Monday, February 05, 2007

The Time Has Come, The Walrus Said

Oh, my puff pastries. PeaceBang has just viewed some photographs from her recent trip to Guatemala, and the evidence is IN: she has gone decidedly beyond the bounds of zaftig into the territory of Just Plain Fat.

PeaceBang knew this was coming. She gleefully ate her way through Spain last January and spent last winter and spring frequenting the new barbecue joint in town and cooking up all manner of delicious delights. She ate with impunity all summer, chowing up a storm in Canada and at home, feasting and frolicking with abandon. She worked out very little this fall, and went on the Entirely Cheese and Bread Diet around Christmastime, a difficult regime immediately following the gustatory excesses of Thanksgiving. She ate fondue, she ate salmon and cream cheese bagels, and then she ate so much cheese in Guatemala that she actually swore off the stuff, all until a beautiful Vermont cheddar called her name just last week.

But all good things come to an end. PeaceBang is going to join Weight Watchers and endure the peppy cheerleadery motivational talks of the leader so that she can get weighed in (like a truck, as an old friend used to say) and pay for the privilege of being reminded that one serving of protein is the size of her hand, not her head.

Goodbye, SmartFood! Goodbye, whole containers of Pad Thai! You always were my favorite comfort food! Goodbye, 11 pm sandwiches, and buffalo wings! Hello, portion control, elliptical crosstrainer, and herbal tea. I will try to embrace you with mature forbearance and not have temper tantrums when my Wiser Self tells me that 4 sushi rolls is too much for one meal.


I don't suppose any of you out there are trying to reduce? Let's e-mail each other with inspiring bits!



Anonymous madgebaby said...

Ok, let's talk weight loss!

I've tried weight watchers with limited success--what has worked better for me is cutting out sugar and refined flour and the #$@%#% treadmill. The perky WW leaders bring out the rebellious adolescent in me. . . .

If you'd like to email off your blog, seriously, let me know. I've lost a lot of pounds in the last two years (postpartum, mind you, so I have breastfeeding and chasing a todder--at times concurrently--to credit for some of that loss) but I'm very motivated to lose the last (signifigant) bit and be done with it forever.

10:10 PM  
Blogger Aola said...

It's a way of life for me... always, always having to watch what I eat or watch the scales go up and up and up some more.

Right now I am doing a food journal, counting calories - 1500 max a day, working out with weights 3 days a week and trying to get in some walking time.

It sucks! But, it's either that or turn into a barn.

Have you read Our Lady of Weight Loss by Janice Taylor - very inspirational.

10:17 PM  
Blogger Ms. Theologian said...

I've found that keeping a food journal really helps a lot. It's a pain, but for whatever reason, it makes me correct my own bad food habits because I don't want to see them in writing.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Caroline Divine said...

Funny you should mention. I am recovering from Ph.D. studies, which besides being long (where DID that decade go??)are expensive, depressing, and fattening. I have never lost weight via diets (even when over the course of a year I ditched the many many college lbs., about the same amount as the Ph.D. -- funny seminary was not as fattening) but having hit middle age, I have found I needed a little something with a kick, but no hunger. The South Beach Diet works, even if you do a modified version (i.e. not totally pure on Phase I) and it's good for the heart. Remember, sistahs, heart disease is the biggest killer of women over 50 in the U.S. That's right, ahead of breast cancer. You can get the basics of South Beach via the web, paying no money, and just follow the guidelines, though I must say I didn't get really serious till I got myself the South Beach book. I'm not a buyer of diet books and I couldn't stand the thought of paying full price so I got a nice used copy.

The nice thing about this is it's healthy, you're not hungry, and after the first phase you really do lose cravings for quick carbs. And you can gradually, after two weeks of protein and veggies (and olive oil; and they say not to have milk in your coffee but a little 2% hasn't done much harm, maybe slowed things down a bit)start adding complex carbs and/or fruit. Eventually you can get back to your glass of red wine with dinner, too.

I also like the fact that I can eat a number of things in quantity and not get into measuring portions. My appetite has gotten smaller, a nice surprise. But if I want to have a big dinner, as long as it has certain ingredients and not others, I'm cool. So none of this eating like a bird thing. And you can do it if you're a vegetarian, though if you eat a bit of fish it's easier. But you're not a veggie, or are you?

Other nice thing is you lose the first set of pounds pretty fast so it shows and keeps up your motivation.

And trust me, this comes from a health-nut foodie gourmet anti-diet person. I still listen to "The Splendid Table," too. (Now THAT'S sick. Or maybe it's compensatory.)

