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Too Fat or Not Too Fat

Lots of simple minimalist living is affected or weighed down by what we think.  I really don’t like talking about weight, because health doesn’t equal weight.  When I talk about food and taking care of the body health is my goal, not weight.

However, this week so many people are talking and stressing about weight and resolutions to get rid of weight.  I don’t like resolutions, especially on Jan 1 when everyone is exhausted from all the holiday, and I don’t like goals, but I did want to say a few words on health (and weight).

A note about myself.  I am 31 years old and have 2 kids.  I have never been small growing up or in school.  I was between sizes 10-14 during high school, college.  My family isn’t small, but probably would be considered average.  I gained about 60 pounds with each pregnancy … the babies needed it :)  After having my second son I lost all the weight as well as another 20+ pounds.  My wedding dress falls off of me now and I had to get all new cloths.  I dropped to a size 4 and have been there for about 4 years now.  The weight isn’t hard to keep off and it isn’t temporary.  I love and enjoy food, and don’t live on a diet.

I know genes play into stuff and that is why I wanted to share with you my story.  Every healthy woman is a different size and shape, but I don’t believe that your family dictates what it will be for the rest of your life.

I don’t believe that willpower, motivation, or lack of execution is the problem in most weight loss programs.

I love to read about diet and health, and  I wanted to share with you some of the stuff that I have learned and live by.

  1. A calorie is not just a calorie.  Sure it sounds so simple and easy to understand.  It breaks down into nice mathematical problems to help people figure out how much people need to eat for the size they want to be.  But, there are several studies out there that are starting to question if all calories are equal.  If all calories are not equal, then there is a difference between good and bad calories, not only for nutrition, but also for weight.
  2. Fat is not bad.  Somehow extra weight hanging around the body got the same name as a nutrient.   They are not the same thing.  There has been a huge low-fat push for the last 30ish years and people are just fatter (around the middle) so lets just say that it might not be working.
  3. We don’t really know all that much about the human body.  Kinda goes along with the calories.  We have ‘current option,’ but not really any hard facts. So feel free to question everything, question me, experiment different things (not anything stupid or clearly dangerous… ) there is still so much to learn.  On this note, just do google searches for cholesterol and heart disease and there is lots of stuff that pops up that says lots of different things.  There are studies and doctors that think they are unrelated, there are disagreements on what is a healthy or unhealthy level, there is disagreements on if it sticks to the arteries and more.  … and these are all thinking people.  We might just not really know all that much.

So, here is my eating suggestions.  These are habit based, do them today and tomorrow and worry less about 3 months down the road.  There really isn’t messing up.  I eat different all the time depending on where I am and what I want to eat.   These guidelines help with making food choices.

Enjoy Eating

This is #1.  Food is life giving and super fun.  Eating shouldn’t be a drag or create guilt.

Enjoy Food

Unless you are on a desert island with no choices or in jail there is a huge selection of food and flavors.  Food is meant to be enjoyed, and savored.  If it takes 30 minutes or an hour to cook, why should it be swallowed in 10 minutes without even noticing all the flavors?

Stress Less

This may seem to be redundant from the first 2, but seriously.  Food should only be a stressor if there is none.  Starving children=stressor.  Having food = grateful.

Eat Only Food

This is where it is so simple, but can get so complicated at the same time.  Eat things that look like food, not factory creations.  Food is something you need to wash dirt off of, food molds, food wilts, bugs will eat it if they get the chace… get the idea.  Very little of what is sold in the stores under the name of ‘food’ fit into these categories.  Have you seen some of the dates on some foods.  I have seen a loaf of bread last for months without molding…. that is un-natural!  Dips and dressings that have a dairy base shouldn’t be lasting for months on end…. I don’t know if white flour or white sugar ever goes bad.  Whole dried grains can last 1000 of years if they are kept dry without bugs, but if the grains are broken then they start to go bad (or should under natural conditions).

As much as possible eat only food.  Not chemicals, or factory concoctions.  If you stick to items that have just a few ingredients that clearly represent food and stay away from things with corn syrups (good indicator that the item is processed) it will be a good start.

Don’t Eat Anything Low Fat or ‘Diet’

No diets remember, so don’t suffer through any of this trash.  Products try to claim “Tastes just like the real thing”, ha, I hope not, because it isn’t. How do they pull out the fat or sugar that the product flavor is known for and still have it taste the same?  Unsuccessfully, with chemicals.  This stuff doesn’t fit in the food category, and tastes terrible… don’t eat it.  yuck!

