diets


On the bus this morning on my way to work a woman standing down the aisle from me caught my eye – tall, blond hair neatly pulled back in a pony, pencil skirt, good boots, funky swing jacket, fun scarf – she looked great, pulled together, good.  “love her style” I thought to myself  “would like to look like that”

and that’s when it hit me – I used to BE that girl – put together, chic, well-groomed, fashionable, confident

30 or so pounds and several life-crisis ago, that is

well crap, it’s time to go back to being THAT girl

I have a closet full of fantastic clothes – great jackets, funky skirts, chic pants, cute tops – but all 2 or 3 sizes too small – this must change

Lately I have taken to wearing my lulu pants or jeans to work with a sweater or hoodie and my Chucks.  On the one hand, SO LUCKY I can dress like that at the office.  On the other, it has allowed me to become lazy and complacent and not make any effort in getting dressed in the morning.  I have become LAZY.  And COMPLACENT.  My mother would most definitely not approve.

I mean who cares, right? No one is going to see me, what does it matter?

Oh, it matters.  Believe me, IT MATTERS! I need to make that effort again, care about what I put on before heading out the door.  Be the girl people look at and say “wow, she looks GREAT!  what style!” I was that girl and will be again. Soon. I figure by the end of April I can get my act together, drop 2 sizes and be right back in my kicky skirts and flirty tops, feeling good about being ME.

Show the world the best version of me and then the sky’s the limit – there will be no stopping what this girl can do!

will keep you posted . . .

*the fact that the episode of Beauty Call that I filmed a few months ago wherein they (and Whitney Port!) called me FAT (I am a size 12 to 14) in at least 18 different ways on national television has NOTHING to do with this!

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You know those “reality” shows where the person goes on, unhappy with themselves or their house or their wardrobe or whatever?  like TLC’s “What Not to Wear” or Britain’s Trinny & Suzanna??  Well Canada’s W Network is launching their own version, hosted by Anna & Kristina of  Shopping Bag and Grocery Bag fame called Beauty Call, and I applied.

And got on.

The first shoot is this coming Tuesday – and I have to appear on camera wearing a black bandeau top and black boy-shorts.

Half naked.

ON CAMERA.

For NATIONAL TELEVISION.

I guess it’s too late to start with the sit-ups … I wonder if I could request a full bar on my ryder???

UPDATE:  I did it today and it was scary but not terrible!  The (ALL MALE!!) camera crew were great and the production team really made me feel comfortable.  I said that this year I was going to do stuff that scared me and took me out of my comfort zone.  This totally qualifies!!  Can’t wait to see what they pick out for me!!  stay tunes …

Am I  pissed that she lost all that weight?  absolutely not – I think it’s fabulous.  What I am pissed about is how they are promoting it and the unrealistic image she is portraying while posing in a bikini.  Hey, she looks GREAT! but at what cost?  and to what end? as far as I can tell all it serves to do is propagate the unattainable and unrealistic (not to mention completely unhealthy) body image that Hollywood and the media force upon us.

Like most women I know, and don’t know for that matter, I have struggled with my weight pretty much all my life.  I have been WAY up and WAY down, neither healthy, and right now I am pretty much where I should be but of course am still not completely happy with it.  I lead an active life but think I should be more active.  I eat well 95% of the time, but then go through spurts, like right now coincidentally, where a 250 calorie bag of baked pretzels dipped in almost no calorie Dijon mustard makes a perfectly acceptable meal of the day.  Yeah, I know, SOOOOO healthy, right?

I had a mini melt-down the other day, thankfully in the privacy of my own bedroom, brought on I suspect by watching an interview with the aforementioned Ms. Bertinelli, tuning in to the Biggest Loser (a show I actually enjoy and think for the most part promotes a healthy attitude and approach to weight loss),  and the fast-approaching spring/summer season.  Ms. Bertinelli admitted to dropping her caloric intake to 1,200 for several weeks prior to the bikini shot.  Well of course she did?  If I knew I was going to be photographed in a bikini for millions of people to see you had better believe that I would pretty much stop eating and start working-out 6 hours a day for at LEAST a month. 

But then what? What happens when you go back to real life? What happens when you HAVE  a real life, with a real job and real responsibilities?  Most of us don’t have 6 hours a day to dedicate to working out.  Most of us don’t have a weight-loss company PAYING us to promote them thus enabling us to have those 6 hours a day to work out.

