Poor man’s diet.

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Recently I turned our family diet toward a more Paleo lifestyle.  I did all kinds of research and reading as I always do before taking on a new venture.  Paleo seemed like a great way to eat for better health and years ago I had been put on this diet to clear up some health issues.  My acupuncturist put me on the diet before it became so popular.  It cleared up my issues in a short amount of time.

Today, my only issue is being 30 to 40 lbs beyond a balanced weight.  I had some unclear skin and I have a sweet tooth out of control.  I began on this way of eating and the skin did clear up and the sugar cravings diminished.  But I also have been in a foul mood for weeks and I haven’t lost an ounce of weight even with all the exercise and nursing.  Perhaps I am not eating enough or I’m just getting to that age where it will take an act of God to lose the weight.  I have a wonderful metabolism where I don’t gain any weight and I don’t lose either.

I am feeling restricted and I swore with the pregnancy of my first son that I would never, ever be so cruel to put myself on a restricted diet again after experiencing how great life was without a diet to follow.  Diets are just ways to abuse and torture yourself and then really f–k up your self-esteem because you will fail…eventually.  There are even articles on how the body fights dieting and will do what it can to put the weight back on.  Only a tiny percentage of individuals succeed.  You have to change eating habits long term…as in forever.  You have to find a way to eat that you love and can do to the day you die!  Get it?

I’m not loving the Paleo.  I thought I was just getting us healthier but I feel angry and I want to yell at my kids and kick the cat when she meows at me at 5 AM with that demanding way she has.  I feel like my kitchen has died and gone cold.  Meat and vegetables are on the menu morning, noon, and night.  I am thinking vegetarian is looking good again.  At least as a vegetarian, you can cook again.

My kitchen used to be filled with the smells of baking and simmering.  There were soups stewing on the back burner and a couple loaves of homemade bread in the oven.  Once a week I made veggie pizzas from scratch and on these rainy days, I made delicious and hot casseroles.  I made fat burritos and baked vegan cakes as a treat.  The kitchen was warm and cozy, filled with children playing at my feet as I chopped and diced and sauteed.  There were big mason jars filled with flour and nuts.  Now I just steam some vegetables and reheat chicken from the day before and we call it a day.

I want to have great skin and I would love to be slim and fit.  I just am not willing to go to extremes and sacrifice the warmth and nurturing my family gets from my cooking.  We are healthy in our eating and we do exercise every day.  I don’t loose weight and I don’t know if I’ll ever figure it out but I can’t diet.  It is a depressing world for me.

There is nothing like cooking from scratch.  To play music and work in the kitchen kneading dough, blending almonds for milk, sauteing tomatoes for a sauce.  It is heaven.

When I was a kid, before the body obsession and millions of attempted diets that just got me fatter, I was slim.  I didn’t have an issue.  I had 10 lbs to cushion me and thought that was not ok.  I found a photo of me as a kid the other day and I was shocked to see that I was very slim.  I had a perfect body.  Why did I ever think I had to lose weight?  Partly my vain mother and eventually I did get chubby when I discovered smoking pot and candy.  The sugar and pot did not have good effects on the body or my skin.

I thought about how we ate in my childhood home.  We lived in the mountains far from a decent sized town and we were very poor.  We ate simply.  We ate well and my mother loved to cook and eat also.  She always had a pot of something brewing and stewing on the stove.  We ate a lot of brown rice and beans, pot roasts with lots of cabbage, potatoes, and carrots.  We at bananas, oranges, and apples because the fancy fruit was too expensive and there were no mangoes or grapes at our tiny corner market.  We had to eat what was cheap and available.  We ate bread, but whole grain and not a lot.  There was a big garden, an apple tree, and chickens for our eggs, meat, veggies and fruit.  Milk was a luxury and I was allowed one sweet treat on Saturdays along with Sunday pancakes at the local diner once in a while.

We didn’t do convenience foods and packaged foods because that was an unwise way to spend what little money we had.   We didn’t have money for junk food or soda. We drank water.  We cooked from scratch and cooked in ways that stretched meals, such as using lots of potatoes and rice and beans.

We were very slim and healthy.  It was when I started buying greasy fries and bags of candy on my lunches off campus in high school that I started getting the acne and getting chubby.  It was the extreme diets that led to more and more weight gain.

I think about all this as I think about yesterday when I gorged myself on the dollar menu at Taco Bell and ate stale candy after doing some house hunting in undesirable towns and getting frustrated and feeling tired of chicken and being hungry.

Going on special diets is also expensive.  I can’t keep us on a frugal budget with this way of eating.  When I cooked freely we ate well and for half the cost.  I had also slimmed down naturally with the first baby.  I didn’t exercise like crazy and I didn’t diet.  I did stay away from dairy and sugar because I was nursing and I walked daily because we lived in a town that I could walk to the store, to my husband’s shop, and to visit friends.  I cooked all sorts of foods from scratch.  We never ate fast food or went out to eat.  I did not eat junk food.  I treated myself to chocolate in the evenings when I was running a daycare.  It was my equivalent to a glass of wine to unwind.  I was at peace and the weight came off within the year.  With the second baby I started my old dieting behavior and have lost and gained the same 10 lbs.  Lesson learned.

So, we will go back to our old way.  Being poor and on a budget can be the healthiest thing for your family if you know how to be healthy and smart with the grocery money.  I will go back to my own advice.

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One comment

  1. i have gained and lost three times in my life – all gain distributed different each time- and working on loss #4. it isn’t as easy to lose weight in this 4th decade, i am afraid. i have been working my ass off exercising as well. our metabolisms and hormones have changed, and it seems the bond we have made with our excess, it doesn’t want to leave us as easily! but something mental as well, as you said, i don’t believe in deprivation so sacrifices are to be made. you have to decide what works for you and your family, i take a little from every kind of ‘diet’ and have my own way of eating, healthy, not processed, lean proteins rotating, things within moderation, every meal an opportunity. it isn’t so much as a diet, but a way of eating and you have to decide what makes you happy. happiness is more important, as long as you are healthy and active.

    Liked by 1 person

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