Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pilates is a special kind of hell

I knew it would be bad...just didn't know how bad. I went to a "Pilates for Beginners" class on Saturday. Fifteen minutes into the hour-long class, the part of me that was in extreme physical and emotional discomfort was battling it out with the part of me that thought it would be too rude to get up and leave. I really don't know how I made it through the entire hour. I could hardly do any of the moves--certainly couldn't execute them properly--and the instructor walked over to me and me alone to help me when the last thing I wanted was attention drawn to myself. She meant well, but dammit, I wanted to be as invisible as a giant panting woman in a bright pink t-shirt CAN be!

Of all the things I've tried at the gym, Pilates is the activity that makes it most clear just how out of shape I am. I can feel my body's weaknesses and sense just how absurdly heavy my thighs are when attempting these moves. I feel self-conscious and ashamed--even somewhat unwelcome. I think I'd have to lose a ton of weight and practice this stuff for months before I could even begin to keep up.

Having said all this, I don't know if I should run away screaming, or start going every week.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Husband on board?

Tonight, my husband and I were out eating dinner and he starts telling me about a guy at his dojo that has transformed his body by cutting out carbs. I wanted to smack my forehead. Or maybe his. I've been trying to sell him on moving in a more primal or paleo direction with me for some time, to no avail! And now he says he'd like to try eating more "like that guy." Okay, so I've got an opportunity on my hands. I know I'll forever love my sweets and my south Indian husband is forever going to love his rice, but we can make most of our meals a low carb affair together. Hooray!

Then he tells me that he's got to have a VARIETY of vegetable side dishes at any given meal if he is to successfully slash his rice intake. Apparently, he can't eat a piece of meat and a side of greens and be satisfied like me. But there's no way I'm cooking five types of vegetables for lunch and three more types for dinner; if he wants more than I'm already making, he's going to have to make it himself. I care about him and his health (he is a healthy weight, by the way), but I also care about my sanity and my ability to keep cooking fresh meals. Having to do more than I feel is reasonable is a surefire way for me to become resentful and ditch the whole low carb cooking venture.

So in the end, I'm not planning on changing my current approach much at all. I'll keep adding to my vegetable repertoire; he really liked the roasted beets and sauteed beet greens I made the other day for the first time. And I'm going to figure out some nice low carb Indian meals for his enjoyment. I'm thinking tandoori chicken and curried cauliflower, for starters. I will continue to insist we start going to restaurants that serve something other than piles of cheap starch, even if it means paying more and eating out less frequently.

With us, it's clearly a matter of "direction, not perfection"...but I like where we are headed.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

How cake makes me feel

The creator of Hyperbole and a Half is the only person that has ever captured the way cake makes me feel. Click here and prepare to laugh!

Friday, October 7, 2011


I've made a conscious effort to avoid nutrition websites, debates, and the like lately. I'm not watching The Biggest Loser or any other weight loss shows this fall. I'm not picking up cookbooks or magazines for new recipes. I try not to check the couple of diet blogs I follow as frequently. And you know what? I feel so much better. There's more space in my head for other interesting things.

An unexpected thing has happened with my eating. My meals and snacks are fairly low carb, and that's cool. Yet I'm still eating desserts--regular ones, not low carb ones. It has been easier for me to skip bread, pasta, rice, and other starchy staples than it has for me to give up ice cream and baked goods. But the overall effect of embracing what comes easiest to me is that I'm eating fewer carbs overall! And that is progress! Instead of two or three plates of pasta followed by dessert, it's now meat and vegetables followed by dessert. This feels better. Oh, it's far from smart eating, but it's smarter than what I'd been doing for years and years.

Sugar is a drug. Desserts are legal drugs. I know this. Even so, every time I told myself that I "had to" or "needed to" stop eating sweets, I felt deprived, resentful, and anxious (because I am addicted to them). I've tried the abstinence route--complete with a stint in OA, had a sponsor, the whole deal--and I've gone the other route with intuitive eating-type philosophies, which claim that listening to one's body and declaring nothing off limits will transform desserts from forbidden fruits into insignificant foodstuffs. Well, I hated OA for so many reasons (perhaps I will write about that in the future) and my desire for sweets never lessened through intuitive eating or allowing myself to have whatever I wanted in whatever amounts. For a time I tried the No-S diet, which allowed sweets on Saturdays, Sundays, and special days like holidays and birthdays; you can read about it here. Most recently I have explored paleo/primal/low carb eating, but my dessert anxieties and obsessions continued. The idea of eating sad little almond flour/coconut flake paleo cookies or whatever on Christmas is enough to make me want to whip up a batch of iced sugar cookie Santa heads right now.

What's finally making me feel sane is tuning everyone else out and hearing my own voice. And my own voice says: you are crazy about sugar and you always have been. This carries problems and risks. But the past 30 years show that you are going to keep eating sugar despite these problems and risks. Furthermore, whenever you try to drastically reduce or eliminate your dessert intake, you rebel and go overboard with it in short order. So how about this--just eat less of it, and eat really solid meals and snacks. Don't displace real food with sugary stuff. Save the bulk of your carb intake for dessert, since you like cake more than you like bread. And be a little more selective with your sweets. You're gonna have them regularly, so pass on the crappy stuff and enjoy the really good stuff.

It seems to be working. I am passing over many mass-produced desserts easily now, without those old feelings of suffering. (The result being I'm eating less dessert!) This is due to two things: I know I can make something better at home, something fresh and delicious and free of trans fats. I am allowed to do so. And secondly, I don't want to be some corporation's hopelessly addicted lab rat anymore, responding mindlessly to whatever garbage they package brightly, advertise aggressively, and price cheaply. I am already sugar's bitch, I don't want to be Nabisco's bitch and McDonald's bitch too. So when it comes to dessert, I'd like to mostly stick with the homemade stuff. I love baking and sharing with others and seeing them enjoy what I've made. I know I'm peddling drugs when I do this, but I cannot deny how much I enjoy it and do not see it changing anytime soon.

So, I feel saner. The question is, can I continue to lose weight eating this way? Taking this relaxed approach to sweets? I view this way of eating as an experiment, and will assess the results on my blog in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I went to the gym today for the first time in a couple weeks, and it was such a relief to get back into the swing of things. I was anxious to weigh myself on the gym scale (which is what I use for my official records) because I was expecting a significant regain. I've been binge eating alot lately, not exercising, and feeling totally out of control.

Somehow, I was only up two pounds.

I blew through a quick strength training workout without any cardio warmup or stretching afterwards. This is not how I usually do things, but the gym was crowded, I was agitated, and I just wanted to get something done.

I'm feeling good now. Off to Trader Joe's for some groceries!