Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Food Is Not the Enemy

So, after I posted about my weight loss this year, I got several messages from people asking me how I am doing this. I make no secret of the fact that I use Weight Watchers. I use the program as a tool to help me be mindful of my eating.

I participate on the Weight Watchers message boards,and some groups on facebook to help me stay mindful. The thing I notice, on all of those social media is that there is just so much bad information and bad advice being handed out. Way too many people trying to sell some drink or nostrum 'guaranteed' to make it so you can eat whatever you want and lose weight. Way too many dangerous toxic 'all-natural' miracle pills and promises.

Honest, if these things were the answer, we'd all be normal weight. Unfortunately, they are at the very least ineffective, and often very dangerous.Americans spend $40 billion a year on weight-loss programs and products.Those of us with weight issues get lied to A LOT! Our health is all too often compromised because we want so very much to not be overweight. Eat this, drink this, don't eat that, take this miracle pill. I saw someone tell someone this morning to never eat more than 500 calories a day. Seriously.

I personally have been overweight all of my life.I was given my first 'diet pills' back in the 1950's when I was six years old and the diet pills were speed-we'll talk about my issues with drug abuse in my teens and twenties later, I think I know where they started though. According to the charts, even at the goal my doctor set for me, I will still be overweight--but since I weigh less now than I did when I was 9 years old, I'm OK with that. I have a great doctor, she uses some common sense instead of a generic chart. She also uses things like waist to hip ratio and my favorite waist to height ratio! That one is my favorite because I have an hour glass figure with a small waist for someone my weight. In fact, my doctor says the only woman with a better waist to height ratio than me is Barbie and we all know she is plastic.

So for those who asked, here are some things I have learned over the years...

>FOOD is not the enemy. Food has many places in our lives. Food is first and foremost fuel and nutrition. But it is also, sacred, communal, social, and my favorite-just downright sensual.

>It is never about NOT eating, it is about learning to eat well. For me that means eat real food. As much as possible stay away from artificial sweeteners, low fat, fat free,sugar free, processed,diet food. Just eat real food, prepared well. I tend to follow some guidelines, I like to eat seasonal when it comes to fruits and vegetables, try to buy local and organic. I like Babara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for reminding myself why I choose these options.

>Eat mindfully. I have tried to practice mindful eating. Mindful eating is for me to pay attention to what I am eating. To stop simply grabbing something. I don't think I am the only one who has gone to the kitchen and grabbed a handful of something without thinking, only to realize later that I ate the whole bag of Nutter Butters, or quart of Ben and Jerry's, or half a loaf cinnamon toast. So, I have learned to pay attention to what I am eating. To give my full attention to that moment. Why am I eating? Am I eating because I am hungry, or am I just bored, lonely, stressed, depressed. Am I using food for what it is intended for, or an I using food for something it was never meant to be. This is where tracking or journaling comes in. If I am faithful to my tracking/journaling, then I am being mindful.

>I no longer diet. I gave that up several years ago. I had over the years starved myself, deprived myself, and dieted to close to 500 pounds. I had to step back and see that none of that worked. I had to stop using food for the wrong reasons, and embrace foods place in my life.Food is not my friend, my lover, my therapist, or my anti-depressant. Food is food. I will never again do anything to lose weight that i am not prepared to do every day for the rest of my life. If someone or some program tells you to starve yourself, deprive yourself, only eat certain foods, or take some magic pill or nostrum, stop listening to them.

There are no magic pills. There is only learning to come into a healthy relationship with food.

Here we are in the middle of a holiday season. Relax, enjoy in moderation, make choices. THAT is what skinny people do. If you overindulge, forgive yourself, eat lighter the next day and move forward. Skinny people all over the country will overindulge during the holidays.The difference between them and those of us who have weight issues? They don't see enjoying food as a character flaw. They don't beat themselves up because they had Grandma's famous pie, or my very famous peanut butter fudge. They know that there are times that food is to be shared, times that food is meant to delight the senses.

 Eat well. Eat real food that tastes good. Be mindful of every bite as it fuels your body, connects you with loved ones, brings good memories, and delights the senses. Food is many things, but food is NOT the Enemy.

Peace and Blessings,

1 comment:

Jeff Elvis said...

I to have fought weight problems in my life. when i was young i could eat anything I wanted to and not gain any pounds. in my late 20's my body began to change and everything i ate seemed to put on pounds. As of 2 years ago I was topped out at 280 pounds at 6'2ft tall. I began exercising and had to change my diet. I now weigh 220 pounds. I find that keeping the weight off is a life struggle. But have come to realize that 2 things are our enemy's in our personal life and also in our american culture, that is what we eat (processed foods) and exercise (lack off or none at all). I no longer weight myself because that is a huge discouragement. I realize that I can no longer exercise for the sole purpose of weight loss. I now exercise for the sole purpose of being healthy. Researchers at UC Davis have show that weight does not necessarily have anything to do with how healthy you are as a person. They have found that people over weight can be just as healthy as people who are thin. The only difference is that a person who is over weight causes undue stress on their back and joints. My point being, is that we should want to eat healthy and exercise because the results will makes us happier people and live longer with less medical problems as we get older. I have found in my personal life that when you have the mindset that you change your diet and exercise solely for losing weight, that will always ends in failure. I have now shed all of that and just try to eat and exercise because it makes me feel good and makes me feel good about myself. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/real-healing/201207/can-you-be-overweight-and-healthy

Post a Comment