdays. I've avoided the doughnut tray at church, which might be my arch-nemesis. I've eaten an inhumane amount of oatmeal for breakfast while I flip chocolate chip pancakes for the kids.

But, here it is, February 3 and I can feel myself falling off the wagon. It's cold out and I'm sick and my kid's school keeps canceling and hummus just isn't cutting it. I've spent a large amount of my discretionary "Susie Envelope" on Diet Cokes at McDonalds (because since "I don't drink Diet Coke" I don't buy it at the grocery store). I baked cinnamon rolls yesterday and I can't keep my mitts out of them.


Then, this magazine came in the mail:


Doesn't it make healthy eating look yummy and fresh and modern and even pretty? Like I could just make myself a cute smoothie, stick an avocado slice in it, and enjoy my new lifestyle? Well, I settled in with that magazine today and let me tell you, now I'm really discouraged. This magazine, along with Dr. Oz and freaking Oprah, tell me that I actually need to rid myself of Diet Coke, along with all that is yummy and eat things that don't taste good.

Then, they take a pretty picture of it so I'll think that it'll be fun.

Well, I'm too smart for that. I've watched the Food Network shows on Food Stylists and I know that pretty food is not necessarily yummy food.

I need encouragement, so you need to comment, but there are rules:

  • No telling me I'm skinny. Whatever. It's my white tummy and tushy that are going to be bared on the beach, so we'll just let me decide, mmmkay?
  • No encouraging me to eat a jar of icing. (you know who you are!) The temptation is already too great.
  • Recipes would be reallllly helpful.
  • Only yummy recipes.
  • No telling me to stop drinking Diet Coke. I'm trying, really, and I'm not easily scared by stories of chemicals. If it hasn't worked on hot dogs and Taco Bell, it's not going to work on Diet Coke.
  • Feel free to remind me how many days are left until my March 20 vacation and that spring really is coming.
Thanks. What would I do without you?


Anna B said...

Oh Susie,
I think we are friends from afar! I'm pretty much in the same boat, only without a Hawaii vacation in my midst. That, and I'm knocked up again so my motivation is nil. However, I've found that if I do a few things, we're all eating a tad bit better. First, if I meal plan (which I honestly suck at) we do much better. Also, I look for things that I want to eat that are healthy-ish and cook that. I feel that I don't need to go completely low-fat, low cal but I work on staying away from processed easy options. If my favorite pasta happens to have cream in the sauce, I'll enjoy that rather something that's created entirely of salty-processed ingredients. MUCH easier in the summer when produce is in such abundance... my go to:
Cajun Chicken Pasta from Pioneer Woman! Everyone around her loves it!
Good luck Lucky Duck!

Rachael D. said...

I've got a few ideas...(you knew I would)

First, is this an issue of junk food or portion control/too many calories? I think keeping a food diary for a week or two would help. What prompts you to eat junk and what can you substitute? Do you like chewing gum?

In terms of diet coke, when you go to McD's ask them to water it down for you or add more ice so you get less. It's an easy modification that will reduce your consumption of it.

Recipe-wise. I only cook from here: and have for a few years now. Her recipes are easy - super easy. No weird ingredients. Full side dish recommendations included. And nothing processed/junky in them - no 'cream of soup in the crockpot with meat over egg noodles' recipes at all. I use her cookbooks (she has two - I own both and switch between them).

Also, figure out some snacks that are lower in sugar/refined carbs. Do you like to eat nuts? We do a lot of those around here.

Sarah said...

I'm with you Susie.

Here's my diet plan. Put a reasonable amount of food on the plate. Let the baby eat half of it.

Who am I kidding - I seriously need to let go of sweets. Except for birthdays and Tuesdays. Blar.

Beth Lepore said...

I hear you, my dear. Squishy sounds like me. I'm even headed to the dr tomorrow, just to make sure my bulging tummy is not something more than just "too many cookies!"

So I'll pray for you, encourage you, and hope you believe me when I tell you that you WILL look good on the beach, even if you don't go near the gym in the next month and a half. Really. Haven't you looked around at a beach lately? People of all shapes and sizes out there. And you always look beautiful in the pics you post (but the rules say I can't tell you that you look skinny).

