Sunday, June 04, 2006

Love handles

Did you ever notice those “before” and “after” pictures in the diet ads? What would people do if the images were reversed, eh? What if plump was pretty and thin was out of fashion?

It’s really in the genes. I was traveling in Poland, land of my ancestry, last year and couldn’t help but notice that the natives tended to resemble quite a few of my family members when it came to hips and bosoms. Hardy Polish peasant stock. The euphemism seemed to fit.

The Poles love their meat and potatoes … and cabbage and pierogies. It may have been that trip to Poland that started some serious weight gain. I’m still paying for the vacation starch. Yep, the pants and tops have either shrunk or I’ve gotten bigger. I’m afraid it’s the latter. My moment of truth came two weeks ago. I kept telling myself it was my imagination. Finally, I was brave enough to get on the bathroom scale (which had dust on it from disuse). I managed to regain the eight pounds I lost on South Beach a while back. Nuts!

I decided to switch beaches and surf elsewhere (the Web). Ended up having a box of pre-planned diet food delivered to my door. I work fulltime and often have crazy schedules. I don’t have a personal trainer or chef or nutritionist waiting for me with a well-balanced meal and candles on the dining-room table when I get home. Sometimes, living alone is the pits. Feed me please!

Then I had to spend a half day cleaning out my pantry to unpack the huge amounts of incoming food and organize my breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. It’s good that I finally mustered up the energy to do this because I kept tripping over the damn box of diet food on my way to raid the refrigerator.

It’s a start. I’ve been drinking my water and nuking or stirring my meals for the past week. My tummy looks bigger – maybe it’s water retention. I plan to get on the dreaded scale only once a week. My next moment of truth is Monday. I will remind myself to laugh if the scale shows that by some fluke of fate I’ve managed to gain rather than lose. And then I shall calmly throw the scale down the steps of my apartment.

I want to lose a modest amount of weight; some people have a more ambitious agenda. I don’t expect miracles – I’m a realist. There’s the age and metabolism factor. And that pesky reminder to exercise is not too inviting. I’m an only child who grew up as a non-jock. I was not allowed to sweat and was the odd kid on the block who roller skated on one skate. You could say my parents were a bit over-protective. Thank God I learned to ride a bike. My idea of exercise is unloading the box of diet food; I swear I lost a couple pounds right there.

I am a little concerned about all the drop-dead gorgeous pictures of men and women in their “after” state, losing 140 pounds or 95 pounds or 200 pounds. Heck, if I lose that kind of weight, I’ll disappear. More power to them, the real heroes of the battle of the bulge. But why do all the pictures show an asterisk and note that say “not typical results”? If not, then what?

There was a time, centuries ago, when a woman’s body was appealing with all its fleshy curves and girth. I think I belong to that forgotten era.


Contrary said...

I am definitely one of Ruben's girls. I am also dieting, mostly through portion control and drinking my water.

I did gain a few pounds right after I started, but I think I was simply drinking too much water. Once I scaled it back to only 60 oz. a day, I started losing.

My motivation was buying shorts in a size I already consider way too high but which was MY size when last I bought clothing (only a scant few months ago) only to find that they were too small. I refuse to take them back and I refuse to buy more shorts. I will fit into these, doggoneit.

Kelly said...

Good luck with the new plan. It's good to at least feel comfortable in the clothes you own, you know? I am down to two pairs of pants that I can wear as long as I don't wash belly goes nuts with the carbs we're eating due to our budget constraints buying a new house. It's instant, the weight gain in that area, and I can't wait for my garden to give me more fresh veggies.

Simon said...

Of course there are little asterisks beside all those results; those are the exceptions because ALL those systems are designed to fail. It's a self-propogating business, else they'd put themselves out of business, and they couldn't have that, now could they??

What's needed instead of a diet is a lifestyle change, 'cause what are you gonna do when the magical diet is over and you've reached that Golden Weight? Start eating the same way as you were before and gain it all back so you can go back on the diet? (The peddler's sure hope so.)

end rant

I just bought me a new pair of running shoes this morning so I can get back into the morning jogs I was enjoying before.

The Mater said...

Hey Simon - I hear you! Was very reluctant to sign on to any of these diets which are pitching products. However, I do need to jump start myself into a disciplined routine again and minfulness about what I'm putting in my mouth and why. For me, with my crazy schedule and no one at home to prepare a meal plan and put in front of me when I drag in after a late day at office ... this will provide the immediate solution. I'm not into the bells and whistles of their whole operation.

Losing weight is a lifestyle change in taking better care of yourself and it requires self-discipline and motivation. If I can begin to get back on track through a couple months' worth of prepared food, I think I can be in a better place to then direct myself again. Just have done some soul searching and for my situation, this seems to be the best tool. Unless you know of a housekeeper and cook to lend me.

