Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


Have You Noticed Ads for Weight Loss Programs Lately?

Woman on a treadmillIt’s only January 2nd and I’m already sick of the constant ads and TV programs on weight loss, exercise and diets.  They do this every year so I don’t know why I’m always surprised and turned off.  Oh, I know why they run:  it’s the start of the new year, people make resolutions to eat healthy, lose weight and exercise – so the media blanket the airwaves with ads for Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, bariatric surgery, an assortment of weight-loss pills, exercise equipment, gyms, etc.  Bravo ran a marathon of The Biggest Loser on New Years Day as an alternative to watching football.

Don’t get me wrong.  I understand that people are motivated and it’s the perfect time to grab their attention.  But with so many different products and plans all pushing the same points, it’s hard to keep track of the options in a reasoned way.  Which is entirely the point, I suspect.  Get the watcher to jump off the chair and sign up on the spot.

But all plans are not equal and neither are gyms and exercise programs.   If you’re just getting started on your resolutions, don’t jump for the flashiest ad or cheapest price.  Research the contents and figure out what will work best for you in your lifestyle.  Are you looking for a quick loss or long term change?  Do you want to count calories, carbs, fat grams, points?   Do you like and have time to cook or do you want easy pre-packaged foods?    If you’re looking at exercise programs, do you want to take classes, use weight and strength training equipment, or dip into a pool?  Do you want a personal trainer?  How does pricing work?  What about fitness tapes you can do in your own home?

The bottom line solution is to eat less food, eat healthier options (more protein and less processed foods), and move more.   There are many ways to do that but you don’t need to pick something flashy.  Write down what you eat every day so you know what you’re doing.  Identify things you can cut or swap out.  Start taking short walks and build up.  What matters is starting.



Is My Eating a Sugar Addiction?

Sugar bagBeula asked, “Do you think you are a sugar addict? If so what does that mean to you? I am also watching Paul McKenna and am currently so mixed up about my eating I could spit.”

I’ve been reading people’s responses to this question as you’ve asked it on a couple of blogs and it’s interesting. I’ve never thought much about sugar addiction other than to think it sounded enormously extreme. It was more that I had a food addiction. It didn’t matter whether the food was sweet or sugary. I like salty and spices and tart and cool, crunch and creamy, hot and cold. I like food.

The foodplan I’ve followed most of my weight watching life doesn’t target specific foods to give up. It’s been more about what foods to include instead. And that felt right to me. By doing that while also journaling and recording what I actually ate, I could see patterns in eating certain foods. Some were things I couldn’t control at all, and some of those had sugar – no one would ever accuse me of overdosing on celery.

But I also learned that there are food groups other than sweet, salty, fried and au gratin. Things I used to binge on routinely can now only be eaten in small doses because I get heartburn and physical discomfort. I’ve learned to listen to my body, not just words on a page or lectures from an expert.

It takes a long time to learn to listen when most of our lives we’ve been shutting up the pain and hurt and confusion and loneliness with food. We want instant success, instant answers, and jump down our own throats when we don’t get the fast weight loss we want – so then we eat more because we’re upset.

Part of what’s going on for me may be a denial of a sugar addiction. I read blogs of people who eat clean, healthy, nutritious food and think it sounds boring. But too much junk food can lead to more junk and an imbalance. I guess for me I don’t really feel the need to eliminate sugar completely if I can find a way to get things in balance.

It’s a hard line to walk and I’ve certainly failed more times than I’ve succeeded with it. But I’m learning and moving in a spiral, I think, not just around and around the hamster wheel. Having spent so many years eating badly, it’s hard to know what balanced eating is.

I’m finding Paul McKenna’s programs to be interesting and with nuggets of wisdom. I like that it’s a short series and not a single program because the repetition of ideas and tools helps reinforce them and their effectiveness. Simplistic? Sure. But sometimes simple is a good thing. We load so much stuff onto diets and eating and spend so much time examining our navels that we don’t just live and take small steps and see what happens.