Which brings me to my next “issue” – the whole weight-loss company thing.  Jennifer Lancaster made this point over and over in her book “Such a Pretty Fat” (which I LOVED, by the way – READ IT!).  Sure, Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers work great IF YOU EAT THEIR PRE-PACKAGED FOOD.  But then what?  Are you stuck eating that crap forever??  Because, yuck. And so not healthy – it’s all processed and full of stuff you can’t pronounce and so contrary to that other dietary trend we are being inundated by – the 100 mile thing (but that’s a whole other topic for a whole other entry). And they don’t emphasize (or even mention in some cases) that exercise is the key.

This is a point that The Biggest Loser makes over and over again – change your life, change the way you eat, change the way you move.  Sure the contestants on the show have the luxury of being on a ranch with some fabulous trainers and the ability to work out 24/7 should they so choose.  But it’s not a permanent situation and they, for the most part, leave the ranch with a new approach to how they live their lives.  They are shown healthy alternatives to their favourite snacks.  They are encouraged to MOVE.  Their lives and lifestyles change – they are not dependant on a series of pre-packaged “meals”.

But this isn’t about extolling the virtues if a reality television show.  It’s about why I am pissed at Valeri Bertinelli.  You look great, I’ve already said that, and you do.  Really, you do.  But how will you look in 6 months?  Probably still great, but likely not “posing in a bikini on the cover of a national magazine” great because how could you? unless, of course, you continue on your 1,200 calorie a day regime which is setting such a great example for all the real women and impressionable young girls out there.  Does being thin and bikini ready make you a better person? Because that’s the message that’s being sent.  thin=better, happier, worthier

Here’s the thing – I love food.  I love reading about it, watching about it (bad grammar, I know), talking about it, preparing it, and eating it.  Life would be pretty damn boring if I was restricted to 1,200 calories a day for life.  (also, I would be ridiculously thin and that’s just not such a great look on anyone over 35 – hello, a little fat does wonders for the wrinkles) Food for me is a social activity and one that I am not willing to give up.  The moving thing?  I do that – sometimes more than others but on average I am way more active than apparently 90% of the general population.  I have 2 dogs that require lots of exercise and that translates into 2 45-minute walks a day during the week (including HILLS – I live in the mountains) and a 2 to 3 hour hike on Saturdays and Sundays.  Plus other stuff.  So yeah, I am active.

I also know that I feel better a little “lighter” and I am in a better mood when I am eating healthier and when my favourite clothes fit. But I really don’t need the, admittedly mostly self-inflicted, pressure of having to be bikini-ready or risk being shunned or marginalised.

So Ms. Bertinelli and those of your ilk, I am pissed at you (but you do look great!).

 

BOOK

My father has written a book.  A real honest-to-goodness book and it is amazing!!

Lots of people say they are going to write a book but few ever actually do it.  And he has and I am so proud of him.  When it arrived last week I burst into tears.  Was not expecting that visceral a reaction, but there you have it; I cried. 

He has had 10 copies printed for various people, myself included, to read and give him feedback.  I am in very good company – among others, he has a professional editor, a reviewer for the Globe & Mail, and 2 professors.  So far the reviews have been unanimous – a great story!

It is an historical fiction novel, loosely based on our family history – from Ireland to Montreal.  VERY loosely based.  As I was reading it at times I forgot that it was my father who had written it, and thought that that was a very good thing indeed.  But then his voice would come booming through or a story that I had heard in my childhood was woven into the tale, or a character was just so familiar, a lot like ME, in fact.

In the next few weeks my dad is going to give his book a final revision, taking in all comments and suggestions from his readers and then set about getting himself an agent to shop it around to publishers.  How amazing will it be when it gets published??

and then gets on the NYT Best Sellers list.  And then gets optioned to be made in to a film.  And Colin Firth gets cast.  And it is a HUGE success.  And gets nominated for an Oscar.  And wins.

Is it too early to start looking for a red carpet-worthy dress??

MOVIE

I saw Mama Mia this weekend and smiled my way through it.  A work of cinematic genius it is not, but fun?  Absolutely!!  Abba music just makes me happy and I seriously want to go to Greece and splash around in the beautiful blue water.  The Firth factor didn’t hurt, either … 

Navel Gazing

I try not to do too much of this but sometimes it just can’t be avoided.  I was out for dinner a few weeks ago to celebrate a good friend’s 50th birthday.  There were 8 of us, all women, ranging in age from 40 (me) to 54 (birthday girl’s sister).  Some married, some not, some in between.  3 of the women – married, well-off, seemingly happy, drank white wine and ate nothing more than a few edamame.  So THAT’S how they maintain their size zero figures!!  (there is WAY too much brie and french fries in this world to be enjoyed for me to get on board with that plan) Also, not so happy.  One of them, a real estate agent, married for 20 years with 2 children, 3 houses, and a closet full of designer clothes, has been sleeping with a new boy every week for the past year or so because she is “bored”.  She is now contemplating leaving her husband.

