09 October 2008

Work Diet

I started a new job this week! I'm eating more to compensate for the increased activity, and maintaining my weight fairly well. Trouble is, I come home from work too exhausted to rub two thoughts together, and this blog suffers as a result. The best I can do right now is to tell you what my diet is like.

I get up at 5am and have a bowl of cereal. At noon I have lunch, which is the same thing every day. I make a mammoth batch on Sunday so I can just pull a container out of the 'fridge on my way out the door during the week. This week it's tricolor rotini with cheddar sausage and mushrooms in an alfredo sauce. I scarf that down with a bottle of vitamin water. When I get home from work at 4, I put another cheddar sausage under the broiler and slather its (potato bread) bun with mayo and relish. Juice or hot chocolate lubricate that meal, and there may or may not be a slice of something sweet before bed, depending on how much my sister's been cooking lately. She made apple spice cake a few days ago, so that's been my dessert.

Some of you are probably having a heart attack just reading this entry. My diet is high in fats, I know. My job keeps me active, and fats provide a ton of fuel for the body, so they're kind of necessary for me. Granted, I could switch over to unsaturated fats as opposed to the meat and dairy I love, but... well, I'm picky. Most unsaturated fats are found in things like fish and nuts, both of which I hate, and vegetable oils, which are hard to find in products I actually like to eat.

I've probably said it before, and I'll probably say it again: I'm not going to eat foods I don't like just to stay "healthy." I will eat what I like, in amounts that are as balanced as I can get them while still maintaining my energy level and weight, and if I find something healthier that works for me, I'll incorporate that into the diet. I'm happy with that.

And I love my new job!

22 August 2008


Let's talk about body image. A lot of people seem to think that being thin automatically means a person must be happy with her body. This is one of the biggest myths in the history of myths. I'm not even talking about mental disorders like anorexia... I'm talking about your regular, reasonably healthy thin chick. Chances are, she has just as many body image issues as you do.

I'm going to be brave and show you some of my issues. Click to embiggen.

Too Tan: Every summer I get a couple sunburns that then fade to an uneven tan. My arms, shoulders, and face have some color, but the rest of my body is pale. It's fine when I'm covered, but when I'm down to the bikini, it makes me twitchy.

Too Bony: I didn't notice how bony my shoulders were until last year when I dropped to 125 pounds. Now, even though I'm back to 130-135, they still seem bony to me. It's especially obvious when I reach around to scratch my back and my scapula pokes out.

Too Small: I'll admit it... I'd like bigger breasts. More than that, though, I'd like matched breasts. Most people don't notice it, but there's about a half-cup difference between the two, and it bugs me.

Too Soft: Thin does not equal fit. I'd really like to be more toned, and fortunately this is something I can actually fix. It just takes time and effort. I've been pretty sedentary for the last eight months, so a lot of the muscles that used to be in good shape are kind of squishy now.

Too Big: Now, my partners (past and current) disagree with me here, but I think my thighs are too big. This picture makes them look even bigger. Bleah.

Too Pale: See also: Too Tan. I think the issue is more that the color is uneven, especially after some funky burns a few months ago. (Note to self: SPF 30 is not enough.) Having super-pale legs bothers me because I also have very dark hair, and I don't like the look of the roots showing through the skin, even right after shaving.

There you have it, folks. Even thin chicks hate their bodies sometimes. Please don't assume that simply being thin is enough to make you happy.

14 August 2008


Some of the thin chicks I talk to have trouble keeping weight on because they don't crave food. Eating is a chore for them. I am not one of those chicks.

I love eating. I love cooking. I love food in general. I have cravings all the time, and they fall in two categories: hunger cravings and nibble cravings. Being able to recognize the difference at the time of the craving is one of the things that keeps me from over-eating.

With hunger cravings, I usually haven't eaten in a while, and I'm looking for any kind of food to fill me up. These cravings can be for a specific food, but more often it's a more general feeling of want, like, "I want something savory," or "I'm craving fruit." Giving in to this type of craving is good, because this craving is my body notifying my brain that continued lack of sustenance will result in mutiny. Nobody wants my stomach to start gnawing on my pancreas just because I forgot to eat.

Nibble cravings can be tricky to identify, though I've found that they usually come about half an hour after a meal. Last night, for example, I had sausage for dinner, and then found myself craving more. I checked with my stomach, which was full from the first helping, and it became clear that this wasn't really a craving for food. I just wanted something to nibble on. Gum doesn't work, because this type of craving is almost always for something savory, and isn't satisfied if I simply chew and spit out the food.

