Jun 152016
 

Now I’m not quite sure how helpful my rules might be for anybody else. We’re all different, and a person who is not tempted to drink beer doesn’t need a rule concerning beer. Still.

When I started I had just read “Thinner this Year” and so the first thing I decided to do was to try and eat only 2/3 3/4 of what I’d usually eat. The easiest meal to do that for me was dinner because I usually eat sandwiches for dinner, and I knew that I usually would eat three slices of bread with cheese or salami or whatever, and so I decided to only eat two and then stop.

One of the very first things I realized was that if I wanted to lose weight I would need to eat less and that that would mean staying a little hungry every day, or even several times a day.

I know there are all kinds of diets out there telling you you will never have to be hungry at all and lose weight anyway but that’s something I never managed. I have practiced for years to become an intuitive eater which means someone who knows when they need food, or need something else, and when they’ve had enough to eat but I still was someone who would then think, “I’m full and don’t need something to eat but I’ll eat that anyway.” Which is how one gets fat. So if I ate enough to never be hungry I would not lose any weight.

The question was if being a little hungry was really so bad. Now back in the day when I ate way more sugar than I eat now I would be really, really hungry every two hours. Like “If I don’t eat right now I’m going to starve and also faint”-hungry. Funny enough once I stopped eating too much fructose I got less hungry. And these days when I have that feeling of “I really, really want something to eat now.” I know I can still go for another one or two hours without eating and will still not feel faint or have a headache. In fact I will usually exercise while I’m that hungry.

So the second rule was “no snacks”. This is not a hard and fast one, though. If I’m really, really hungry, or feel like I can’t go without something to eat I may have 6-12 almonds or a tablespoon full of peanuts. I decide that snacks are a) not to be eaten every day, and b) not there to make me completely satisfied but only to tie me over until the next meal. I’m eating three times a day anyway. You can’t really starve if you eat and hour or two later.

The next rule (or maybe an addition to the first one) was: “No Seconds”. We eat our biggest meal for lunch and I would usually eat a huge heap of whatever we’d have (my husband puts our food on the plates and when I started losing weight he was still eating huge portions), and then I’d have another plate full because it tasted so good. When I started losing weight I would put my own food on my plate (or tell my husband that no, I did not want that much pasta, please put some of it back) or leave food on my plate after eating. He has become much better at gauging how much I need to eat even though he still feels that my portions are way too small. The thing is that a 65 kilo woman needs way less food than a 80 kilo man especially when he never sits still and she basically does nothing else but sit in front of a computer all day. (On a side note our son started out being overweight as well, and when I looked up how much he needs to eat I was shocked to see that a 13yo. needs even less than me. (Also my husband did loose weight as well and now eats much smaller portions himself. Because a 67 kilo man needs less food than an 80 kilo one.))

Again I planned for exceptions, if I’m extremely hungry after my first plate of lunch I can have a bit extra. But most of the time I would tell myself it’s alright, even if I’m still a little bit hungry because if I cant stand it I can always have a snack later. Then I’d want a snack really bad at five in the afternoon and then I’d tell myself not snack because dinner would be at 6.30.

That’s a rule I use with my son and that I installed for myself as well. If you’re hungry about an hour before a meal just wait until mealtime. Nobody drops dead because they went hungry for an hour.

My nemesis when it comes to controling my eating are beer, potato chips, and sweets. I had already established a rule that I could have no beer on weekdays. I tried not drinking any when going out but never managed to follow that one so these days I’m allowed one (1) beer per day on weekends, and two (2) pieces of chocolate. The end.

As for potato chips I started out with “only one bag per week”, then upped it to „only one bag per month“, and am doing very well with that rule. Some months I decide that I like losing weight more than potato chips and declare a chips-free month. Since I can’t et my favorite potato chips in town any longer I often buy two bags and tell myself that those are reserved. Like I bought two bags at the beginning of May and declared them to be for June and for my birthday at the end of July. And surprisingly I don’t have a problem having the chips sitting in the basement. Every time I think of them I tell myself I can have them later, no problem.

