A life of dieting

6a00d8345200d669e20120a55bf4c2970b-320wi Dieting has truly been the bane of my existence for my
entire life.  I think about it when
I wake up and when I go to sleep. 
Doesn’t mean I stick to the rules that I have set that particular day,
it just means I think about it.  So
reading Born Round, The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater by Frank Bruni not
only hit home there were times where I laughed out loud.  A wonderful read about his life, his
family and his journey through ups and downs of weight loss. 

Bruni, although he has gone through his ups and downs of weight
loss, there was only one time when he truly got heavy.  Always having that extra 10 pounds on
your frame sometimes 15 sometimes 20 or sometimes just 5 sits in your head,
always.  I know.  No matter how thin you get, or what
kind of shape you get yourself into, you will always have a fat
personality.  At least that’s what
I call it.

 My first recollection of dieting was when I was about 8
years old.  I remember sitting
around the kitchen table, we went home for lunch at school, and I believe my 2
siblings had friends over too, I am the oldest, so maybe that didn’t
happen.  Regardless, everyone was
served a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch except me.  I was given a turkey cheese roll with a
toothpick through it.  Even then my
Mom knew that bread was bad.  I
burst into tears.  My Mom said
she’d give me a pb and j sandwich too but I protested because “I am fat”. 

 I was always just a little plump, hey, I like food.  I clearly remember those four awful
words, you don’t need that.  I have
tried so hard not to say those words to my kids about their eating habits but
it is hard.  Not easy with the fat
head baggage I carry around. 
Problem with the fat head is when you do get down to your weight, you
feel so good that you treat yourself by eating.  Crazy, right?

In my early teens, I’d cry in the dressing room getting new clothes for
school.  What I wanted to wear
looked awful on me.  I wanted to be
tall and thin but alas, I was short and stocky with a little belly.  I tried all the diets too.  Went to Weight Watchers with my Dad, once
bought the powder diet which made me gag, fasted during the day and then of
course pigged out at dinner, etc, tried Atkins too.  I’ve done them all.

 Of course in college, I gained the freshman 15.  Somehow I always managed to get a grip
on myself when I got too heavy. 

During my pregnancies, I put quite a bit on.  With Jessica I gained 30 lbs, Emily 45
and Josh a whopping 60.  After
Jessica, I did Diet Center.  Fred
called it the thousand dollar a pound diet.  I got really thin and it felt great.  The one thing I kept in the back of my
mind was I never wanted to replace my wardrobe so it was essential to get back
to where I was so I could fit back in my jeans.  The weight continued to creep up after every kid but after
Josh I did something I really never did before, I exercised.

 Just because you exercise doesn’t mean you don’t get
fat.  You just get thicker.  About 7 years ago, we went to Jazzfest
and I came back and got on the scaled and freaked.  I did this diet called the Fat Flush and lost 15 lbs.  I stuck with the program for three
months, as in no alcohol.  The
whole family had had enough at that point and so I stopped and kept a watch
over myself by weighing in daily. 
Truth is, I have never got up to that high again. 

 Reading Bruni’s book reminded me of all the diets and all
the highs and lows.  I could write
a book myself but I here I have just written a few highlights. 

I exercise to eat, I only eat good food, I don’t nosh, I shun pasta, pizza,
bread, rice and potatoes ( except on occasion ), I do dessert only on special
occasions and I attempt portion control at all times.  It appears that Bruni came to the same conclusion as he got
older too and had to eat for a living. 
Of course, we all fall back on old habits, and eat ourselves silly on
Sunday because Monday is the beginning of the week and new diet but I figure,
you do only go around once and it might as well be tasty.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. Steven Kane

    Another very nice essay, Joanne.If you haven’t read it, I urgently recommend Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food. It changed my life. Seriously. Pollan is great researcher and journalist and is not a lecturer or polemicist. Just calmly and sometimes humorously provides fascinating material on why we eat what eat in the modern world and what we might want to change about all that and whyalso, you might be interested to know how much modern conventional wisdom on food and eating is now being shown to be flatly wrong. principally, the War On Fat that has been waged for the last 40 years is now being shown to be not only wrong, but harmful (because we have replaced all the fat in our diet with carbs, a much more lethal and obesity-inducing diet.) in particular, science writer gary taubes has been calling attention to the increasingly unmistakable data showing that low fat diets not only do not do good, they do harm. start with taubes’ magnificent 2002 NYT magazine article:http://www.nytimes.com/2002…finally, the other fascinating recent movement in science is the seemingly contradictory data showing that low BMI is healthy and promotes longetivity… but so does a medium BMI

    1. Gotham Gal

      In 20 years, we will find out that coffee is fantastic for you. At the endof the day, moderation is the key mixed in with portion control and you aregood to go.

    2. Gotham Gal

      In 20 years, we will find out that coffee is fantastic for you. At the endof the day, moderation is the key mixed in with portion control and you aregood to go.

  2. chefbikram

    GG,I love to eat. I’ve never really dieted per se, but I did shift to more healthy eating after my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. My food memory is uncanny. I can remember what my husband ordered at a particular restaurant 10 years ago. When asked about my college spring breaks, I can tell you what was on the buffet. I’ve always exercised a lot so I’ve had that in my favor. But as I’ve become more knowledgeable about food, I find it’s easier to eat well. I like any recipe I use to have the nutrition data. I want to know calories, protein, sugar and fiber. Knowing that I can make XYZ dish with xx calories/serving versus ZZZ dish with xx calories and then some and I like both, I opt for the lesser calorie version.Portion control is good, but I really love the sensation of eating — texture, crunching etc. So I find foods that are bulky, low calorie, so I can still enjoy a big meal. And then I have to save room for my food obsession which is cereal (hence my selected picture). But GG, I’ve noticed that many of the recipes you post are pretty heavy. I’d have a hard time limiting myself.Steven, I’m struggling with Omnivore’s Dilemma. It is very interesting and I’m learning a lot about food, BUT it’s pretty boring.

    1. Gotham Gal

      The recipes I post are probably more of the “specials of the week” vs theday to day grind which is basically chicken or fish and a simple vegetableor salad on the side.

  3. alexis tabak

    Mrs. Wilson,thank you for this post. I so resonate with everything you say. For a woman like you who is clearly brilliant, interesting, well rounded and not to mention beautiful, we all still struggle with food, and like you said, the way to do it is through mindful thinking and common sense. Your post made me realize how important it is for a young woman like myself to not get tied up in fad diets but focus instead on healthy habits like eating delicious food with those your love and doing activities which you enjoy. thanks for the inspiring post. Alexis Tabak

    1. Gotham Gal

      If you can figure out when you are younger, you will have a much healthierlife!