Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Cool book and my thinking about it

I just finished “The Amazing Adventures of DietGirl” by Shauna Reid. Ms. Reid started a blog in 2001 to help her journal about losing weight, but though the process really touches on the emotional toll that overweight people sometimes have. I found myself in the pages as well as being challenged by thinking about two questions in particular.
1. How to talk about your weight loss plans with others?
I have read so many articles and heard so many people’s opinions about this particular topic. Some say “tell no one”. Some say “tell everyone”. What I find fascinating about Shauna’s story is that why people around her knew she was losing weight, they did not know about her blog that had an international following of its own. She wanted to keep that separate. That makes sense to me. In the last couple days I have been thinking hard (probably too hard) about this.
I have been back on the healthy lifestyle bandwagon for about 2.5 months now. I am an active member of (where I heard about Reid’s book). I track my food, my workouts, read way to many articles and obsess over all the meaningless points that they give for doing these tasks. I have become really good at doing this at home sort of in private. But in December, when I looked at my January schedule, I knew that all that could go out the window while I traveled. So, I made a decision to make it a priority to tell people when I arrived in a city that I wanted to watch what I was eating and that I would be making time to exercise. It was scary for two reasons. First, I truly don’t want to be a bother. I don’t want people to have to extra hard on my behalf. I want to fit in, go with the flow, be easy to host. People become concerned and sometimes stressed when trying to find a place with remotely healthy food that isn’t Subway. Second and more scary, people will be watching over my shoulder to see if I really do choose the healthy option and really do exercise. (Like when I ordered Green Chile for supper in Denver – oh, I miss green chile.) If I let people in, then they may see me fail. And that is the scariest thing for me ever.
Sparkpeople gives a blog to each of its members where I could have posted this long entry. Instead, I am working it out in the midst of my friends who read this blog (and linking it to my Sparkpeople one – hey I get a point for posting there – ah, stupid point system!). Many that know that I have tried this before, sometimes working, sometimes not. I hope this time it will stick.
2. How to think about it as a part of your life?
Reid’s amazing weight loss from over 300 lbs to a healthy 150-160 range took over 4 years. Her first stretch she worked on it constantly. It took over her life (she admits later in the journal). Later, with her social calendar updated, she took a slightly less formal approach to the whole thing.
I sometimes wonder if the first stretch it has to take up your life. Do you have to get on a roll? Now, I fight this. Heck, I have a life. Heck, I live in Chicago – a place where all kinds of food exist. Do I have to always cook to stay on track? (We went out for Vietnamese last week, and I was able to stay on track – but that is an exception.) Do I have to spend all my time tracking, making goals, trying to figure out my emotions behind food?
I think I liked Reid’s story because it was a long process. She took her time – having a life but taking a journey to a healthy place. It wasn’t the story of one year or even two – it was a process.
What do people think? Is it better to start out really focused? Or is it better to see the whole thing as a process? (I know everyone is different, but hey I would like opinions!)
And while I make fun of Sparkpeople’s points, I really do love what it offers- and for free! This is my plug for it –

1 comment:

Alyzarin said...

I'm not really qualified to comment on how to lose a lot of weight, since I've never really had to do it. I did make a conscious decision to eat more healthfully, though-- eat mostly whole grains, more fruits and vegetables, have only ONE dessert per day (and make at least a few of those healthy every week-- not ice cream every day like I would prefer).

I know what you mean about not wanting to be a bother and having trouble eating out, though. Places say they provide healthy options, but there are so few of them and they are so boring! And then restaurants don't offer more healthy choices because they say no one orders them. But if the menus were more varied and interesting, people would probably order more healthfully. I'm sick of knowing that if I'm at a fast food restaurant, it will be a plain grilled chicken sandwich or maybe a salad with rotting iceberg lettuce. (Yum.) If it's an Italian place, I can have pasta with marinara or... pasta with marinara. If it's Mexican, it's a bean soft taco (if they're not refried) or a chicken soft taco if the beans are fatty (and forget any toppings except lettuce and salsa). Is there a rule that every restaurant needs to have exactly one or two painfully boring "healthy" choices?