Staying within my self-imposed limits regarding chocolate has been exceptionally hard in the past few weeks. It all started with my son asking for milk chocolate. We never have any sweets in the house apart from very dark chocolate these days because I tend to demolish them instantly. Also the boy needed to lose a bit of weight as well, and he was onboard with limiting sweets. (He also has a doting grandmother who gives him strawberry shakes and icecream and sweets any time he wants.)

Since I had been doing so well with my eating rules I thought I could handle having a bit of chocolate in the house easy. Yeah. turned out no, I can’t. I bought milk chocolate and within 48 hours it was all gone. Even before my son even knew we had it. I tried again, and again, and I became better but not good enough. Also my son was eating chocolate like crazy. And even when I wasn’t eating the milk chocolate I was eating way more dark chocolate than I intended to.

So now we have gone back to having only dark chocolate in the house. My son had to admit that he is as helpless facing sugar as I am. And since I got used to eating all.the.chocolate again I took it and put it away in a cupboard in a part of the house we don’t use often. Interestingly it does make a difference if the chocolate is sitting right there in the same room or not. Also I decided to not eat chocolate during the week anymore, only on weekends.

It always feels a bit strange telling anybody about these arbitrary rules I’m making for myself. Reading about my rules won’t really help you lose weight either. I guess everybody needs different rules because everybody struggles with different things. For me banning something completely doesn’t really work because then I tend to binge-eat it. Telling myself that I can have it, of course, no problem, only not just this moment works much better.

I trick myself a lot. I used to think that I needed to be strong and disciplined, and that if I couldn’t sit there looking at a piece of cake and resist it was all worthless. These days I’m all about making things easier for myself. That way I can use my mental energy and willpower for more important things than thinking about whether I want to eat this thing or not.

And funny enough that has made me better at resisting the piece of cake as well. Not that I think cake is bad, only with my fructose-intolerance eating too much sugar results in big sugar-cravings, and then into feeling sick for days. Not a good thing.

 

May 302016
 

The short answer is of course that I ate less.

But that doesn't really help, does it? Because the interesting part would be why I managed to eat less than I need for 1 1/2 years straight, losing 35 kilos in the process when I never managed to do that before.

Most people assume that I must have changed my diet in a big way, or that I must have suddenly found a massive cache of self-discipline that I could never access before. But that's not it.

From the inside it feels as if something clicked, as if that particular moment, the one I decided to lose weight after all was different than all the others before but I can't say how or why, really.

I'm also feeling like a fraud at the moment because I am currently trying to lose the same kilo for the third time in a row, this past month is the first one I haven't lost any weight ever since September 2014, and suddenly everything has become really hard. I still want to lose the next two kilos, though. And I know if I just eat less than I need I will get there eventually.

So. The moment I decided to lose weight this time. I think I already told you.

I had been working out a lot for about half a year, and when we went to do our usual hike from Herrsching to the Andechs monastery I thought that this time would be much easier than the time before. The year before I had barely managed to get up the hill, and when we reached the point where there are stairs because it's so steep I thought I would die before reaching the top.

Now I had run and done strength training five to six times a week for months at that point, and I'm happy to say that the hike actually did go better than the time before. Not well but better.

Until we reached the stairs.

Climbing the stairs was like torture yet again, and I didn't feel much better than the year before. Despite being in much better shape. Our son who had been huffing and puffing behind me for most of the way overtook me, and both he and my husband glided up the stairs as if it was nothing.

Me I felt like keeling over, and like giving up yet again. I was really angry that climbing up those stairs was so hard, and at some point between the bottom of the stairs and the top I decided that that was it, I would lose weight to make this easier.

At that point I was totally into the mindset that dieting is useless and makes us sick, that even if I managed to lose the weight chances were that I would gain it all back eventually, and that it would all be for nothing, and still I decided to try.

A 5% chance of success is not the same as a guarantee to fail. And I would have been content to just do more hill training if my weight would have stayed the same at any point but the truth was that I was almost 100 kilos and there was no end to weight gain in sight. The past few years I had gained between five and eight kilos per year. Every year.

Just before I had read “Thinner this Year” because I had liked the “Younger next Year” books so much but I still thought that it wasn't possible to permanently lose weight.

I did start the Monday after, though. I decided that this was it, the last time ever I would try to lose weight. If this time I didn't succeed I'd just stay fat for the rest of my life.

