I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon lately. Well, interesting to me anyway, so I’m writing about it and you’re stuck reading it. HA!
No, wait! Come back! I promise not to be a jerk after all!
Whew. Hi again. 😀
So lately I’ve been trying to lose weight. As mentioned in my last couple of posts, the bingeing had pushed my weight up past where I felt healthy, so it was time to bring it back down.
But I’ve noticed something that occurs when I’m “losing weight:” I eat more crap. No, really. See, normally, I’m . . . well, I guess the annoying, trendy term would be “foodie.” I LOVE food. I love the way it tastes, the way it smells, the transformation it undergoes when you cook it different ways. I love the whole “food experience.” And there is room on my plate for everything: just like I watch both B-movies and Oscar winners, I eat both potato chips and free-range, grass-fed, antibiotic-free whatever. I have no issues using butter and cream, though I don’t eat them a LOT, mainly because I just feel congested if I eat too much of them. (Dairy is not my friend, as a general rule.) I like vegetables, and will eat them bare, raw, cooked, spiced, sauced, in any way, shape or form. I. Love. Food.
But when I’m dieting, I eat less “real” food and more crap. I’m more likely to eat a Lean Cuisine than to throw some chicken and veggies in a pan with some soy sauce and garlic. (Man, it’s lunchtime, and writing this is making me SERIOUSLY HUNGRY.) I’m not sure why, since chicken and veggies isn’t exactly a decadent meal, calorically speaking.
Part of it I know is because when I work out, I lose my appetite. For a few years in college, that was my method of weight control: skip breakfast, workout at lunchtime instead of eat, small dinner. And lots of Tootsie Pops to keep my blood sugar up. (Um, that apparently might have something to do with why I’m now hypoglycemic. Don’t try this at home, kids.) And now that I’ve gone back to working out pretty much every day, my appetite is shot. I come home and don’t even want to THINK about food. And it’s not like my appetite kicks in later. It just . . . goes away. But I know I need calories, and if I can’t even bring myself to microwave some spinach and throw a Boca burger on the plate, I can usually shove a Lean Cuisine in the zap-box and eat THAT. At that point I figure calories without nutrients is better than no calories, no nutrients. (Plus I avoid that seductive starvation high if I keep eating, even if it’s only frozen diet dinners.)
But I have to admit that I’m fascinated by the paradox of eating more crap when I’m trying to lose weight. And make no mistake: I’m Losing Weight, not Taking Better Care of Myself. There’s a HUGE difference there. And part of the reason for the former instead of the latter is because I needed t start exercising again, and frankly I won’t START exercising unless I’m doing it for weight-loss. I’ll KEEP doing it once I’ve started, but I won’t start. That in itself is kind of ridiculous: that I’ll do something for cosmetic reasons, but for my health, not so much. NICE.
So I’ve been trying hard to remain aware of the phenomenon. Because for a while I was eating frozen dinners EVERY NIGHT, and I KNOW that’s not healthy. So for the last week or so, I’ve been eating Asian-style chicken soup and steamed clams with green beans and shrimp with veggies in pepper sauce. But I’m definitely aware of the effort it takes; effort that it DOESN’T take when I’m just eating. Not eating to lose weight, but just eating normally. (And it’s not the effort of learning to cook differently, since most of the stuff I’m eating is stuff I would eat ANYWAY; it’s the effort of cooking AT ALL.)
But I think it’s also an interesting commentary on my state of mind. I’m not sure what it says exactly, but it’s an interesting thing to be aware of. The idea of weight loss as the only goal, the penultimate acheivement, no matter how ill-gotten. And it sort of ties into what I was thinking about yesterday: that whole scenario about losing weight eating diet dinners, only to end up with high blood pressure from all the salt. And wondering in the end if you’re really better off with high blood pressure than you were with aching joints?
So I’m charting a path through the voices in my head, and the land mines they lay out. Yes, it’s ok to lose weight. No, you may not do it either by starving or existing solely on frozen diet dinners. Yes, you can lose 30 pounds. No, you can’t lose 60. Yes, you really DO lose your appetite when you exercise. No, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy to skip meals. Yes, it has to be a healthy meal. No, the vegetable in the diet dinner doesn’t count (I don’t care WHAT the government says, those teeny servings are NOT ADEQUATE NUTRITION).
It’s just . . . oh, let’s say it’s entertaining. LOL.