Thursday, August 30

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Hey! I AM alive. Hard as it is to believe some days.

Right now I am working like 8am to 2am. It's nuts. So I don't have much time to write and it's kind of hard to formulate ANY thought, let alone a decent blog post. But I will be back soon!

I have several major focuses in my life which tend to take up about 98% of my attention when they are present. At which point, everything else falls away. I go through these focuses one at a time. And when I am with focus X, everybody in focus Y and Z think, "What on earth happened to her?!" and my friends get irked at me and so on.

I guess the reality is that I am a chronically over-committed sort and I can only be with any program "cyclically".

Alas, that seems to include an eating program. I've been ignoring Lowcarb for awhile now but AS OF MONDAY 9/3 I am back on a 12 week plan. I have a nifty spreadsheet for that as well as one for general tracking that I will link on my next post in case anybody else wants to use them.

I haven't had any money for awhile (when I say that I am being quite literal) but I get paid tomorrow so can finally go shopping for REAL FOOD. Not the carbfest nightmare (Ramen is 6for$1) I've been eating while in temporary poverty. I know, some great bloggers have exampled how LC can be done on a budget (Regina at Weight of the Evidence) has more than one good post on that) but I don't think I budget well enough to do it on twice that budget. It's a good thing I have a job is all I can say.

Meanwhile back at the... er, mental world of PJ, I've been doing a lot of thinking about the stuff I blogged on some time ago regarding society bias against fat, and "fat activism" and things like that. It really moved me and made me feel quite differently about my lowcarb public stuff than I used to.

I eat lowcarb--not as often as I should--because for me, it is healthy, it tends to avoid gluten, it definitely avoids carbs, it increases my protein, and I like the food. I am much healthier when I'm eating lowcarb. I feel so sorry for people who, when they diet, are really doing nothing more than being miserable and underfed for awhile but otherwise see little benefit to it besides a slow wasting of muscle that reads on the scale as weight loss so they're happy.

Totally aside from weighing some insane amount I am too frightened to step on the scale to rediscover, I would eat low carb because it's good for me in so many ways. It isn't really about weight loss. Yes, I *want* bodyfat loss -- absolutely! But I want about a dozen other things just as much frankly, all of which matter too. Putting the focus on 'weight loss' first, is kind of misleading because it ought to be about bodyfat, not just pounds. Second, it's kind of overbalanced because it ought to be about health, not just size. And third, it's just incomplete, because LC is as good for me for other reasons as it is for gradual weight loss reasons.

So I think when I get some time (in a day or so--by end of this weekend latest I hope) to come back and blog properly (I have several taggings I must respond to!), I think I am going to take my weight off my blog. I'll keep it on my journal on the forum so anybody can see it if they want, as I link to it with my screen name from here; it isn't that it's a secret.

Recently there was a big drama (actually I think it is quietly continuing) about an eating plan that is, off-paper and into the hands-on practice, basically a starvation diet. Well, I really want the focus on this blog to be "healthy lowcarb yummy stuff and life", not, "the contest to lose scale-pounds by eating a certain way", and partly that's because this mentality about "eat this way to lose weight!" is really part of the same problem that drives people to starvation diets to begin with.

If the focus were on what is healthy for you, what makes you feel good and strong and mentally clear and physically able, then there would never be any confusion about why living on 400 calories a day might be ok. I say this as a person who regularly, if not forcibly on a lowcarb eating plan, lives on sometimes that many calories a day. That is why I'm hugely fat. I ought to be a walking testimony-of-terror to anorexic groups about what mucking up your metabolism in the most serious way can do to a person.

So I'm not saying I don't understand. Eating is inconvenient and time consuming and in general a bother unless I have time and interest. If someone fed me, I'd eat all the time. When my laziness and busy-ness (I am over-"focused" as attention goes) has to compete with food, it often loses. So I am no saint on the food front. I'm just saying that the whole focus on butt-size compared to what goes in your mouth is really part of the problem to begin with, that causes people to starve themselves or live solely on cabbage or all kinds of other bizarre and stupid acts of hysteria to deal with fat. And meanwhile, it means that even the people who should most support the acceptance of 'size' in our society, no matter what it is, are basically playing the same game as those against it, when the primary focus isn't "Hey I'm healthy and happy and isn't this eating plan great" but rather, "Here's how much of that nasty ugly weight I've managed to lose."

Maybe in reality we shouldn't congratulate people for losing scale weight--but for improving their health, which is just as hard-won an effort for people who do this in ways like removing cream from their coffee, or getting off gluten-containing foods, or improving their vegetable intake, as for people who do it by "officially losing weight."

My point is that the whole concept of an eating plan is life-wide. It shouldn't really be about your butt. It should be about your health in 1001 ways, your longevity, your quality of life. Person X who is eating broccoli and roasted chicken but not losing weight if that's the case, is working JUST AS HARD on improving his life as person Y who is eating pepperoni and frankenfoods but losing weight on the scale.

A focus on health would circumvent a lot of problems and put the lowcarb focus where it belongs. I believe this issue of putting the health goals first and weight issues second is the way it ought to be, and I plan to do that with my exercise blog as well. Which I forgot I even owned until recently. Damn, I am such a scatterbrain! Can I blame this on eating all those carbs?! :-)



Big Daddy D said...

Welcome back! I have to say that I think you are right. I've been wondering how low I should try to go. It seems that some bodies are better equipped to carry a little extra padding than others. Both my wife and I are very muscular and have broad strong bones. Even if I had zero fat, my lean body mass is high enough for many people to consider it obese compared to my height. I think that carrying a bit more fat might be the evolutionary purpose of stout bodies. Don't get me wrong, we both have a little ways to go before we are healthy. I think the point should be to get to that weight where you feel the best. It doesn't have to be 10 to 18% body fat. Every body is different. Everyone has their own comfort zone.

Now, for those of us who are still not in our confort zone, I have to say it is not a race to the finish line. If this is a lifestyle change, take your time. Unless you are so obese that your immediate life is in danger, there is nothing wrong with a slower approach.

You lost 100 pounds already. That should have made a huge difference in your health. Perhaps it is not bad to slow it down a bit as long as you are able to maintain your focus.

nonegiven said...

I've missed you!

I'm totally with you on the health thing. I am serious when I say I'll never go off low carb again even if I never lose another pound. I really feel like crap when I eat even close to what the nutritionists say. The biggest mistake I've made was listening to people that thought I was losing too fast and increasing the carbs a little.

I've lost a lot of weight but the biggest change in my insulin resistance happened from cutting back on the carbs before the great majority of the weight came off.

I put my weight on the journal I just started but I only weigh when I have to go to the doctor.

Anonymous said...

Hi PJ :) You've probably heard of FlyLady before ( She is grating and I guarantee you'll think of 100 reasons why it won't work. But her approach helped me make my life sane. I went from living in chaos and shame -- scared to death that somebody would show up at my door and see the godawful mess -- to living in peace. It starts with just 15 minutes a day building a simple routine. You and the kid deserve peace, and it's easier to have routines than it is to be stuck in crisis management mode.

Another unsolicited piece of advice: workaholism is literally robbing you of your life, your health, and your daughter's childhood. It's not worth it. You don't have to work yourself to death for people to like and love you. You're good enough just being you.