In order to help me with that I made myself some rules which is what I always do when I try to change my habits.

And since this is already pretty long I will tell you about those rules in the next blog post.

 

Feb 202016
 

Today my post about not having asthma any more appeared on the Fettlogik überwinden-Blog which makes me rather happy. And then I realized two things: 1. I think I will need to write about that weight loss journey a bit but not today because I am extremely busy today even for me, and 2. I never posted the obligatory before and after pictures. Well, really they are before and during pictures because I plan to lose five more kilos (11lbs.). And no, that won’t make me too thin, that will bring me down to the weight I have always felt best at, and down to a healthy, normal-weight BMI in the low range of normal.

 

Behold before September 2013 at about 98 kilos:

P1030986

And this was taken last week at 68.5 kilos :

image

 

And yes, I know that fat Susanne on these pictures looks much happier than thin Susanne but you’ll just have to believe me that this is just because the first picture was taken on a really fun day hiking with my family, and the second one is a rather hurried picture taken to document a finished new sweater.

I have been trying to not talk too much about the whole weight loss thing because I was a bit afraid of comments, and I felt a bit vain, and I thought I was doing something unhealthy, and was afraid of how the whole thing would turn out because everybody knows that diets are bound to fail anyway, and all that but I think it’s time to talk about it anyways.

But I promise I won’t make anyone lose weight against their will.

 

Apr 182012
 

To lose weight. I was horrified.

For a few weeks now he has been talking about the fact that he has become “fat”. Now this is the boy who used to be on the skinny side. He had the usual stages of childhood, growing taller, then broader, then taller, and lately quite a bit broader. Add to it his fondness of sweets, and tendency to spend all his time in front of screens or books, well, yes, he has grown a little protruding tummy, but nothing major in my eyes.

After talking for a while we found that it was my mother-in-law who kept telling him he had been growing fat, and needed losing weight. Now, even if he were obese, which he isn’t I wouldn’t want him to start dieting.

The only thing a diet is pretty certain to make you is fat in the long run. Especially with people like my son and me. We are contrary. If anyone tells us what we’re allowed to eat or not, even if it is ourselves we’re bound to become all stubborn, and eat even more of the things we shouldn’t.

Now, you have to know that my mother-in-law is a person who still thought I was as slim as the day we met even after I had gained 20 kilos in the meantime. (That’s 44 pounds for those of you who don’t use metric.) She didn’t even realized that I had grown quite a bit bigger.

Now this woman is telling my son that he is fat. Why’s that?

With a bit of detective work we finally got it. There were two factors to it:

First, my son these days often has these massive eating binges at mealtimes. You know how sometimes even little children eat more than you? He sometimes does that. It doesn’t bother me because he doesn’t do it all the time, and for every time he eats like a starving teenager there’s another time when he doesn’t eat much at all. To me that’s a sign that he is in touch with his body’s need. Now my mother-in-law is of a generation that believes in portion control. She fixes dinner (with ridiculously small portions for a growing boy), and if he says he’s still hungry she thinks he can’t really be because there’s no dinner left.

Second, my son has this belly. His jeans have grown a bit too tight, and so his belly is sticking out. There are several things to this. Yes, he has become a bit stockier than before, and second he doesn’t really have the abs to have a firm belly. Which isn’t unsurprising in a boy his age.

I hope that the thing I’m telling him makes a difference. The thing is, I have seen this many times before with students. Once they are approaching their tenth birthday, some a little earlier, some a little later, all of a sudden children come up to me saying, “I need to lose weight, I’m fat.” And then they tell me that they are already weighing [insert some number between 35 and 40 kilos here], and that their friends are weighing less than that.

And then I tell them the things I always tell: Children grow in spurts. After every time they’re getting taller there is usually a time when they get stockier, and maybe even a bit chubby. Especially at this time when their bodies are almost getting ready for puberty. Just look at children between 9 and 12 and you can see it. A lot of them are becoming rounder, and heavier, and almost denser at that age. And then, a few years later they transform in front of your eyes, going from a child to a teenager.

If they start dieting at an age that young it won’t make them better looking, healthier, or even slimmer. Chances are they probably end up fatter, unhealthier, and screwed up.

