Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Watching the Weight

It's no secret that I am overweight. I've mentioned it here before and anyone who looks at me can see that I could stand to starve for a few days and it wouldn't kill me.

Dieting is harder for some than others. My weight issues began around the same time I started having trouble with endometriosis. Doctors put me on drugs that they now admit causes terrible hormone imbalances and weight gain. Twenty-five years ago, though, I was told that the medicines had nothing to do with weight gain, even though I put on about 30 pounds in six weeks without changing a thing in my diet.

Drugs change you, and change you forever. I seriously doubt I could ever get back to the weight I was when I married simply because my hormones are so screwy.

Of course, I have picked up some bad eating habits along the way. I also don't care for cooking, which makes convenience foods attractive. And then there are those hours when I grow bored and a perhaps a little lonely, and my friend Mr. Chocolate Bar saves the day.

I used to tell myself that I wasn't *that* overweight - I wasn't one of those women whose body fat droops over the edge of the chair, the ones with bellies hanging out of shirts or whatever. The ones driving around on the little cart in Walmart because they can't haul their own body weight around. And I am not that large, but I am at an unhealthy weight.

Serving sizes are a constant challenge. This morning, for example, I chose to eat a fat-free Pop Tart. I've gone back on Weight Watchers and so that's 5 points gone for today, and I only have 29 points all day long. But there are two Pop Tarts in a baggy in the box. If a serving is one single Pop Tart, why don't they put them in separate baggies? Because of course the other one is going to go stale before I get back around to wanting another 5-point Pop Tart. I don't eat them that often. A box of those will last me a month.

Nobody I know actually eats 1/2 cup of cereal, or drinks a half bottle of pop, or eats just 1/3 of a can of Vienna Sausages. They eat a bowl full of cereal, which is at least a cup if not more, and they drink the whole bottle of soda, and they eat all the little Vienna Sausages in a can.

While I take full responsibility for the state of my health, it would be nice if the food industry would also look over the corn stalks and take responsibility for its role in America's obesity epidemic. They don't have to supersize it, and shouldn't a serving of Pop Tarts, when there are two to a baggy, be listed as two of the darned things?

Virginia has a reported obesity rate of 25-30 percent of the population. Right next door, West Virginia has an obesity rate above 35 percent! Nationwide, about 34 percent (78 million) of Americans are obese. Not just overweight, but obese. If you count the folks who are just a little overweight but not yet obese, at least half of the nation is in need of a diet.

I have lost weight on Weight Watchers before. I manage to make it about 3 months before something happens - a holiday comes up, or I simply tire out, or I become ill and then can't get back on track with the diet. I've had so many new health issues pop up in the last 14 months that dieting has been the least of my concerns, but I need to worry about it now.

People who don't have weight issues have no idea how much of a struggle it is to deal with eating problems. It's not like being an alcoholic - you don't have to drink bourbon in order to live. But you have to eat.

The thing I most dislike about Weight Watchers is that I don't think it teaches you how to eat well or how to eat healthily. If you look at some of the foods they recommend - mostly their own brands of snack foods - they are full of stuff I don't want in my body. Aspartame or sucralose, carrageen - all sorts of things that aren't good for you. So Weight Watchers is really all about the money, like most things in the USA, and not about making people healthy. Weight Watchers does help with portion controls and if you stick to the points and simply stop eating when you hit your daily allowance, it works.

However, I want to learn how to eat well and live a healthy lifestyle. My head knows how to do this, sort of, but there is some disconnect between my brain and the rest of me. I've read enough books on the topic to know to eat fresh veggies and as little processed foods as possible, but that not-liking-to-cook thing gets me every time.

Also, at present I can't exercise much because of pain issues. Whatever is wrong with me simply isn't going away.

If you've been successful at dieting and have any tips, I am open to them.


