More food for thought

I'm listening to the storm swirl around me... in an hour or so, it should have moved on to PEI and left only the wreckage to deal with. So far, I still have power.


I was waiting for the gods of karma to strike my butt for even having the nerve to type that. So far, they haven't noticed.

This is a little more introspective and even rant-y than most of what I write. I'll admit as healthy living/weight loss bloggers go, I'm a little... well. self-absorbed, really. Actually, I prefer to think of it as a "you do your thing, I'll do mine" mentality. I don't consider myself an expert. I know what has worked for me, but that doesn't mean I know what will work for you. My advice is generally based on "Well, this was really helpful for me" and I try not to judge anyone else based on what they do.

Lately, I'm having a harder time doing that. Even among some of the other blogs I read, I'm having a hard time doing that.

Recently a good friend decided to adopt a gluten-free diet, to test a long-standing theory that a number of health problems might in fact be linked to a gluten intolerance. She then, after the first day, proceeded to whine and moan about how her partner wasn't supportive, how she'd now have to cook all her own meals, how it meant she'd have to start reading all these ingredient lists, how she'd have to do her own grocery shopping, etc., etc. And there was so much she was expected to learn about eating like this. It just wasn't fair. How could anyone expect her to do all this?

Oh yes, this was the same friend who was wholly unsupportive of my own attempts to live a healthier life. The same friend who told me I was causing her anxiety when I got upset because I would make mistakes while learning to eat right. It was hard not to tell her "Welcome to my world."

Of course, that's a personal interaction. But I'm finding that even in other blogs, lately, I have the same frustration. There are people who complain constantly about how hard dieting is, and how it's not fair that they should have to measure portions or restrict calories. But really? If it was easy, no one would have a weight problem. And constantly focusing on what you can't have only makes it that much harder. Instead why not focus on what you are achieving?

And some of the (I'm sorry) stupid things people come out with. Like not wanting to {measure out food, prepare separate healthier meals, break up larger packages of food, insert whatever here} because it would generate more dishes to be washed. Give me a break. You're committed to losing weight, but not if you have to wash an extra bowl?

Or, the one that really gets me. "I'm just too busy to {prepare real meals /eat breakfast /exercise /whatever}." I worked forty hours a week, I put in a minimum of ten hours at the gym, I spent five-six hours commuting, and I run my own business ON TOP OF ALL THAT. I make every meal from scratch, I still get my workouts in, I get my work done, and live a reasonably balanced life. How? I prioritize and streamline. I have to cook supper anyway - a double serving easily becomes lunch for the next day. I have an afternoon free? I can make and freeze a few dishes to reheat. I eat lunch at my desk and run errands on my lunch break. I watch TV, but usually have something else going on at the same time. Unless you do everything I do and have kids, I don't buy the "I'm too busy" excuse. If it was important to you, you'd make time. (I actually find most people with kids are better at finding time, and rarely use the "too busy" excuse).

The other thing which really bothers me among the weight loss community is the prevalence of simply unhealthy behaviour the seems to get celebrated.

There is a healthy way to lose weight.

There is a healthy way to gain fitness.

There is a healthy way to relate to food.

You should strive not to "look good" but to "be healthy" and I read so many blogs that have people who seem to be concerned with looking good, and not being healthy and learning to maintain a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.

  • People who subsist on incredibly low caloric intakes, insisting that they know more than the experts and that this is healthy.

(It's not - women should *never* drop below 1200 unless being supervised by a doctor, and men below (I think) 1600. I don't care if you've lost weight, and I don't care how much, it's not healthy.)

  • People who insist that certain "types" of food (i.e. carbohydrates) will make them gain weight.

(Carbohydrates are an important part of a balanced diet, and should be included - hence why all nutritional guidelines call for so many servings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.)

  • People who work out every day, sometimes more than once a day, for hours at a time.

(Okay, I'm guilty here of having to watch myself for over-training. But I *know* it's a bad thing. I know I shouldn't be congratulated. And I know the most I should be working out is five days a week. And my hour and half is likely pushing it, but I do a buttload of stretching, so it's probably less than that really. I am never going to congratulate you because you did four hours at the gym. I am going to cringe because I know an injury is in your future. See above.)

  • People who constantly berate themselves for "falling off the wagon", apparently looking for the emotional reassurance from commentors.

(Seriously, when you give food that kind of power over you, you're contributing to that tendency to eat when life deals you an emotional blow. So you went out with your girls and had too much pizza and beer. Trust me, your body will tell you it wasn't the best idea. To drive the point home, go to a step aerobics class while still a little hungover. And drink some water.)

There are a few people who I am truly in awe of in this community, because I think they have the right idea of understanding balancing a healthy lifestyle with weight loss. They understand it isn't easy. That's not to say they never complain. I complain - I'd feel like something was wrong with me if I was the only one. But they move on. They admit some days will be hard. They laugh at themselves sometimes, because they see that we just have to have a sense of humour about all this. They celebrate their successes, learn from their struggles, and find another success to celebrate. People like Jack Sh*t, whose comedic genius and tenacity leaves me envious. Or MrsFatAss, who obviously understands that a healthy lifestyle includes her family and school and LIFE, and that sometimes it's hard and we screw up, but we just keep on going. Or Dr. Fatty, who might be one of the few people in the world I consider worthy of using the excuse "I'm busy" and she doesn't. She's my inspiration, and I wish she was my doctor.

I have a hard time writing this post; I want to be the blogger everyone loves. And lots of people will not love me for this post. Because more than being loved, I've realized, I want to be the blogger that people might read and think about. Even if you don't agree - just think about what I've said.

At least this food for thought comes calorie free.


River said...

I missed this post before. Sorry. I love it! I know you feel frustrated a lot but hey this is a great post and I really enjoyed it. Cheers

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