guilt


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!).

 

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not very often do I come across someone else putting into words exactly how I feel; today I did:

a man who’d experienced pain at one point in his life. I needed someone who wouldn’t be reckless with my heart, who knew what it felt like to hurt. I wanted a man, not a boy. I didn’t want a man afraid of loss but one who wanted me out of joy, out of preference. And I needed to live that way myself, to find someone I wanted not just someone who wanted me. Things don’t change just because you hold onto them. They change when you let go.

the other night while doing fun stuff like laundry and sweeping the floors for the millionth time (2 dogs = LOTS of fur and other sundry crap getting tracked in to the house …) the television was on in the background and I wasn’t actually paying much attention riveted as I was by the sheer volume of fur that had accumulated in the 2 hours since the previous sweep when an ad for M&M Meat Shops and their “Famous Oriental Party Pack” came on

“Famous Oriental Party Pack”?  Seriously??

THIS is what they were hawking, but the mental image that sprang to mind was way politically incorrect (picture a Chinese take-out container festively decorated and when opened, out pops a veritable fiesta (yeah I know, wrong “ethnic reference”)  of “orientals”)

please don’t send hate emails or lecture me on how wrong and offensive a statement that is – I didn’t write the ad and I’m not the one selling something as a “famous oriental party pack”

but man I made myself laugh out loud – the dogs even thought it was funny!  can you imagine?  I know, I know, straight to hell and all that but it is FUNNY

and then there’s this video from This Hour has 22 Minutes

anyone living in Canada or living anywhere that gets Canadian advertisements on their tv has seen the latest in President’s Choice Christmas ads starring Galen Weston.  Good for him and all that and yes,  their products are good (and they do not use “famous oriental party pack” anywhere …) but this is a very funny and spot-on parody

and yes, I realise that I should get out more and find myself a life out there …

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 ….

 

red wine (Chat-en-Oeuf, my new fave daily (read: CHEAP) wine) and cinnamon toast is a perfectly acceptable dinner

I had one of those nights last night when I just wanted help.  I wanted to come home and have that third coat of paint already on the walls and the tape removed and all of my furniture and books and pictures and stuff back where it belongs.  I wanted dinner to be made and the wine open and poured and waiting for me and Maggie to have been fed and walked and my bathroom cleaned and the laundry done and the dishwasher emptied.  I wanted to arrive at home and be able to simply sit down on the couch, flip through the House & Home that arrived in the mail and enjoy said glass of wine in peace, knowing that I had no further responsibilities other than eating the prepared for me dinner and getting ready for bed at the appropriate time (sheets would already have been washed and the bed remade, natch).

This is not, sadly, how last night went.  I had to go to Home depot and pick up another gallon of paint for the third coat.  Then get home and negotiate my way through the obstacle course that is the 700 square feet I call home due to the painting and the floors to change from my professional outfit into suitable painting garb and then tarp the entire living room so as not to get paint on my lovely new floors and then start the actual painting, all the while trying to give Maggie the love she was begging for and trying my best (not always successfully) not to trip over her and spill the bloody paint and so then I yelled at her and she got scared and hid under the table so then of course I felt GUILTY and sad and inadequate and all that fun stuff.

With the painting finally done, I still had to feed and walk the mutt, find something to feed myself and get the dishes and the laundry and all that other crap DONE.  By the time I finally sat down to dinner  (which, by the way, was stellar given the very limited raw materials I had to work with: oven roasted cherry tomatoes tossed with penne, arugula and Parmesan cheese – delish!) with that much-anticipated glass of wine it was gone 9:30 and I was plain and simply tired. 

And tonight will be a repeat, albeit without the painting, as all the STUFF still has to be cleaned and put away and sorted.

It’s at times like these that I just want help, or at least someone to share the misery with me.

the recovering Catholic in me was particularly tickled by this line from an email one of my aunts sent to me earlier today:

“If I had it to do over – I would have chosen teaching or HR.  And honestly  – I would have been a great mother superior only the world changed too fast!”

and you know what? she SO would have

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