Learning how to identify my cravings has helped me maintain my weight and, oddly enough, keep track of my mood shifts. I tend to have more nibble cravings when I'm depressed because I'm looking for enjoyment (chewing and swallowing food) instead of nourishment. It's nice when self-awareness pays off in multiple ways.

06 August 2008


Eep! Sorry for the delay. Life got in the way, and I didn't happen to run across anything blogworthy for a while.

Let's talk about accidental weight loss. I know that "accidental" and "weight loss" become an impossible, unrealistic concept for some people when they combine, but for some of us, it really does happen.

For some it's a symptom or side effect of a medical condition. My mother, for example, has a thyroid condition that has caused her to go from a size 16 to a size 8 in about six months. Try as she might, she's having a hard time keeping weight on, and it troubles her. She's not enjoying buying new pants every few weeks as she drops another size. Drastic weight loss was not something she factored into her very tight budget, and the combination of new (thrift store) clothes and more food is causing her some concern.

I've accidentally lost weight twice: once when I was very, very depressed, and once when I became unusually active.

Having a mental disorder doesn't just change how you feel and think, it changes everything you do, including eating. In my case, I went through a period of Major Depression where I just didn't think to eat much for about six months, and wound up 30 pounds lighter. That was quite a shock for me, and it took me a while to adjust my mental self-image. For about a year after that I was still buying clothes in my old size because I hadn't really wrapped my head around the idea of being thinner.

Last year when I started a new job, I was suddenly burning a lot more calories than I was eating, and I didn't think to step on the scale until a few weeks in when my "tight jeans" weren't so tight anymore. Ten pounds gone! Eek! Bones were showing more, and I wasn't feeling healthy, so I immediately adjusted my diet so I could get back to my target weight (between 130 and 135) and maintain it. Eating that much more than usual was uncomfortable for about a week while my stomach got used to it, but I felt so much better when I was back where I wanted to be.

So folks, if a thin chick seems distressed when she mentions losing weight by accident, please don't tell her she's lucky. When she talks about struggling to gain that weight back, please don't tell her that you wish you had that problem. Weight loss is just as traumatic for some of us as weight gain is for some of you, and we probably don't want to joke about it.

19 May 2008


Let's talk about some "secrets" of being thin. Since I started this blog I've spent more time on Google looking up these dieting tips, wondering at some of the things diet "experts" tell people. This morning I'm looking at "secrets" on HowToBeFit.com. I think what bothers me most here is this paragraph in the introduction:

"Dr. Dorie is quick to point out there’s a big difference between being thin and being a naturally thin person. There are those who struggle with anorexia or rely on starvation to avoid weight gain. These people are engaging in unhealthy physical and mental behaviors. When it comes to weight loss, one size does not fit all, she says."

She seems to be saying that if someone is thin, it's either natural or unhealthy. What about the people who are conscious of how much they eat and exercise, staying thin in a healthy way using self-control? She probably didn't mean that there are only two types of thin people, but I wish the writing made it clear.

Okay, let's tackle some of these secrets.

"Naturally thin people dont weigh, measure or otherwise keep track of their bodies dimensions. You wont even find a bathroom scale at the naturally thin persons house."

False. I weigh myself regularly, especially after vacations or other changes in my activity level. My scale is analog, so I don't obsess about every half-pound, but I can always tell you, accurate to within two pounds, how much I weigh.

"Naturally thin people stop eating before they get too full... A naturally thin person can even take a spoon and eat right from the container -- then put the container away when theyve had enough."

False. You should see me attack a pint of Haagen-Dazs. Four servings in one sitting, not realizing it until I'm scraping the bottom of the box. I eat like it's addiction... if there's food in front of me, I eat and eat and eat until either my stomach hurts or there's no food left. The feeling of fullness comes from volume, not nutrition, so eating a pint of ice cream feels the same as having a 6" Subway sandwich or a big salad. That's why portion control is so important to me. Without it, I eat too much of the wrong food and gain weight.

"Regardless of their level of conditioning, [thin people] all have some level of commitment to making fitness a part of their lives."

False. This is going to change for me in the next year, but right now, exercise isn't something I do regularly. Occasionally (once or twice a month) I'll walk two or three miles, and on vacations I usually work myself pretty hard for an hour or so (snowshoeing in March, 11-mile bike ride earlier this month, etc.), but for the most part I spend my time in front of the computer or television. Being in a blue-collar trade means that when I have a job I'm more physically active, but when I'm between jobs (like for the last five months), I'm a couch potato.