  1. portion control is a biggie...i know we've been brought up to eat much bigger servings than we are supposed so it is hard to re-train ourselves to eat proper size servings. i've heard if you eat your meal on a small plate, it tricks your mind into thinking you are eating a lot...also, drink a glass of water before eating...have carrots,celery,peppers sliced and stored in the fridge for easy snacking..keep boiled eggs ready in the fridge...i hear ya on the pop tart packaging...good luck anita...look on pinterest also for some healthy eating ideas..there's a lot of stuff on there!

  2. I lost nearly 50 pounds 15 years ago when I was diagnosed diabetic and went very low carb. Over the years, I gained 25 of them back when I stopped eating with tight carb control (If my A1C was so much better, I wasn't that diabetic anymore, etc.). Two years ago, when my A1C was way up there, I lost 20 pounds when I went gluten-free. However, last year when my dr. put me on insulin, 10 pounds came back very quickly. When she upped my insulin a few months ago, 5 pounds returned within a week.

    Since then I've learned that a lot of things can mess up metabolism—steroids can raise blood sugar tremendously (and I'd had cortisone shot) NSAIDs can mess up metabolism (and I'd been on several different ones), pesticide exposure can disrupt the endocrine system (and I lived in an area of lawn maniacs who had all sorts of concoctions spewed on their lawns), and food conglomerates were messing with what we eat (adding high fructose corn syrup,for instance) .

    I rarely eat processed foods anymore because of all the unnatural ingredients they contain. And I read labels before I buy anything.

    A good book is "Why We Get Fat" by Gary Taubes. It explains how all calories are not equal.

  3. I have the best luck with simple calorie-counting and portion control. I've learned that no-fat and low-fat doesn't work for me, because that stuff doesn't taste good. I eat the real thing, only a smaller portion, and I don't feel deprived. It will always be a battle for me, though. It's not easy. My weight has remained almost constant for the last two years, but I wish I wasn't 5 pounds over the weight I really like with the holidays ahead. That is a real challenge.

  4. Well, I understand your post completely. My medications increase blood sugar and cause weight gain, including the cortisone shots I get in my knees.. I had my cancerous thyroid removed, but not before it caused me to have atrial fibrillation. I take blood thinners and a pill to slow my heart. So much for increasing my heart rate...I take a pill to slow it down. I have arthritis and need a knee replacement....no exercising. BUT, the doctor won't do a knee replacement until I lose 80 pounds.

    Four years ago, I lost 54 pounds on Weight Watchers. They my insurance quit paying for it about the time my husband lost his job. No more WW for me. I have since gained it all back. A mini-bypass (gastric) has been suggested, but my insurance won't pay for it. The cost is $17,000 which I don't have. I know what I have to do, but I also know I will gain it all back again. I always do. I'm almost 63 years old. I've lost 100s of pounds and gained them back. It's what I do. I'm disgusted with myself, but continue to clean my super-sized plate.

    A good friend has gone carb-free and has lost 35 pounds. She also quit taking most of her medications without her doctor's permission, but is doing okay. Her doctor is now keeping watch on the blood test results. She keeps encouraging me. Adkins is fairly easy to stick to, but I'm not sure it is healthy. Again - I know what I have to do, and it needs to be for life, not just to reach a goal and then fall back to bad habits.

    Sorry - sounds like I'm whining. I guess I am. It's a sore spot. It's like the doctors just want to keep you medicated and coming back. Easy to blame them instead of myself and my genes (parents, grandparents, great-grands...all hefty people). Sigh.

    1. Correction .... I THINK the doctors (not like).

    2. Dieting, medications, emotional and physical health, habits; it's all interconnected and makes for a slippery slope on which to balance. I think this is why there are no easy answers for weight loss.
      Also, food is so much more than sustenance in our society. It's our friend, our comforter, our reward, and sometimes our idol.
      I think we have to know ourselves and know our own limitations and work within those parameters. This is what I know about myself:
      1.Sugar makes me feel awful.
      2. If it's in the house, I will seek it out and eat it.
      3. I self comfort with food. *This one is the hardest to control, but I'm aware of it and can therefore try to rein it in.


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