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Cookies and fries

April 8, 2009

I think I’ve settled on this particular design for the blog now. There might be some tweaking here and there, but this one has three-columns and is fairly readable. The banner pic is probably going to get changed. I really wanted a ‘tea and cookies’ theme, but the size requirements for the picture make it hard to find anything decent.

It might seem strange to put cookies on a blog that is partially devoted to weight loss, but 1) I like cookies and tea and 2) it helps get across the idea of really enjoying food that I think is, well, pretty much totally absent from mainstream weight-loss sources.

I was thinking about how I have trouble articulating this the other night while I was deep-frying a batch of french fries. We were grilling (veggie dogs!) and making double-fried french fries for dinner. I was watching the fries turn golden brown and thinking about how utterly awesome they were going to be (spoiler alert: they were) and how a lot of people would assume that I was ‘cheating’ or ‘breaking’ my diet by eating them.

But I’m not. Eating foods that are high calorie/low nutrient can be a part of any diet (as in way of eating) including a diet intended to bring about weight loss. And food is so wonderful in all it’s many variations. It seems such a shame to demonize tasty things because of how energy dense they are.

This is why I sometimes think that maybe the “secret” to why I’m successfully losing weight without being hungry or crazy for the first time is the fact that I fully embraced HAES principles beforehand. I don’t put foods into good and bad categories based on calories. Yes, I want to consume a certain amount of calories, but that doesn’t preclude any kind of food. Avocados are delicious and contain lots of good fats and phytonutrients. They’re also fairly high in calories. Brussell sprouts are awesome little bundles of vitamins and fiber that are really good for you, but they’re also delicious when roasted with olive oil and garlic. French fries contain a lot of calories, but, when prepared correctly, they are so amazingly delicious that you have no choice but to make little noises of ecstasy as you eat them.

Maybe this is why I kind of harp on the idea that it’s all down to calories. Understanding that weight loss isn’t down to impossible-to-understand/magic principles that leave you no choice but to follow some diet guru’s plan lest you eat a carb/some fat and ruin everything – was very freeing to me. And it matched with how I felt about food after years of making a concerted effort to shake off that good food/bad food mindset. Trying to eat a particular number of calories (or in a range of calories in my case) doesn’t automatically preclude any type of food. Honestly, I think the tendency for people to drop all sweet/fatty/delicious foods from their diets when trying to lose weight has its roots in the puritanical punishment society believes that all fat people deserve. Because a couple of cookies or some french fries do not actually have the power to ‘ruin’ a diet.

And really, if I am serious about this being a change in lifestyle that can help me maintain a lower weight for the rest of my life, then I absolutely need to figure out how to integrate all kinds of foods into the way I eat. Because I don’t want to live a life devoid of cookies or fries and I don’t want to live like an ascetic for a couple of years and then suddenly have to figure out how to integrate cookies into my diet.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. wriggles permalink
    April 8, 2009 1:15 am

    Honestly, I think the tendency for people to drop all sweet/fatty/delicious foods from their diets when trying to lose weight has its roots in the puritanical punishment society believes that all fat people deserve.

    I’m not sure this is right, a lot of slim people diet and always have.

    It seems to me that it’s as much to do with how we formerly expected diets to work, we expected the spent stored calories, to stay spent; theoretically why wouldn’t they?

    So the imperative was to shed the pounds as quickly as possible and then go back to eating normally.

    There’s also the fact that many people just can’t lose weight through calorie reduction until they reduce drastically, something that a lot of people refuse to acknowledge. In the same way that people’s metabolism varies, so does their body’s response to calorie restriction, sometimes those that normally eat quite a lot find, that they cannot reduce until they are ‘uncomfortable’.

  2. April 8, 2009 5:11 am

    My ex used to make the double fried fries in his little garage sale deep fryer. When we broke up, he lived with some friends of his and got out of the habit. I guess the woman of the house after a while, was having a hard time fitting into her pants, told him to retire it. Free rent, her kitchen, her ass. Anyway, my point being, french fries can be very yummy (I had some nasty ones last night-still trying to figure out why I still ate them), but they are one of those foods that should be eaten sparingly, especially if you’re wondering why you’re on a plateau. It’s that balance and compromise between eating everything you want, whenever and how much you want, vs restraint, however moderate or severe it may take to make the scale go down, or at least not rise.

    • April 8, 2009 7:38 am

      My issue with fries (and cookies too) is that they don’t offer enough satiety for the amount of calories they provide. I *could* eat nothing but 1200 calories of pure fat every day and lose weight, but I would most likely be hungry all the time. If I did the same thing with raw broccoli I might not even be able to eat enough to get to 1200 calories, but I would come to loathe eating. Balancing taste, nutrition, and satiety while keeping my calories around 2000/day allows me to have at least a small dessert each day, but means I keep the double-fried fries to no more than once per week. It is a compromise, definitely, but one I find very worthwhile.

      • April 9, 2009 3:49 am

        I’m not convinced that you “could” eat 1200 calories of pure fat every day either (nor broccoli). I read recently about someone who tried to eat nothing but bacon for a month, I don’t think it went well, though I’ll have to look it up. In my opinion, if someone wants to be successful at this weight loss crap they have to work out the system and compromises like you are. I just sometimes worry about how much I might have to compromise to get to the elusive state of not obese, overweight, nor even pudgy. My dad has carried an extra 20 pounds (now 10) all his life, and he hasn’t eaten a piece of chocolate cake in 30 years. Is it worth it?

  3. stlwtr permalink
    April 9, 2009 12:15 pm

    Julie, if your father hasn’t eaten cake in 30 years, which I assume means he works hard to maintain his weight where it is, then he isn’t carrying an extra 10 lbs. He weighs what he is supposed to weigh. We all have a natural set point and we come in all different shapes and sizes. If you have to work out beyond reason and can’t ever eat cake (or whatever it is you consider treat food) in order to maintain whatever “ideal” weight you have decided you should be, then no, it is not worth it in my opinion. There is no “perfect” and we need to stop being so hard on ourselves and others. My personal goal is to take care of myself and do what makes my body feel good and energetic and sometimes that means having a piece of cake 🙂

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