Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

Intuitive Eating: Part II, and Over the Top

In Weight-Loss Maintenance on December 28, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Trigger alert, my size acceptance friends. I’m about to get into some of my techniques. I want to compare notes with my maintainer friends. I’ll also welcome your thoughts too, but you may not wish to read further, and I’m cool with that.

It was four days ago. I casually took my empty wine glass with me to the bathroom. I suppose I could have troubled my mother-in-law for a measuring cup (or just gone to the cupboards and found one myself), and she wouldn’t have thought me odd. She knows I work at weight-loss maintenance. I have bemoaned it to her before. She’s heard the “it’s-not-a-lifestyle-it’s-a-job” shpiel.

But I knew I didn’t really need a measuring cup, and I am self-conscious about drawing attention to my weight-loss maintenance unless someone else brings it up. Actually, even if someone brings it up. (It starts a whole it’s-really-more-complicated-than-women’s-magazines-make-it-out-to-be monolog, that I find embarrassing for its self-centeredness. And it’s nearly impossible to not sound braggadocios.) So rather than be caught using a measuring cup by some other family member, I used my other method.

I closed the bathroom door, filled the glass with water to the point that my father-in-law had filled it with wine. I took a deep breath, exhaled, and then . . . Gulp. Gulp. Gulp. Gulp. Gulp. Gulp. Gulp. Seven ounces. Here’s something I know about myself: one hearty-but-even gulp in a series equals an ounce. (Had the final gulp been a partial, I would have rounded down, but it was, indeed a full gulp.) Multiply that by 23 calories. My glass of wine had been 161. Round to nearest ten: 160. Reset the day’s total: I’m at 1660. Use the john, and rejoin the party.

Is that body wisdom or just body knowledge? Since I hide in the bathroom, is it a sign of disorder? I think it’s just being polite. When people see you pull out a measuring cup at a party, it can be interpreted as a judgment of their consumption. Or it looks like an invitation: “ask me about my weight-loss management.” I know that. Read the rest of this entry »


Intuitive Eating: Part I

In Weight-Loss Maintenance on December 21, 2010 at 5:46 am

To understand how I have modified (ruthlessly twisted and manipulated?) intuitive eating, which I will share with you after Christmas, you must first know what it is.  Here is a succinct summary, which comes from the website of Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RD, FADA, the authors of a 1995 book and its 2003 update entitled Intuitive Eating:  A Revolutionary Program that Works. These women claim to be the “original” experts on the topic, and I won’t dispute that.  I will, however, roll my eyes at them for using the explosive adjective “Revolutionary” and I will also accuse them of being too vague. “Program that Works” to do what?  Take off weight?  Come to peace with your body and food?  Whatever YOU want it to do (and will make money for the authors). 

Both size acceptance proponents and weight-loss promoters claim Intuitive Eating as a native belief system.  And this confusion has been unhelpful in a manner that should horrify these authors. It gives the imprimatur of size acceptance to something that can be twisted into weight-loss disorder.  The authors come from the vantage point of counseling people with eating disorders.  They certainly weren’t intending people to use their concepts in a disordered manner, and yet that may be happening, and I may be an example of it. 

Another example of Tribole and Resch’s vagueness would be the first line from the succinct summary I linked:  Intuitive eating is an approach that teaches you how to create a healthy relationship with your food, mind, and body–where you ultimately become the expert of your own body.   

Again:  approach to WHAT?  It probably should say approach to eating . . .  But even adding this clarification, it is vague.  I’m sure that Weight Watchers would feel comfortable inserting its logo in place of the phrase “Intuitive Eating.”  As would Slim4Life. As would Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS).  As would any number of diets that believe themselves not to be diets (or promote themselves as such), but rather “approaches,” or “lifestyles” that just happen to lead to (presumed radical and permanent) weight loss.  Read the rest of this entry »

It’s All Endocrine

In Weight-Loss Maintenance on December 16, 2010 at 9:40 am

. . . and semantics.

I stand with my hand on the refrigerator door.  I’ve stood here hundreds of times.  Motionless except for my breathing.  Hoping for the phone to ring and pull me away, or for the invisible, magnetic pull of the refrigerator door to magically reverse and push me away. 

