Friday, November 14, 2008

The Weight Question

Let me start by stating the obvious: this is a very sensitive issue! It's so sensitive, in fact, that it becomes a bit of a problem to decide what to say and what not to say on the question of what we should do about what we weigh. I think a couple first principles will come in handy here:

1. You are beautiful. This axiom comes first because it is most fundamental. You have to understand it before you continuing this discussion. That means, if you have an eating disorder of any kind, you need to stop reading now. I mean it. Go back to square one, look in the mirror, and realize you are beautiful.

2. Your health is more important than what you weigh. Stop tuning this statement out. I know we hear it over and over, but does it really sink in or do we just pass over it with a perfunctory mental "of course"? In fact, this key principle is very much tied into the first principle (you are beautiful), because after realizing your beauty and goodness your response should be a healthy love for your body, which implies certain demands. If you just want to lose weight to look more attractive, without regard to your ultimate state of health and vigor, you are a shallow person! You need to be willing to make legitimate changes to your diet in order to improve your health.

Having mastered these two principles perfectly, we are now ready to move on to some particular questions:

Do I Look Fat?

Yes. The answer is always yes to the person who's asking. If you are looking for fat on your body, chances are you can find it. It seems twisted, but even the thinnest people don't complain about being too thin--they claim to see fat somewhere on their slight and emaciated frames! So, the experience of feeling fat is universal. Moreover, it's also completely irrelevant. I say it is irrelevant because it is an emotional reaction. If you want to change something about yourself, you won't be able to do it based on emotional outbursts: your wahhhh, I'm faaaat feeling won't see you through daily jogs or cutting back on portions. Rather, you do it based on objective analysis and positive planning.

How Much Should I Weigh?

After careful analysis and research on the subject, the consensus is that the perfect weight for all women is 124.5 lbs.

. . . no!!!!!!!!!!!!! There is no number. It is entirely relative. I'm sure we all know that 140 lbs on one woman can look completely different on another woman, even if their respective heights are similar. Obviously, there are all different kinds of body types so that it is impossible to come up with an ideal weight. Scales are useless. I'm also not going to tell you to go to a doctor if you are perfectly healthy with no medical conditions--what a waste of time! Frankly, I don't know what you should weigh; it's something you are going to have to decide. You will find, however, that if you come up with an unrealistic number, the scale will become even more useless than it already is. If you want a general guide, try a Body Mass Index Calculator. If you come up as within normal weight, you really don't have to lose any weight at all if you don't want to, so don't worry about it and just keep principle #2 in mind.

How Can I Lose Some Weight for the Christmas Holiday?

Ok, now that we have gotten the boring stuff out of the way, this is the part where I get to subject you to my Magical Weight Loss Tips for Instant Success and Complete Insanity!

  • Exercise! Just do something, it doesn't matter what. I read a tip today that said to park at the farthest spot at work and at the grocery store to make yourself walk more. Whatever you do, don't make it nothing.
  • No Sugar. It all depends how much you want it. If you really do want to lose some weight, this will work: just don't eat any refined sugar at all for a month. It's a good discipline, too. See if you can make it work.
  • Drink Water Only. Self-explanatory.
  • Laugh more. Laughing works an incredibly important muscle in the inner stomach that causes swifter food digestion and processing leading to immediate leanness in the entire lower body. Highly recommended.
  • Whole grains. Whole grains make you happy. Seriously, the wonderful thing about whole grains is that they really are good for your digestive system, providing needed fiber that works almost as well as laughter. Plus, they feel more satisfying than refined grains, so that you don't need to eat as much.
  • Eat first more, then less. No one is going to lose weight if he does not eat breakfast. So if you don't eat breakfast, you're going to have to start out by adding this meal--eating more. Then, try to eat smaller portions at your other meals; don't have seconds--eat less.
  • Don't eat out. Making your own meals is a modern necessity. I have found no good way to eat out without eating too much, except to go to nicer, more expensive restaurants that have small portions. Even then, though, dessert can be so tempting. The best thing is to avoid restaurants altogether. If you have to eat out, try your best only to eat half of your entree and box up the other half. I usually fail at this, but it's worth a shot.

