jeudi 11 avril 2013

Nobody's perfect

For some of you, I may have given off the idea that I am a model person.

I have never smoked, have never been drunk, I hate clubbing and dislike dancing, have never died my hair, and I don't have tattoos. I wear simple clothing. I wear what I call "hand-me ups" (clothing I get from my younger sister) and clothing that I find or that is off-loaded onto me. I am more introverted than extroverted. I don't really like shopping and I carefully control my budget. I am a really simple person living a simple life.

Remember the old adage - nobody is perfect. 

So what's my vice?


One of the richest meals I've had in Bordeaux, lamb and beans slow-cooked in an earthenware pot. Delicious, but deadly. Author of photo: Den Nation.

I have never been at the ideal weight for my height. Not since I was 6 years old. Puberty hit at age 7 (yes, I was an early bloomer) and I have been chubby every since. 

I love trying everything at least once. I eat almost anything and I cannot stand leaving great food on my plate in restaurants. I have to eat everything; it makes me uneasy to think of good food being thrown away.

When I was 22 I weighed over 80kg. For someone that is only 160cm tall, that is a lot. Last night I looked up my BMI for when I weighed 82kg and was so shocked to discover that I had been obese. 

Me obese, how could that be? I was so ashamed.

At this time I moved to a new city, started university and began a weight-loss regime. It was not a fun time, let me tell you. For six months I ate plates of boiled vegetables and fish. Nothing could be fried and the only dessert I knew was Greek yoghurt and fruit.

I succeeded - I got the weight off. Just not all of it.

I spent a few years almost happy at the upper end of a healthy weight range for my height. I did control my portions and led an active life which included a lot of walking and cycling. I ate mostly whatever I wanted. But I remained chubby.

That all changed when I got married. I can't pinpoint exactly when the turning point was, but sometime in the year after I got married I started gaining weight again. 

I have thought about it a lot recently, and I think I know what went wrong. 

A lot of our friends had babies. Instead of inviting our friends over for dinner, we would always visit them in their homes. There would always be an elaborate apéro, pre-dinner drinks and snacks. I was ravenous and there was no way to escape the apéro. Living in Bordeaux, there was no shortage of alcohol either. By the time I got to the meal, I was no longer hungry, but I would keep eating at the insistence of my hosts. "Here, have a little bit more, I noticed that you liked these potatoes," my hosts would say, reserving me a healthy portion of potatoes without even asking if I wanted more. And then there was the wine. Oh, the wine! Sometimes there was even wine during the dessert. 

Treats brought back from Italy. The tupperware is full of cookies and nuts. Author of photo: Den Nation.

For the two years after we got married, my husband's job involved going out to dinner at least once a week and I would accompany him. Remember how I said that I can't stand to waste food? Well, in France you can't ask for a doggy bag. Everyone would order the 3-course set meals so I would too and end up eating all of it. The meals were so rich that even my bike ride home probably didn't burn off even a tenth of the calories I consumed.

We travel a lot, mostly for my husband's work. Since we got married we travel even more. So what happens when we arrive at our destination? You guessed it, dinner with the hosts who want to impress. 

So what happened? Well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess that. I gained 10kg in a year. All because I have no sense of control and because I am too gourmande.

I decided to finally do something about it. Everytime I stepped on the scales it was like somebody was stabbing me in the heart. If I didn't do something about it, I was going to end up obese again and the thought of having to lose 20+kilograms just depressed me.

I knew that the only way I could do something about it was to leave France. So Denmark has been my saving grace. I think I will just do another post on why that is as this post is getting too long. 

I decided not to get a scale here, otherwise I would be on it all the time. I just weigh myself whenever we go to our friends' houses. 

So Monday night will be weigh-in night. 

I decided to talk about my weight problems so I would be held more accountable to stick to this. I'm going to try and eat right over the weekend and I'll be telling you all how the weigh-in went. Of course I'm not going to starve myself - I'll eat when I'm hungry and yes, this includes carbs. I don't believe in cutting out a food group from your diet just in the name of losing weight. When you go back to eating that food, the weight will more than likely come back on.

What am I hoping for in Monday night's weigh-in? To just be at a normal, healthy weight again, even if it at the top-end, which for me is 63. I know that a few weeks ago I was at 65, but with travelling and eating out, I can only hope to see 63 staring back at me on Monday night.

I better get out there and get on my bike. It's pouring, but no pain, no gain, right? Or it should be in this case, no pain, no lose.

12 commentaires:

  1. I'm with you in this one: the apero is a killer! Especially as my poor Scottish stomach doesn't like waiting until 9 or 10pm to start eating. And how smacking on crisps for an hour before dinner is supposed to make you hungry is beyond me!

    Good luck with meeting your target. I always find good weather helps, and it's supposed to be just around the corner!

    1. There is no escaping the apéro! Your host opens the door and it is waiting for you. It can even last for up to 2 hours depending on how late some of the other guests are.

      When I lived in the UK I became accustomed to cycling in the rain. As long there is no snow and slippery ice like in Canada, I'm going out there!

