The Way We Eat

Interesting article today called The Way We Eat Now. [via kottke]

I don’t know about you, but I know personally that I need to stop bullshitting myself. The western world needs to stop bullshitting itself. Think about how much eating has changed over the past couple of decades.  We have ever-increasing easy access to really crap food and so many of us are just scarfing it up. It’s not the way the human body was designed to live.

I think about how much things have changed even since I was a kid. Now there’s vending machines in the workplace, fast food joints galore, stores are open longer. When I grew up on our farm we did the grocery shop once a week and when that ran out, well, "have a apple, have a glass of water", said my mother. We didn’t run down the shops for a chocolate bar. A chocolate bar was a rare treat, yet I know people here at work who have one every day with their morning coffee, thanks to the handy vending machine. And this is after breakfast of a bacon and egg roll – the Hot Roll Man delivers fresh greasy rolls right to our office every morning. Or they snack on so-called healthy "cereal bars", 93% fat free but full of fructose and hydrogenated vegetable oil. For many people, overeating has become so ingrained in our culture and lifestyles we just think it’s the normal way to be.

But when you get down to it, I have a choice, and so do my colleagues. We’re middle class, reasonably educated folk who know enough and who can afford to eat healthily if we make an effort to make it part of our busy lives. What saddens me about the article is the correlation between income/education and obesity level. It’s far cheaper to feed a family on calorie-dense, highly refined foods, as opposed to fresh vegies, fruit, meat, fish. It’s certainly cheaper in the UK, I imagine it’s the same in the States.

The article goes on to talk about the effects of advertising help to create a bigger market that needs more crappy food to sustain itself. Think of the amount of money spend on food advertising compared to the paltry amount spent on nutrition education. How can it compete?

I think the article is informative and balanced, not the usual sensational bullshit you get on the obesity issue. But it just disturbs me, I am resisting the urge to rant on about it. I worry about the world, coz I only see this problem getting worse until we start tackling the issue in a serious, sensitive and intelligent manner.

. . .

My sister and I have put on a few pounds in the last couple of weeks, it’s that whole cycle I mentioned in my last entry. We received a box of clothes from our Mum last night. She’d done some shopping for us back in Oz. My stuff was all size 16 – the tops fit but the pants were too tight in the stomach area. I took off the pants and threw them to the ground and yelled, "WHY AM I SO BLOODY FAT!"

And my sister smiled replied, "Because you’re just like me. We eat too much crap and our gym attendance is patchy."

I just felt so bloody angry with myself coz I know I’ve been idly buying those bacon rolls and chocolate bars these past two weeks – I’ve been tired and busy and not at home so I didn’t prepare my usual healthy food. Instead I went for the easy-access crap just like in that article.

It just goes to show, it is hard work to be healthy. It a conscious decision that needs constant monitoring. We’re all so freaking busy these days but you have to find time to plan and purchase the right things – to have the fruit on your desk, the almonds in your drawer, the yoghurt in the fridge – so there’s no need to make bad choices.

. . .

When I got home from my two gym classes on Monday I was buzzing. I felt so happy, so motivated, so proud of my body. I felt like I could anything with my life. I wasn’t thinking of food. All I could think of was my next trip to the gym and what I’d do and how I’d push myself further.

It was a feeling of utter contentment and peace. To be honest, the only other time I feel like that is after a good round of bedroom gymnastics, I tell you. If I could hold on to that positive feeling and carry it with me throughout the day, I wouldn’t feel the need for chocolate or cheese sandwiches. I would be invincible.

So the solution is clear. More sex, more exercise.

Attack of the Blahs

I don’t know what else to say except that this is all really hard. I need to cut back to one job, I have been working these 6/7 day weeks for too long. Nine months, in fact. I have two days off this whole month. That is just stupid. We needed to do this for our Russia/Scandi trip — our Monday – Friday temp jobs don’t pay enough to fund such a big trip. We tried to find better paid jobs that used our qualifications, but it’s hard to when employers know you’re here for a limited time. Two jobs was the only option.

But when we get back, something has to give. My sister and I are always tired, cranky, listless. It has been a struggle to keep our health/fitness regime going. Most days we just want to sleep. We have a week or so of great food and exercise, full of inspiration, but then we’ll work 14 days in a row and lose our momentum.

I know people have multiple jobs and kids and all sorts of problems, so I am not pulling a "poor me" here. I am just saying I am tired. I am tired of being upbeat and optimistic one moment then paralysed with fatigue and gloom the next.

Anyway. Until I think of a better way to work I am just going to try and slowly chip away at this blubber. I am trying to get some walking in as well as the gym. It didn’t get dark until after 10 last night. I love the Northern Hemisphere summers.

I bought a skirt from H&M on Friday. Only £10! That’s cheap even translated back into Australian dollars. You may recall my tears in H&M a year ago, when I could only fit into their size 24 jeans. This skirt is an 18, so that was a pleasant surprise.

I feel so flat and blah, I can’t pretend to be excited by this stuff at the moment. I know I could have bought that skirt six months ago and it would have fit. I really haven’t lost a damn thing this year. I keep writing these kind of entries, have you noticed? It’s this endless cycle of motivation then moping.