I really hate it that this world is tending to a beauty standard that is unobtainable for most of us. I hate it that being a certain body size, and shape has been become the one indicator for being attractive, happy, and healthy. And I really, really hate it that my beautiful son, this charming, intelligent, witty, and funny 9 1/2 year-old thinks he’s ugly and fat.

Yes, I wish I were slimmer too. I have become pretty fat myself in the past few years. I would like to fit into size 10 pants, really. But I can also tell you that there are many, many things in the world worse than being fat. And that being fat does not equal being stupid, or a loser, or unlovable, or even unattractive. Yes, advertising and magazines are telling us so. But every single one of them wants us to feel bad so they can better sell us things, and ideas. They don’t want us to be happy the way we are because happy people don’t buy as much.

So I myself have been concentrating on becoming as strong, and fit, and healthy, and happy as I possibly can. And to find clothes that fit the body I have instead of pining for the size 10 jeans.

For my son we have talked, and keep talking. And I will have a stern talk with my mother-in-law later. And we are trying to help him lose the “have to have sweets after every meal”-habit that my mother-in-law installed, and help him to go outside and run around a little more. Because those are good things regardless of how big or small someone is.

I’m really, really pissed, I don’t know if you can tell. And I’m also sending you to the “Dances with Fat“-blog again, and to the concept of health at every size because obviously it needs repeating.

Sep 222011
 

So you might recall that at the beginning of this year I actually made a goal (and only one this time), I made it public, and I told you all about it, then I wrote a follow-up post, and then you just never heard anything more about it. In fact you didn’t hear much at all from me, and one of the multitude of reasons is that I will not finish my goal. Nor do I continue to try. I’ve had enough.

My goal was to, and I quote:

Lose 10 kilos of weight or more.

Until the end of the year, and then I’d do it all again next year, and stay at something between 64 and 70 kilos for the rest of my life. At least that was the plan.

For once I really was on a kind of diet but it didn’t last long, and sweets and beer kept creeping back. Actually, I’m telling this as if they popped up in my house like weeds, and the only way to get rid of them was to eat them. But that’s not the case. Fact is that I brought those things into the house, and I did it because I happen to like sweets and beer. And maybe, just maybe I happen to like sweets and beer more than losing weight.

The connection between what I eat or drink, and my weight is weird at best. I’ve had phases in my life when I could eat and drink like a partying teenager and not gain a gram, and other times I would gain weight the minute I ate anything vaguely food-like. I have gained weight while exercising daily, and I have lost weight while not exercising at all.

In fact if I were to evaluate my past “weight-loss successes” I’d say the one that worked best for me was being totally unhappy about my love life, so much so that I didn’t want to eat anything (worked three times, I think), closely followed by the time when I just concentrated on thinking about my music instead of being fat. One time I lost weight because I was afraid that my teeth would fall out from lack of nutrition. That worked too.

I’m still quite sure that my body would want to be somewhat lighter if I just let him, but I’m also extremely sure that

  • feeling bad when drinking beer is not the answer.
  • buying clothes that are too small is not the answer.
  • feeling bad while bingeing on gummy bears is not the answer.
  • setting myself a goal of not drinking alcohol for the rest of the year, and then downing not one but two beers two hours later is not the answer.
  • constantly thinking about how fat and disgusting I am is not the answer.
  • buying yet more books about weight loss is not the answer.
  • joining weight watchers is not the answer.
  • thinking that everybody who meets me thinks, “Oh my God, I can’t believe how fat she is.” is not the answer.
  • trying to take up less space is not the answer.
  • not going to the lake because I feel too fat for wearing a swimsuit is not the answer.
  • not having sex because I feel unattractive is not the answer.
  • living for a soon-to-be-here future when I’ll be feeling fabulous because I’m thin(ner) is definitely not the answer.

So I did several things this year (apart from not losing weight): I did start to care for myself again. I went to a couple of doctors and other health people, I got diagnosed with asthma which means I am now treated for asthma and I’m no longer afraid of keeling over from lack of breath. I also got myself treated for my hormonal/mood dilemmas. And all of that came back to the fact that I had thought I should be a nice, sensible, grown-up, mother-person. I thought I should take a step back from the limelight, be nice and kind, and mindful and all Buddhist about other people and my family. I tried to vanish into the background, and only do my own stuff in the small corners of my life.

