Friday, May 27, 2011

On Weight

Let's hang out in our sweats this afternoon and talk frankly!
I'll go first:

Growing up and all through my adolescence and even until about... 27, I'd say, I was the kind of creature who could ingest anything and look exactly the same.

The only exception was my freshman year of college when I discovered the unlimited food lines in my college cafeteria, but even that classic 15 disappeared with the quickness of a
youthful oath.

When I was 28 and the metabolism slowed, I simply amped up the exercise, stubbornly clinging to the idea that I was entitled to eat anything I wanted, and as much of it as I chose, dammit!
And so it went
the accident in December.

The inability to sweat out the cupcakes made for a sad time,
and when sad times hit I know I find solace in Trader Joe's Macaroni and Cheese
in vanilla cake
and ice cream
and brie...

The problem with the sadness is that I never felt full, no matter how much I ate.

Thank goodness I have a career I can pour myself into with wild abandon
and a husband who loves me tender no matter where the scale points


three weeks ago when I simply couldn't fit into anything non-cotton-lycra in my closet
it didn't sit well with me.

I began the process of seeing what I could do about this whole shebang.
I still felt fashionable and pretty and all of those things, but not completely comfortable, physically
and sometimes emotionally.

Aside from low-impact exercises
and reading the blogs of women whose stories I so admire

I began doing something so simple, so amazingly simple it's profound:

I stop eating when I am full.

Ta daaaaa!

5 pounds are gone, 10 to go and I will be back in my comfort zone and in my Sevens
again with ease.

It's really funny how much guilt there is about not cleaning your plate:
if you've ever been a child
if you've ever eaten mostly Ramen for your hungry twenties
certainly if you've ever not known where your next meal would come from

this is a hard concept


with full clarity I know it might be the most powerful tool in my arsenal right now
aside from the limited consumption of things like pasta and cake

and that makes me feel

in a very different way.

What is your relationship with food and weight?
I look forward to our dialogue in the comment section!



Sierra Keylin Jewelry said...

Oh have no idea how timely this is. I LOVE bitchcakes and read her inspirational blog posts regulary. This is one of her best tips, and freakin simple, I tend to forget the baby steps and tell myself I've got to go run for an hour and a half...perhaps just a bit of moderation and common sense are actually all I need! Thanks for being so open, honest, and willing to share where your head is at these days, I can assure you that you are not alone...I have struggled with weight my whole life and am only recently making baby steps to correct my behaviors and move forward. Connecting with others out there in the interwebs has been a great inspiration to me, a community of sisterhood, support and love...Sending you love and Aloha, and a big high five for getting closer to that favorite of all ladies...fancy denim! Many thanks!

Sunny Rising Leather said...


Isn't she great?? Such a treasure trove of gifts :)

Ah, yes... the baby steps instead of the harsh prison sentence-style exercise... "all things in moderation" was my father's slogan when I was a girl and he is still svelte :)

Here's to letting the struggle go, interwebular friendship and Joe's Jeans :)

Rebecca Dortzbach said...

I am lucky. I am tall enough to carry some extra, and stubborn enough to want to eat what I feel like. thankfully, I generally enjoy eating healthy... except for massive amounts of cheese... chocolate, wine.. you know. I hit 29.. and well the jeans ain't fittin so good anymore. Summer helps b/c i generally get full quicker and am too uncomfortable to overeat. I love food, and am uncomfortable about the weight, and am enabled by my loving husband.. though how long he can put up with the extra 10... who knows:-) going hiking this weekend and hoping to get back on the bandwagon with all the beauty summer has coming. you are so beautiful!
~ random reader in B-more

Illustratornette said...

Allison, I'm so with you. I recently found a job that I commute to daily and leaves me sitting at a desk for most of the day with no real time to extercise during the week. Because my mind is tired my body never gets the movement it needs, plus I love to bake and eat it when I am stressed. My solution is simple, like yours. Portion control and being more conscience of what I eat and when I am full. Lately I don't feel comfortable in my pants either and that is a hard fact. I am trusting myself and the universe to find a balance soon. I hope you will too!


Sunny Rising Leather said...