"Naturally thin people have a positive view of themselves and their lives... They have a wonderful self-image, because they have not allowed societys pressure to influence them."

False. I have struggled with Bi-Polar Disorder for over 15 years, and attempted suicide about five years ago. When I'm in the depressed phase of the disorder, I feel ugly and worthless, and I'm sure nobody would miss me if I disappeared. A little of that feeling lingers even when I'm not in the depressed phase, but I've learned coping skills that help me remember that it's the disorder talking, and that I can trust the people who care about me to give a more accurate assessment of my worth.

"Naturally thin people eat exactly what they are hungry for... Theyll go out of their way to get what they are hungry for, even if it means making a shopping trip."

True! The supermarket two miles from my house is open 24 hours. Nuff said.

Next time: more secrets!

17 May 2008

Bodies In Motion

For the last many months I've been leading a fairly sedentary life. I gained five pounds over a week-long vacation back in March... when my sweetie and I are on vacation, he makes french toast and bacon for breakfast, and we spend a lot of time basking in the glow of a cathode ray tube, so the altered fat intake throws off my metabolism a little. During our last vacation a few weeks ago, we compensated for the different diet by going on an 11-mile bike ride one afternoon. The calories balanced out, and I'm proud to say that my muscles were only sore for a few hours. I haven't done any strenuous exercise in ages and haven't been on a bicycle in at least five years, so I'm pretty happy with how I did.

Now, just because I don't exercise much these days doesn't mean I'm not constantly burning calories. Sitting still isn't something I do well. If you see me sitting, there's a good chance I'm also bouncing my leg, talking with my hands, fidgeting with something, wiggling to the beat of the music, or knitting. Always being in motion burns calories and helps me feel active, even when I'm parked in front of the television set for a 14-hour Firefly marathon.

Or curled up in a comfy chair at the coffeehouse for the four-hour Saturday knitting circle. Hee!

27 February 2008

To The King

Dear Burger King,

Using two bratty teens in burger costumes who make fun of healthier alternatives like Subway is not a good way to sell your product.

A girl who eats at Subway and Wendy's.

22 February 2008

Thin Myths, Part 2

Myth: Thin People Drink Water

I drink hot chocolate. A lot of hot chocolate. It's the super-sweet Mexican kind, and I make it with whole milk. It comes out to about 375 calories per mug. I also drink Glaceau Vitamin Water (125 calories per bottle, about one bottle every other day) and Juicy Juice (120 calories per cup, about one cup every week), but my primary drink is hot chocolate, and I drink about two mugs of it every day.

Should I drink more water? Probably. Will I? Nah. Plain water isn't satisfying for me. I want something with flavor. I want something that will make my stomach feel happy for more than ten minutes. Water doesn't do that.

I also don't like drinks with artificial sugars. Aspartame is bad for the body and counteracts the medication I take, and most artificial sugars leave a bitter, acidic aftertaste in my mouth. Yes, even Splenda.

Staying hydrated is good. But you don't need to drink plain water to do it. I'm not going to eat or drink things I don't like if I can get the same benefits from things I *do* like.

Time for more cocoa.

19 February 2008

Confession #2

I slip.

That Western Burger with hash browns and mozzarella sticks at Denny's last night to celebrate my sister's safe return to New England? Totally a slip. Easily three times more than I should have eaten in one sitting.

Burgers are my nemesis. I love them, but they tend to make me sick, and portion control goes against logic (and structural integrity). Because of this, I don't have them very often.

Mozzarella sticks, though? Gifts from the gods.

18 February 2008

Confession #1

I haven't always been this thin.

Seven years ago I weighed 160 pounds and wore size 10-12 jeans. I bought XL t-shirts and sweatshirts so I could hide my body. I hated the way I looked.

I got depressed. Very depressed. I barely ate for six months. One day I stepped on the scale and the needle stopped at 130 pounds. I'd lost 30 pounds by accident. Go ahead, hate me. It's okay this time.

My weight has fluctuated since then. I've weighed anywhere from 125 to 145 and worn anything from a size 6 to a size 9. With the exception of a few months after I started a new job (and forgot that regular activity raises metabolism), I've been stable at 130 pounds for about two years.

Maintaining this weight is something I do consciously. I watch what I eat and make sure I'm not taking in more calories than I burn. I'm not like this naturally. If I eat too much, I gain weight, just like everybody else.

The way I got to this weight was not healthy. The way I stay at it is.