All this is not rocket science, but to many of us it's way more important and pertinent. :-) I don't know how to show people how to eat healthy foods. People often remark that my meals look healthy and good. My advice is just not to eat junk and gross foods (see list below). I don't want to focus overly on the negative, but it often does happen that once you cut certain foods you end up replacing them with healthy alternatives. Start craving your veggies.

Junk and Gross Foods
French fries
Soft drink
Pork rinds
Chicken-fried steak
Deep-fried Twinkies
Root beer float
Chips that leave colored powder on your fingers
Potato chips
Whipped topping
Things that come in boxes from the cookie aisle
Frosted cake

That's the end.


My Year Without said...

Just a note that I thought I would lose weight giving up sugar....and I didn't! Maybe a teeny bit, but it's negligable compared to the 15 I want to lose.... I have found during my year without sugar that if I want to lose weight, I have to do more than give up sugar. Such as exercise more, eat smaller portions, and eat healthier. I totally agree with you on the eating out thing. It's dangerously easy to eat too much!

healthily sanguine said...

Thanks for your comment! You're right, it usually requires a combination of things to lose a significant amount of weight. From looking at your blog, however, I see you use a lot of sugar substitutes. If you want to lose weight in this last month of your year without sugar, I would recommend giving up all sugar substitutes and limiting your fruit intake only to fresh Granny Smith apples, grapefruit, and lemons, and limiting the use of carrots and sweet potatoes. I have done this before and seen pretty fast results--not 15 pounds maybe, but still a noticeable difference. Then you can reincorporate other fresh fruits. Also, this will really strike at the roots of your sugar addiction. Good luck!

Mabel said...

Yay. Nice post. But I will say on the sugar thing that I have found for myself, since my sweet tooth is so strong, that to go without sugar all the way right now actually causes me to over-compensate in other areas. So instead of cutting it out altogether, I cut it down - a lot. One cookie after dinner maybe, and not every night. Don't bring any desserts to work, but maybe tote fruit along instead. There's nothing like a good fuji apple after a homemade lunch. I wonder if it's a body type thing, too? Since different people do have different needs in every area - my family, for example, can live on meats and eggs and lots of protein based foods, and they're happiest that way. I, on the other hand, can't have meat more than about three times a week, and generally feel best when I live on a lighter diet of grains and vegetables. I'm just wondering if that plays in to the sweet tooth syndrome, and how we work past it.

And of course, walking or other exercise. There's no substitute for that.

healthily sanguine said...

Thanks mabel! That's an interesting point, and I think body type may have something to do with how susceptible people are to sugar addiction. I myself am very susceptible, and like you, I feel great on a mainly vegetarian diet with lots of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. I don't usually crave protein, but I do hanker after sugar.

That said, I have found that the best thing to do is really to quit cold turkey. I do over-compensate at first (especially by wanting to eat even more carbs), but then after a couple weeks it gets easier and your diet kind of balances out again. You start to feel a lot better, like your body is running more "clean," if that makes any sense.

The truth is--and I've tested this out--you get more than your daily recommended allotment of sugar without even touching things like graham crackers or sweetened yogurt (I'm not even talking cookies or cakes). Quitting sugar and replacements like honey or maple in a sense forces you to go for the good stuff, like you mentioned, fresh fruits and veggies. Combine this with drinking plenty of water, and your diet can get a real boost just from this one simple, difficult adjustment.

Phantom Seraphim said...

Haha! I love your photos!

healthily sanguine said...

Why thank you! :-)

bakerstreetrider said...

I've found the best way to eat healthily is to follow this rule: If I should not be eating it, don't buy it. Instead, buy food you want yourself to be eating. We all have moments where we really want candy, but if we have no candy, we won't eat any.