A little extra exercise is always a good thing, of course. But sometimes it can be helpful to lose a little weight before starting to exercise again. The thing is to take on the regimen that works for you and (despite enthusiastic testimonies from me or anyone else) find what suits your temperament and health and body.

10:58 PM  
Blogger Lizard Eater said...

(sigh) I am on the road, too, sister-friend. Who knew cancer was so fattening? Well, for the mom, anyway. Right now I'm in the "learn about my body" phase, because I desperately want to get off the on-off-diet-rollercoaster.

You have motivated me -- tomorrow, I go to the gym!

If you have cable, and better yet, tivo, a good motivational tv show (for while you're doing situps, natch) is "I Lost It." 1/2 show, featuring two people each episode, who have lost weight. LOVE those lovely before/after shots.

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Bonn Ferguson said...

PB, I too have reached middle age and middle spread. I agree with caroline devine regarding South Beach. I am going back on it. when I first tried it I lost 12 lbs in the first 3 weeks. Also did not feel deprived. What ever method you choose be confortable with it. I would be grateful for a partner in the diet effort.
Bonnie in California

11:50 PM  
Anonymous Chalicechick said...

I'd been kicking around starting one of those blogger diet groups for UUs, possibly calling it "Not a Cow by GA."



Ps. Weight Watchers is the only diet that has ever worked for me, and having a slightly snarky leader is key. They're out there. Also, use the E-tools.

7:14 AM  
Anonymous kirstie's friend peter said...

JC is my saviour--Jenny Craig, that is.

The one-on-one weigh-in and consultation are so much more respectful of my need for privacy than WW. No group cheerleading, just personal advice, feedback, and consulting.

I credit JC with teaching me how to eat--portion control, how to read a nutrition label, etc. Not only because of the planned menus, but the foods themselves (What? That's a portion of pasta?!) which are quite tasty.

JC gives you what a nutritionist will give you (sound, healthy advice on food, eating, motivation, exercise) and then gives you the foods, too!

It's a tad more expensive than regular groceries (not by much, though), but you can sign up for a program where the longer you stick with it, the bigger discounts you get on the food.

In the busy life of ministry, I often slip into unconscious munching, fast food, no time for the gym, etc and my weight creeps up. Last fall, my doctor told me I needed to lose thirty pounds. I found my neartest JC centre and went back on the program at the beginning of December (yes, BEFORE the holiday). Since that time, I've lost twenty-two pounds! And I'm back on track with what my meal plan is supposed to look like.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Louise said...

Sign me up for "Not a Cow by GA", Chalicechick. I think a diet group for UUs is an EXCELLENT idea. I just, at this very moment, convinced my husband that we should try South Beach. I know he'll fudge and not follow it to the letter, so I could use some sympathetic voices to keep me on the path of enLIGHTenment.

My body is a temple with a four-car garage out back, and ladies of the cloth, I'm looking to downsize.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous ppb said...

Argh. I'm doing the online weightwatchers, which I actually like MUCH better than the in-person version. I also like keepign the food journal online much better than schlepping around the paper version. A bunch of my clergy blogging friends are doing it as well, and all posting once a week as an accountability thing.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Jeannie said...

I'm a big fan of the diet of small changes: switch to splenda, switch to skim, switch to diet soda, switch to whole grains, park a little farther away, use stairs instead of the elevator (when reasonable!), use olive oil... i've even heard that switching to tea from coffee will knock off a coupla pounds. Drink more water, find an excuse to get up and walk somewhere every now and then, use low-fat cheeses and use wraps instead of bread, etc. Often, just using a smaller plate/bowl helps. And, learn to love the spinach salad.

In the meantime, get friends and family to encourage and support you!

11:46 AM  
Anonymous anniesmom said...

Hi PeaceBang,

I've done WW, YMCA, counting calories, etc., but they don't work for me. Here's what has worked:

* (from Oprah herself) Don't eat after 7:00 PM. I did most of my calorie consumption after 8 PM. Nowadays, I'm finished by 7. If circumstances push dinner past 7, then I eat something light.

* I walk at least 30 minutes a night. It's free, it's usually quiet, and it helps.

* After each walk, I stretch, adapting some yoga positions, and try to work out the kinks that 50 years brings. I'm much more limber, which means I move more easily.

* Counting calories bores me to tears. I've learned portion sizes and pay more attention to that than anything else. Also, using a smaller plate really helps.

