But I will not carry around a water bottle

My freshman year of college, my roommate and I lived down the hall from a group of girls relatively indistinguishable from one another, all sharing a common goal that A and I did not: the determination to pledge a sorority. To a t, these girls all had shiny, light brown hair and skin that seemed perpetually freckled and tan, and when they weren’t engaging in sorority-pledging activities they lived in athletic clothes and flip flops. They ate enormous bowls of of cereal, plate after plate of salad and endless servings of frozen yogurt and not much else. And they carried oversized water bottles everywhere they went. The water bottles were so ubiquitous, in fact, that in an unattractive fit of mean-girlness, I nicknamed them (very uncreatively) the water girls. This was before I knew some people choose to drink massive amounts to help control hunger and I just didn’t understand why a quarter gallon of water needed to accompany them wherever they went. Granted, they spent quite a bit of time at the gym, but still.

Are they really concerned about becoming dehydrated?” I asked A. “I mean, is that an actual, valid concern on their part?”

This is my roundabout way of telling you I’ve started a lifestyle changeoh hell let’s call it what it is, a diet. Definitely a lifestyle change but really, a diet. In this day and age we aren’t supposed to diet anymore – no – we are supposed to be accepting of all body types, or if not that, then we are supposed to at least make moderatechanges we can live with for the long-term, but really even then we should be all about body acceptance and liking ourselves the way we are, even as we watch obesity rates soar across our country, with all the attendant health problems that accompany being overweight.

The truth is, I’ve been a little overweight for a decade now. I’m not obese but I carry extra weight in my middle that has only grown worse since carrying Duncan. Oh, I fluctuate back and forth seven pounds or so, and I’ve hopped on and off weight watchers for years…sometimes I lose some weight but then I gain it back. Truly, I am fortunate I don’t gain back more,. I’ve remained in the same 7 pound range for a really long time now with the exception of my pregnancies, and I actually didn’t gain much with those – 24 pounds with Evangeline and 19 with Duncan. I am pretty decent at maintaining at this weight but I’m not happy with myself here and so I’ve made the commitment to follow through with the South Beach Diet.

I am tempted, here, to start telling a traditional fat narrative…to share with you how I started out, how I gained weight, and why I am seeking to change, but that wouldn’t be fair, or ultimately honest. I have a solid extra layer of chubbiness that I dislike, but I don’t wear plus size clothing – I wouldn’t be a contender for the Biggest Loser reality television show. I am motivated partially out of concern for my long-term health (my mantra right now is “better a voluntary diet now than a mandatory one later”), and more than partially out of setting a great example for my daughter (I don’t want to endlessly be dieting in front of her), but more than anything else I am motivated by vanity.

Yep, vanity. I am grateful – so terribly grateful – for my body and how well it treats me. I am extremely active with my kids, pretty flexible, and with the exception of some disturbing loss of core strength post-Duncan, I feel great. I’ve carried two babies to full-term, avoided c-sections, and nourished those children with breast milk. Working in a hospital setting, I value and say thanks for my great good health, every day. Truthfully, I feel as though my outside self doesn’t match my inside self – inside I feel no older than 27 most of the time. But I can see how quickly, in one’s late thirties, a little extra weight that wasn’t prohibitive before quickly spread, and I am going to at least try to halt it. I could say I’m doing it for my kids, or for my future grandchildren, or something like that, but that’s not really how I think. Honestly, I’m doing if for all the clothes I’ve pinned on my Pinterest board. I am doing it to participate in fashion, and I am doing it so my outside me matches my inside me.

I chose the South Beach Diet because it targets the area where I carry my weight – my middle – and because I believe growing up in a stringent, low-fat house is part of what put me over my target weight to begin with, but that’s another story for a different time. Admittedly, I’m only on my third day but I’ve noticed two things: first of all, between breakfast and lunch, I don’t grow hungry. At all. Overall I’m actually not hungry, but the hours between breakfast and lunch have always been particularly tricky for me. Secondly, I realize just how shoddy some of my eating habits have become. The other day I automatically went to eat a spoonful of Evangeline’s macaroni and cheese and then realized what I was doing – I did the same with her applesauce. Sometimes I pour myself a slug of her juice in the morning – can’t do that either. It’s only been three days but it has certainly been eye-opening!