I'll hunt up a few recipes for you and pass them along. Lots and lots of decaf green tea, if you can stomach it, will help with the noshing urge, as will chewing gum. You can do it. But remember, even if you don't, it's ok.

Miss you up here! -Beth

Meaghan said...

i'm totally fat skinny too! love this post! did you just see my recent attempt at, um, nutrition? on my blog? we're on a similar wave lenght except i don't get to go to hawaii...

Stephanie N. said...

This is SO funny! You are a woman after my own heart. Except that I hate the taste of diet drinks. My addiction is "real" Coke...especially in Icee form or in a big giant styrofoam cup from Sonic loaded with their ice from heaven. I have totally done the "I'm not gonna stock Coke at home so I won't drink it" thing, but then also used all of my personal money to buy them at drive-thrus or gas stations. Oh, and while I'm reading this I'm also eating grocery-store-made sugar cookies (the kind with tons of icing stacked on top and I don't want to know how many preservatives and trans fats inside) straight from the box. **sigh** Clearly I have no words of wisdom for you. However I am SO excited for you and Ben to get to go to Hawaii in March! Spend those frequent flyer miles, baby!

DrMommy said...

Add me to the fat-skinny club. I have to say, I love Healthy Cooking magazine -- nothin' but recipes, actually made and tried by real people, not food stylists. And I switched from using dinner plates to salad plates. However, three months into my husband's six months in Afghanistan, I have my fair share of after-the-kids-go-to-bed binging, so maybe it all cancels out?

Tree said...

Hi:) Loving this post. You crack me up! I am there with you, girl! My plan is always changing. I can eat great all day...then I put the kids to bed and all those sweets just look so very yummy! Once, I had a run where I stopped eating after 6:00 and that worked...for a while. Then I did no sugar during the week, but could eat my sweets on a saturday (or tuesday for you;). But what really works for me is stocking up the fridge and pantry with lots of healthy options. Then really sticking to eating 5 to 6 times a day. Not skipping breakfast. Eating those snacks inbetween healthy meals. When I really do that then I start to crave fresh, healthy stuff and don't really want to raid the candy stash at night. Maybe I can be motivated to do that again this week? And by the way, you are skinny, and gorgeous, and you will be so stinkin hot in Hawaii in your bikini!!!

Allie said...

ok, ive been doing weight watchers since october and have lost 27lbs. i like their program b/c it's not a diet, it just teaches you (thru their points system) how to eat properly. it teaches you about portion sizes and encourages you to choose foods that are more filling and healthier (i say it encourages, because there is nothing you can't eat).

basically, the program is geared to get you eating lots of fresh/raw fruits & veggies. you can eat tons of those and they are 'free'.

when in doubt about portion sizes, use the palm of your hand as a guide for 'one serving'.

for thanksgiving they gave us one image to think of.... before you put food on your plate, divide it in half. one half of your plate should be veggies. of the remaining half, split that up. so 1/4 of your plate should be protein, and 1/4 should be carbs.

the idea is that everything is ok to eat.... some things just require more moderation.

my favorite recipe is my lunchtime chicken wrap....

whole wheat flour tortilla (Cedar's actually tastes good)
1/2 chicken breast
jar of roasted red peppers
few slices of onions
favorite hot sauce
garlic powder, salt, pepper

cut up your chicken breast into small bite size pieces. put it in a pan w/ some cut up roasted red peppers & onion slices (to taste). add garlic powder, salt and pepper (to taste). add your favorite hot sauce.

fry them up until the chicken is cooked. put it on your wrap (feel free to add some reduced fat mexican cheese)

Allie said...

p.s. my husband hated diet coke. would just drink the regular stuff. hated almost all sugar substitutes. until truvia came out. now he's switched to coke zero and vitamin water zero and it's made a big difference.

not a lot of restaurants offer coke zero or sprite zero, but maybe u can keep some at home (guilt free) and then you won't drink it at restaurants.

Mackensie said...

I downloaded myfitnesspal app for calorie counting. It's novel and fun to use - and I was surprised how many calories I was eating. When I try to come in with 1200-1500 - the pounds drop off. It's motivating to see quick results - which turn into more results. Also I use Vegetarian Times magazine and online for recipes. We are not strictly vegetarian - but meat has a lot of calories. You can do anything for a month. Buy the bikini now for motivation or put it in an online shopping cart to buy when you hit a goal.