Need To Cheer Up, So, Good News on Weight

One of the ways I lost more than 40 pounds over the last few years is sticking to a pretty regulated eating schedule: breakfast (sometime around 8 AM), lunch (sometime around Noon), afternoon snack (sometime around 4PM) and dinner (sometime around 7-9PM). And that’s IT! No other munching or snacking or eating unconsciously.

I know from experience that even two weeks of travel does not disrupt the works. But this summer has been different. For going on six weeks we’ve been hitting the roads and skies and rails with a trip to New York City, a trip to Montana and a trip to Montreal. There is no freaking way to keep a meal schedule tight when you have to attend timed exhibitions, weddings and parties, and a batch of music concerts.

So, I was worried when I stepped on the scale this morning.

I had gained only one pound.

Even better news is that I am having no trouble falling back into my routine with the clock. Doesn’t feel like a struggle or unsatisfactory. But I’m not going to make one of my old mistakes and decide I can throw things on autopilot. Must. Consciously. Stick. With. The. Plan.

Dump the Fruit Juice

An innate quality of being brainwashed is that you don’t know you are.  I gave up sodas in my mid-20s because my taste buds had developed enough I could sense how much they were mere liquid candy. But I remained convinced that 100% fruit juice was healthful and drank it every day when I was thirsty until about four years ago. I seriously needed to lose weight and a nutritionist clued me in that a key way to do that was stop drinking the juice-based equivalent of sodas.

Fruit juice is a scam. Been reported more and more often, but can’t be emphasized enough.

A Little Reflection on the Foolishness (and Jagged Anxiety) of Youth

A couple times a year, when I’m brushing my teeth, I reflect on my missing upper molar on the right (only one not there), and how much it reflects foolish immaturity and cruel fate.

As a kid, I did not have a single cavity. Yes, not one. A good dentist filled in crevasses in my molars to prevent cavities (which I have since learned is indeed an accepted practice, not a way to get some money from Mr. Perfect Ivories). But, in line with the louche personal habits of hippie/punk youts, I idiotically stopped taking care of my teeth in my 20s, assuming for some mystical reason that I was immune from decay. This was insanely childish. I had a good dentist in Missoula and on my last visit before the move to Boston, which I assumed would be the routine “yuck your teeth are dirty but no problems, ” I was informed I had a cavity in that molar.

Now I had trouble. No dentist in MA. No health insurance, either. So I let it fester until I got the one and only toothache of my life and took every nickle I had for a month and visited a dentist recommended by fellow workers. Nice guy. Kindly told me what I had done was foolish and unnecessary. Painlessly put in a huge filling. Later it became a  crown. Decade or so after that, cracked down on an evil olive pit in a loaf and that was the end of the tooth.

All I had to do was not be an oral slob 45 years ago. So I’m smart as an oldster. The advice to smooth-faces? Dress like a bum and clean like a queen.

Don’ Count Your Calories Before They’re Whacked

Lots of good ideas and information here. I was pleased that Abby Langer endorsed my one new habit about calories — looking at the calorie estimate on the packet. I did not know, however, that the estimate could be as much as 20% off and still be legal (awk!). Also, a very well-articulated rejection of the notion that, if you exercise your glutes off, you can eat as much as you want.  “…with some apps it appears that you can negate your whole day of eating with a trip to the gym. Nope.” I wasted oceans of sweat for years after all the exercise-machine sellers pushed that notion.

(I will note that, for the first time in years, my blood pressure reading was ideal during my general check-up two weeks ago.)

LSD at Harvard in Space and Time

Dr. Andrew Weil wrote some of the most exciting books about drugs and mind liberation I ever read.

The Natural Mind was a coherent manifesto without dropout drapery that argued many cultures used psychedelic drugs to shape young minds and the upsides were notable. Included original research into native-culture ceremonies and many insights. I have not read this completely revised version. But to be blunt I would say his original expression, warts and all, beats it.

The thing that weirded me out about his followup — The Marriage of the Sun and Moon — is that he had obviously figured cashing in on New Age vibes would pay off more than a lonely crusade to make acid experimentation a more normal and controlled part of American psychology research. Like they say, the beginning of the end.

Now he turns up every few years like a wind-up interview toy and gives the same spiel, with modifications, over and over. It’s not incorrect, though misleading I think in parts, just such a sad step-down from the potent message on mind liberation he once articulated.

But then, there was the Harvard Drug Scandal. Here’s Weil’s self-serving version.  And here’s a more balanced look back.

Fat ‘n’ Sugar ‘n’ Fat ‘n’ Sugar ‘n’ Fat ‘n’ Sugar? Don’t Despair!

I’m basically behind this article and agree the books sound too clickbaited. But two points —

The fat-phobia era did make a lot of food less savory. That the sugar industry was behind propaganda is a damned big story — simply because they knew fat-free remakes would require added sugar to taste decent at all. And checking on added sugar is well worthwhile (pretty easy to tell if it’s outta control).

Next, I think the common-sense council at the end of the essay is undeniable, but also not enough. For years and years I read similar advice, knew I was trying to be as common-sensical as I could and remained 30+ pounds overweight.

I would advise a visit or three with a pro nutritionist (now, thing is, I know they are like physical therapists — not all created equal or right for everybody; the one for you is the one where you get serious results following the advice). I found some fundamental things I considered common sense were not — e.g., pure OJ is a harmless thirst-quencher; intense exercise, as much as you can manage, is what will keep the weight off. And some essential affirmations: keep getting on those scales every week, dammit! Nothing becomes automatic — you will have to be mindful about your eating for the rest of your life. It is way too easy to chow too much when you work down the hall from your kitchen.

Visit a nutritionist.