Eat Minimal Animal Products

This is something that is coming out more and more in studies.  You don’t need diary to live.  It isn’t an essential part of the food pyramid.  That somehow came about with government and the dairy industry trying to make money, but that is another post.  Anyways, more and more studies are showing that animal products (dairy and meat) are actually unhealthy for the body.  They are also the main contributor to pollution and us running out of fresh water.   I am not saying that people have to be vegan and stand on a soap box.  It is hard to move away from these things in the diet.  Just eat less of it. Have a meal, day, or week, without animal products.  People get overwhelmed and discouraged with changing overnight.  With trying to change overnight, food can becomes a big focus of the day, and turn life over to a diet that is hard to keep.  That isn’t the way we role at ‘Loving Simple Living’.  Love food, love life, and try to do better in the moment you got.  Our family still has some dairy.  A few times a week is it added to something, but it isn’t the main part of the meal.

Less Wheat

Our society has become extremely wheat dependant.  It is only one grain (and often an extremely processed one).  Branch out to different grains and eat less wheat.  I don’t like buying bread or bread products because they are so processed and full of chemicals.  Instead I make my own bread when I remember.  Sometimes there is bread in the house, sometimes not, and life goes on.

Less Sugar

Sugar comes in so many forms now and is loaded in almost every pre-processed food.  Sugar is great, and nice, but it should be a treat, not a staple.  Fruit is a sugar too.  Have vegetables more often and maybe a piece of fruit for dessert.  Don’t want a piece of fruit for dessert?  Have another rich sugary desert instead, but don’t double up on sugars.  Cereal with added sugar, smoothie with sugar and fruit, coffee or tea with a bunch of added sugar and cookies… is a bit much sugar for a meal…

Put Good Foods Into Your Diet

There is lots of focus on what not to eat.  Human nature doesn’t like to be told ‘no’ all the time.  At first some people claim that they don’t like anything healthy.  It might be true that they aren’t use to anything healthy.  A salad or stir fry was never meant to taste like a cheeseburger and coke.  No matter how much time is spent cooking, you can’t do it.  There is a whole host of flavors and textures of ‘real’ food.  Lots more than bland sugar or salt flavored mush.  Try different things several times and cooked in several ways, discover what you do like, and eat more of it.  Focusing on putting more whole grains and vegetables into the meal is much more fun than cutting things out.

Treat Yourself

Not living on a diet, remember?  Make sure to eat what you want and treat yourself. It doesn’t have to be a piece of fruit 😉  I went on a piece of chocolate a day kick, and a iced fancy coffee drink in the afternoon kick, and have had other kicks.  There are different things you crave at different times right?  Indulge and enjoy!  I usually treat myself after the kids lay down for a nap or before bed when I can sit and enjoy it.

A small bit of ‘soul’ food is great.  If it isn’t for your body, eat it to enjoy it.  Don’t eat anything unhealthy that you don’t like.  There may be healthy things that don’t taste as good that need to be eaten now and then, but don’t waste time or energy on cheap junking junk food.

Healthy In Private, Relaxed In Public

A concept I pulled out of French Women Don’t Get Fat several years ago that I really like.  I hate how society makes people feel self-conscious about eating.  ‘I will just have a little piece’ ‘I can’t believe I ate so much’ ‘I really shouldn’t, but maybe just this once’.  Why?  When we are eating with people usually the food is the best.  We have taken time to prepare something fancy at home or gone out to eat.  In public is the time to eat, enjoy, and have fun. Make your healthy meals when you are home, eating a quick meal or nothing fancy, then when you are out you can really splurge and not feel so guilty.

Life is not a mix of on and off a diet.  Life is about what I am going to choose today, now.  Don’t worry about what you ate last year, last month, or 5 minutes ago. Worry about what you are going to eat and how you are going to live right now. Make the best, simplest, full of enjoyment choices you can based on the above information.  In time, creating new habits around these ideas I hope you can:

  1. Love food and see it as life giving
  2. Become a healthy weight, and feel healthier
  3. Spend time and energy to grow in other areas

There you have it, sorry it is so long.  I will get off the soap box and won’t mention body weight for the rest of the year.  Simple living is living without the stress or guilt in this area.  Starting tomorrow, every thursday for the rest of the winter and spring I will be featuring a simple, healthy, vegan, cheap, meal.  So often people just don’t know what to put into their meal after they pull the animal, processed, wheat, and sugar out.  Hopefully I can help answer that, or at least pass on what I have learned.

