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I have never been the girl to turn down a good dessert when I was offered one. I've never seriously paid attention to anything except sugar content on packages. Calories, calories from fat, actual fat, total carbohydrates - these are things I used to not care about. Before.

Before was a time when I wasn't on the verge of potentially needing to buy new clothes because I was about to go up a size (this has not happened since middle school, when I more or less stopped growing). Luckily, this was the breaking point for me: recognizing I didn't have the money to be my current weight. This caused me to actually weigh myself and take a personal health inventory. With diabetes, joint problems, and cardiac issues on both sides of the family, I need to regain control of my health.

So, I have started reading packages. I made pudding for dessert tonight, since celery sticks just weren't solving my sweet tooth craving, and I actually split the bowl into six equal parts so I would be able to more accurately gauge how many calories I was taking in (150). Yesterday, when eating celery sticks (basically all the time now), I practically measured the peanut butter I was dipping them in into a bowl.

I also started reading up on how many calories each exercise activity I participate in is worth. This was the most disheartening news actually. I can handle knowing that tortilla chips and salsa are as bad for me as ice cream. I can survive the idea that drinking just a cup of juice (I don't drink soda, tea, coffee, etc.) is about as bad as having 15 pretzels. But the news that volleyball, my exercise of choice, is about as worthwhile as raking the lawn (both burn about 374 calories/hour for someone my weight) is killer.

It does, however, explain why I never lost any weight in college even though I was playing competitive volleyball five or six days a week. Volleyball - according to multiple websites - is basically the most useless sport you can play next to tossing a frisbee (not Ultimate). If I went ice skating for an hour, just sort of generally slid around the rink, I could burn almost twice as many calories, than running and jumping while sweating to death playing indoor volleyball.

I don't even know how to feel about that honestly. I was so excited to find a volleyball league nearby. I couldn't wait to play again - convinced that being off the court this past year was how my body threw itself over the edge. Maybe it was, but not by much.

Basically, all this is to say that I am beginning to despise calories. I've only been paying attention to them for a few days, but I dread looking at the boxes my food comes in now. I love milk too much to give it up (I dropped from whole to 2% as an undergrad but anything less is just too watered down). And, I don't look at the counts on anything I use to make meals I know to be healthy (pork chops with broccoli raab and mushrooms, homemade soups, etc.) because I would freak out if I had to give up healthy food too.

I'm sure I'm over-reacting a little. At a different time, I would have thought it was fun to compare the calories in different food items. It would have been a math game to get to 2,000 every day. I would come home from volleyball psyched I had worked my body so hard, been totally satisfied chucking my gross workout clothes in the hamper. Before.

Before I knew I'd have to increase to 4 or 5 miles a day walk/jogging just to kill 500 calories. Before Honey Nut Cheerios weren't a healthy breakfast. Before I cared about calories.

How many calories do you think crying is worth?

I know it will get better. It will slowly become easier to handle as I make baby steps of progress. Over the next 9 months (I decided on a long-term plan to account for plateaus and potential setbacks), I'll know what's better to eat. I'll forget what pure, unwatered-down juice tastes like. I'll get faster on my morning walks/jogs to the point of running - which burns way more calories. By my next birthday I'll still be wearing the size I do now, but everything will fit much better. I'll be healthier, less worried, and better looking in a bathing suit.

Anything worth doing is going to be a challenge. "It's the hard that makes it good. Otherwise everybody would do it." I love that quote from A League of Their Own (softball = 468 calories/hour).

Love always, ~Heather


Anonymous said…
Remember your travel in France, you eat more than today and less than me...and you loose weight.

Alice and me are chapter's terrible!!

love always.

In the past year I've had to become one of those people who reads the tiny print on the boxes of food, spends forever reviewing menu choices, and carries my own food to gatherings. It's not been easy, but it's certainly made me feel and look better.

One easy suggestion: whenever you eat out, ask for a to-go box to be brought with your meal. If you have an appetizer and an entree, physically separate half of your appetizer from the other half. Eat part of it, then put it into the to-go box that comes along with your entree. When the entreee comes, put 1/2 or 2/3 of it into the box.

Dont't forget to take the box home. Voila! Two meals for the price of one, and no bloated feeling. You also won't be tempted to eat "just another bite" since there won't be another bite on your plate.

At home, use small plates, salad plates, saucers, even. Be intentional about eating, nothing eaten while standing in the kitchen, or while preparing food. It's OK to eat while reading or watching TV, just wash up right after you finish eating, so that to eat more, you'd have to dirty another dish--and who wants to do that?

Hang in there...

Evidence it works: Before and After.