Friday, January 22, 2010
I recently read an article in the local newspaper here. It talked about a study done on thin people and what their lifestyles were like. Did they exercise a lot? Were they food Nazis, eating only whole grains and fresh fruits and veggies and never touching ice cream or other treats except on rare occasions? What the article said, and it highlighted several people who were and had always been slim, was that generally they just didn't overindulge. They would go to the movies and get the large popcorn and share it and then not get a refill (I know, no refill, crazy, huh?). They drank water most of the time and ate a well-balanced diet consistently. Often, they came from slender parents, but in all the cases, they pointed out that they ate the same way their parents did.
I am a skinny person. I'm one of those people that others hate because I'm slim and haven't had to put forth much effort losing the "baby weight", etc. I related to the people in that article because I've been told so many times, with a jealous tinge to the person's voice, "Oh you look so good for having four kids!" or "how do you lose the weight so fast, what exercise program do you use?"
I gained 45 pounds with each of my pregnancies, but my pre-baby weight when I was first married hovered at just around 100 pounds. I haven't gotten back down to that yet, and my old clothes certainly don't fit me the same way, but being small can be discouraging. It's very difficult to find inexpensive clothes as all the large clothing chains don't carry sizes smaller than a 4 for women and even that's a big 4. People always act so jealous like I'm trying to make them feel bad because I'm slender. I once knew a girl in high school who was larger than me. I happened to wear the same skirt to school one day that she was wearing, by coincidence, and she got on my case about looking better than she did just because I was skinnier. I never wore that skirt again, even after moving far away, because I felt so bad about it.
I know, it's unfair that I can lose the weight effortlessly and pretty much eat what I want. The point is, what I want to eat usually isn't fast food or tons of junk. I like to eat salads and lean meats and lots of sandwiches. I usually don't take seconds at meals. I drink a lot of water throughout the day. If I'm offered water or Coke, I'll almost always choose water. My husband will gorge himself sick with dessert after a meal and often I decline because, even though the pie or cake or cookies or whatever sound tasty, I know if I eat any I won't feel very good the rest of the evening. Not that I don't ever have that stuff--I certainly do, and I love to cook and bake all sorts of tasty treats. But given the choice between a bowl of strawberries and bananas drizzled with a little chocolate or a bowl of ice cream, I'll most likely choose the fruit. Not always, but usually.
And as for exercise, why is it that you aren't considered exercising unless you work out at a gym or train for a marathon? I run up and down the stairs at my house at least 30 times per day. The only time I'm ever sitting motionlessly is when I'm at the computer. Otherwise, I'm cleaning the house, baking up a storm, fixing things, washing and folding laundry, playing with my kids, or doing something that keeps me moving. And even when I am sitting, I can't hold still. My mom once told me that fidgeters tend to burn more calories and be skinnier than people who don't fidget. I'm a fidgeter. I try to sit away from people in large groups just so I don't bug them with my constant need to change positions every 5 seconds. I just can't sit still.
So, in a nutshell, I guess I do have healthy habits, I just don't take the time to pay attention to them. That's just how I am. That's why it's effortless. Because I've developed a taste for healthy food, which I prefer over lots of fast food, and I've developed a knack for keeping active even when I'm not trying to exercise. Like many other people, though, I can always do better.