Underneath my yellow skin

Trying to be positive about health

I’ve been struggling with diet-related issues for some time now. By diet, I mean what I eat in general, not any specific diet. I don’t follow diets because that way lies danger for me. In fact, that’s one of the issues I have in trying to eat more healthily. I can’t count anything because it starts me down the road to an eating disorder. My brain has so many ways to trick me when it comes to eating disorders, and it’s part of my all-or-nothing personality. If I do something, I’m going to DO IT ALL THE WAY. The last time I tried to diet, I set it up in what I told myself was a reasonable way, but it wasn’t. And it only got even more unreasonable the longer I did it. I can’t weigh myself because of the numbers as well. I get too focused on them, and I get obsessed with them going down on a regular basis. The first time I slipped into an eating disorder, I was weighing myself twice a day, which is madness. It’s ridiculous for many reasons, but the biggest was that my mood would be entirely dependent upon what that number on the scale said.

The common advice for people who can’t handle the numbers on the scale is to only take your measurements instead. Boobs, waist, hips. In theory, it makes sense because those are truer numbers than the ones on the scale. Because muscle is denser than fat, you can weigh more and still be thinner, er, healthier at a higher weight than a lower one. There are a few issues with this. One, I know how much each half inch represents in terms of pounds. For me, a half inch is two-and-a-half pounds. So, I knew that when I lost a half inch (usually every week), it was two-and-a-half pounds. I would freak out if I didn’t lose the half inch, which meant I was just substituting one number for another.

I used to know the calorie count of everything I ate, and it was not a good thing. It’s why I don’t like having the calorie count so prominent on foods these days, even though I understand the reason behind it. In general, I think it’s a good thing for most people who may not be aware of how small a portion is or what the ballpark is for the calorie count of, say, a bagel. In addition, portion sizes are huge in America when we go out to eat, so it can be bracing to see the calorie count on the menu. I’ve learned how to stridently ignore the numbers, but it takes a considerable amount of mental energy to do so.

Side note apropos of nothing: I went to Cubs today, and I had my hair down because I was too lazy to put it back up. Plus, I like to keep it down every now and again to let it breathe. I was checking out, and the cashier was an older Native American woman (I know this because she voluntarily brought it up, and we bonded over the hotness of Wes Studi) with whom I’ve chatted a few times. She looked at me and exclaimed, “Oh, I’ve never seen you with your hair down. It’s beautiful!”

Side note to the side note: I’ve commented before on how my hair had stayed at waist-length (right at the top of my ass) for decades, and in the last year or so, it’s grown four to five inches (to the bottom of my ass). I’ve given credit to taiji because I credit everything positive to taiji, but my brother offered the suggestion that it might be because of the changes I’ve made to my diet. That makes sense to me! And we’ll get to that later. Anyway, back to the first side note.

We finished checking out my food, and then she said, “Yes. I like your hair like this. Wear it like that more often.” I smiled, thanked her, and left. Here’s the thing. If it had been a white person, I would have bristled at her command. Because she was Native American, which is Asian-adjacent, I was just charmed by it. It reminded me of all the aunties in my church who would tell me this or that or the other thing and just assumed I would listen. Am I going to follow the advice? No. But it made me smile.

Back to diet.

In general, I find it’s easier to add something positive to my diet rather than focus on cutting out the negatives. Now, I had to cut out a whole bunch of things for health reasons–dairy, gluten, and caffeine. By far the hardest was caffeine, and I’ve done it twice in my life. It’s been hellish both times, and that’s why I did it by weaning off it this time rather than cold turkey. It still sucked. I drink a cup of caffeinated tea maybe twice a week, and that’s it. Because of all the decent substitutes, I don’t miss regular bread, pasta, ice cream, or milk. What I *do* miss is cheese. There are some decent fake cheezes if you melt them, but very few I would actually eat on their own. One that I discovered while in Binghamton was Daiya’s Jalapeno Havarti Style Block, which is FUCKING AMAZING. Havarti dill was my favorite cheese, and adding jalapeno makes everything better. I would eat this by itself any day of the week. I mean, I need this in my mouth right now.

Side Note II or III: I will say the one thing I really miss is dumplings. A lot. Specifically shrimp shumai. Dim sum. I miss the hell out of some dim sum. I’m toying with the idea of making one day a designated cheat day and eat all the gluten/dairy I want. Maybe not all and maybe I would do it on separate days, but I would love to go to dim sum and not worry about what I’m choosing. Or rather, defer the worry until later because I know I would pay for it.

Back to adding rather than subtracting when it comes to diet. I find that if I deprive myself too much, it does bad things to my brain. If I add things, then my brain is happy. I did that with adding an orange a day (or two small ones) because it’s good for lactic buildup, and now it’s habit. That’s the thing. You have to do something for like six weeks before it becomes a habit. My most recent addition is a salad with grape tomatoes and a mango chipotle salad dressing (or something similar). It’s been about a week since I’ve added this to my daily menu, and it hasn’t become a habit yet, but it’s getting there.

I know my diet is shitty. I eat like crap, especially during the weeks where I don’t make it to the co-op. I also know that I feel worse when I eat like crap, but it’s hard to care when I’m lying on my couch, depressed. Oh! My brother fixed my lappy for me. We figured out it was probably the TSA who knocked the input jack out when they tried to turn on my laptop. At any rate, I’m back on my laptop, which, yay because couch, but boo because only one rather smallish monitor rather than two nice-sized ones. Yay because SSD, but boo because no 2 terabyte drive. This is entirely a first world problem, and I have a first world solution. I’m thinking of buying a stand/sit desk and putting it in the living room or family room along with my two monitors and ergonomic chair. Then I’m going to either upgrade my desktop because it’s old (my brother built it for me) or buy a new lappy (because it’s old). Probably the former and just use the latter for travel.

Anyway. I want to lose weight. Not for any health reasons, even though there probably are some health benefits. It’s entirely looks-related, which is not something I’m comfortable with, but I have to admit. I can say I’m fat and not mean it in a pejorative way. That doesn’t mean I like it or am happy with it. I hate the way I look, and I hate looking in a mirror. I would like to lose a large amount of weight, but I’m at a loss as to how to do it healthily. I know how I could do it in an unhealthy matter–severely restrict calories and exercise several hours a day, but I’m not even assured that would work any longer because I haven’t done it in twenty years.

I think I would do better to focus on improving the quality of my diet, even if it’s one healthy addition at a time and upping my taiji regime every day rather than going on any kind of actual diet. It’s sad that I have to trick my mind in such a fashion, but I’ve accepted it’s what I have to do if I don’t want to slip into an eating disorder again.

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