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!