Posts Tagged 'diets don’t work'

Happy Easter Everyone!

Easter this year is supposed to make up for last Christmas. My brother was sick then, and we couldn’t get the whole family together, because my aunt and uncle were hosting the dinner, and they had the in-laws over from England as well. So we’re hoping to get the whole clan together today. The problem is though, that the weather is atrocious with snow and icy rain and gales predicted, so the family gathering might not happen yet again.

But in case it does happen, I’ve made banana bread and scones… Yum! So I decided to give you my recipe. I use metric, so you may need to convert into imperial, and I’m too lazy this morning to do it.

Banana Bread (please note there’s no added sugar in this recipe… it doesn’t need it)

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 125g butter or margarine
  • 4 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 bespeckled bananas that have been frozen and defrosted (just stick bananas in the freezer when they start going off, then when you have a few, defrost them, see how they’ve gone black and almost liquid, and bake)
  • 3 heaped tbsp quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 1 heaped tbsp crushed flax seed
  • 1 heaped tbsp (wheat)bran
  • 75-100g chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
  • handful of chopped or sliced almonds
  • handful of chopped pecans

Heat oven to 160C. Grease and dust a 10x30cm approx. loaf pan.While oven is heating, mix dry ingredients in a bowl and wet ingredients in another. You can use a mixer to quickly beat the eggs, bananas and butter together to a smooth mix. Then stir the wet ingredients into the dry ones, pour into loaf pan and stick in the oven for 45 mins to 1 hour. Check whether the loaf is done by sticking a toothpick in. If it comes out clean (or just with melted chocolate on it), take it out and leave to cool. Enjoy!

Scones

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 50g butter
  • 25g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • some milk (you add a little as you go)
  • 50g raisins or dried fruit (optional)

Heat oven to 220C. Beat the egg in a cup with a splash of milk. In a bowl, mix flour, salt and sugar. Rub in butter until you have a dry flaky texture. Add the milk and egg mix, and fold it in a little. Add raisins and knead dough to a ball. The ball should be a little sticky. If it’s not, add a splash of milk, and knead some more.

Dust a flat surface with flour, and carefully roll out the ball of dough until you have a sheet around 2cm thick. Punch  out circles of about 5-7 cm in diameter (use a cup or glass) and reshape for maximum yield (I get 6 scones out of this). Dab a little milk on the top of each scone and put them on a cookie tray. They go in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the top goes a nice golden colour. Leave to cool a little and enjoy with some butter, clotted cream and/or jam!

Want, need, get, have, love

About eight months ago, my ipod quit on me, outside warranty. At that time I was getting ready for a 4 month (frequently camping, back to basics) trip to Canada, so I decided against getting a new one right away, since it wasn’t going to do me much good. Instead, I picked up a cheap potable mp3CD-player, and asked my family and friends to fill up a CD with mp3s they like. I have a solar-powered battery charger, so I could pretty much always have music.

When I got back early November, I didn’t have the money to get a new one right away. It didn’t really matter, though, since I was almost too busy to listen to any music. But the last few weeks, I really started to miss my ipod. The compactness, the fact it can carry all my music, and I can play whatever I like and not be dragging around a pack of Cd’s. I am a fan of portable music libraries. So I got to the point of want.

But, being a student not wanting to go too much into debt, I have a system of buying, well, pretty much anything, based on need and want. Basically, it’s a short series of questions I ask myself whenever I pick anything up from a shelf. It goes like this:

  1. Do I want it?
  2. Do I need it?
  3. Do I need it today?

See? Simple. Only if all three questions are answered affirmatively, do I buy the ipod/pack of biscuits/cauliflower/pen/… Now, there are always times You want something and don’t need it, but still really want it, or suddenly find yourself going out to dinner with friends. I set aside some money for these things each month, and this works.

Now, back to the ipod. I was at Want. But an ipod is expensive, in my book at least. It’s about 3 months of  fun money, and I can’t miss out on social activities just because I want to be able to stick headphones on my ears and listen to music as I go about the mundane things in my day. So a long-term want it stayed, even though by now I wanted it bad.

But then I took off for the week and took my portable CD player with me. Two things stood out for me, that should have been obvious to me earlier, but I had been a bit stressed, and missed: Music, especially through earphones, makes me happy; and portable CD players are a hassle.

In short, what I realised was that the ipod is at this point in my life a necessity, because it really keeps my spirits up, and doing that has been a little hard over the last few months. It’s a Need.

Of course, I told myself I didn’t need it right away (money, money, money -it’s not like I don’t have enough to buy the thing, but I always like to save up and then make up my mind about what I spend it on). But then I had a really interesting class (on Philosophy in Psychiatric Treatment, an elective I’m taking), in which we explored our own motives for doing and not doing things, and how we sometimes harm ourselves by not creating the circumstances in which we can work to the very best of our abilities.

Hmm… I’ve been having a hard time staying positive and focused. Music makes me more productive. But I’m not listeningto any, because the CD player is too big to just stick in my pocket. That’s not exactly creating the best circumstances for yourself, is it? So I decided I Needed it Today.

There’s a big electronics store on the way from the medical school back to my house, and last Monday, immediately after said class ended, I went to the store and Got myself a new ipod.

So now I Have an ipod again. And you know what? I’ve had a great week. I’ve read more, felt more relaxed, slept better, and got more things done in generally.

Verdict: Good choice. I Love that I made it.

