Sunday, August 26, 2012


Although I've been quiet on the blogging front recently, I've been reading. It's made me think about all the changes to my diet since 2006 when I finally got the big "holy cow, this is not what I want to weigh!" alert.

When the Elder, then age seven, first bellowed my 200-pound weight to the entire grocery store, I went with what I knew. At that time, it was one of those pre-packaged meal systems (I don't link to them, but its initials are NS). Oh god, it was awful. I wish I had some of the labels around because seriously, that is some of the most processed "food but not really" stuff out there.

But I did lose weight on it.

After a couple of months I knew I had to do something different because although the NS stuff was obviously working, I couldn't keep on eating like that. There were a few items that I found along the way that I could live with, but overall the stuff was just foul. I knew I liked Lean Cuisine, so figuring that NS had me on about 1200 calories a day, that's what I decided to do for myself.

I started reading the nutrition information on packages -- yes, it took me until I was thirty-six years old to figure that out -- and made sure my days were right at 1200, with about 30 calories on either side for mathematical issues. I ate Lean Cuisine, I ate South Beach wraps (mostly for breakfast), I ate sugar-free 10-calorie Jello cups, I chewed craploads of sugar-free gum. You know, that stuff does interesting things to your insides if you chow through an entire15-stick pack in a day.

So still more processed stuff. And I lost weight on it.

Then when I got divorced in late 2007/ early 2008, my household had a big drop in income. I couldn't afford all the pre-made food anymore, so I had to figure out what to do with a much smaller budget. I started looking at recipes more, because it's cheaper to cook from scratch.

I lost weight that way too. I got down as low as 133, and have maintained between 138-142 since then.

This past January, when I had my gum surgery, I got it in my head to track how much sodium I was eating. I'd bought some V8 vegetable soups in addition to the godawful Slimfast to get me through the all-liquid days following surgery, and I was absolutely stunned at how much sodium was in those suckers. Holy cow, it was insane!

That's when it finally clicked that cooking my own food was about more than saving money. It was about my health. Food companies don't care about our health; they care about their bottom line which is increased by using as many cheap, processed ingredients as possible.

And all that said, I'm still not a total convert. I love Fiber One brownies, although they're not the crack they used to be. You will pry my Diet Coke out of my cold, dead fingers, although I don't suck down quite as much of it than I used to.

Hmm. Interesting pattern right there.

The thing I see consistently is that my diet has improved over time, just as a natural part of me wanting to be healthy. First the focus was on scraping the weight off, then it became about what I could live with taste-wise, and then it became about eating what was better for me overall. I'm a work in progress. I'm not perfect, and honestly I'm not even trying to be. But I'm sure a hell of a lot better than I was, and I'm certain that process will continue. I work better this way.

I'm doing the best that I can, today. Tomorrow, that best may be better. I'm good with that.


Dr. Fat To Fit said...

Totally agree. Doing my best. Maybe not perfect. But really working at it. We used to eat out 3-4 times a week. Now if we eat out that many times a month it's a lot. I'm really proud of that. Good food, feels better.

Amanda said...

It's definitely a process, Ann. I figure as long as I don't stop moving forward I'm in good shape :)

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

Good call, and trying to figure it out! The companies try to tellus what we want, but our bodies KNOW what they want, don't they!?

Enz said...

Yes, I totally get this, it`s kind of how my evolution is going as well. At first it was just lose weight, then it was learn to cook and lose weight, then it was stop eating crap and lose weight and now it`s how healthy can I get.

As an aside, everytime I see your blog title, I think it`s my blog (my last name is Wall and we used to call ourselves The 4 Walls).

Amanda said...

Enz, too cool! I laugh that my blog title is the most ridiculous thing ever, so it's nice to know it actually makes sense in some form or fashion :)

Sara, our bodies know if we're listening to them and their functionality I think -- because when I listen to my tastebuds I'll tell you my body can be a lying liar that lies! It screams for Reese's, when what I need to do is suck down some tuna. So it's all about listening to the "real" voices.

Not that that sounds at all creepy or anything...

Susan Bodendo - Super Earthling said...

I applaud you, Amanda, for your determination and your success. The fact that you came down to your present weight from 200 and haven’t regained is a real achievement!

I think I first “met” you early in 2009 when I was doing my Crazy Woman blog and don’t remember hearing about your divorce. Dealing with a divorce on top of everything else means you deserve extra accolades for coming this far! :D

I can truly really relate to your search for the best diet. I’ve tried so many different types of diets over the years, both for weight loss and for health (endeavoring to make a positive difference in my autoimmune condition). I’ve been low fat and nearly fat-free; low carb; low starch; no starch; all raw; vegetarian; vegan; Weight Watchers; calorie counting; packaged diet meals; and I could go on and on.

I did learn a lot from each of these diets and took something positive from each one that worked well for me. Just as you discovered, I ultimately found that the best and healthiest diet (for weight loss or general health) is food I prepare in my own kitchens because I know exactly what’s in it.

The one thing I’ve discovered is that preservatives and chemical additions to packaged food create lots of inflammation for me—so the less processed the better.

Diane, Fit to the Finish said...

Very much agree. When I lost weight it was more about calories than quality so I did partake in some "diet foods" like diet coke, reduced fat crackers, etc. Over time it becomes a balance of calories and health, with health winning!