Thursday, March 31, 2011

Less of Me

I love food. I come from a family who loves food. When we get together, what we do is secondary to what we eat. Indeed, when Abby and I have guests over for a weekend, typically before I plan activities, I plan our meals. I like to cook, but more than cooking, I like to eat.

As you can imagine, this has led to some weight problems in my life. Aside from third grade and before, there hasn't been a time when I wasn't overweight. This has, as you can imagine, presented some health risks, it has made me sweat while playing fooseball, and it has tired me out from playing too active sports too often.

I've tried a few things in the past to control my weight. My senior year of high school, for instance, I stopped drinking pop. (A small step, you say, but I lost 20-30 pounds just by cutting that out of my life for a year.) In college, I tried forming a bad man's basketball league, an uncompetitive collection of unathletic nerds, where the only requirement for play was that you had to be bad (not self-identified; legitimately bad). I worked on a turkey farm one summer.

It's been hard, though, because I don't particularly care for exercise unless a social component is involved (running, in other words, is completely out for me), and I only like the social component if it's uncompetitive (I'm terrible at sports). Dieting has been equally unattractive. I don't know why Nutrisystem advertises on the Food Network. You're advertising garbage to people who love food. You think someone who needs to go on a diet wants to eat a tiny portion of frozen lasagna, especially when Alton Brown is teaching you the science of food and you're learning how to cook gourmet dishes? Really? Diets seem targeted toward people who don't need them.

Anyway, I mentioned in an earlier post that this year I was going to try to get fitter. I am not of the opinion that everyone should be in run-a-marathon shape. I occasionally catch the end of The Biggest Loser (sometimes Abby and I watch the show that follows), and one of the things a parent on that show said is, "Health should be your number one priority." I do not share her opinion. But I've still been trying.

One way I've been doing this is through monitoring what I eat. I've been using the Weight Watcher's cookbook this year, and I've found that while there are a few dud recipes (I'm looking at you, curried black bean burgers), many of the recipes in it are great. (In fact, when we cook for friends and family, they are none the wiser.) The Weight Watcher's cookbook, unlike Nutrisystem, looks like it was put together by people who like food. It also seems like a more sustainable solution than other diets (eat only meat! eat food that costs a million dollars a week!). And nothing is restricted so long as you have the points to spare--and I always have points to spare for bacon. You have to like vegetables, though, and thankfully I do.

So, what has been the result so far? There is about ten pounds less of me than there was before. Probably not what John the Baptist meant when he said, "I must decrease," but baby steps.


  1. Did the turkeys have huge talons?

  2. "I don't understand a word you just said."

  3. Turkeys do not have huge talons, nor can they open a door when chasing you into an industrial kitchen (Jurassic Park fans know what I mean). But they do take turns running in large groups, which could be motivational.

  4. In all seriousness, if weight has been an on-going struggle, you ought to give the low-carb route a second look. If the "eat only meat!" line is a reference to Atkins, just be aware that that is a caricature of the diet. The Atkins Diet never said that, and in its most recent forms (see this book) it has more allowances for fruits and whole grains (depending on how your body responds to those) than you might think. If nothing else, science journalist Gary Taubes's books, Good Calories, Bad Calories and, at a more popular level, Why We Get Fat, are very interesting reads. Taubes does a good job exposing the faulty science behind the USDA/AHA dietary recommendations.

  5. @Steph--I hadn't considered the motivational aspect of turkeys. Thanks. :-)

    @Pat--Thanks for the recommendations. I'll look into those.

  6. I'm so proud of you for losing 10 pounds! While I agree with Pat that you could probably easily lose weight on Atkins, I think it's a bad idea since there is a history of heart attacks in your family (

  7. Praise God, Jon! That's spectacular.