An impulse has pulled me down the staircase and deposited me here.  I know if I open the door, I’ll find the brick of Jarlsberg, the jar of toasted pecans, the sliced turkey and/or stuffed olives.  There are also bagged baby greens and baby carrots in there, “conveniently prepared” produce, which I won’t even see — unless I decided to dip the carrots in hummus or peanut butter.  There are also organic apples.  Which I likely won’t acknowledge.  I know that. 

A year ago this time, I might also have considered the leftover pesto tortellini I’d fed to my husband and son the night before, but I avoid grain-based carbs now.  I haven’t lost the capacity to reason and control myself, but I’m having an “eat” impulse, and it’s pulled me to this place again.  And I stand and breathe, thinking nonthoughts and fragments.   I didn’t arrive here because of hunger in the gnawing sense.  But whatever took me here is real, if illogical. I know it well.  Over the past seven years, we have become familiar friends.  I know too that even if I override the “eat” impulse in this moment, I’ll probably wander back here in a half hour.

If you were to look at my larger life, you could find unresolved emotional conflicts, unexpressed angers, jealousy, general anxiety, all kinds of emotional untidiness.  Popular magazines regularly admonish us that if we are eating in the absence of hunger, we’re eating in a misdirected attempt to quell or numb emotions.  I think this is poppycock.  I refuse to blame my emotions for this regular meditation that happens in front of the refrigerator door and sometimes ends with me walking away, other times with a quick snack (Barbara Berkeley calls them “Grab and Go”) and other times begins a 600-calorie “binge,” which only takes Read the rest of this entry »


In Weight-Loss Maintenance on December 12, 2010 at 2:24 pm

The hardest question I have to answer, and it gets asked a lot, is “Why do you do this?” 

Good question.  Why do I maintain a radical amount of weight loss?  It’s hard.  It’s lonely.  I haven’t confused “health” and “weight loss,” so that doesn’t motivate me.  Why, indeed?

The easiest answer (at least the one that falls out of my mouth most often) is, “Because I can.”  That is incomplete and prideful, of course.  And it redirects to a question that is easier to answer, “Why CAN you do this?”  So many people want to do this, and yet they can’t.

I don’t know the answer to that question either.  It’s all speculation.  Perhaps, I can do this because I enjoy blessings: 

  • I have the financial resources to buy mostly unprocessed, organic foods, and the time and flexibility to prepare them.
  • I have the time and flexibility to exercise as much as I need to and when I want to. 
  • Certain physical attributes probably help.  As a fat person, I was “cello” shaped, evenly fatted.  My waist was ten inches smaller than my bust and 14 inches smaller than my rump at my biggest (not including pregnancy).  Maintenance is probably easier for me than someone who starts with an “apple” shape, or another shape that tenaciously holds fat in a designated place.   
  • Personal history may help.  For example, I’ve only had three legitimate yoyo weight-cycling episodes prior to this last run at loss, and by that I mean losses and rebounds of more than 10% of my highest weight at the time.  I understand many people rack up dozens of yoyo attempts representing hundreds of pounds. 
  • For all the grief I express about endocrine, I may get some help from it.  I’ve never, for example, been a big fan of fatty meats.  Just not my thing.

This does not explain it entirely.  Other people who have these blessings or others have been unable to maintain losses. Read the rest of this entry »

Not so Fast, FDA!

In Weight-Loss Maintenance on December 8, 2010 at 9:55 am

The buzz now, in size acceptance spheres and elsewhere, is the FDA’s presumed lowering of the BMI threshold for bariatric surgery involving laparoscopic bands. There is discussion among weight loss maintainers and maintainer aspirants at Lynn’s Weigh.   It’s interesting (but not surprising to readers here) that Lynn and many of her commenters are as uncomfortable with this presumed decision as the people discussing this issue at size acceptance sites, such as Fierce Freethinking Fatties and Big Fat Blog. I tried to enter the fray at BFB, and just made a mess on the comments page with my lengthy URLs, So I will give my thoughts (and links) here.

First, let’s clear something up.  It’s not a done deal.  The FDA rarely bucks a panel’s recommendation, but it can, and it hasn’t made a final decision yet.   It’s as though a motion has been made, and lacking discussion, it will pass in a few months’ time.  Maybe we need to enter the discussion.