Good luck with the jogging!

geogirl said...

Alas, I have a Ruben body in a Colista Flockheart world!

Of course, how are we suppose to ever have a healthy body image when they keep screwing around with clothing sizes. Nothing is sized for normal people and no two clothing stores are alike. A size 12 in one store is a size 14 in another store and a size 16 is a size 14 etc. Nothing ever fits and do you know they actually have a SIZE 0 out there. How can you be a 0??? Wouldn't that mean you, in fact, have no size. So, you have no mass? You don't exist?

Is that what we are suppose to be telling our daughters these days. "If you want to be pretty honey, you must be nothing."

The Mater said...

Geo, welcome to the club!

Boy, did you make a good point: the "size 0" - what is the real message here? Something new and sinister has appeared the past decade or so: mini-sizes 4-2-0. These sizes did not exist when I was growing up (and I bet when you and Jenn were growing up too). And that's why those of us who are shopping for the old regular sizes can't even trust them anymore. Everything's being "downsized".

Psychological warfare on women? Marketing a smaller brand - making them think "less is more". Anorexia and bulimia running rampant so the American woman can live up to the American ideal and fit into the smaller sizes!


bee said...

I love the look on the second woman's face as she looks into the mirror! She looks so happy! Very satisfied. How many American women can look into the mirror and feel happy? There are some friends I have that I simply will not eat with because they bitch and moan so much about body size. Feh! Two pieces of pizza is not a sin! Especially when it's a small pizza to start with!

s@bd said...

I always wished I had been born in a renaisance painting.

I just fit in better there ...

geogirl said...

Yeah! Not only do you get to be "real sized" but they always have those little cherub helpers following them around and holding things for them.

Where do I get one of those?

The Mater said...

God, I wonder if those little cherubs hire out as personal trainers and diet consultants? Probably not, 'cause Venus is looking mighty content in her pretty-plus-sized body!

Simon said...

If nothing else, the jogging this morning reminded me that there is far more belly keeping me company than there used to be. I definitely should NOT jiggle that much!

And sorry Mater... if I ever find a housekeeper and cook, I'll be keeping them for myself.

The Mater said...

Hey Simon, I'm glad to hear belly weight and jiggling are not just a girl thing!

Keep jogging!

I kept my date with the scale this morning and have lost a modest two pounds. Small steps, small steps ... all is well.

Odd Mix said...

While I have been fighting a losing battle of the bulge for 20 years, I would caution against bashing the "size zero's" too hard. My wife is 5'-5" and weighs 110lb soaking wet. She has never been on a diet, eats moderate sized meals, and certainly is not anorhexic - in fact she feels sick when she does not eat. She also lives an active lifestyle but does not have an exercise regimine. She has tried to gain weight and cannot.

When I gain weight from smelling a twinkie, I have often envied her metabolism. But she has her own problems to deal with - if she gets ill she has NO reserves to support her, she often has to go to the girls (not juniors) section to find clothes that fit.

Anyhow, I agree that all the diet companies are self preserving money machines that prey on the insecurities of people like me. But I think it is sad when I hear people bashed for their body type - even if that type is slim.

Ellamama said...

I've been in a "take action" mode myself lately, and I've just been amazed at how SMALL a portion should be. A quarter of a cup of rice is just amusing.

Just wanted to offer my support. I surived my fourtieth birthday, and this week I'm back to Weight Watchers and walking.

I don't mind the curves, or even the number on the scale, but I just want a flatter belly. I've never ever had the washboard stomach, but two kids have added a new dimension to my mid-section.

Good luck to you.

The Mater said...

To live in your own skin and be happy would be the ideal. But there's a confounding variable: every age and culture define the body beautiful, the norm. What I find sad,in this day and in this culture, is the glorification of super-thin models and actresses. These waif-like superstars have intimidated many little girls and women into thinking that there's something wrong with their bodies. For some of them, anorexia and bulimia seem to be one way of reaching society's goal.

I don't ever recall seeing a Size 0 or 2 years ago. It's probably a psychological ploy for selling more clothes. Women want to be smaller because they're "expected" to be smaller. What was a 6 is now a 2, just like the 50s are now the new 30s. We seem to believe that less is more.

Your wife sounds like a Petite Slim and she fits in these smaller clothes. God bless her. It is who she is. Just like I'm a Petite XL.

It was not my intention to bash anyone's body type here but I did intend to get people thinking about the power of an image to convey a social norm.

As to the power of a diet, I have some health problems and losing a modest amount of weight is something I'm doing for myself because I love my body and want to inhabit it for at least another 20-25 years :>)


The Mater said...

It sounds like all of you gals here are not being held captive to the whims and dictates of society but, like me, quietly pursuing your own plan for improving yourself and leading a more healthy lifestyle.


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