Well, hello!! :)
Yes: summer is incredibly helpful with the hot hot hotness and the desire to eat only fresh fruits and veggies becuase of it: no one wants a steaming hot bowl of apple crisp with ice cream when it's 95!!
Thanks so much for your comment! xo

Annette: Ah, the baking.... that's a huge part of a joyful life for me, and it will be a lot more sensible to make as much as I love to when we have kids: they de-vour everything. For now, with just the two of us, cakes and pies will have to wait, or just every once in a while. I am with you on the trust thing!! xoxoxox

bonddi said...

Weight is a number. How you feel is what is important. You cannot measure how you feel by the measure of your weight, though many people do. Don't think about your weight, think about your energy. If you feel lethargic, unhappy, bored, restless, sad, angry, etc. get up and move -- that keeps the weight off. If only I would follow my own advice, I have probably gained and lost more pounds than all the biggest losers combined.

Jaime/Bella-Bijou Jewellery said...

Oh yes the subject of weight - I know it well. I've watched my mother struggle with it my whole life. I remember feeling blessed when I was young to eat the chips and candies and goodies and not really thing about it. I was always curvy, but never ever felt chubby. Then I got involved with someone who was no good for me. He was controlling and verbally abusive and made me feel guilty about just about everything I did in life. I turned to food, and I found myself being sneaking with food - gorging when he wasn't around to judge me. Comforting myself; telling myself I "deserve" the treats for what I put up with.
Finally, I got the courage to leave one night and promptly shed 12 pounds in a month. I was happy, I was active without trying. I wasn't hungry all the time. I figured it was because I was hungry for so much more in life that wasn't just food, and I was filling its void by filling my stomach.
In the last 2 years I have put on 20lbs. Between the stresses that come with loss of loved ones, day job woes, and (hopefully one day) inlaws who LOVE to eat out, the weight has just crept on. I have tried so many different routes to fight it - being the gym rat, weight watchers etc, and nothing really helped me shed more than 6-7lbs. I have finally come to realize I need to cease my inner monologue that tells me it is ok to reward myself with food, to eat my feelings, to sneak treats out of shame. Instead I need to eat when hungry, savor each bite, and when I no longer *need* to eat ( even if I want to keep eating) I need to stop.
I need to stop eating when I am full. I need to savor my food more, slowly taking it in, so that I don't speed past the point of fullness without realizing it.

I think I will always struggle with weight, regardless if I get a handle or not, it is bred into me, but I need to stay aware of my thoughts about it, and try to love the me I am at the current moment, before I can try and love the skinnier version :-)

"The girl who lives in yoga pants"

Sunny Rising Leather said...

Bonddi: wiser words could not be spoken: amen :) xoxox

Jaime: there is a big part of me that believes that weight shifts as we do: that there are certainly women who are meant to be generously curvaceous, that we aren't all supposed to be waif-like, though it is certainly what our culture celebrates.
I think the idea of loving yourself as you are this very minute is a gorgeous one: and you are SUCH a stunner, girl. Seriously.

Lizzy Derksen said...

Yes, Bitchcakes is a wonderful help.

I'm having a hard time too.
My jeans don't feel so great either. I bought them on Boxing Day, fully expecting to be down another five pounds by now. Instead, I am up five pounds. I was hospitalized in February, and have been struggling since then. Although my total weight loss since last summer is still 15 pounds, and although I am proud to have kept that much off, I do not feel comfortable in my own skin. My thirteen-year-old self--the one who refused to leave the house during the summer, who tortured herself for every bite she ate--comes back to haunt me. I have not been gentle with myself. I have not taken small, constructive steps. For now, I ask Tim to look at the scale for me, to tell me whether I'm up or down - the number makes me want to panic.

After reading your post tonight, I decided to take Annalena for a little tour. Tackle some hills. Fly over the bridge. Though I can hardly remember it, when I was very young, I loved to spend an evening biking. I tried not to think of it as a punishment, or even a workout.
I'm home now, feeling better, glad to be able to post a small autobiography in your comments. You are such an encouragement to me. And so, so lovely. Always.

Lindsey said...

oh Lordy I can so relate to this post. I somehow managed to score myself a chronic rib issue that keeps me from working out like i use to. I also really love cooking and eating so it's been hard. but-even when i was smaller i never fully appreciated my body and so I am trying to give myself extra grace no matter what I look like.
ps-I love your posts and your honesty.

