Monday, June 21, 2010

How Did I Get Here From There?

When I was a child, I was so skinny that my mom took me to doctors to find out what was wrong. "Is she undernourished?" No. "Is there a creature inside her eating all the food she packed away?" No. No creatures—just a high metabolism and a love for food. Other than German measles that broke out on the inside instead of on my skin, and appendicitis when I was fifteen, I was healthy. I stayed slim all through high school. In fact, to my shame, some of the boys in school sang Joe Tex's song, Skinny Legs and All, each time I entered the room my sophomore year. Yeah. I was that skinny.

Then I got pregnant with my first daughter. Though I threw-up until afternoon each day for the first six months of that pregnancy, I gained forty pounds. An over-achiever, I've never stopped gaining.

I've tried almost every diet plan out there. I would lose five or ten pounds slowly, and then gain back fifteen when I quit the plan. I tried exercise and, at one point, did aerobics three times a day for more than a year—along with a minimalist diet and lost forty pounds, but gained it all back plus some more when I stopped the diet.

During the seventies, when I raised my children, the diet advice was to stay away from animal fats and use the "light" oils for cooking. Low fat milk and margarine made from vegetable oils replaced whole milk and butter. So we ate many dry, no-skin chicken breast and tuna and vegetables without the flavor of fats. To give us some flavor and satisfaction, I made desserts.

Comfort foods consisted of starchy white flour, stimulating white sugar and (often) hydrogenated oils. We ate our dry as toast meals with the understanding that our reward would come while we sat in front of the TV, watching sitcoms. Glutted with pastries we allowed the television to lull us into a stupor by bedtime.

I honestly thought I was cooking healthy. I honestly did. Everyone except my husband Bob, gained weight. My daughters and I still wrestle with being overweight.

When the children left home, I lost the desire to cook. We ate a lot of fast-food and manufactured foods—chicken nuggets, scalloped potatoes in the box, all foods mixed and tossed in the oven, I preferred to making my own. I was a busy person; I didn't feel I had the time to invest in slaving over a hot stove. The food was not thrilling, but it was quick and easy and Bob didn't seem to notice I didn't seal it with my "cooked with love and affection" stamp on it anymore. All was well as long as we had our ice-cream in the freezer for when we watched our evening television shows.

Then his doctor checked his cholesterol, and it was high—and the meds the doctors put him on just weren't doing the trick. He needs to change his diet—and so do I. My weight has reached an all-time-high. We're both sluggish. He's foggy and achy in the morning when he wakes, and I don't have the energy I used to have. It is time for a change.

I begin this new journey—as I do every journey—by first, studying every book I can get my hands on to see the direction I want to take. Interestingly enough, I discovered the way of Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, Eat Fat Lose Fat by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon, Real Food by Nina Planck. All point towards the way my mom cooked while I was growing up (and was skinny!) with chicken that included skin and bread made with the whole grain.

Last week I learned my grandson; Sammy will come and live the next year with us. He too, needs to lose weight and so we three will embark on this new lifestyle together.

I intend to use this blog to share the journey with those who may want to see the results before they begin, and to record what we learn along the way.