  2. Please don't feel bad.

    I have never been thin. Not since I was 12, anyway, and even back then I felt chubby even though I really wasn't. I gained A LOT of weigh my first couple of years in Canada. New food combined with a lt of work ad discovering the convenience of junk food. I think I was about 200 lbs (I'm 5'7). Then I started excising again (nothing crazy, yoga and lots of walking) and I lost the weight. I started being paying attention to nutrition and avoiding empty calories. I still can't believe how fatty some seemingly innocuous food can be here:

    I sound I like a guru but if you want to talk about weight matters, email me. I'll share more personal details by emails ;-)

    1. Yes, I have read that post a few times now as I could really relate to it. I had no idea that you gained and lost that much weight.

      Have you done a post on "so-called" healthy food in Canada? You touched on it a bit in your post with the muffins, but do you have anything else to add?

      Thanks for the offer to chat via email. I think I just might take you up on that offer!

    2. I don't think I did a follow-up because I wrote this article after losing the weight... plus I hate to sound like I'm encouraging people to lose weight, I do believe we come in all shapes and it's just fine.

      For me, realizing the calories content of some easily avoidable foods and daily exercise (yoga before Mark, lots of walking now) did the trick.

      I still eat chocolate every day, cookies, cake once in a while and all. But I do check labels now and will pick the 100 calories cookie over the 200 calories one--well, as long as I like the one with less calories but I often do! Some food are super fatty. I mean, I get no pleasure from eating a 300 calories 2 inches square piece of Oreo brownie. But I do enjoy a coffee cake at my local bakery once in a while.

      Please do email me! Oh, and yes, you can ignore BMI or your actual weight, it doesn't exactly paint an accurate picture of your health (or beauty, for that matters). Whatever weight you feel comfortable at will be your ideal weight. I certainly don't preach for the size 00 group.

      I also love eating and I like big plates of food. I'm not exactly a "three nuts and half a cup of yogourt" kind of person :-D But I make sure I mostly eat vegetables (you can have lots of them without feeling bad!), a bit less carbs, flavourful sauces that are pretty "light", etc.

  3. I will start off with the idea that you should ignore BMI. It is a bad reference for body weight. It doesn't take into account differnt body styles. We all joke about big boned but it does matter what body style you are as to whether your weight is healthy. For example I have two women friends who are both 5'1" (150 cm) One is the petitest tiny thing you've ever seen and the other is very muscular. There is over a 30 pound (divide by 2.2 for kg) difference between the two. BMI says the petite one is dangerously skinny and the larger one is obese. They are both athletes and they both eat healthy.

    A better measure is body fat percentage. With that metric both are in the healthy range. As for me at my largest given either BMI or BFP I was borderline obese. Right on the line. And for someone who has been skinny most of his life it was quite a shock. Luckily I've managed to drop 20 lbs (divide by 2.2) I am doing better. I still need to lose another 20 but I think that is in reach.

    Some keys I've found to weight lose. Take it slow. Don't try to lose to much at once. Still enjoy food. Don't make food just utilitarian. Make it a celebration of life. All I've done is cut about 100 calories a day out of my diet. Don't feel guilty. If you enjoy a big meal one day.. Just enjoy it and let it go. I have 1 day a week I don't even count.

    I am rambling now so I will end my comment. Keep us posted and don't get discouraged.

    1. Ce commentaire a été supprimé par l'auteur.

    2. Congratulations on your recent weight-loss Wonky73. I read about your weight-loss on your blog and was impressed with the before/after pictures. Good job!

      I knew that it was only a matter of time before somebody used the muscle weighs more than fat argument. While this is certainly true, unfortunately this is not the explanation as to why I weigh too much. There is nothing particularly muscular about me. I don't do any exercise apart from walking and cycling. I just eat too much and my meals in France were too rich. I can't make excuses for my excess weight anymore.

  4. I agree with Wonky. The BMI thing isn't the best indicator at healthy weight. Mine puts me at 15.2 which apparently is severly underweight, but you know what? I feel fine -- I have normal blood pressure, lots of energy, my periods are regular (TMI perhaps, but to show you that my body is working normally), and I eat like a normal person!

    I know a lot of expats who have gained weight by living in France. The culture is all about food, so don't feel bad! Enjoy your life rather than obsessing about calorie intake etc. If you'd like to drop a couple kilos for health sake, go about slowly and practically. And you don't have to be accountable to us or anyone else. Your body, your business!

    And I've seen photos of you and I must say you are a very pretty girl with nothing to worry about :)

    1. I'm glad that you have a healthy body image. I am working on it, one day at a time.

      I used to think that people lost weight in France because the food was of better quality. Now I know better.

      You're right, I have to take this slowly. And I have to have a plan for when I get back to France or else the pounds will pile right back on again. I am very nervous to go back for this reason.

      Thanks for the compliments, I appreciate it. I admit that I do look good in most of my pictures, but I have to be honest and accept that I look heavier than usual in the Brazil pictures taken on my 30th birthday. The goal is to get back to what I was in the other pictures. I'm almost there now, so I'm not sweating it so much. Thanks again!

  5. I have been trying so hard to exercise too, but I just can't be bothered! The weather doesn't help at all though...getting on your bike in the rain sounds like you have more will power than me! I have just succumbed to it now! I have no idea what I weigh now! Good luck for Monday :)

    1. Don't worry, I never ended up going! It started to rain really badly after I wrote this post and I couldn't find the courage to go outside. So I don't have much willpower actually.

      I know, Canadian winters are so cold that you don't want to go outside. It is dangerous, if not impossible, to ride your bike outside when the roads are so slippery and full of snow.

      Sometimes it's better to not know what you way. As long as your clothes fit like they normally do, then you are alright.