The Other Side

02/Jan/2010

Let’s take this a little further. I believe I’ve stumbled on to one of the basic tenants of the “WHY” portion of my weight-loss dilemma.

I like food.

Here’s where I get stubborn: French Women? Don’t get fat. They eat, the French eat, the Dutch eat, the Germans, mygod do they eat. But they don’t struggle with the same medical issues that we in the US do. I do believe on one hand it’s a simple solution: Calories in vs Calories out. But there is more than just math involved. There’s an entire culture involved. There’s history. There’s the agri-business. There’s an entire western culture built on more, bigger, better, and corn*.

Ultimately I think I should be able to ENJOY food. To truly love food. To savor the community it provides, the atmosphere of joy. Eating should be fun. Hell, drinking IS fun. I cross my arms and pout like a four year old that I should be ABLE to drink and IT’S NOT FAIR because a whole nation of people enjoy the love of red wine and alcohol and nobody things a bloody thing about it; and don’t you watch Mad Men where people drink whisky all afternoon?

So lies the struggle, the internal justification. Why should *I* not be able to have those same things others enjoy?

I guess because it really isn’t working for me.

Because I have a desk job.

Because I have two small children.

Because I work full time and have to choose wisely the things I do otherwise: Run or Drink? Bike, Walk or Ride?

I’m starting to make some better decisions; meeting with a friend to walk instead of have drinks, take the kids to the park and play with them instead of a play area where I sit. Those kind of baby steps toward moving more, eating less.

And yet I struggle. At night. For social parties. Because I love a good beer.

I know it can be done. A good friend of mine stopped drinking to watch her weight and found out, BEHOLD! it worked. I’ve talked with Karen about this topic a million times. It’s a choice. It’s calories. On every diet everywhere it says “no room for alcohol.”

But.

But.

But.

I’ve seen women kick the alcohol habit and live to tell about it. I wonder if I can do the same. Do I need regulations? Do I need regimented calorie counting to prove there’s no room for empty calories? Or do I tell myself it’s a substance like any other type of food, like chocolate, like popcorn (my downfall), and that moderation is key.

None of that has worked thus far.

And so lies the quandary. There it is- the problem without a solution.  If you have one, I’ll take it. If you gave up drinking to better your body and soul, I’d like to know. If you battle the buldge and win, I want to know how. Ultimately, though, as I said before, it’s not in the knowing, it’s in the doing.

I’m ready to be the doing.

*After reading In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, I felt empowered to change our eating in to a more natural food source and am making home-made bread, home-cooked meals and the like. Now, reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals I realize the WHY I am changing my diet and, for the first time in my life, am ready to eat “responsibly grown” meat sources and local fresh foods. Only. It’s true- I’ve finally gonen hippie on our food.

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Comments

  1. So glad you posted this - I’m going to post on this today at The Shredheads.

    And glad to know there are others giving this a try.

    Hey, I did it for 9 months while pregnant…

    By Motherhood Uncensored on 2010 01 02

  2. I’m giving it up entirely, at least for January. I have more to say, but it’s in a post of my own.

    Know that I’m cheering us both on.

    By Julie @ The Mom Slant on 2010 01 02

  3. Remember that time I quit drinking for a month?  I don’t recall that I lost any weight.  However, I did do weight watchers once briefly, and you can have alcohol as long as you count it in your points.  Either way, a glass of wine is about 100 calories, and any beer worth drinking is probably around 150-200. 

    As far as battling the bulge…*sigh* I don’t know.  I’d loooove to be about ten pounds lighter than I am, and fit and healthy and all that.  And even though it’s not necessarily a resolution, I do hope to actually get back to a better way of eating also.  Sure I eat mostly organic/natural anyway…but I’m just not a very good eater.  I don’t plan ahead and I get stuck in bad food situations at work or when I’m out.  For me, it’s definitely all about planning ahead.  If I plan my meals, then I will eat better.  If I don’t, I’m liable to make extremely poor decisions.

    As for those ten pounds I gained though…I will say I gained them after I started drinking significantly more alcohol.  Dammit. 

    -Liz

    By Liz on 2010 01 02

  4. You remind me of a quote that I JUST read, “to know and not do is really not to know at all”
    deep thoughts. I have no answers. Except I do think many of my choices are ruled by the belief that life is short and must be ENJOYED, and there’s a whole lot more to it than being thin.
    love ya! you’re inspiring!

    By bananas on 2010 01 02

  5. I gave alcohol up for this very reason, but a friend of mine says she runs longer so she can have wine.  I run so I can eat.
    I need to run way longer though, these days.  Perhaps for days.  5 weeks of straight running and I may break even.  LOL!

    By Karen Sugarpants on 2010 01 02

  6. Uh-hu, what you said. To drink or not to drink. THAT really is a good question. And because I am a huge fan of wine, as well as whiskey, I do not plan on giving either of them up in 2010, despite the impending diet of doom that starts on Monday.  I am, however, going to be more sensible about my alcoholic intake.  That means, instead of drinking a whole bottle of $9.99 wine because it’s cheap and goes down easy, I plan on spending a little (or a lot) more on a good quality wine, only drink a glass (or two) and savor every sip.