Amanda Ford said...

Yes. I have a lot to say on this topic indeed.

1) Emotional eating is a big downfall of mine. I eat when I am stressed, nervous, bored, tired. I am working on this in combination with a deeper devotion to my spiritual practice. Aside from feeling overly full yet ultimately unsatisfied when I eat for emotional reasons, the thing I don't like the most about this habit is that it is a sign that I am going on unconscious mode. I am meeting for reasons that have nothing to do with hunger and I am eating amounts of food that are bigger than my body needs. I am a woman who strives to live life as "awake" as possible and emotional eating opposes that. I am working on this.

2) My day job ~ as you may or may not know ~ is personal trainer. I spend a great deal of time talking to women about eating habits and body image. The truth is our bodies work best, ie are at their place of optimal health, when we eat the right foods in the right amounts. The sad thing is, we get so much totally wrong information from our culture about what is healthy for us. Not to mention the fact that we rarely, rarely, rarely see images of actual women in media. Most are retouched in photoshop. Many women I know don't even have a realistic idea of what a healthy woman's body looks like.

3) On a practical note, in addition to a sensible diet, strength training is really huge for helping us ladies keep our bodies in shape. Particularly after age 30. You don't have to do a lot of strength training ~ just 20 - 40 minutes, 2 or 3 times a week ~ but the pay off is huge. If I had to choose between cardio exercise and strength training for helping you lose weight and stay in shape, believe it or not, I would choose strength training.

4) How is your body feeling since the accident? That sort of thing can really stress a body on many levels.

5) xo

Sunny Rising Leather said...


Goodness, even your comments are so beautiful to read: you are a writer. Through and through.
I support your journey up and down the scale - I know you're beautiful inside and out.

Lindsey: thank you so much for your comment! Yes, the cooking, how I love the cooking! Thank goodness this is easier in the summer, when the bounty of farmer's market goodies overfloweth my fridge :)


1. Ah, yes.... I remember in my twenties I stopped eating when I was sad: I cannot pinpoint when this changed, but it has, and I too am working on it :)

2. I love that this is one of your jobs (aside from being a creative being), and I love that you remind us all reading here about the dangers of Photoshop and our cultural reliance on it to sell, sell, sell!

3. So gratefully noted ;)

4. You know, the healing process has been really interesting: yoga keeps me abreast of where I am holding stress, in which muscle, etc: I have noticed there is more stress to hold since December and that muscles take longer to release. This means lots of restorative classes, and lots of patience. My neck mobility is improving slowly but surely.

Thank you for asking, and for your fabulous comment.

Puck's Mom said...

I am not fat, I am actual size.

And I do waddle. That is a cyclical displacement of mass along an axis relative to the directional vector of my travel.

Yeah, right.

Lisa said...

Oh, I can completely relate to this. I'm one of those women that always has to watch her weight. I've packed on a couple of extra pounds lately too, and I'm trying to reverse that.

I'm inspired by how gracefully you are handling this situation, one that would reduce most women to a puddle of tears. More than my weight, I struggle with not feeling beautiful because of the number on the scale. To be completely honest, that is what I need to work on the most. Losing the 5-7 lbs I've gained isn't nearly as important as just loving myself no matter how much of me there is. :)

Anonymous said...

the journey of weight...
a life long thing for me...
but I have learned to focus more on the "inner weight"....funny how that takes care of the ourter weight
it is important to feel comfortable in your own skin...not to fit a mold, but to be happy with your body...after all it does so much for us, the least we can do it love it!♥

love your openness Sunny and the Bitchcakes is a rock star!!!!

love and light

dailycoyote said...

Well, fuck. When I sent you that etsy convo last night about telepathically sending you some butter, I had not yet read your blog, this post. I was just excited about my cow having her baby and being in fresh cream again! I never meant to be insensitive, and I am so so sorry if it felt that way to you last night.

Now, on the topic of butter, I've noticed that moderation (a previously foreign concept thanks to what my best friend and I call "runt of the litter syndrome") comes so naturally when I am the one making/growing/preparing my food from start to finish.