Another of them, divorced, 2 kids, great job, has morphed into the stereotypical “cougar” and was absolutely on the prowl.  She was one of the non-eaters and I have to say that once a woman reaches a certain age a little bit of weight in the face is not a bad thing.

Another of the women went on and on and on about money – how much she has, how much her husband makes, what their neighbours have, what they buy, what they will buy, what they want to buy, etc.  GROSS

(and she left early and only left $40 on the bill – guess who covered it?  yep, that’s right, ME!  the poorest in the group) 

I did have a good time – the birthday girl is a dear friend and a lovely and genuine oman and not like these others I have mentioned.  There were also other dear friends there whom I really enjoy and who are “real” people.

I got home that evening and just felt sad; a mite depressed actualy. But then spent some time seriously examining my own life and came to the happy realisation that I am happy.  My life is good and I don’t really have any major complaints.

Sure I would like to have more money, nicer clothes, more shoes, better jewelry, a bigger apartment – hell, my own house!  To be thinner and prettier would be great, too.  Also, I would like to have a wonderful man to come home to.  I would love to be in love again and to have someone to share things with. But still, I am happy now.  I have a very good life and excellent friends and 2 amazing dogs and a beautiful little niece.

So maybe on the surface those women look as though they have it dialed.  But do they?  nope

and my own life? pretty darn good

for anyone who knows me the fact that I have been concerned with my weight since time began is no revelation – it’s a real part of who I am and of why I do a lot of the things that I do

LOTS of therapy hours have been, and will likely continue to be, devoted to this subject

but that’s not what this post is about – this post is about diets and the insanity that surrounds them

Oprah and her staff have just very publicly done the 21 day cleanse as prescribed by  Kathy Freston in her book Quantum Wellness  – hell, she even “blogged” about it and raved about how not hard it was, etc

well of course not – you had the author’s private chef preparing all of your meals and your snacks for you, not to mention that you publicly declared your intentions to literally millions of people – and who’s gonna cave or fail with that kind of attention?? 

I don’t actually have any issue with the type of eating plan described by  Ms. Freston- the vegan or vegetarian lifestyle can be very healthy and fulfilling

but a 21 day cleanse and you are transformed?  um, no

others have publicly jumped on the cleanse bandwagon as well – most notably in the blogging world, Heather Armstrong.  Last week she posted that such a drastic change in her diet had caused her to become really, really sick and so had stopped the cleanse

while others have jumped down her throat and called her weak and a quitter, I think it was very brave of her to 1.  tell her audience about embarking on the cleanse to begin with and 2. to then admit that she had gone off it

a couple of friends of mine started the “recleanse” cleanse today and encouraged me to join them – I passed

“but you’ll feel so good”  “you’ll loose weight”  “it’s not crazy or anything”

1.  I am sure I would feel good, for a while, but at what cost?

2.  of course I will loose weight – the menu plan that goes with the cleanse makes for a 1,000 calorie a day diet – at 5’9 and at my current weight an EXTREME fat loss diet plan calls for 1500 MINIMUM

3.  not crazy?  probably not but what happens at the end of the 7 days?  right back to your old ways and the weight comes back on

I’m not judging them for doing it – I am sure that cutting sugar, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, etc. from their diet for even a week will be great for them – how could it not?

however, NOT for me – for one thing, I have a tendency to get rather obsessive when on a restrictive diet (I once spent 6 months on 500 calories a day, weighing each and every piece of food that went in my mouth)

for another, it just doesn’t make sense to me

that said, I am starting a 30-day plan for myself tomorrow based on a 1500 calorie, 5 meals per day schedule

my goal is to drop 2 sizes by July 30

I may from time to time outline what my plan is, how it is going, what I’m struggling with, where my emotions are at

for now, here is a sample menu for 1 day:

BREAKFAST

Smoothie:  1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1 banana, 1/2 cup non-fat yogurt, ice (225 calories)

SNACKS

1/2 cantaloupe, 1 cup non-fat cottage cheese (265)

LUNCH

salad:  1 cup shredded carrots, 1 cup shredded red cabbage, 1 cup chopped celery, 1 cup chopped cucumber, 3 oz shredded poached chicken, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar (300)

SNACK

1 cup grapes, 1/4 cup almonds (320)

DINNER

2 cups spinach, 1 chopped tomato,  3 oz poached shredded chicken, raw sunflower seeds, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar (300)

and lots and lots and lots of water – I already drink at least 3 litres a day

we’ll see what happens ….