Tag Archives: weight

How we treat our pets vs. how we treat ourselves

1 Nov

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This is Greebo. Greebo is about eight years old. Also, Greebo weighs fifty percent (!!!) more than he should.

I feel bad that I let it come to this – mostly out of laziness. A hungry cat will let you know, in no uncertain terms, that it wants to be fed NOW. Which is annoying if you want to sleep in on weekends. So we got a dry food dispenser, and I never wasted a second thought on how he might just eat and eat and eat.

Studies suggest that obesity in mammals reduces life expectancy as well as quality of life in aging mammals.

Basically, what I did to the poor tomcat is bodily harm due to negligence. (Note: His sister Ronja, under the same circumstances, eats less, she is a bit pudgy but in upper normal weight range for a cat her size.)

I bet if Bastet were here she’d bust (bast) my ass over this. How dare I treat her precious feline friends like that?

Anyway, this train of thought has brought me back to the way we, as mammals, often treat our own bodies – stuffing ourselves with (oh so tasty!) garbage – or excess prime quality food – keeping ourselves from exercising and putting all that weight on our joints even if we know that it is bad for us.

I have an easier time talking about it right now, as I have lost almost one third of my body weight so far, going from “obese” to “upper normal” weight over the course of several years. And you know, I am all for body acceptance. But just as you hopefully got outraged about my negligence of Greebo’s health, I would like to think that people who cared about me got outraged when I put my own health at risk by going up to two hundred pounds.

Yeah, that was not the case. No one ever mentioned my weight. When I started exercising and reducing my calorie intake – the oldest diet known to mankind, I would guess – on the other hand, I got lots of worried remarks. Running would destroy my knees (so would all that excess weight, and running is way better for my cardiovascular system and depressive episodes, thank you very much!). I would stop looking good if I lost “too much” weight (as if I care – my physician and I have everything in check, we’re aiming for a healthy weight range with adequate body fat percentage), I was making myself unhappy by “depriving myself” (while I was still eating burgers and pizza and ice cream, only not as much … and health and exercise surely do make me happy!) etc. pp. ad nauseam. Just last week a few female colleagues ganged up on me and told me they were so worried they would start sending me care packages.

At that point I had had enough. With a big smile I offered that we could just calculate the group individuals’ average weight (total group weight/number of group members), which would surely turn out healthy for everyone. Then I left, before I could embarrass anyone any further. What can I say? My patience for bullshit is limited.

And what about body acceptance, you ask? I do not jsut accept my body, I love it – hair, stretch marks, pale skin, zits, scars, the whole bunch. I like to think of it as just another pet I have been trusted with for this episode of human existence (this sounds so weird, sorry! ^^ ), and I hope to take the best possible care of myself while I am here.

Just as I hope to take the best possible care of my beloved fluffy cats, who are planning to murder me in my sleep RIGHT NOW.

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A cat’s life

9 Jun

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Must be tough, being a cat. Sleeping all day in the softest, warmest spot you can find, waiting for someone to pet you and feed you and play with you and clean out your litter box and … – honestly? I think I would like to switch place for a day or two at the moment. The very day the sun came out, I got sick. Again. So far this year has been rather crappy – I had a cough, which turned into bronchitis, then I injured my heel, had another cough, injured my ankle and shinbone and now I am again sitting at home after work with a cough and a runny nose and lungs that sound suspiciously like whistling through wet paper. I have had to come to terms with the fact that I will most definitely not do an obstacle course this year, had to put my weight-loss on hold (again – my immune system does not like a low-calorie lifestyle while it is fighting bugs), our place looks like a mess and I am falling behind on even the most simple of tasks, such as scheduling appointments or doing my paperwork. At least I got the taxes done in time this year. Took me only four months of complaining and three hours of wading through numbers.

At least during Ramadan we only have to work five hours per day, which means I have two more hours to sleep per day, or get my stuff in order … and now enough complaining, my sweet potatoes are done, and I could do with a cup of ginger lemon tea. Take care of yourselves, and don’t forget to rest!

