Sunday, February 14, 2010

Oh No She Di'int...

Let me let you in on a little secret. Lately I've been trying to develop healthier eating habits. Me, championer of Hot Pockets and Shin Ramyun, bacon addict, lover of cheesecake, donuts, and anything containing chocolate. I'm 5'3" and at this exact moment 107.5 lbs, have always more or less eaten anything and everything I've wanted, be it 3 times the recommended serving of Totino's Pizza Rolls or an entire family-size bag of salt and vinegar chips in one night (and trust me this has happened far more than once or twice), with no more consequence than one or two additional pounds that magically drop away overnight.

Needless to say I'm aware of and profusely thankful of my better-than-average metabolism, which I can only assume is what I should be thanking considering I'm no more active than the average athletically-challenged college student and far less active than some. I've been away at college for roughly 4 months now, and during this time I have managed to put on 6 pounds to pad my original 105 lbs. While I'm not exactly freaking out about it, should this trend continue over the course of my college career it would mean by the time I graduate with my BFA I would be at a rather hefty 153 lbs (12 lbs. per year of college x 4 years = 48), which I find to be a somewhat unsavory prospect. Furthermore, I've noticed lately that I've been constantly down, not quite depressed but hovering around a state of exhaustion no matter how much I eat (sleeping more is not an option), which I can only attribute to my almost-purely sugar and refined-carb diet. The best possible remedy (or perhaps it would be better to term it preventative) to these issues, present and future, would be a combination of regular exercise and a healthy diet.

Unfortunately, in reality the fact is I barely have time for 3 hours of sleep a night nowadays, much less exercise beyond the daily mile-and-a-half walk to and from classes and occasional trek for art supplies. So modifying my pack-a-day instant ramen habit seems like the next best thing.

*WARNiNG!* I am far from the nicest/sweetest person on the internet, and although I do make an effort not to be senselessly cruel and rude the way some people are under the guise of anonymity, as some of my acquaintances have discovered I do have controversial (and pretty strong) opinions about many things. Eating habits are one of them. I will probably insult a lot of people with what I'm about to say/write next. If you read on and discover that you are one of these people, don't say I didn't warn you. This blog is my brainchild and an extension of my general thought process, and what I write on it is simply what I think. Opinions. So feel free to get all offended, just know that if you do I'll be laughing at you on this side of the internet, because I *did* warn you.

That is all.

That being said, I've always been the kind of person who quietly scoffed at people who went on all-cabbage binges or avoided carbs like they contained swine flu. If you expect me to now say that I no longer regard these people and these diets at ridiculous, you're at the wrong food blog. I'm not going to deliver saccharin sweet lies about how I think these "diets" sound very interesting, because frankly I think they sound rock bottom stupid. A diet by proper definition isn't a bizarre eating habit that you embark on for a short period of time in hopes of miraculously dropping pounds--that is just an unfortunate development of connotations in society. A diet a part of a lifestyle, and because of this I loathe to say "I am on a diet", because it simply isn't true. I'm on "on" a diet as if I may be "off" it tomorrow. A diet shouldn't be something so absurd that a person only tolerates it long enough to obtain the desired effects before abandoning it for their previous eating habits. Rather I'd like to think that I'm making better lifestyle choices and improving my diet and eating habits.

You're of course welcome to secretly think that I'm just a unthankful naturally skinny bitch secretly panicking about gaining weight and desperate to believe that I don't "need" to be on a diet to lose it. But this is my blog, so humor me and try to believe that this isn't *just* about losing/keeping off unwanted weight. Try and believe me when I say this is about developing better eating habits, learning to cook things that don't involve stabbing cellophane with a fork or microwavable sleeves, and raising beautiful children with discerning gourmet palates who call me "Mummy", daintily pat their mouths with a napkin, and ask to be excused from the dinner table.

Okay, maybe not that last one. But should I ever have children (god forbid) I would like to keep them out of the 1/3 of the children in America who are overweight-to-obese.

Because can we be honest and blunt here? (of course, it's my blog.) I don't care what you say about you or your kid being "big boned" or it just being "puppy fat" or "running in the family" or "pleasingly plump" or "big and beautiful". From where I'm standing way over here, it's just plain unhealthy to have that much fat around your arteries.

Take a deep breath, the super-offensive part is over. I'm sure that 20 years from now, standing face-to face with my kid's friend's big-boned mother and her pleasingly plump offspring, I will regret this post. For now, it's all good.

So, started as of...about two weeks ago, I will be (attempting) to implement these changes in my daily food intake:

~more fresh fruits
~more vegetables
~more protein in the forms of chicken, beans, pork, and beef (surprising, because the fact is most Americans eat far too much protein than is healthy, but actually I haven't been getting enough protein because being in art school makes you too poor to buy meat. And yeah, I am aware that meat is not the only protein available. It is, however, in my opinion the most delicious.)
~more salmon (this is in a category by itself because it is DELICIOUS)
~fewer over-processed foods (as much as I hate to admit it, delicious as they are, they're not good for my health or my waistline)
~more water (okay here's what's up with this: I am no scientist/doctor/nutritionist, and thusly have nothing creditable to say about the whole 8-glasses-a-day-yay-or-nay debate. I do, however, believe that 8 glasses or not for the majority of the time I'm most likely not imbibing enough water, because it constantly seems like I'm pissing out far more liquid than I'm taking in, and my usual daily water intake is at a mind-boggling 0 glasses a day. So yes, I will be drinking water.)

Furthermore, here's what I will not be doing, and I don't want to hear about how much more weight I would lose if I would eliminate the following habits, because I maintain (somewhat desperately, many would think, and many would be right) that this isn't [just] about losing weight..

~eliminating refined carbs such as white bread and white rice (it just isn't happening. I don't care about the increased health benefits of complex carbohydrates and the detrimental ones of refined carbs. I'm sticking with my white bread and white rice so get over it.)
~banishing butter, oil, and saturated fats (again: let's be reasonable. This is me we're talking about--and if you don't know what I'm talking about, might I direct you to my last post, an ode to butter)
~forsaking sweetstuff, including baked goods (everything in moderation, people.)

So this seems to me so far, a good plan. If you've done the math from the beginning, you'll have realized that so far I have lost a total of 3.5 lbs--and my current weight was taken after an unrestrained Chinese New Year dinner. So, 3.5+ lbs in two weeks? Not bad at all. We'll see where this goes and how often I scurry around protocol and reach for the instant noodles. But I think it's important to not see it as depriving myself of things, so much as saving my stomach space (bottomless as it is) for better things. And is it lame that I feel a tiny twinge of pride for bypassing the allure of the Hot Pockets in favor of peanut butter on toast and a handful of grapes? Maybe a little. But I'm hoping that the extra nutrients from my new healthy lifestyle will contribute to better creative productivity and a happier me. And hopefully a happier me for you. Is that too much to wish for?