2/12/2014

Weighty Wednesday: Food Fight

One year in college, I had two roommates. One of them was skinny, and one of them was more medium sized, but she very much wanted to be skinny. When the whole "fat makes you fat" line of thinking came out, medium sized roommate came home with approximately four thousand boxes of Snackwell snacks.



On nights when we would gather to watch TV - probably the original Beverly Hills 90210, as we didn't have cable - medium would eat a bunch of Snackwell cookies and skinny would eat two regular Oreos or chocolate chip cookies. Being more on the medium side, I figured I'd give Snackwells a try. But I remember it taking four of them to equal the pleasure I got from one Oreo. I went back to regular cookies. Medium roommate became more medium. Skinny roommate stayed skinny. I lost five pounds. 

I haven't really trusted diet bandwagons - and the foods that follow them - since. It would be lovely to think that if I just cut out sugar, or fat, or carbs, or lima beans (oh wait, I've already cut out lima beans because they are the WORST) that all my body issues would be solved. I get why people are attracted to the idea of cutting out one food group. And sure, if you eat twelve Oreos and drink two cans of soda every day and then you cut out sugar, you are going to lose weight. At least until you freak out and binge on sugary stuff. . . or wind up in the hospital from a vitamin deficiency because you also cut out the natural sugars found in fruit and dairy.

When it comes to eating, I'm a huge fan of consistent, conservative scientific research. It blows my mind that people pay money to various diet companies when the CDC has scientifically-based healthy  eating information for free. They even have suggestions beyond what to eat; they also tell you how to eat healthfully. The truth is, the additives and pesticides in our foods should scare us more than gluten, fat or sugar.

I mean, Subway uses a chemical used in yoga mats in their BREADS. Not their bags, or their cups, or any one of their non-edible items. Their freaking breads. And they don't use it at their European and Asian stores, because they're not allowed to there. I find that terrifying. (If you'd like more information about the chemicals used in your food, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has a great list).

There's a part of me that would like to make all of my food from scratch, at home, from all natural ingredients. Except that I generally hate cooking. And healthy food. I have managed to give up fast food, mainly because of all those stories about how fast food never breaks down. This did not cause me to drop 20 pounds immediately, much to my chagrin. But it is one (very, very, very) small step towards my (unattainable) goal of eating unprocessed foods only.

I am trying to eat fewer processed foods, and foods that have been processed less. Which brings me back to Snackwells. Fake foods - or fake versions of real foods (I'm looking at you, skim milk) - are not satisfying. A lot of times their fat has been replaced by sugar; or their sugar by chemicals or what have you. But I still feel bad sometimes, when I reach for the whole milk or the regular yogurt or the cookie I really, really want. I think to myself, "You're too fat to eat like this. Sure, eating what you loved and listening to your body worked before, but now you're super fat. And old. Dip a carrot in this fat-free ranch dressing, that's what fat girls should eat."

And then I have to tell myself to stop being such a freaking bitch.

And I remind myself what Geneen Roth would say about eating healthfully, not emotionally.

I still have a very fraught relationship with food. In case you couldn't tell. I know that I'm not going to start cooking everything from scratch unless the world stops producing great books,  creating great TV shows and the internet breaks down forever. I know (now) that cutting out fast food (which I don't even miss) doesn't mean the weight will magically disappear. I know that it's going to take me a really long time to get to my healthy weight this way.

But having a good relationship with food - just like accepting my body - is important. It's a fight worth having, even though I'm tired and cranky and worried about financial stuff and parenting and writing and working and taking care of the house and working on my marriage and, and , and.





33 comments:

Nicole A. said...

For me I just need to be better with portion control. Salads are all good and well but I hate salad. Something about the texture and taste of lettuce makes me want to puke. I'll stick with foods I enjoy and control my portions and look for healthy ways to tweak them.

Masshole Mommy said...

I like to eat and portion control is hard for me. I am also a wicked big snacker.

Masshole Mommy said...

I like to eat and portion control is hard for me. I am also a wicked big snacker.

theroadtodomestication.com said...

My biggest issue seems to be emotional these days, too. I never used to be like that, I'm not sure what happened!

Vinma said...

I have not paid attention to the food I eat.. as long as I can eat on time, it has never bothered me. I am a big snacker as well. But then, I was always/ still skinny.. whatever I eat stays well hidden and I never gain weight. may be it is hereditary lol

Emily Stephens said...