* Before preparing dinner, I pause and take stock of what I want to eat. Sometimes I'm not hungry at all, and may just eat some yogurt or a stalk of celery with crunchy peanut butter on it. (This comes from the Rev. Barbara Cawthorne Crafton, who writes beautifully in her Almost Daily eMo. She's at

* I drink one can of regular Coke a day. If I want something sweet and liquid in the evening, I'll drink part of a caffeine-free Mt. Dew. Before, I drank grape juice like there was no tomorrow. Ever checked the calories in 8 ounces of grape juice? Now multiply that by four. Coke has much less.

* Fortunately, I'm not a baker. But I love homemade cookies and brownies, and am content to enjoy those after church on Sundays (where, by the way, our best bakers are from the Gay Men's Supper Club). Occasionally, a friend and I will split a dessert when we go out to eat.

* I've learned that the more active I am, the more energy I have. Which means sacking out on the sofa in the early evening is a thing of the past. I get antsy, and either go for a walk, visit a friend, go to mall, etc. -- but I don't eat to pass the time.

Above all, learn what works for you. I looked back over the years and analyzed what worked before (one year I lost 130 lbs.) and adapted it to my current living situation. I prefer exercising alone, and food journals--like any kind of journal--isn't my thing. It helps to read of others' success in losing weight, especially those before and after pictures. Get inspiration where you can. Good luck!

1:11 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Portion control, exercise, drink water instead of any other beverage (except coffee in the morning of course) and no eating between meals is the only way that works for me. Maybe we could write a prayer for dieters

3:43 PM  
Blogger CAM said...

I use the WW online system. I have been on and off for years, but I have been on for the last month and have been doing well. "They" always say that the most important thing is to pick something that works for you and stick with it. When ever I need some perspective, I re-read Geneen Roth's "When You Eat at the Refrigerator Pull Up a Chair". She has her own system, but most of all it is about all of those good things like looking at emotional eating. I also love to eat whole containers of pad thai. I used all of my flex points last week to eat one and I still lost 2 pounds. Yeah! I also find the veggie board on the WW online chat area friendly and pretty WW-zombie free. Good luck!

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Wintry Mix said...

Peacebang, I've lost 10 pounds since January 5th using eDiets. It costs a couple bucks a week, and the most valuable parts of the service (for me) are the Nutrition Tracker, which tracks your calories and nutritional content for what you've eaten, and the online support groups, which I had pooh-poohed mightily, but which are actually really, REALLY helpful. Accountability works!

Other things that are working well for me:
--small plates
--eating smaller amounts every couple of hours (haven't had any faint-feeling, low blood sugar episodes since starting this!)
--cut back on caffeine by 90%...I have a diet coke a couple of times a week, but no more morning/afternoon coffee rituals. The difference in my energy has been incredible.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Wow. This is something lots of people have thoughts on. My partner is German and there is a huge culture (so says he) of fasting in Germany. He insists that this is detoxifying, energizing, etc. But oh by the way you lose a lot of weight while doing it. Everyone always freaks when I say he fasts for weeks or months at a time, but he drinks tons of fresh juice (made by our juicer) and does fine. There is tons of literature on it. But, the point is, if you have the discipline to do it for 1-2 weeks (or 3-4...?) you are detoxified and you start from a much smaller size - and then maintain good eating habits from there. Not fun for a few weeks, but it works and gets the hard work done fast. Just a thought.

6:03 PM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Chalice Chick, I've been cackling all day about your idea. By ALL MEANS, set it up! Set it up!! Count this cow IN!

6:03 PM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Caroline, I dropped a bunch of weight on the South Beach about three years ago. It's great, but I can't keep it up.

6:04 PM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Thanks to all of you for your many tips. I knew this would be a hot topic.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh indeedy, a group for those seeking to not be cows would suit me better than well, anything in my closet now!

if such a thing happens, I'd join in! Let us know CC and PB!

6:35 PM  
Blogger Ginger Root said...

Lost 60 pounds on Weight Watchers. Still weighing in free as a lifetime member. But it's close, there were so MANY good cheeses this fall...

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

along with the diet thing I have to KEEP MOVING which is hard since it's massively cold around here. Lifting weights has been great for me metabolism wise. And I feel so darn strong and special.
For me keeping a food journal absolutely backfires. Every time I have tried I gained weight.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous jinnis said...

P and I have a new resolution to get to the gym first thing in the morning - even if for only 20 minutes. The local rec center has plenty of machines and is just down the street, so it is about as easy as possible.

I'm on board for a joint blog effort to slim down before GA. How might that happen?