Well, obviously my body doesn’t like me to vanish. I bet my soul doesn’t like me to either. So it made up for my lack of real fulfilling life by making me bigger. More cushioning is more protection, and maybe my body thinks that if it makes itself big enough I would eventually notice it again.

So I had been feeling like a total failure with the losing weight, and everybody says that you are supposed to have goals, and then follow them through all the way. And I didn’t.

And then I thought that I should concentrate on making music again, and art in general because I obviously need to, otherwise I get sick. No kidding. So I joined a group of women who are making art, and we made goals again, and I wrote them down, and I tried to follow them, and I started getting a bit weary about all these goals.

And then I read “Walking in This World” again. And did commit to do the program. I haven’t really started yet because I’m so busy. But just reading that had me thinking. Maybe being sensible isn’t all that good for me. After all it hasn’t really worked all these years, so why should it now. And would it really be so terrible to stay as overweight as I currently am? Healthwise I’m good. Women with a BMI of 30 to 35 live the longest and are the healthiest. I’ll just have to gain a pound or two and then I’m there.

And I thought that setting myself up for failure is really foolish. Telling myself that today I wouldn’t be eating or drinking something or other. When I knew deep down that I’d do it anyway later. So I quit. I quit all my goals, even the “make music for at least 30 minutes a day” goal.

And then I asked myself what I wanted to do. And I got myself a ukulele. Because it’s so totally silly and ridiculous, and it’s not about being a serious musician, and a virtuoso, and practicing hours and hours each day. It’s just about fun. And I love it. I am feeling a lot less unhappy these days. I also started weaving, and I’m reading tons of books about all kinds of stuff. Life is great again. And interesting.

And then, and this is really important, I found Ragen’s blog “Dances with Fat“, and a few days later my copy of “Nudeldicke Deern” arrived, and I had this feeling again that the universe is trying to tell me something.

I’m really fed up with feeling like I should be somewhat different. I think I’ll go and play and have some fun.

The most interesting thing is that the mood in the house has changed for the better ever since I decided to just do whatever I love to do at the moment. I eat what I want to eat, I play the music I want to play, I read the books I want to read, and I’m not living my life constantly checking all the lists and crossing things off. It’s totally great.

And I have been practicing this song all the time:

Mar 032011
 

And it’s already the beginning of March and so I thought I’d give you a little update about my huge goal of the year. Which was to lose at least 10 kilos (that’s 22 lbs) until the end of the year. As to be expected I got a little lax in February. The middle of February is traditionally known as the time when New Years resolutions start to drift away. You still remember them but you’re slowly sliding down into resignation. Into the “this is hard, and now that I’ve been so good for three weeks I’ve surely done enough.”

Well. That’s not how one loses weight. At least not me because this is not about losing a pound or two. So let’s see: I started out on January 1st with 89.9 kg, and the 1st of February saw me at 88.6. That looks great, doesn’t it? I should keep that in mind for motivation.

The problem is that then my weight went up again. At the beginning of January it was easier not to drink alcohol because my husband was skipping his usual glass of wine in the evenings as well. But now I keep finding reasons why tonight is a night where I’m entitled to just this one beer. Just this once, today. For almost a month or so. Oops.

Also in favor of pleasure now like donuts, or chocolate I keep forgetting the Goal. I keep forgetting that I was determined, and still am, to get to a weight where my knees don’t hurt, and where leaning down to tie my shoes doesn’t mean I pinch my stomach fat between my ribs and my thighs.

So while I haven’t done really badly so far I have to re-commit to this whole thing. Which I hereby have done.

Oh, and something that almost made me blow the whole thing? In the middle of February I read some sort of headline somewhere (I know, I’m all about diligent documentation) going like this: “I’d rather be skinny than have sex.” Really? Really? Not me. Nope. Definitely not. Of course that’s not a real choice. But if it were down to that I’d rather be fat. Also if I had to deny myself any pleasure at all. There is a reason I keep choosing the comfort of eating and food above being skinny.