It’s been a while – health update

20 Jan

You know what they say, slow weight loss is best. If that’s true, then surely I am the epitome of health. It took me how long exactly to lose those next two kilos? Long enough. Sure, I lost them several times over, after all there was a major holiday last month. You don’t expect me to go without homemade cookies, right? So now I am down 20% of what I hope to lose eventually. Anyway, just spent an hour trying to find what I want for a reward for this milestone, and in the end I settled for – SURPRISE – a book. ^^ Red boots were another option, but I really don’t feel like buying shoes at the moment.

By the way, the weight was gone just in time, for this morning I had run out of pants and had to grab the biggest of my not-quite-right pants. Aaaaand they fit. Tough choice: Lose weight or do laundry.

A few weeks back I started looking into the paleo lifestyle. For years I have been opposed due to the complete bullshit they use as “science”. I mean, look out of the window…

1461543_909182972434305_5390155421611570033_n¬†What do you think your “paleo ancestors” ate this time of the year? Mangos and bananas? Yeah, probably not. More like, tree bark and dead grass. (That’s actually a huge part of what people ate as little as two thousand years back, at least when the going got tough.) I am pretty sure you’d lose weight on that diet, but I’m not that desperate. And then there are plenty of cultures who had huge success and physical prowess living on a mostly grain-based diet, for example the Mayans (amaranth, anyone?). This means their claim that the human body, which in a matter of few generations can adapt to almost any lifestyle, has not adapted to use of grain (which is basically grass on steroids) over the course of a few thousand years is pretty much bullshit.

Fact is that many people simply react differently to certain food groups. And that is why it makes sense to try something and see whether it works for you. So I went and bought a few cookbooks – always a great idea, I love cooking! – and started going through our pantry.

In its strictest form paleo means you eat vegetables, fruit, eggs, meat and fish and stuff and oils. No grain, no sugars, no dairy and probably no potatoes (for good measure). And honestly, most scientists have figured out that too much sugar (or too much carbohydrates) is not a good idea. At all.

As a good German of course I’ll never live without potatoes. Also making non-dairy coffee creamer every few days is plenty of work. You guessed it, I keep adjusting everything so it fits my everyday needs. Until they find a way to put more than 24 hours in a day, we’ll have to live with compromise. But sticking mostly with protein and that pesky green stuff works wonders for me. I don’t have cravings, my joints don’t hurt, I sleep better. And I keep losing weight at a steady pace.

(One of my favorite go-to meals is sliced sausage with apples and onions, pan-fried. Does not even need salt or pepper, it’s that good. And if you don’t like sausage, try liver or scrambled eggs. Or black bread. ^^ And in a pinch, a slice of animal with some mixed frozen vegetables counts as a meal.)

The funny thing is that Richard is on board with this eating experiment. He hopes to run a “Toughmudder” obstacle course in summer, hence has to lose some weight and get fit as well. I’m not complaining.

And what else is she doing, you ask? After all, losing weight and eating are not the only things to define health. Well… I still try to move regularly. We have two runs scheduled towards the end of March, so I should get back to training as soon as it’s a bit warmer outside. I’m firmly stuck on 5K as a training distance, but that’s not too bad. I try to walk/run/exercise at least 30min each day and go outside as often as I have the time – leaving home a few minutes early in the morning to walk fifteen minutes to a bus stop down the road, getting off the subway one stop early, walking around the block after dinner, stuff like that.

Last, but not least – things I still have to improve:

  • Sleep. Really, I need seven to eight hours per night, which I mostly don’t get. Not giving up.
  • Meditating – something I try to do at least in the evening, but frequently either forget or fall asleep while meditating.

Hey, I think that’s it. At least for now, I’ll probably come up with something along the way.

Short update on health and such

18 Sep

After a few months I thought I should give you a quick update on the whole weight loss/health situation. Has she changed her mind again, I hear you asking – why yes, probably.

I have done a few things that might seem logical to you and were results of huge realizations for me. First, I got rid of everything that does not fit right now. It sits in our basement in big plastic sacs and waits. Lots of it will probably be donated. Then I went and bought a few new items, mostly office attire (and pajamas with a giraffe).

I got a membership at an inexpensive gym. Where I have not been in weeks due to time constraints. But I am working on a reasonable plan.

I have taken up running in earnest once more, but I did not register for next year’s Stronman Run – right now I do not want to add more pressure to my life as is, so no deadlines and running (or weight) goals.

