For the last two years, I've been really careful with my diet. I purged most non-organic foods, stopped drinking coffee, have had healthy breakfasts (organic oatmeal with water, a sprinkle of sea salt, organic raspberries, blueberries and walnuts with organic green tea or water) and I've tried to eliminate pasta and ice cream (successfully) and sugars (varying success) from my diet. I've cut out pseudo healthy foods like juices and smoothies that are actually high sugar calorie bombs. I've exercised five times a week (yoga, pilates, zumba, boot camp). Net result? I think I've gained 10 lbs although I have lost weight when I cut out all sweets (except fruit) and tried to stick to one bagel a week on Saturdays.
I used to eat chocolate all the time--at least once a day (English chocolate bought at home and carried back in my bag or imported from Fairway and overpriced English food stores) and I was easily a size 6. Now I'm nearer a 10 and some of my clothes don't fit (mainly jeans, shorts and pants but a few dresses and tops). The big increase has come recently, since I loosened my prohibition on sugars and deserts at celebrations (like birthdays) which meant my sweet tooth returned. It's a very limited sweet tooth--I don't like sweet drinks, I hate sweet and savory mixed so I don't like ketchup, sweet spicy food (cut the sugar and elevate the spice for me) but I know a bar of chocolate here and there is far from innocent. It's not just the calories, it stimulates more cravings and it causes inflammation of various body tissues.
I hate being hungry so I've looked at all the guidelines on healthy eating and so-called super foods that fill you up and even burn fat (claims I'm not sure I believe). Ironically, these are the foods that constitute most of my diet--oatmeal, black beans, raspberries, blueberries, wild salmon, whole grains, chilli peppers, cumin, garlic, onions, green tea, etc. I also get at least 8 hours sleep a night so I'm not putting on weight because I'm sleep-deprived. Indeed, if I look at all the guidelines about losing weight, I'm pretty much doing everything right unless I move onto modified versions of Atkins and cut out all carbs. I'm tempted but I can't do that--but I can cut out one of the two slices of organic 12-grain bread that I have on a lunchtime sandwich or with a bowl of soup.
I may be able to cut down on carbs and to fit in another workout or two a week, but I'm coming to the sad conclusion that I am not going to lose weight if I eat as much as I do right now. I'm not talking about starving. I can't work if I am hungry and I'm not that irresponsible. But I know I have a healthy appetite and even if I'm eating healthily, I'm obviously storing calories that my body isn't using. The sad fact is that women's metabolism slows after 35 and while I though I was immune, I'm not. And it's not just vanity (although that plays a role) or the frustration of realizing that the 20-somethings at the yoga studio who work out less than me and eat just as much, if not more, are visibly skinnier than they were in June while I'm a few pounds heavier. It's the fear that this will only get worse and the horror that I could be the big girl when I was always the tall, slender--even skinny--one.
Afternoons will be tough. I write intensely and then get hungry around 4-5. I've tried stopping the pains with a cup of green tea and that doesn't always work. I have to write so I grab something. It was one of the bars of Cadbury's chocolate that my brother and sister-in-law gave me, then, in an effort to be healthier, a banana sandwich. But I fear it now may have to be nothing--maybe a hardboiled egg at best.
Still, as Mum says, the stomach is a bag of muscle that can shrink or grow. I'm just going to have to shrink mine a tiny bit so I can shrink the rest of me back into shape.