Anyway, in the interest of this blog is really about anything and everything with absolutely no theme whatsoever, I thought I’d share this part of my life as well. I might try to update every couple of months or so on my progress, if the mood strikes.

Two things I promise you I won’t be doing? Carrying around half gallon bottles of water – I still don’t understand that habit unless you are pregnant or ill. The other thing: Two words: green smoothies. Nope. Just
– no.

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7 thoughts on “But I will not carry around a water bottle

  1. I don’t think there’s ever anything wrong with eating healthily. My no sugar, caffeine, yeast and alcohol diet is a pain in the neck sometimes (and I really miss cake) but it DOES give me much more energy and more stable moods and I’m sure I’ve caught fewer infections than I would have done without it. And there’s always long-term health to think of. I figure that if a different eating plan helps a person manage their energy levels and their hunger levels better then it’s just a sensible thing to be doing. And I agree with you about green smoothies – just ugh!

  2. I always that “water girls” was an extremely clever nickname. And honestly, it was in no way unkind. It was just who they were to us!

  3. I’m still happily consuming sugar, butter, caffeine and such, but I’ve also moved away from processed foods. Nearly all my cooking is from scratch, and where I can I buy local, including meat, veggies and fruit.

    But I’m on the weight loss bandwagon with you. In fact, I began the process of taking off fifteen pounds September 1. Here’s the horrible truth. If you put on just two pounds a year, over a thirty year period, that’s sixty pounds. I’m not in such bad shape, but it’s been creeping. And it’s much harder to get off now than it would have been ten years ago. Or twenty.

    So good for you, and good for me. I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines. Maybe it will help keep me out of the refrigerator.

  4. Wow that’s uncanny how our lives are similar. At a recent medical checkup I was shocked by my own weight and I don’t want to buy a whole new wardrobe, so things will have to change soon obviously. I’m not on a diet – yet, because I want to take the time to choose the one that will best suit my life. But I’m cheering on!

  5. Good luck changing your eating habits. It’s not easy but I think trying to make healthier choices is always a good thing. I used to bike to work so I had my bike water bottle with me all the time and now that I work too far to bike I still carry it. It has the right amount of water to get me through the day so helps me stay alert to keeping hydrated.

  6. Litlove…my biggest goal is to lose weight and simply maintain the loss before my daughter or son notice that I am doing so. Already with this diet E is wondering why I didn’t share a popsicle with her – I told her it was because I had a snack earlier (mostly true). I would just love to never have her hear a conversation about dieting happen in our house!
    Amy – maybe it’s only it retrospect it sounds mean? But you are right, that’s who they were to us! Hmm, I wonder what they called us behind the scenes??
    Shoreacres – I am cheering you on as well! As much as we want – and we should – be accepting of all body types, I almost feel like we are becoming overly accepting of overweight as the norm. Unfortunately it’s tied to so many diseases and health issues – I’m determined to take care of this once and for all!
    Smithereens – thanks for the support! I barely fit into most of my work clothes and a couple of key pieces, not at all. I did NOT have this trouble after Evangeline…did you have this trouble after your first?
    Stefanie – to clarify, I do drink water during the day, I swear! I just never got in the habit of carrying a water bottle with me and it always seemed cumbersome – like another thing to remember, you know? On another note entirely,I am thinking of getting into biking, actually…

  7. Me too, me too. I do it for vanity, too. I’m not obese; many people would love to have my body, I’m sure, but I can’t wear the clothes I want to wear and really look good in them, so I am trying to lose the 12 pounds I want to lose, as well as flatten my stomach, in order to be able to do that. But (what is it about listening to society? Must I really feel guilty for not accepting my “beautiful” body as it is?) I feel really bad about admitting I’m not doing it, really, for my health (recent checkup and blood work note I’m more than perfectly healthy) or to increase my life span (although that would be a nice added bonus). I’m doing it because I want to be able to tuck my shirts into my tight jeans and look GOOD.

    But, I have known to carry water bottles. Especially when I’m hiking.

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