In short, I think the FDA is being pushed too quickly, and with inadequate and premature evidence.  If it proceeds, then it does so on the recommendation of its Gastroenterology and Urology Devices Advisory Panel. While I’m sure these are fine people, it can be argued that the interests of bariatric surgery are well represented and consumer concerns may be, er, less so.

The panel of 14 includes general surgeons and other medical experts, as well it should, since it is charged with making recommendations on a variety of surgical devices for GI and urology procedures. But more specifically, at least five of the panelists are bariatric surgery True Believers:

  • Jon C. Gould, Chief of Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery, University of Wisconsin
  • Thomas H. Inge, Director of Cincinatti’s Surgical Weight Loss Program for Teens since 2004 and has performed over 135 minimally invasive weight loss procedures for adolescents during that time  Read the rest of this entry »

This, That and T’other

In Weight-Loss Maintenance on December 4, 2010 at 6:52 am

Today I am short on time, but not on links, so I thought I might just throw them out and let you have at ‘em.

This article on not-so-healthy health bloggers appears to be Marie Claire’s mea culpa for the Maura Kelly fiasco that not only failed to ban fat people from Public Displays of Affection, but inspired several counter revolutionary (both live and virtual)  smooch-a-thons.  I had never visited the “healthy living” blog sites that Marie Claire informs me are known by fans as the “Big Six.”  (Hint:  If you ever go on the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? game show, don’t make me your cultural literacy phone-a-friend.)  I have visited those sites now.  The food pictures qualify as pornographic, but the copy.  Whoa.  Is that what whippersnappers are reading these days?  Oh, boy.  Real Housewives of the Internet . . . on a diet.  ZZZZzzzzz. 

I prefer to read science and legit personal blogs, ones that lack the dazzling sheen of corporate sponsorship.  These “Big Six” all have the flavor of the self-appointed “in” crowd from high school all-growed-up.   I didn’t get deep enough into an article to get any diet advice, but if Marie Claire is correct about it, then it’s as wrong as the advice that I might have gotten in the locker room from one of the pretty girls at Rock Bridge High.

This second citation places a bet from some unlikely late comers to the Roulette Table .  They didn’t make it in time for our spin, but maybe they can win in the next round.  Our house pets and lab animals put a chip on black.  There may be other explanations than environmental chemicals for why these animals are getting fatter, but it certainly isn’t their decreased outdoor play, their love for video games, or their reliance on the Applebee’s Carside-to-Go window.  Maybe I need to rethink my seering hatred for Bovine Growth Hormone, however.  I doubt they are fed steak and milk products.  Ah, well, there are other perfectly good reasons to distrust Monsanto.  Round-up anyone?

On Science and Ethics

In Weight-Loss Maintenance on December 1, 2010 at 11:59 am

Note to casual readers – if you aren’t reading the comments, you are missing the best of this blog – the commenters are superb.  Now, in response to a brilliant observation on my last post from Debby, I found a worthy observation falling from my own fingertips:   

“My mission statement, as a blogger, and I probably ought to post it somewhere, is “tell a truth; advance compassion.” I can do that, since I’m not a scientist — I just observe them.  A scientist’s mission statement can only be “tell a truth; advance more research.” When they unwittingly adopt an agenda, such as “advance weight control for all,” then they betray their mission as scientists.”

Other people, say, public policy makers, rely on scientists to provide unbiased information so that they may make decisions about what to advance.  Biased information, by definition, is incomplete, and that will compromise decisions.  

I recently ran across an interesting scientific overview of ethics as they might apply to public policy and obesity.  Forgive the grammatical eccentricities.  I think it’s been translated from Dutch.

The scientists looked at various ethical frameworks that public policy makers might use to frame decision making with regard to obesity.  As I was reading, however, I couldn’t help but notice that the overview itself has been affected by bias.  I was stopped short at the background section, for example, where they give three sample ethical questions that public policy makers might ask when creating policy: 

“Is a campaign that stresses the importance of a healthy weight acceptable when it stigmatizes overweight persons? At what point does encouraging physical activity in the workplace become too intrusive in the personal life sphere? Is policy to inform people about health risks of obesity ethically sound when it does not reach people from ethnic minorities?”  Read the rest of this entry »