My food has undergone serious scrutinizing. Right now I really struggle to add sufficient amounts of vegetables to my daily meal plan – I have taken to cooking a big pot of soup or stew on the weekend and freezing portions to be taken to the office for lunch, and in the evening I will eat whatever is at hand – protein shakes, more soup, pizza. Breakfast is my model meal at the moment, consisting of beans and/or eggs and/or nuts and/or vegetables. My current favorite is the pink detox smoothie, which I have had for every weekday breakfast in at least two weeks. Really, it is this delicious and filling. Sometimes I will also have a variation of a breakfast food for dinner, just because I love my breakfasts this much.

Then I went to see my physician for the semianual thyroid check. My thyroid is doing fine (and I am soooo grateful for the thyroid pills, wouldn’t know how else to get everything done in a day), BUT. Yes, of course there is a but. I have developed a gallstone. Same as my older sister. You know how siblings are – give one of them a new toy, and the others want the same. (Actually, I went to my doc and said, “… and among other things, I need to be checked for gallstones.” – “You are rather young for gallstones.” – “Just do the test.” – “Oh, I see you are right.” – “I like the sound of that sentence.” – “What does your boyfriend think of this?”) The concrement is too big to fall into the biliary ducts, but large enough to cause discomfort on occasion. He said there was medication to be tried, but most likely the process of passing the broken-up concrement would be painful and have to be repeated after a year or two, anyway. So I am to wait and see, and if it becomes too uncomfortable, there will be surgery. Of course first thing i did was check for natural remedies – not much to be done about gallstones, it seems, but some things promise relief, at least, and may delay further growth of my new little friend (I have named him Hans).

Oh, and my blood pressure was too high. Which was not too surprising, considering I had a run-in with our office’s IT “expert”. But still… high blood pressure and knee pain are signs I should ideally weigh less. So I am making sure I run at least three times a week and eat healthy, and try not to fall for the mad ideas I had the last time round.

Pretty boring, hu?

TL,DR: Eat healthy and exercise, you’re getting old. ^^

Overfed and malnourished

6 Feb

Last fall I went for my first professional dental cleaning. The job was done by a lady I had never met before and who knew nothing about my family. The more surprised I was when she looked at my teeth, started working and in a side sentence explained that my teeth are as bad as they are because I was malnourished as a child.

I was surprised.

Then I thought about it for a while (quite a while, hence only blogging about it today), and it makes perfect sense. My parents, who did the best job they could, had other worries than making sure their children get all the nutrition they need. Such as working, working a second job and making sure their daughters do not go hungry. Who cared if the food came from cans or was prepared and frozen in single portions, or if it came straight out of the box. At the end of the day, neither my mother nor my father (if he was at home, and not thousands of kilometers away on his truck) had the energy to make sure we ate our vegetables. If the tummy is full, it must be okay, right?

My teeth are proof that this is not the case. And I think it is downright perverse that it is possibel to, in modern Western countries, produce obese and at the same time malnourished children. It is even more problematic that in many cases the parents, who are struggling with finances and life in general, are blamed for this. Who blames the manufacturers of “food” void of nourishment? Who blames the authorities who do not care what their citizen eat, as long as they pay their taxes?

As some of you probably know, I have been struggling with my weight and my body images and proper nutrition for several years.

In my head, I am in a good place. I like my body, try to take good care of myself and am proud of all the things I get done during the day. The number on the scale does not dictate my “value” for society – if I can be a professional translator, acclaimed author of short stories and overall good person, why should a number no one except myself knows (unless I decide to share) make me a “bad” (or worthless) person?

Concerning nutrition, I am interested in the scientific facts to a point of obsession (if you believe Richard). Our meals are 90% healthy at home (with the occasional slice of white bread or pizza), including dried fruit and nuts or dark chocolate as snacks most of the time. We are not following any specific trend – eating lots of fruit and vegetables as well as little animal protein is the main idea.

And the weight… well, as long as we can keep it in a healthy range everything is okay. Right now I am at the upper range of healthy and would like to get to a point where I have more wiggling room in either direction, but I am not torturing myself with anything.

In the end, I hope to get to a point where these things come to me naturally when we have children. I want to give them a better start in life than I had, healthwise and in general.