Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A little 'headdesk' regarding nutrition and weight loss

Recently, my family made some big dietary changes, largely as a result of research I've been doing. We cut out almost all grains and are eating primarily meat, eggs, natural fats, some dairy, vegetables and fruits, and nuts. No more processed stuff. No more boxes of cereal and crackers. And let me just say, it's been awesome.

We didn't do this as a weight loss tactic. I only need to lose another 8-10lbs to be at a really good weight for my body and my husband is in a similar boat. We did this because we both have come to believe, through the research we've done, that this is the only healthy way to eat. Most of what I used to believe about nutrition was downright wrong and the more research I do, the more I believe that we're doing not just the right thing, but the only thing we can do to raise a healthy family.

Pretty heavy stuff, I know. I talk to friends about it and I feel like one of those crazy people who can't stop talking about the latest product they've tried or the latest diet book they've read. They've had success of some kind, so get all evangelical about sharing it with everyone they know.

I don't really want to be *that girl*. However, I do want to scream my head off when I realize how much misinformation is out there about nutrition. It is literally killing people.

I have PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and over the years since my diagnosis, I have connected with many women online who have the same disorder. It's a hormone disorder affecting fertility and weight, among other things. A lot of women with PCOS are overweight, to one degree or another. It's something a lot of my "cyster" friends deal with.

A large group of us with PCOS started a message board to stay in touch several years ago and I've been active in an ongoing thread discussing health and weight loss. We post our progress, some post their food and exercise - it helps us all stay motivated and accountable.

Lately, watching some of my good friends continue to spin their wheels, trying to lose weight in the way we've all been taught (calorie restriction and low fat) has been making me want to bang my head against my desk. I know I'm not so brilliant that I suddenly have all the answers. But I really believe that what they are doing isn't going to work - not in the long term, anyway. I want to shout at them to read what I've read, to do the research I've done, or at least listen to what I have to say! But it's hard - the low-fat paradigm is so ingrained in our collective heads, it's extremely difficult to accept that it might actually be wrong. To face that most of what we believe about weight loss and nutrition is wrong is so shocking, most people simply can't believe it, or think I'm waxing on about some fad diet or short term, quick fix.

I also don't want to come across as a Miss Know-it-all, blabbing about my new-found knowledge as if I can save everyone from obesity. I'm struggling to find ways to reach my friends and help them - give them some of the information I've found in a way that will help them. Because I truly believe it will.

I guess the best I can do is answer questions when asked, provide information as I can, and be a good example of healthy living.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you but can't seem to get rid of those damn crackers for my son. Any suggestions?

Claire said...

My oldest was a total cracker addict. The other two ate them regularly, but it's my 6 year old who has complained about not having them anymore.

What we did - honestly, we just made the decision to not have them around, and threw them all away (or donated unopened boxes of stuff). And I haven't bought more. Not here = can't eat 'em.

For snacktime, I started by offering mini-smorgasboards with different stuff that I know they like to eat. Cheese cubes, apple slices, raisins, salami or ham slices, cashews, that kind of thing. They could pick at it and eat what they want. That worked really well to ease them into our new eating plan. Now they often ask for something specific for lunches and snacks, but they've gotten used to what foods we have around and don't ask for the packaged/boxed stuff anymore (much).

Not having it around played a big part though. My husband and I had to commit to the change and be prepared to deal with the grumpy kids. They actually adjusted way better than I anticipated. Even my carb-addicted 6 year old :).

Also - I'm not strict about what they eat every second of the day. If we're somewhere else and they're offered a crackery snack, I don't worry about it (playdates, etc.). I figure if they're eating well most of the time (at home, in particular) then we're good. I'd rather not make a bigger deal out of it than necessary, so they've still had the occassional crackers or fruit snacks or whatever. I just don't keep that stuff in the house anymore.

Anonymous said...

I guess it has to be all or nothing with processed foods. It's amazing that your husband is on board. I think my husband thinks I am a little nutty when it comes to health, even though we are far from eating the way I think we should.