How to talk to my sister

I just got off the phone with my 9-year-old sister. She called me to tell me she didn’t need me to babysit her tomorrow, since her flu seems to have passed. But could I come anyway so she’d see me for half an hour before school. I said I’d come to dinner tonight instead.

My sister is a cool kid. She’s bubbly and chatty and flirty. She rides horses and plays field hockey and runs faster than any other kid in school. She likes school and enjoys sitting in the front of the class, if only because she can chat with the teacher more. She doesn’t give a damn about hierarchy. If she likes someone, she’ll hang out with him/her, regardless of cool factor, age, sex or anything, really. She talks back when she disagrees with something.

She also has some insecure traits, though. She has really bad nerves when she has to present something in class like a book report. When she’s in a new environment, she can be very clingy, though she’s getting better with that. And she’s terrified of getting fat.

First off, she’s not fat. At all. She seems to take after her dad, who could never put on weight however hard he tried until he turned fifty. My mom and I are both fat, my mom much more so than me. And she doesn’t think I’m fat, though she knows mom is.

But lately, she’s been saying things like “I don’t want a sweet, because I’ll get fat,” or “if I eat this, I’ll have to exercise more.” At 9 that’s a bit worrying, I think. And it’s not necessarily that she thinks fat is ugly or unattractive, but it’s that she’s been taught that being fat is unhealthy. And that message seems to be reinforced from so many different directions:

  • My mom is quite unhappy with her body. She’s trying to get better at accepting herself for who she is, but she still wants to lose a lot of weight. At the moment she’s trying to eat intuitively, but with portion restriction (I’m supposedly the only person who knows she’s on a diet. Somehow I don’t think she can hide it). I think, somewhere, my mom is depressed and really hates herself a lot more than she shows. But kids pick up on that.
  • My sister’s dad doesn’t like the fact that my mom is fat. She was fat when they met, but not as fat as she is now. I think he thought he’d be the one who’d make her so happy she wouldn’t need to be fat anymore. Big disappointment there. They rarely sleep in the same bed, supposedly because they have different rhythms, but really because my mom snores. Because she’s fat.
  • Television ads like the one about how it’s healthy to eat less and excersize more if you’ve had a birthday with cake and snacks the day before, just to balance things out, because otherwise you’ll get fat. [government message]
  • School assignments about which foods are healthy and which ones aren’t. As in fat is unhealthy. Not as in you need a balanced diet to stay healthy.
  • The talk among older (teenage) girls at her sports clubs about being fat, and how it’s a disadvantage in sports.
  • Comments from other adults about weight she happens to overhear.
  • Segments on the news about research on how unhealthy fat is.
  • TV shows that are about weight loss, especially those that make kids lose weight as well.
  • Just the fact you hardly see fat people in the media, and that when they are around, a negative characteristic is almost always attached to being fat.
  • Hardly any attention is being given to the fact that not weighing enough or eating enough is at least as unhealthy as weighing too much or eating too much.
  • Or the fact that different bodies metabolize food differently, so people have different needs in terms of food.

These are just the things I thought of at the top of my head. There are many, many more messages about how fat is detrimental to your well-being. The whole image of beauty is skewed in the media too.

So how do I counter all these messages? How do I show my sister that no matter what shape or size she is, she is a beautiful, powerful, smart person? That she is good enough? I hope I’m around her enough to tell her she is a great person and have her believe it.

A work in Progress, or My Diet

Intuitively, I’ve never believed in dieting. I’ve never been the skinniest person in the world, and I’ve thought in the past that being skinnier would be better, but dieting has never made  sense to me. I’ve been told I could stand to lose a little weight, but dieting, in my mind,  isn’t going to fix the ‘problem’. I’ve been told I’d be happier if I were lighter, but I don’t believe dieting is a cure for unhappiness.

I have never been on a diet.

But in the past I’ve not told anyone my opinion on dieting. I was afraid people would ridicule me, so I just nodded along with their dietary advice, all the while thinking “yeah, yeah, sure, whatev, no way I’m getting into this.” And then I didn’t diet.

Sometimes, I lost a bit of weight, and people would ask me what diet I had followed. At this point, I’d mumble something about eating more veggies and less sugar (usually true, I guess), but I would be really uncomfortable. Because I’m not sure. I’m not sure because I don’t keep constant track of my food. Because just like I’m terrible at remembering what clothes I had on on previous days, I honestly don’t remember what I had to eat two days ago. It’s just not something I need to keep in my brain, when there’s so much to remember already.

I also don’t like the “how much have you lost”-question. Honestly, I have no idea. I have scales somewhere, but they’re packed away in a box, because I don’t use them. A few years ago, I wasn’t too comfortable in my skin, and thought I’d try to lose weight by excersizing more (I temporarily had more time on my hands), and my dad came up with the gem of “you should be weighing yourself every morning and night and you should count your calories.”  Yeah, sure, if you really want to drive yourself nuts, go see the weight go up and down and up again, and then punish yourself with less calories in, because you gained 2lb in one day… But to make him happy, I went out and bought scales. Even used them a few times on a weekly basis. But my weight was not what made me feel bad about myself, so I decided to stop measuring my value and happiness by it.

I am not on a  diet.

But it’s easier for me to let people assume I’ve lost weight through dieting, rather than through being too busy to eat or just for no apparent reason. There’s enough things I worry about every day, enough self-esteem issues to work through, enough insecurities to overcome without having to worry about what I put in my mouth. I eat what I like, when I want to (or get the chance). However healthy or unhealthy.

I won’t ever go on a diet.

And from now on, I plan on telling people just that. Next thing is to stop worrying I’m the fattest person in the room.