I make butter from the cream that I milk from Daisy; it is sacred, it is not easy nor expendable. It's to be savored and saved, as are the cookies made from the butter, etc etc. It's too hard to gobble down more than I need because it takes such effort to make more!

Now, this phenomenon flies out the window when I have a bag of potato chips in my lap. I didn't grow the potatoes, or slice them paper thin, or fry them in my homemade butter.... but if I did, I wouldn't eat five potatoes worth of chips in one sitting! OK, off to plant potatoes.....

Sunny Rising Leather said...

Ah! SO much to say ladies, more on Monday, but eeek, Shreve: I loved your convo almost as much as I love butter: not one iota of insensitivity read ;)

And moderation means yes, even butter IN moderation!

xoxoxox all!

DalaHorse said...

Allison....I'm in my about stubborn weight that won't come matter what....well i have a solution to mine....alteast there is weight coming off....I've gone Vegan...still eating seafood and eggs(organic cage free) and the fat is slowing and mysteriously disappearing! I feel better too...i highly recommend it! xoxo Sue

In my twenties after having my second child....had a stubborn fat problem...took up hosreback riding till i was lean mass...great way to sweat lbs. off

Puck's Mom said...

Ack! I meant to type "And I do NOT waddle." I should not try to be clever on the internet so late at night.

Shreve's comments on butter... mmmm. I believe butter is one of the four food groups. Yes, chocolate, butter, alcohol, and antacids.

My relationship to food has always been love/hate. Much like my relationship with myself.

It's funny what life will deal you. I was seriously depressed about 10 years ago, and lost a lot of weight. Can't recommend that method. I had always struggled to lose weight, and when I did, I didn't care. I didn't care about anything. All the weight (and then some) came back. Now I can't get rid of it. But I'd rather be overweight than to go back to that dark place.

I hope you can work through the issues from the accident, both physical and emotional. But give yourself time, these things heal slowly.

I don't mean to sound trite, but I think you are beautiful just the way you are. Spirit, grace and personality always trump physical looks.

susan.fulbright said...

Oh my dear, where should I begin!

As I slowly approach the big 4-0, I find my darned metabolism slowing more and more and more. Despite my daily workouts and yoga routines, it is becoming harder and harder to get weight off and keep it from creeping back!
So recently, I have just decided to do my best, work on the areas I know I can change and accept the "body structure" I was born with, and feel sexy where ever I may be in weight.
The whole "eating till full" mantra helps me loads as well. I even package up half of my dinner at restaurants before I even begin to eat so then my mind doesnt think I am depriving my body.
I will say tho, fitting into those fab jeans once again is a priceless feeling!! Mine are sevens too-and so bootylicious! ;)

Two B's said...

Something I have not written about in my blog but eluded to on FB for the first time yesterday. In January my Dr. suggested that I lose the 15 that I seemed to have gained in the past 3 years. (Good thing someone keeps a record of these things...)She and I are about the same age and she reminded me that it will only get harder to "maintain" never mind lose. "So why don't you start now?"
SO after years of being a trainer and nutritional councilor I joined Weight Watchers. I LOVE to cook and this makes making wise choices easy. So 4 months later the 16lbs. are gone and I am back to running. Most importantly I feel so much better, I always knew I could do it...I just needed too!
For me another 6 lbs would be good (WW thinks otherwise) so I will just go about doing what I am doing and feeling better about the whole thing, cause in the end it's only really me that cares. (Like you my supportive hubby doesn't care about the numbers!)

radcow said...

My dad has an eating disorder. he excersizes 4 hours a day and eats very little and fasts for weeks on end. When my sister and I were babies he plastered the walls by our cribs with pictures of models, and when we we were teenagers he taped pictures of obese women on the fridge to sway us from over eating. The first thing he always mentions when I call or come for a visit is my weight (which is close to 200 lbs and is a primordial sin in his eyes) I feel ashamed, and I dread seeing him and moved a million miles so I didnt have to. I understand that My Dad is like he is, because he suffered an abusive childhood in which he had no control, and has chosen his weight as the thing to fixate on in order to deal with his emotional pain. I understand this is totally his bag of beans, but I have a major issue with weight as a result. I struggle every day to not equate my self worth with my weight. wow that felt good to let out. thank you for the space, Allyson xoxoxo