I am a snacker - I like to eat 5 to 7 times a day, but not too much at once. We stopped buying "junk foods" and started making a lot from scratch. You can control so much more when you make things yourself.

Pam said...

I have always found that if I don't eat what I truly want, I will wind up eating a lot more of what I don't want to make up for it.

Lawna Noe said...

I read this as I am munching on Reeses Pieces! I definitely need to lose some weight and these seem like some great alternative snacks to my usual fattening snacks.

Angel said...

Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed review. Your family looks lovely, BTW. I used to eat these years ago. Now when I want something sweet a usually make a smoothie or avocado pudding. I don't eat processed foods or gmos anymore.

Ave said...

I really like you post! I thought that it would be another product review, but your post really surprised me. I am trying to eat fewer processed foods, but it's really hard :)

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

When Snackwell cookies first came out, I went that direction too. Like you said though, I wanted to eat more because they weren't as satisfying. Also, I felt like they were almost sickeningly sweet as if they had to make up for the lack of yum from fat or something. Anyhow, I'd rather have a little of what I really want than eat none of it and suffer with a replacement.

Beth said...

I need to start working on my eating, too. My biggest thing is that I'm often too tired (lazy?) to cook. I need to work on that!

Lady Lilith said...

I am more into portion control and filling my plate with veggies rather then carbs.

Sarah-Louise Bailey said...

I am awful when it comes to anything to do with eating - I am such an emotional eater, just the smallest thing can set me off x

Jennifer Williams said...

I think a lot of people ended up over doing it when they thought they could eat an entire box of something because it was low fat. I eat a balanced diet except when it comes to unhealthy food, then I might have a small piece of cheese cake and make sure to eat it slowly so if my sweet tooth is happy before I finish the entire piece, I put the rest away for later.

Annemarie Leblanc said...

I have always been skeptical of fat free. Fat free does not mean calorie free. My prob is definitely potion control. Been working on it all my life!

Mommy 2 J.A.M. said...

I am an emotional eater, I can't say no. I will just eat to eat sometimes. I learned that moderation is the key for me.

Marielle Altenor said...

Diets doesn't seem to work with me. I get angry when I have to watch every bite i eat! I think its all about balance when it comes to having an healthy lifestyle!

Pam said...

I didn't know that about Subway. I don't eat Subway but my son does and I will have to pass that on.

I really need to have a better relationship with healthy food. ;)

MikiHope said...

Unfortunately being diabetic means that I almost have to eat synthetic sugars (or non sugars)- even eating fresh fruit can throw your blood sugar levels way off. I do agree that most people should stay away from processed foods as much as possible-but sometimes, for some of us-it is not possible!

mail4rosey said...

lol, at your Lima Beans comment. My husband has the same strict aversion to them. ;)

I snack sometimes, and I let the kids too, but we keep a lot of healthy foods in the house to help make our choices better ones. :)

Elise said...

I heard about the subway, yoga mat chemical thing. YCUK! And to think I loved them so much. :/

becca said...

i'm trying really hard to break up with junk food but it's not easy though i'm making small changes i still can't resist all the bad stuff

Nikki said...

I have a hard time avoiding emotional eating. I really need to work on that.

Eliz Frank said...

Portion control is important so I try to weigh my food... always a good isdea

Tough Cookie Mommy said...

You are right, it is important to have a healthy relationship with food as well as have a good body image.

Theresa Mahoney said...

That is disgusting about Subways bread! Sometimes I actually would like to grow all my own food so I know nasty chemicals aren't entering my body!

Amber Nelson said...

I just can't stand the word diet. And it is all about portion control, really.

Melanie said...

Unlike most people I don't care about food; I eat to live and not live to eat.. but my husband LOVES food and giving him portion control is a BIG thing; he loves these cookies and I finally can manage to give him one or two and he will be happy. Thanks for a great post

Courtney Pies said...

"Fighting" with food is definitely a problem I have. I am a big emotional eater, and I eat when I'm just watching TV, which I know I shouldn't.

BabsProjects said...

I too don't believe in diets and restricting a certain food group to loose weight. This wisdom however came after years of thinking that a certain diet will make me loose weight. The only thing I follow now is to cook lunch, dinner everyday and have processed food only as a treat for occasions.

Cheap Is The *New* Classy said...

Oh my goodness, that Subway bit really freaks me out. I hadn't heard about that.

Ashley Wintters said...

I'm terrible when it comes to snacking. Portion control is basically non-existent for me :(