But don’t think I am giving up. I just need to figure out how to change my situation.

Recipe Corner

Better put in something non-whiny so you don’t all think I am pathetic and never come back. Made a nice quick dinner for my dear boy last night. I’m always struggling to come up with vegetarian fayre with my limited imagination, but then I remembered something one of my beloved Aussie friends used to make.

Salsa Thingy

3 tomatoes, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 small red onion or 3 spring onions, chopped
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon cumin powder (more if you like it spicy)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
handful chopped fresh coriander
juice of a lime or lemon, or a generous lug of the bottled stuff
ground black pepper to taste

Mix all that up in a bowl, cover and let the flavours mingle for a hour or so. Then serve in some tortillas with lettuce, grated cheese or whatever you feel like. Or serve as a side with a grilled chicken breast and some salad greens if your boyfriend is a carnivore. Or just eat on its own. Very summery and light and quick! Hurrah.

Bring Home the Bacon

Sometimes you people make me cry with your kindness. After all these years you still leave beautiful comments and say nice things in emails and it just motivates me every single time. Thank you so very very much. Where would we be without the electric internet to find all these kindred tubby souls? I know my journey wouldn’t have been half as fun without you.

As I said in the last few entries, I’ve been losing and gaining the same few kilos for months now. I weighed myself at the gym on Monday, the first time I’d done so in 5 weeks – I was up to 91.7 kilos (202lb), a gain of 1.2 kilos (2.7lb). Och well. At least I know the damage now. I am just so irritated with myself for wasting so much time with this fluctuating weight. My jeans go tight normal loose tight. My Enell sports bra gets too tight, I lose a few kilos and it’s fine again, then I put them right back on and I’m squeezed in again. My mood goes blah euphoric blah. This pendulum thing is just frustrating.

I’m shooting for consistent behaviour, good habits and no extremes. My sister and I have five weeks before we head off on a three week Russia/Scandinavia tour that is pretty much the entire reason we have been working our insane 6-7 day weeks. It’s the main thing we wanted to do while living in the UK. I’d wanted to be close to my goal by then, but alas, it hasn’t happened. Instead my goal is just to get my eating habits in order by then, coz I know there’ll be lots of dodgy food on the tour.

My sis and I are determined to help each other out, she’s got a few unwanted kilos and wants to get back to her WW goal she reached way back in 2001. So we thought back to that year and what made it so successful for us both. It was really just small, consistent changes. These days, while our lunchtime salads are great, our evening meals tend to have too-big portions. So we’re going for lighter, more summery salady meals for the next five weeks before our trip so we can re-train our stomachs not to expect such hefty amounts of food.

Um, the above was actually written last week. I forgot to post it! I am pleased to report that the week went very well and I lost 1.6 kilos (3.2lb). Some of that might be lost muscle – I haven’t been to my Body Pump class in over a month. Even so, it was a good week.

Instead of my usual extreme behaviour – NO CHOCOLATE! – my sister and I decided to buy one 100g block of Green & Blacks Chocolate when we get our shopping on Tuesday night and share it. That’s only 50g of chocolate per week and a decent treat. Before we’d get one each which would lead to guilt and/or further indulgence.

Out of the Closet

Sooner or later it’s going to happen, that lovely guy of mine will find out about this site. He was using my laptop to write a paper and when he hit Save, my Dietgirl folder came up as it was the last place I’d saved something. I quickly clicked away to the Documents folder.

I was also attempting to submit some chapters for lovely Erin’s book and vaguely told him it was a book about fitness bloggers. He reads my non-fat blog (he read three years of archives before we got together… what a stalker!) and would know full well it’s nothing about fitness.

Then yesterday morning I left him sleeping in my room as I needed to be at work early. When he went to let himself out the front door a few hours later, a flatmate had locked the mortice lock which he didn’t have a key for. So he was basically stranded in my bedroom all day long until I could get home from work. It was hilarious but I was panicking about all the things he could find on my laptop. All those Before photos. All that writing. And last but not least, a PRINT-OUT of my entire Dietgirl archives in a folder sitting RIGHT THERE on my desk!

From what I can gather he didn’t see anything. But still, it makes me nervous. I know I’ve talked about this Secret Fat Life before, but I still can’t bring myself to show him a photo of how big I was before, even though I know he’d be perfectly sweet about it.

Last night I was looking at some photos I took the day we left Australia. “Check this out,” I said. “You can tell I’ve lost a little bit of weight this past year.”

“Holy crap!” was his reply. His eyes were wide, “Wow, you can really see it.”

“I’ve got worse pictures than that,” I said quietly. I don’t know why but I started to panic and ramble, “Don’t worry I’ll never look like that again.”

He just shook his head and gave me a cuddle and said I should stop being so hard on myself and other such reassuring things.

I would like to reach a point where I could be proud of myself instead of ashamed. I read through my entire Dietgirl archive yesterday and felt so proud of how much I’ve changed my attitude to life in so many respects. It was startling to read it all in one go and realise how far I’ve come. But there’s still this stupid part of me that thinks I’m just a big lump that is undeserving of someone’s affection and attention. What the hell is wrong with me?