Monday, June 10, 2013
On Getting Fat
After writing about how much I enjoyed reading Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It (and how interested I was to find out from someone smarter than me about whether or not it is TRUE) I got a few emails that made me realize that perhaps a little blurb about a controversial book is not as clear as I ought to be.
Because there is nothing more controversial than a discussion where a smothered baked potato is on the line.
It actually perfectly coincides with a blog post that has been in my head for months now, so it all should work its' way out well. And what is more appropriate for a Getting Fat post than food pictures, which I happen to have from over the weekend? (I realize it is incredibly strange to take pictures of food for no reason at all. But I do it anyway. So there.)
Why We Get Fat, along with any other books I ever read/see/think about/talk about, are almost invariably going to hold some truths with plenty of aspects in between that make me a bit twitchy thrown in for good measure. That is the nature of the beast since, you know, *I* didn't write it! :-)
And it is easy to make a little blurb on a blog thinking-
1) nobody cares enough about what I am reading to warrant further explanation.
2) Anybody who DOES care enough, should know me well enough to know what I mean in a two-sentence blurb.
Well. Turns out, that isn't always the case! :-)
SO- before reading a review written by me about a book on getting fat, you must understand something ABOUT me. Two simple truths, really.
1) I don't believe in diets. Never have, never will.
2) I don't believe that looking GORGEOUS is the point.
If you understand those two things about me- then you can read Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes, upon my recommendation, without any pretenses.
I don't believe in diets. Never have, never will.
We as a nation and we as individuals have become entirely too consumed with the idea/thought of food. Certain foods are idealized, certain foods are demonized. Food (this passive, inanimate object) has become an ENEMY. All this talk of food- we are idolizing it. We can tell that food has become an idol when we think about it too much, talk about it too much, worry about it too much. And that we do. This is true for the one idealizing food (RAW FOODS RULE!) and the one demonizing it (white bread is EVIL!)
God provided with us an entire garden of bounty from which to eat. He planted herbs of the field. He created fruit trees and all manner of vegetables. Later, meat became permissible. Quail was given straight from heaven. Later still, the Lord relates Himself to the bread and wine He shared with his disciples.
It is pretty clear to me, then, that not only are all these things permissible- but they are GIFTS from God. God doesn't give bad gifts. Therefore, I will happily eat bread. I will happily drink wine. I will happily smother a baked potato in bacon tidbits and cheddar cheese and sour cream and fresh snipped chives and garlic....(oh dear. I might have gotten sidetracked there for a minute...)
The other problem with diets is that they don't last. Eventually, you will eat cake. Even if you are strict and dedicated to whatever fad diet there is and you lose the weight...eventually you are going to back to eating everything again. And when you do....watch out.
I have lost 25 pounds since the beginning of the year. I have done so eating sugar, eating meat, eating potatoes, cous cous, bacon, sausage, maple syrup, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, feta cheese, (I really love cheese!), vegetables, scones, lard, tea and milk. REAL FOODS were consumed-and in astonishing amounts. My weight loss motto tends to be: Everything is permissible, not everything is wise. And that is where Taubes' book helped me.
Gary Taubes' main premise in WHY WE GET FAT is that animal proteins and animal fats are the foods people need to be eating and that carbohydrate-intake needs to be drastically lowered because carbohydrates cause insulin levels to do funny things (or not so funny things, depending)-including storing fat. Insulin and NOT calories determines body fat. It makes perfect sense. (Especially with HIM (and not me) saying it and the studies he refers to.)
I find that fascinating- how the body adjusts to different types of foods and such. It also makes me think at dinner, when I am still hungry, I should have seconds on the pork roast and not on the mashed potatoes. (Because you KNOW I am going to have seconds if I am still hungry!) But I will not stop eating cantalope or corn on the cob or even breakfast scones.
Gary Taubes tends toward the extreme- because fruits are carbohydrates and many vegetables as well and by the end of the book you are wondering what you CAN eat- but he isn't telling you what to eat/what not to eat. He is telling you what foods DO in your body. It is a science book- not a diet book. Readers must have a mind of their own to decide what to eat and how far to let the science go.
I don't believe that looking GORGEOUS is the point.
I am a female. And like probably 99.999% of the female population, I DO care about my appearances. I care TOO MUCH about my appearances. I cared too much about my appearances when I was in high school and thought I was fat (but was unfathomably skinny). I cared too much about my appearances when I got stretchmarks after having my first baby. I cared too much about my appearances when I got my last HAIRCUT, for goodness' sake.
While I have been trying to lose weight this last year, my focus has had to be, by necessity, one that is conscious of the food I eat, the amount of exercising I do, my measurements and whether or not I have lost a pound or gained a pound....and it has DRIVEN ME CRAZY. I have been thinking about myself ENTIRELY too much. I had been thinking about my appearances ENTIRELY too much. I despised it.
It occurred to me one day, while doing the morning ritual of weighing myself, that if I spent as much time praying for my husband and loved ones as I spent worrying about losing weight, I would be a far more beautiful girl than I am now.
The scale doesn't measure the real weight of a woman.
Mr. Taubes, and many other nutritionists forget one very important thing when they write about how to lose weight. Being thin isn't what we are here for.
We aren't put on this earth to be skinny. Some people are (and I try not to be jealous of them!) but that ought not to be the objective in life. Who can turn the most heads is not a record we need to keep. How LONG you can turn heads is not the goal in life either. Rather, we are here to be USED. Used for the glory of whom? Not us...but God. I can't tell you how many people have said they didn't want children (or more children) because of how it would affect their bodies. I can tell you this: that extra 10 pounds of baby fat brings God more glory in the obedience to Him than the 10 pounds lost for your own gain.
I read a book once that said something like "Women's bodies are not treasures to be put up on display in a museum- in order to be admired and kept in perfect condition. Rather, they are a tool to be USED." Or something along those lines. It was a borrowed book so I can't quote it directly but that totally hit home. The author of the book, a few months ago, I guess...did an excellent blog post about it.
We need to be willing to get ourselves dirty with stretch marks if it means creating babies for God's glory. We need to be willing to wear the shirt and skirt to church instead of the flattering dress, if it means being able to nurse that suckling babe for His glory. We need our bodies in order to minister to the needs of the people around us- the family in need at church, the neighbors down the road. We don't need PRETTY skin, we need to have DURABLE skin. And as Christians, we need to do all we can to keep our bones and skin durable, so that through them we can bring God glory and honor. Not glory because we are glorious, but glory because we are industrious in Him.
So when Mr. Taubes explains that carbohydrates and sugar put insulin in hyper-fat-storing mode and that proteins do not, then I say- and what is WRONG with storing some fat? The body needs fat to function. We need energy. We need insulation. Not debilitating amounts, mind you, but we still need it.
We DON'T need to resolve to eat nothing but protein for the rest of our days because our end goal is NOT to be skinny. We need to be able to serve God wholly and ably. We need to be able to walk and move and get our bodies dirty for the glory of God.
I went from blurb to barrage, but now you know two very important things about me. In the knowing, you can read Why We Get Fat (if you so choose) with the grain of salt that is needed when dealing with any books about nutrition.
Now. Where did I put those Ghirardelli chocolates.....