So I hit a bump in mid-February and started to feel like it would never happen but – then I lost some more weight. Ha! I’m at 87.6 as of this morning. Which is 2.3 kilos less than on January 1st. And that even though I had half a liter of ice cream on Monday. And donuts today. But I tell you something: I won’t be doing that every day. That was the first ice cream this year so far, and I have vowed to not buy any more until May or so.

In February I thought I’d never lose any more weight and then I just carried on, and now I even look a bit slimmer. Not slim, mind you, but slimmer. One day I might have visible cheekbones again…

What about you? I’ll keep you posted.

Jan 302011
 

So after trying a multitude of things to change my life and me for the better I’m trying to stick to one goal again. The Goal. I don’t do all that well with goals. While deadlines usually help me a lot (if they aren’t too tight.) In my experience I just state goals, get all enthusiastic about them, and then wander off. At the end of the year I often don’t even remember what I started out to do. Goals like: get to bed on time, lose weight, exercise more, become a tidy person get stated on a daily or weekly basis, and then abandoned.

But this year I thought I’d give it a try again. My one (not only but most important) goal for this year is:

Lose 10 kilos of weight or more.

I know. Pathetic, boring, and unexciting goal.

I thought I’d do it properly this time, think about my goal in advance, make it public, hold myself accountable, and such. Well, I did state it in December, I told my husband that this time I was adamant about losing weight, and that I would start January 1st. And I did. I made a few rules for myself because this time I am actually going on a kind of “diet”, and I did pretty well for about, um, two weeks. I will keep on trying, though, because defeat is not an option.

Now you might think why is my weight such a big deal? Well, for one I am heavier than I have ever been in my life. That would be quite okay if I hadn’t gained weight steadily for the past three years. While I might resign myself to be a somewhat overweight person, I can’t resign myself to be a really fat person in the near future.

I did lose weight between 2005 and 2007. My lowest weight in the past years has been about 70 kilos in the summer of 2007. this year on January first I weighed 89.9 kilos. And there were days when my weight was even higher. I could just see myself go over 100 in a few years. (And just for comparison that means that I went from a BMI of 23.1 to one of 29.7 which is quite overweight.)

Of course I had thought that if I just lived a bit better – getting enough sleep, exercise, and eat real food – that my weight might just drop by itself but it didn’t. Even adding running to the mix didn’t do it.

So after a year where I focused on becoming a happier person, I know want to focus mainly on becoming a slimmer person. My rules are:

  1. No alcohol but on special occasions. (Like my husband’s birthday and such. I found throughout this month that there were quite a few special occasions which meant an average of 1 1/1 beers per week.)
  2. No sweets but an occasional piece of dark chocolate.
  3. No crackers.
  4. No potato chips.
  5. No grazing all afternoon or evening.

At the moment I just don’t buy any foods that I tend to binge on. After almost a month of this I did buy some gummy bears for my son again but I don’t get to eat any of them. I used to store some snack foods in my studio for afternoon snacks but I cleared them all out. Now I have to go to the kitchen, get myself an afternoon snack, and that’s it.

And yes, I feel a bit defeated because I need to do this, and when I succeed I want to do it for yet another year so that in the end I might just feel like myself again. Also I want to be able to wear dresses in the summer without my thighs rubbing against each other, and I want to be able to run without my knees hurting. I’m fine so far but of course all this extra weight strains my joints.

I’ll be using this blog to hold myself accountable but I won’t turn this into a diet blog. Just know that as of today I’m weighing 88.9 kilos, on kilo down. When I started this I had told myself that if I didn’t lose at least a kilo by mid-February I would have to join Weight Watchers.

While I’m happy to have lost any weight at all, I also found myself getting lax with my rules after about three weeks. One reason was that in the beginning my husband also didn’t drink any alcohol. But then he went back to his glass of wine in the evening. One reason is that I am obviously not able to stick to any rules for any amount of time. Well, that means I have to forgive myself and do better today. And tomorrow. And the day after that. For the next few years.

I just have to be all “only today” about it, otherwise I’ll be driving myself crazy.

I still long to be a person who just eats, and that’s it but so far it hasn’t worked.