10:31 PM  
Blogger juniper68 said...

I just started WW today, too, so come on over if you want. And I second the vote for Roth's book - it's smart AND kind. I never have a copy because I keep giving them away...

1:40 AM  
Blogger womynrev said...

I'm a WW convert. The most frustrating thing about it is that it works if you Work the Program. the most important (and difficult) things I've found are:

~whole foods.

not the store. whole grains, fresh vegetables, lots of fruit, legumes. The more I cook for myself, the more successful I am. This is one of the difficulties of Ministry As A Single Person.

~listen to your body

weight loss is a personal journey. what works for you might not be exactly the WW party line. or what others say is The Way. For example, I try to avoid processed foods and refined sugar. But I've GOT to have my Stonyfield Farms Light Yogurt Cups. just for example. :)

~it's not about the scale

The scale is just a snapshot of your progress. it's about taking care of your body, and learning to inhabit it fully. Augustine might not approve, but I'll tellya, it's one of the most important journeys I've ever begun.

Good Luck, PB, and as someone else said, feel free to contact me off-blog. It seems like vanity, it seems like there's not enough time, but this is about taking care of our beautiful whole and competent Goddess bodies.

And ultimately, loving ourselves makes us much more effective conduits for God's love of others.


7:07 AM  
Anonymous madgebaby said...

My past problems with WW were with the flex points program--refined flour and sugar are real problems for me.

Plus I just resent that they peddle all that crap food--isn't it like selling little bottles of liquor in an AA meeting? I think so.

Have any of you WW affectionatos tried the core program? It seems to offer more that would be good for me personally.

8:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if anyone will scroll this far down -- but I'll post it anyway. I am a post-seminary doctoral student, and 1.5 years into my program discovered that at the rate I'm gaining, I'll have to be wheeled on stage to get my hood. Not a pleasant thought.

Lesbian-feminist genes have mostly kept me off the diet roller-coaster in my 20's and early 30's, but I have done WW's a couple of times, and it worked for me... while I could keep it up. But now I'm doing the Body-for-Life 12-week challenge, which involves both dietary changes (5-6 small meals a day, moderate portions, more protein) and 6x/week workouts -- both of which are very simple, but require real commitment. In short, I'm thinking about converting.

I've been getting far better results than I did on WW alone (though the two could easily be combined), and my energy is better after 4 weeks, too. Plus, I've dropped a clothing size and 9+ pounds. And seriously -- there is something about the 12-week time frame that makes me less resistant and more committed.

Okay, so Body-for-Life is a little cheesy. But for me, it's totally working. I'm a big fan, and happy to recommend it to others.

11:08 AM  
Blogger womynrev said...

madgebaby, et al

one of the ways I reconcile myself to WW is by not buying any of their products. The CORE program is great because it encourages whole foods--if you have the mental constitution to do it--I don't do well with such freedom, I need the parameters of FLEX.

The reason WW works (for me) is that it is not a diet but a way to learn new food-related habits. A lifestyle-change, if you will.


12:19 PM  
Blogger Peg said...

Looks like I'm a little late to the party, PB, but count me as a fellow Weight Watchers sister. Photographs were what got me in the door, too, just this past October. Our wedding was joyous from start to finish, and I do think I looked beautiful, but the photos don't lie. I was unquestionably stout -- or, to put it as you do, not zaftig, just plain fat -- and I didn't like the implications for my overall health and wellbeing.

I'm so pleased you shared this news, and hope you continue to share your progress. We can all use all the support we can get, regardless of our plan of choice.

1:48 PM  
Blogger Caroline Divine said...


5:17 PM  
Anonymous madgebaby said...

Ok, I've been snowed in today and found a neat new thing (for me at least)

(I don't work for them, promises!)

a)it's free
b)it's calorie based (no magical points to count, you can eat what works for you, etc. )
c)it has a lot of exercise and motivational stuff that seems appropriately incremental
d)it doesn't seem patronizing!!
e)did I mention it is free? (I could use that forty bucks a month for my reward spa treatments instead of paying for the WW leader with the scathing look and the tight belt)

For those of us who don't find the meeting setup inspirational, it is nice to have another (free!) option.

Anyone used this website?

7:47 PM  
Blogger Sophia said...

Peacebang, I hear you.

I am now nursing a severely sprained ankle that I blame partially on my out of shape, overweight state. When they gave me crutches in the ER I could barely use them. That was the sign that something needs to change - once I can actually walk again. Sigh.

1:08 AM  

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