9 Comments

  1. Lori

    This was a great post and lots of good information. I try to do the 5 ingredients or less in choosing foods to eat and shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. The eating to savor part is something I haven’t thought about and I want to give a try. Thank you for the encouragement.

    Glad you and family had a great Christmas season (minus illness).

    • Yeah, the 5 ingredients or less is a good one.

  2. Great post! When I see a food item that lists a long list of ingredients, I don’t even bother reading it. I just put it down and don’t buy it. My girls have some food sensitivities and I really have to watch what I feed them.

  3. This is a very good approach to the issue. I think as a whole, our society is waaaaayyyy to focused on this sort of thing, on both ends of the spectrum. But I’ve learned that when one relaxes and eats well {but, as you said, not on a diet}, these things tend to manage themselves…

    • Yes. So much more fun! Then the focus can be placed on other things instead of just food.

  4. hmmm, this is another subject that always ‘gets my goat.’ i’ll try to refrain from pulling out my soap box & be brief. 😉 i agree w/you on so many levels…but really want to add the importance of exercise. i know you’re saying it’s not about a weight but being healthy & i couldn’t agree more. having 3 girls (& a boy) i want so badly for them to know that if they are a size 10 & can run a mile without keeling over that’s more important (& healthier!!!) than being a size 2 & barely able to run a mile. a small pants size does not always equal health. for example, when we lived in texas my weight hovered around 115, i was doing a lot of running but just didn’t have much muscle mass. that lack of muscle mass actually negatively impacted my running & i hurt my IT band. now, a year & a half later & after lots of kickboxing & lifting weights i weigh about 125. i have a tendency to get discouraged occasionally because we all know it’s nice to see the perfect number on the scale. but then i remind myself that muscle weighs more & i KNOW i have more muscle than i did a few years ago. anyways, i’m rambling. 😉 i just want so badly for our kids to know that beig strong (no matter what the scale says) is healthy! 😉

    • I agree! Your soap box is always welcome! That is why I didn’t put in weights (or I don’t think I did…). Pant sizes often don’t change with the muscle, and if they do, not near the same. Muscle does weigh more than fat and it is much more evenly distributed. … I need to work on my muscle ;). So many people who go vegan or super healthy go so low calorie that they are living a starvation diet and can’t do anything. I think that is wrong. Calories are needed for life and I try and choose high calorie whole/healthy foods all the time so I (and the family) have energy to move. Food is a tool for life!

  5. I am going to have to disagree with you categorizing foods as “good” or “healthy.” My educational background is in eating disorders and nutrition, and labeling foods like this can create a stigma about certain foods that isn’t very healthy (mind-wise).

    In moderation, all foods can be employed in a healthful diet. Having a cheeseburger once a week will not cause any detriment to a diet, and if you eat this way, the food isn’t bad. The problem begins when a person begins to eat cheeseburgers and fries all day, but the problem isn’t the food itself – it’s the fact that they’re eating too MUCH of these foods, which causes an unhealthy calorie and macronutrient imbalance. Food can’t be good or bad, but your diet CAN be unhealthy or healthy, depending on the food choices you make everyday.

    If you eat processed food all day long, you’re going to miss out on a lot of fiber and nutrients which will make you unhealthy and heavier (they usually contain more calories, derived from saturated fat). In contrast, if you’re only eating carrots and kale all day, you’re also going to miss out on a lot of important nutrients and will probably be deficient in some macronutrients. Both scenarios aren’t healthy.

    • I can agree with you to a point. I defininetly don’t think people should live on all vegetables or grapefruits all day, and all foods in moderation the body can process. There are just some foods that give the body the building blocks they need and lots of others that just drag the body down (with extra calories and chemicals). I was trying to help give ideas in these meals of foods that give the building blocks for healthy growth. I, in no way, am trying to be a nutritionist or anything like that because it isn’t my training. I am trying to build on the established fact that whole, unprocessed, and less animal product meals — put in the diet more often — lead to better health. Thanks for your comment! sorry the wording bothered you :(

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