Simple, Spiritual, Outdated Living in a Vintage New England Home on the Southern Coast of Maine

Friday, April 5, 2013

How I figured out I had to go on a diet from my diet


My midriff was expanding as my will power seemed to be shrinking when I was in my late 30s. I couldn't figure it out. I was eating healthily, after all, but I had no system of accountability.  I naively believed at the time that if I was eating the right foods everything else would fall into pretty places instead of spilling over the sides of my jeans.

I decided that I would attack the problem the American way: I'd go on a diet which meant eating lots of highly processed diet foods and "treats." I'll never forget the moment, so evil in retrospect but seemed like magic at the time, that I believed that it would be GOOD for me to start eating sugar and other ingredients I had shunned for so long. After all, I had gained weight eating "right," so how could I go wrong? I would be eating diet foods in low-cal portions! Piece of cake!

That was the beginning of very big bottom that started with small little packages, particularly frozen treats. They seemed so innocuous with all of the pretty promises on the boxes of being skinny. Problem was, I couldn't have just one. It seemed that the more I ate, the more I craved and caved. And it was the "meals," too. Lunches and dinners comprised of tiny portions of heavily processed foods left me feeling hungry. It caused a lot of anxiety for me because I thought I wasn't trying hard enough. I was gaining weight on my diet! This cycle went on for a few years.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I reached a point where I had to go on a diet from my diet.

It was only when I started eating healthy portions of real foods devoid of addictive ingredients while paying attention to the figures that I began to experience success. Counting calories seemed so antiquated but that was when I realized that word had gotten a bad rap. Going retro was the new and improved way!

I had to learn how many calories my body burned on a daily basis and the only way I was able to do that was to record it all, and I mean everything I ate, over a period of time in fitday.com. I learned that any time I was eating ready-made diet foods or restricted my calorie intake by too much I would end up consuming more calories in the long run. The former was full of empty calories that fueled an insatiable appetite while the latter left me feeling lethargic and not in the mood to move more. I had to find the right balance for me, and that had to be based on numbers and facts, not wishful thinking.

Currently in year four of my 1950s "diet" of real food, moving more daily and accountability I'm maintaining my weight loss of sixteen pounds. Every year it gets easier instead of harder. Recording my calories is no more difficult than brushing and flossing daily!

What's your experience with processed "diet" foods? Have you experienced  prolonged success with them?

Monday, April 1, 2013

"Feminists" outraged over "World's Best Mom" who made "Mean Beef Stroganoff" obit

Hello, everyone! Just when I thought I was safe to continue my time away from blogging for a few more days, I came across multiple headlines that spoke of the "sexist" and "1950s" (as in "Neanderthal") obituary of a very loved mother. The criticisms show me what's wrong with America today: "Feminists" assuming that some women couldn't possibly place a higher value on the personal relationships to family in their lives over their professional achievements, and if they or others do, they deserve to be bullied and picked apart online to teach 'em a lesson.


The crime committed against women? The NY Times obit "Yvonne Brill, a Pioneering Rocket Scientist, Dies at 88," was written by a man who opened  with: She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children. "The world's best mom," her son Matthew said. Mind you the headline is that she is a Pioneer Rocket Scientist, so it's not like it wasn't mentioned from the start.

Writes Doug Barry from Jezebel: It should go without saying, but the problem with the original obituary is that a male scientist would never — NEVER — be hailed as a "the world's best dad" before being hailed as an important scientific innovator.

But rather than maybe seeing THAT as a problem-- because perhaps many men WOULD prefer to be memorialized that way over what they accomplished or did at work-- he attacks and assumes that no one in their right mind could possibly value that over their career. That's the norm these days- attack anyone who doesn't agree with you, and that usually means the idea that women can and should be proud of their personal choices.

The NYT removed the highly offensive opening reference to "mean beef stroganoff" and replaced it with, "She was a brilliant rocket scientist." Yet when I read the entire obit which was mostly focused on Mrs. Brill's career, the personal remarks from her family including that she preferred to be called "Mrs." over "Ms." lead me to believe that perhaps even she would have taken delight in the original opening of her obit. 

The problem for me deepens into the vicious bullying that is the norm de plume, a term I just made up to refer to the now ubiquitous anonymous online attacks against others, is that the bullies assert Mrs. Brill had no good reason to feel good about supporting her husband by moving when his job relocated them. From the obit:

They moved to Connecticut in 1952 when Mr. Brill got a job there. She followed him again when he later got a job in New Jersey. She did not mind the moves, her son Matthew said. She would say, “Good husbands are harder to find than good jobs.”

Writes anonymous user (of course) EvilQueen2013 on Jezebel: Since when has "following your husband from job to job" become an achievement? You can read more comments like hers here. These "experts" dictate what accomplishments should be highlighted first and then devolve so low as to imply that they are actually shameful pursuits. 

When my husband was still an active duty US Marine, I followed him from one duty station to another until one day he followed me to civilian life. I learned from that experience, both personally and professionally because I worked as a career counselor and resume writer back during those years. There are millions of "trailing spouses"--men and women who choose to support their loved one's career while balancing their own and that it IS an achievement!

I don't know why it's so hard for women to have their personal life choices respected when it involves being a supportive wife, homemaker or mother because it's what they choose and love. Mrs. Brill was able to juggle being the wife, mom and cook she wanted to be while also being a pioneering rocket scientist- perhaps they are jealous?

I would love, in the most non-ironic way, to have her "mean beef stronganoff" recipe to share here in honor of Mrs. Brill! If anyone reading this can help, I'd appreciate it!

What do you think? Would love to hear from both men and women. Please share your thoughts below!