I’ve taken a break from cooking, as I am wont to do, and have been reading Why We Get Fat: and what to do about it by Gary Taubes. I am a lifetime member of Weight Watchers, who has become disheartened. I used to love it and advocate it to all: “It’s not a diet it’s a lifestyle. Try it, it teaches you to eat real food.” Lately, however I’ve fallen off that bandwagon. I am well above my original goal weight, which was set 20 years ago when I lost the weight. I have since changed my goal to a more realistic number for a woman in her mid-40s. I can’t even get down to that. The scale keeps tipping up. I am not obese, just a tad overweight as my Wii Fit likes to tell me. I just don’t like the feeling of being soft, lethargic and squished into my clothes. What am I doing about it? Not much. I don’t care for Weight Watcher’s new program – whatever it’s called these days. Points, Points Plus, Points 360, What’s the point, who can keep up? I always heard if it’s broke don’t fix it. But they seem to be constantly fine-tuning their program. Of course, it’s a marketing ruse to get you to buy more product. It’s just a turn off for me. Still, I pay them $40 a month and go to my weekly meetings. Only to be further discouraged.
I’ve also hit that point in my life where if I turn and face the other direction, I can see the valley down below in the west. I have been putting on extra padding in places I have never done before, I wake up in the middle of the night, I’ve found a few hairs on my chin. I won’t bore you with the details. Oh, I did already didn’t I? Well, let’s get back to the book.
This all leads me to Mr. Taubes’s book where I am trying to find some insight. In his book he claims we don’t get fat because we overeat; we overeat because we’re getting fat. He then goes on to give the history and science of why we get fat. Long story short, something has disrupted our bodies ability to regulate fat. I am up to chapter 14: Injustice Collecting wherein he informs the reader some people get fat from eating carbohydrates and some don’t. If you do, then you can NEVER eat carbohydrates or you will get fat. You can lose the weight (which I did) but then you’ll get fat again when you eat these foods again (which I did). Paragraph 2, line 4 on page 140 states So far, the message is that carbohydrates make us fat and keep us fat.
I can’t live if living is without you
I can’t give, I can’t give anymore
Can’t live if living is without you
Can’t give, I can’t give anymore
I need my carbs. And he tells me this too. On the next line he writes: But the precise foods responsible for making us fat are also the ones we’re likely to rank highest on a list of foods we crave and would never want to live without... He gets me, he so gets me. He goes on to equate sugar to cocaine and nicotine. I won’t dispute that. He sums up the chapter thusly,
Now, how’s that for a vicious cycle? The foods that make us fat also make us crave precisely the foods that make us fat…The more fattening they are, and the more predisposed you are to get fat when you eat them, the greater the cravings. The cycle can be broken, although it requires fighting these cravings – just as alcoholics can quit drinking and smokers can quit smoking, but not without constant effort and vigilance.
Oy, Vey. I’m doomed. Constant effort? My motto is: If I can do it with ease, I’m pleased. And vigilance? I’m ADD I get so easily distracted it’s impossible to be vigilant. My takeaway is this. The plan, the diet, whatever, whether it be points or calorie counting doesn’t matter; what matters is writing down what you eat in order to be accountable and vigilant. The meetings matter, because like all other addicts we need support and solace. I know all that. So, will someone light a fire under my butt for me, please?
Also, I never got into the Atkins craze (because I LOVE carbs), but I am thinking* of trying the Paleo diet. Has anyone ever done it? Any tips comments or suggestions? Feel free to disparage Mr. Taubes’s position in the comments.
*I want to emphasize and reiterate that I am THINKING about it, so don’t hold me to it!
–UPDATE: you can read about my failed attempt at going Paleo here.
- What makes people fat? It’s not obvious (irishtimes.com)
The fabulous fat farce (trynabpainfreemomma.wordpress.com)
Featured image: Ms. Obscure and son indulging
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