September is always a New Year’s season for me, and in honor of fresh starts I am embarking on a daily blog challenge for the month. My September challenge this year is called Back-To-School Issue, in which I recreate the magazines of my teenage years with the interests of my current self in mind. There will be journal activities at the end of each post for friends and followers who want to play this fun game with me.
This was me at Sacramento Comic Con at the end of June:
This is me tonight, eight weeks later:
Body image has been a battle for me my entire life. I’ve always been active, but I’m also addicted to sugar and body dysmporphic to an astonishing degree. This summer I decided to listen to my body for a change. I knew what I needed to be healthy. Why not just go for it?
As someone who has read every piece of diet and exercise advice available since 1980, I know all about the weight loss rules. I’ve also been in ownership of my own particular set of cells for forty-six years and I know what works for me. Some rules were meant for me to break.
What works for me might not work for you (this is my magazine, after all). Obviously, I am not a doctor. If you take this as medical truth and then follow it and then turn around and get sick, well just please do not do that.
Here are five common sense weight loss rules I broke to drop two sizes in two months:
Rule #1: Don’t eliminate any foods.
I’ve heard that making certain foods forbidden only guarantees bingeing later. The problem is that just one bite of a sugary delight unleashes a hunger dragon within me that cannot be tamed. I’m a sugar addict. I’m either on the wagon or off. Also, I’ve learned that the slightest bit of any kind of wheat painfully inflames my skin immediately upon consumption.
Easy fix: No processed sugar, no wheat. Period. I eliminate those foods, and that includes alcohol. (Not an easy fix at all for the first ten days. After that, easier but not really easy. It is definitely a fix, though.)
Rule #2: Don’t weigh in every day.
This is a weird one for me. I went for twenty years without owning a scale. Having been on diets since the age of ten, I was tired of caring about a number on a scale. Avoiding weighing in was a very healthy move for me. If I didn’t go through those decades eschewing the scale and concentrating on how I felt instead, I wouldn’t know my body as well as I do now.
Now I do step on the scale almost every day. Fluctuations don’t bother me because they are so constant. Also, seeing my weight return to the healthy range with my own two eyes keeps me from thinking that I’m actually getting heavier and larger. Which is a weird distortion of reality my mind likes to trick me with when I get fit.
Rule #3: Count calories.
Most women who were American teenagers in the seventies and eighties know the calorie counts of most foods. I spent years studying calorie charts. No more. I track what I eat. I have plenty of vegetables, fruits, and protein. I know the science is supposed to be calories in vs. calories out, but I don’t think that’s true with me. If I avoid sugar and wheat, I’m lean. If I eat those things, I’m puffy, regardless of the calorie count of my day.
Rule #4: Avoid fat.
In the early nineties I went through a fat free stage. I consumed a lot of processed crap that boasted the fat free label. It was nasty and often full of sugar which just left me hungry. Now I eat raw almonds and walnuts, organic peanut butter, olive oil and coconut oil. I eat the whole egg, not just the white bit. I am not a professional body builder, ok? I just want to be able to wear my favorite pants. Also, there is nothing like a handful of raw nuts, a glass of water, and a twenty minute rest to satisfy a snack craving for real.
Rule #3: Everything in moderation.
I’m not a moderate person. I don’t want to drink in moderation or exercise in moderation. I don’t want to do anything in moderation. I want to do a month-long daily blog challenge. I want to have one alcoholic drink a year (on my birthday). I want to get up at 4:30 every morning to drink hot black coffee and go to the local old-school gym for an hour and half.
Seriously, I’m trying to think of a single thing I do in moderation and I can’t think of a one. Wait no, I’ve got it. I eat Brussels sprouts in moderation. They’re good, but not too many at a time, right? You don’t want to over do it.
- What conventional wisdom rules do you break in your life because they just don’t work for you? What counter-intuitive wisdom do you have to share?
- What does your body need to be at your optimum fitness? Could you drink more water? Eat more vegetables? Go for walks? What do you really know, deep down, about what your body needs to be healthy?
- If you were to take the best possible care of yourself for the next forty-eight hours, what would your two days look like? What would you do?
- Write about your own history and attitude regarding moderation. What are you really immoderate about in your life? What do you take to extremes?