15 December 2011

Notes on being fat

Just a quick Thank You to all those faithful souls here on HancAquam and in the parish who have offered me advice and prayer for losing weight.

Over the years I have learned several things about my diet:

1).  I love food.  But I do not confuse food with love, respect, honor, etc.  Food is food.  And I love it.  

2).  I have total control over my eating.  There have been times--when it really mattered to me--that I dropped 20, 30 lbs. When I was asked to serve as chaplain for the UD students on their Greece trip, I dropped close to 35 lbs b/c I knew there would be LOTS of walking/climbing involved.  

3).  When I have breakfast, I want to eat all day.  Skip breakfast and I'm good 'til dinnertime.

4).  Keep the meat, veggies, bread, fruit. . .give me ice cream!  I've been here a week now with full access to a car and cash and not a spoonful of ice cream has crossed my lips.

5).  While some use tobacco, alcohol, etc. for relaxation, I use food.  I get hyper (not hungry) and food does the trick.  

6).  Caloric restriction diets don't work for me simply b/c I am constitutionally incapable of being disciplined enough to keep track.  Any diet that requires anything remotely related to math is going to fail.

7).  Diet pills usually contain substances that rev up one's metabolism.  That makes me hyper.  See #5.

8).  The only diet that has ever worked for me is Atkins.  I lost about 70 lbs in eight months.  However, when finals time rolled around, I cracked and OD'ed on peanut butter cookies and ice cream.  

9).  Exercise poses a problem.  I'm too fat to be comfortable exercising but losing weight means exercising.  So, my solution is hold off exercising 'til I've lost a little weight.  Getting to that point w/o cracking is the challenge.

10).  Fast food (Burger King, Wendy's) is a fav of mine.  In Rome, this poses no problem and I never missed them.  Here, I have to watch out.  My solution is to go to Subway.  So far, so good.  

Keep praying, people!!  God bless, Fr. Philip

P.S.  I've ordered a book that comes highly recommended:   Why We Get Fat and What to do about It.

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  1. RE: Breakfast
    When you eat a sugary breakfast after fasting over night, you go on insulin overload so within a few hours you want to snack some more. Try a protein-centric breakfast.

  2. We're all pulling for you Fr.

  3. I'm sure you're probably getting sick of everyone giving you advice, but walking is one of the best things you can do to lose weight. I was just now talking with a relative who used to be about 100 pounds overweight and now she's back in the normal range. She started by going for an half hour walk every day at lunch and worked up to an hour. And walking doesn't rev up your appetite like heavy exercising does. It sounds simplistic but walking really is amazing exercise.

  4. When you go off, give yourself absolution and move on. Start over. Just don't give up. You have to change your life style.

  5. Anonymous4:51 PM

    Especially if you don't want to do lots of math for portion control, make sure you have small dishes. Older dishes would be better. My grandmother's juice glasses were four ounces. I can't find cereal bowls and luncheon plates as small as the ones I received as wedding presents 20 years ago.

    There is an expensive toddler snack called Puffs. Gerber makes them but Walmart has a version. They come in various flavors, have real ingredients, and almost no calories (being mostly air). If you just want something to keep hands and mouth busy they might help. My older kids always want to steal them from the toddler. They're probably all carbs so you might want a little protein with them.

    I hate exercising too. I've read start by walking 30 seconds or a minute (although since you have lived in Rome recently I bet you can do a lot more) then turn around and go home. Each day try to go one house or 30 seconds more.


  6. Try upper body exercise. I have a spinal problem but chair exercises do help burn calories.

  7. Anonymous1:23 PM

    A trick if you have after-dinner cravings - brush your teeth right after dinner. Nothing tastes good after that.

  8. Sharon3:59 PM

    Air popped popcorn, no butter or salt, is what my daughter used when she was studying.

    BPG what chair exercises would you recommend?

  9. Anything will do. You can take light dumbbells and wave your arms around in different ways. You can (carefully) do leg lifts, contracting your quadriceps. At our local senior center they play volleyball seated with a beach ball. I haven't been but it sounds hilarious.

  10. Anonymous4:14 AM

    I believe treatment of this personal issue in a public forum like this is unbecoming for a priest and inappropriate, Father. Personal issues like this are more appropriately addressed privately with your superior, spiritual director or counsellor. Wouldn't you agree after thinking about it for a few moments?

  11. Anon., there's nothing private or secret about the fact that I am overweight. Pretending this is some sort of specialized religious problem won't help. Religious get fat, get sick, go bald, fail, use the bathroom, eat, laugh, snore, etc. Pretending that we're some sort of angels floating around all these mere mortals does more harm than good.

  12. Father, There is still prevalent a false notion that being overweight is somehow a moral failing. You said yourself that it is embarrassing and it may be. But to categorize it as a moral problem (on par with drug addiction perhaps) is certainly false. Enjoying food is one of the blessings of life. Look at the difference in attitude toward feasting of Catholics and Methodists for example. I have been sick more than once where I lost lots of weight because I couldn't eat so now while I have to lose some weight to bring my BP down I rejoice that such is the case.

  13. Bango, you're right. Being overweight can be a medical problem like depression or cancer. It can also be a moral problem in the sense that food has its uses and can be abused. My moral failing here is not getting enough exercise. I really don't overeat. . .I eat bad things but if I exercised more I could easily burn off what I eat.

  14. Padre, I read your note with some interest, because some time ago I was looking for a systematic, life-integrated way of approaching food and food intake. The answer for me came from an entry in Amy Welborn's old blog:


    It seemed to appeal to her because of its "Catholic" nature...."No S" is based on simple principles of repeated daily moderation (and a bit, just a bit, of sacrifice) while at the same time admitting that food is basically good, and can be still be enjoyed.

    It really worked for me. For instance, I found that I can have one "colossal" chocolate doughnut per week (for me, its after Sunday Mass with a cup of good, black coffee) for the rest of my life, or I can eat them everyday, get type 2 diabetes, and then have to give them up for life. Atkins worked well for me, but No S gives me the option to "carb out" under controlled circumstances. I lost maybe a pound a week tops for half a year.... 25 lbs may not seem like much, but they were 25 healthy lbs, not muscle or bone-density loss.

    I hope you have a chance to check out this little "rule of food"...

  15. Anonymous9:56 PM

    Father, I, too dislike exercising. I have found that swimming (indoor pool) is tolerable and classes can actually be fun. The exercises in water are non-weight bearing and so are easier on the joints until you drop some pounds. Can also help with any seasonal affective disorder if you have any of that. Good luck, I will pray for you if you will pray for me.

  16. If it helps to motivate you, remember when the Zombie Apocalypse comes the walking dead will track down their fat & slow victims first.