Would you like fries with that?

Over the last several months I have lost around 15 pounds. And I feel very content with where I’m at now. Actually, I feel great. I have more energy, run faster, and love my body (with the exception of that pesky hip).

Let me tell you how I did it. I did not go on a diet. I did not count calories. I did not cut out all “bad” foods. In fact, I give myself one dessert everyday. At one point I baked a chocolate cappuccino cheesecake, with the intent of eating one piece and unleashing the rest on my co-workers. But then I decided I’d eat just one more piece before taking it into work. I did this for a few days before I said to myself, “Face it Laura, you’re just going to eat this whole thing yourself.” And that’s what I did, at the rate of one slice per day.

I did cut out foods I knew I could live without. Like potato chips, fast food and that near-daily Starbucks white chocolate mocha. I also made a point to listen to my body. If I’m hungry, I eat. If I’m not hungry, I don’t eat. If I’m full, I stop eating. Without consciously choosing to do so, I began eating less.

My objective all along was not to go on a diet that I would one day go off. Instead, I wanted to make a sustainable lifestyle change. I know I cannot part with sweets so I don’t pretend that I will. This helped me kill the food angel and devil sitting on opposite shoulders. You know the ones that sound like this:

“Oh! Those french fries smell so much better than the salads!”
“No, you cannot eat french fries again today.”
“What’s the big deal? You know you want them.”

I don’t even think about it now because I already made the decision. Fries? No. Brownie? Yes. Second brownie? No. Piece of wedding cake, even though I already ate a brownie? Of course. I never pass on wedding cake.

On the exercise front, I vowed to run 1 mile a day. It’s hard to make excuses to get out of 1 mile. Too tired? Please. It will take 10 minutes. Of course, my running has taken off a bit since this initial vow. But not for the purpose of burning calories. I have always been one to say, “I can’t run 30 minutes a day, just to run 30 minutes a day.” I like setting goals, putting together my training plans and the feeling of accomplishment that comes along with meeting those goals.

So that’s what I did. Losing the 15 pounds or so (I say “or so” because I didn’t actually get a good start weight) was actually easy. I lost it at a very reasonable rate of about 1 pound/week and then I stopped. I took this to mean I had reached my ideal weight. Interestingly (or perhaps not so interestingly, but rather logically), I am now at the weight that I was at through much of high school and college. I have weighed less and (obviously) more, but it all probably averages out to my current weight. Beautiful.\

You would think that’s a good end to this post. But it goes on…

When I was back in Colorado the other week I had this conversation with my mom:

“You look like you’ve lost a lot of weight.”
“I have lost weight.”
“How much weight have you lost?”
“Around 15 pounds or so.”
“You’re not going to become anorexic, are you?!”
“Mom! I’m eating RIGHT NOW.” (I was eating lunch when we had this conversation.)
“I know. That’s why I said, ‘You’re not going to become anorexic, are you?'”

While this conversation makes me laugh, I sometimes feel there is a societal double standard. If I eat a burger and fries for lunch and watch TV all evening, I’m overweight and unhealthy. If I eat a salad and go for a run, I’m anorexic. This is an exaggeration of course, but highlights the issue.

I bring this up after reading this article, basically describing healthy living bloggers as promoters of eating disorders. Needless to say, I find it infuriating. If I were a better person perhaps I would value it for initiating a discussion on balance. For me balance means (among other things) trading french fries in for brownies.

What defines balance in your life?

12 thoughts on “Would you like fries with that?

  1. An excellent post! You made me laugh AND think about an important issue.That article was ridiculously biased. I think it raised an interesting point about the responsibilities of a good blogger (even though it didn't actually address this point). For example, I appreciate that you detailed your weight loss (and congrats to you for your healthy choices!), but didn't feel the need to mention your "before" or "after" weight in numbers. You can't control how others perceive your content, but you can control what you're putting out there. I think about this a lot when I read blogs by people who want to be "inspirational." One woman's inspiration is another woman's psychosis, ya know?

  2. Really lovely post! I dig this. I see your point about the article! We can’t group healthy living blogs in the same category as pro-ana blogs. However, some of the examples they point to are kind of troubling. Maybe there’s a happy medium in there somewhere we can find.

  3. I know what you mean, balance can be hard, for either yourself or others to see. When I lost weight, I kind of went to extreme with it for a little while. I realized it and got it back to a normal, healthy level that’s quite easy to maintain. I certainly like healthy eating blogs and don’t think they promote anything unhealthy, but also admit to seeing a few and thinking there’s no way that’s all they eat! Of course, I just don’t really like seeing what someone eats all day every day either, so I don’t really read those much!

    • Yeah, I’m not really into reading everything someone eats either. I much prefer reading about how people burn their calories! Especially if they do it by running!

  4. That article is completely biased and focused on dramatic, scare-tactic points to generate readership. There’s no way you can 100% analyze someone’s diet (or their mental health) from what they post on a blog. I don’t post half of what I eat, either because I forget or because it’s just not interesting. Plus, who is going to take legitimate health advice from a blogger? Anyone that does so without consulting a, you know, real health professional is asking for it. Use common sense, people! I get ideas from blogs, sure, but if it doesn’t work for me, I don’t blame the author. Sorry, that article struck a chord in me, too.

    Thank you for such an inspiring post!

    • I agree that you can’t analyze 100% of someone’s diet from a blog. There is a lot of my life that doesn’t end up on my blog. I would bet that that’s true for most people. And food is one part of that.

  5. I think a big problem is that too many people don’t know how to moderate. I’m with you, all for making lifestyle changes, not going on and off diets. (This is SO reaffirmed right now while being on a low carb diet I could NEVER sustain in real life.)

    However, about the article. I remember reading it shortly after it came out and being appalled at some of the things these particular bloggers were promoting as “healthy living” (Did you click over to the actual bloggers sites? I’m not sure if they’re the same now as the were, but holy crap.) I have nothing against healthy living blogs, or healthy eating blogs, but these particular sites were encouraging things like running 10 miles a day but only eating 1000 calories a day. Or bragging about how great they felt because they hadn’t eaten ANY sugar in year, crap like that.

    I don’t think MOST healthy living bloggers promote these kind of extremes (I certainly HOPE they don’t!) which I’m sure is why the article calls out by name (and links to) the ones that do. (Or the ones the were, the article is like 18 months old.)

    Anyway, it definitely should be about balance. Unfortunately for me right now it’s about not eating carbs so I don’t have a huge baby. (I fully intend to eat McDonalds in the hospital after I give birth. I really want some french fries.)

    Also, I think your mom just worries to much about you 🙂

    • Yeah, this post of mine is old too. I do remember clicking on a few of the links (in the article) to the blogs and don’t remember seeing anything too crazy. That said, I know there are some “healthy” living bloggers out there that probably do have eating disorders that are reflected in their blogs. My issue is the generalization that ALL bloggers who write about food and/or exercise are promoting eating disorders.

      Anyway, I’m glad that you’re going to eat McDonalds in the hospital. I think that’s KEY to maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle!

  6. I am happy you lost the weight the smart way! I know so many people who are on crazy diets and say they cannot wait to “eat normal” again. What does that even mean?

    My family gets worried when I lose weight, because they are so used to seeing me fat. Frustrating.

    • LOL – this showed up as a new post in my reader! Now I see how old it is (and I wondered why you were losing weight, when you are pregnant). Weird that reader did that. Sorry if my comment did not make sense.

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