    By Paige on 2010 01 02

  7. I have one of those “weird” medical conditions that is not recognized by most doctors. (Adrenal failure) One of the side effects is getting very, very ill from drinking. My body doesn’t tolerate it. Almost like an allergy. And you wouldn’t believe how long it took me to figure that out. And even still, I would declare it unfair and drink anyway. Then I finally decided that drinking wasn’t worth feeling that way. I drink on occasion now (a glass or two of wine once every few months), but always cautiously because I will feel like crap for four days afterwards.

    And for a special bonus, I am on a steroid now that has made me gain eight pounds in a month (OK, OK, the carb/sugar binge around the holidays may have contributed slightly, but I’ve never gained eight pounds in a month before. It’s a little frightening and very uncomfortable.)

    So operation “get thy ass off the couch” starts Tuesday when the kids go back to school. And I’m putting better food into me body.

    I’ve already thought about what/if I will drink at Blissdom because I want to have fun, but I also want to enjoy the rest of the conference. (That borders on sounding pathetic.)

    Sorry for the novella.

    By Brigid on 2010 01 02

  8. I know people who have given up alcohol or sugar and lost a ton of weight.  That approach would NEVER work for me.  Either would Atkins for that matter, because I can’t give up a whole food group or a whole category of something I enjoy.  That’s one of the reasons that I really loved being on Weight Watchers (I’m off it now b/c I’m pregnant, but plan to rejoin after the baby).  Using points, you can plan for when you’re going to drink and adjust your other eating and your activity to make it so you can do whatever.  I had weeks where I had one night out and had… *ahem* A LOT to drink, and still lost weight because the rest of my week was fine.  For me personally, I am trying to make a lifestyle change and not be dieting, so what I need is to learn how to eat more healthy.  So part of that is learnign to limit myself etc.

    By Rachael on 2010 01 02

  9. I like food too - I can’t deny myself food. This is why - now that I have kids, and am about to slide over to the wrong side of 40 - I have to exercise so much. Because I want to stay in shape, but I refuse to diet.

    You end up happier and healthier by adding more activity in, rather than taking away foods that you enjoy.

    By pixielation on 2010 01 03

  10. It’s also worth noting that in many non tourist places in Italy, places like McDonalds go out of business, because their food quality is so much better than that of take away chains that locals wont eat there!  My pregnancy seriously lowered my alcohol tolerance, and I think its made a huge difference to my weight.

    By Luschka on 2010 01 03

  11. Well, I feel like your answer is right in your post. Calories in, calories out. Why do you present regimented calorie counting like an extreme solution? For me, that is the only thing that has worked. And once you get used to it it’s not extreme at all, it’s second nature. I can’t help but keep a running tally in my head of my day’s net calories, whether I’m dieting or not.
    Decide how fast you want to lose weight. Figure out your base metabolism. Work in a 500 calorie deficit every day for every pound you want to lose per week. If you go over one day, make up for it the next. Do strength training to increase your base metabolism.
    Anyone I’ve known who’s had an all or nothing attitude towards dieting has gained it all back every time.

    By Jen on 2010 01 03

  12. I gave up alcohol just for a month in 2001.  i haven’t had a drink since.  But I’m an alcoholic, so not drinking is pretty important!

    I’ve actually gotten really fit with and without alcohol.

    I think all that’s important is that you keep track.  I’m a firm believer in the 80/20 rule.  Stick to your diet 80% of the time, give yourself the other twenty to screw around however you like.  There are actually some good physiological reasons for building “cheats” into your diet.

    What’s super important?  Stay focused without beating yourself up!

    By leigh on 2010 01 03

  13. Mine “issue” isn’t alcohol, it’s just food in general. I get that “it’s not fair” attitude all the time. The times when I’ve succeeded have been the times when I’ve been REALLY motivated for whatever reason. I’m just not there at the moment.

    By Suzy Voices on 2010 01 04

  14. This was great to read.  Like you, I know that my issue really isn’t food.  It’s lack of exercise and that we do enjoy that evening cocktail.  And so that is one of my goals for this month as well.  Stay away from the cocktail glass and find some way to exercise intstead.

    By Molly on 2010 01 04

  15. Do or do not; there is no try.
    ;p

    And, uh, if 9.99 is a cheap bottle of wine? LOL. I just don’t have that much disposable income. raspberry

    I lost a couple of lbs in the last few days. Partly more fruit, partly hardly-any-alchohol…but maybe mostly, I was bloated. Hard to say. Although I’m sure the “not eating xmas baked goods” helped too. ;p

    You can do eet!

    By Al_Pal on 2010 01 05

  16. I’d like to recommend the GI diet it’s very similar to the French style of eating. It’s working wonders for me. It would do even more for me if I would stop the Boozing but heck one step at a time.

    Happy new Year!

    By Lgirl on 2010 01 07