Friday, November 6, 2009

New thoughts and some old ones too

I checked a book out from the library, "Lessons from the Fat-O-Sphere" by Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby. This is a book I've heard a lot about.

So far I've read the first 5 chapters.

The main themes thus far are those of encouragement to:
  • Make peace with your body and accept yourself no matter what you current condition.
  • Give up on diets - they do not work.
  • Find physical activities that you actually enjoy and start participating in these activities.
  • Food, in and of itself, is not moral; there are not good foods and bad foods.
  • Eat when you are hungry, until you are full. If possible, eat healthy foods that you enjoy and desire.
  • Understand that fat is not bad, it is an above-average amount of adipose tissue. Fat is a descriptor as is tall, short, dark, light, etc.
On the one hand none of this sounds like any big deal; it makes sense. On the other hand, if you are a female who weighs more than 30lbs more than the appropriate weight as indicated by physician's office height-weight charts (such as myself), these thoughts are non traditional to say the least.

But I will attest that I've come to many of these same conclusions over the past few years.

I've decided that to go to a gym or take up running is just not for me so I'm not going to try to make myself do it. But I adore hiking out in nature. We now live in the mountains and can go right out our back door onto a trail that leads up into the national forest. It's actually a rather difficult trail (I've seen friends of my teen sons struggle to hike it), but since it's something I like doing, I have no problem, when there isn't snow, hiking 5 times a week. Invariably something comes up once a week where I'll get too busy one day, and once a week I go visit my mom (but I've taken to taking the dog with me and enjoy walking around the neighborhood every time I'm there). As long as I get to do something I enjoy, that I find makes me feel better, I like it. When I used to exercise to lose weight, and in a perverse way sort of to punish myself for being fat, I hated it.

About a year ago I gave up on dieting once and for all. It's interesting because, being fat and being on a diet is somewhat socially acceptable - it would seem that the thought is that at least you're trying to do something about it. But to be fat and not trying to diet at all is one that I've noticed seems to cause frustration for some people with whom I come into contact (It's not that I talk about it at all; it's that if they ask if I'm trying to lose weight and I do not indicate that I am, they are not pleased and seem uncomfortable).

I'm going to try out this approach to food. I have noted that once certain foods were no longer forbidden to me (since I'd given up on dieting I'd stopped forbidding myself to eat candy or desserts), they just stopped being such a big deal. I may want something sweet sometimes, but it's just not that big a part of life. I'm going to try to only eat if I'm hungry and to learn to be more conscious of what full feels like.

I will say that I feel good while reading this book. I feel like the authors totally get how I feel. As I am reading this book I feel like I am not alone. Instead of feeling ashamed and guilty I just feel that I am.

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