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diet diary

so a couple of weeks ago, i put myself on a diet. i often say that i'm watching what i eat, but it's been years since i've tried an actual, enforced diet, mostly because i lack willpower. why did i decide to give one a try now? i don't know. i haven't put on any weight in the last few months. i'd like to lose weight, of course, but i'm not nearly as neurotic about my size as i used to be. (ironically, i weigh more now than i did when i was insecure about my size.)

food, weight and our relationships with them are almost obsessive for the cast majority of adult women. statistically, up to 98% of north american women claim to be dieting or watching their weight on a regular basis, making dieting the most common non-essential activity on the continent. by adding myself to that number, at least for the time being, i'm hoping to discover what it is that drives this mania about size.

most women i know are trying, at least sporadically, to lose weight. i don't know any women who i would classify as truly overweight, so we can assume that they are not doing this for health reasons. so this is an aesthetic issue. most of them are able to specify the number of pounds they want to lose, or at least give a range, but it seems like a guess at best. no one seems to know how many pounds lost will result in the body they want. that's the tricky part. what does five pounds look like? or ten? thirty? for my part, i've told myself that i'll stop the diet when i can see a difference that makes me happy. (i don't weigh myself, the one little weight-related neurosis i have not been able to expunge. if i start stepping on the scale, i'll never get off it.)

i actually think that what i'm doing is a little trickier than a regular diet. it's easy to say that you've lost your target ten pounds, or fifteen pounds, or whatever the number in your head is. it's somewhat harder to overcome the natural body dysmorphism that's reinforced by pop culture images to find a look that makes you happy. because it involves having to say that you're happy with the way you look, something which is not encouraged.

until that happens, i'm taking the easiest diet route possible: i am limiting myself to health foods as much as possible an i am restricting my food intake. (if you want to figure out why obesity is, pardon the pun, a growing problem, have a look at the portion sizes that are offered in most restaurants. they often contain as many calories as the average person needs to consume in a day.) while i had initially planned on not counting calories, having a rough idea of how many i'm consuming is provign useful, as has finding information on my basal metabolic rate (you can enter both your current and your target weight to see how little the difference in calories needed is between them) and my body mass index (i'm within the normal range). these last two are about the only reliable pieces of information on healthy weight and diet that i've managed to track down.

and, as i mentioned at the outset, i'll also be using the opportunity to look into what it is about weight, food and appearance that drives us all so crazy. because if i'm going to be depriving myself of food, i at least want it to be a learning experience.


as long as you're here, why not read more?

mental health mondays :: where even the depressed ones are happy

this past week saw the publication of the annual world happiness report, a look at nations around the world and how people in each of them feel about their lot in life. i started following this a few years ago, and this year it occurred to me that it would be fun to look at how the happy places compared to the crazy places. i mean, what if those countries aren't really all that happy, but just have an extremely high rate of psychotic/ delusional disorders?

so, i set to work putting together a comparison. as it happens, that's a bit trickier than it sounds, because information on any kind of disability is more difficult to come by than you might think. and no type of disability is more controversial than a mental illness, which means that there are even more complications around definitions, seeking treatment, prognoses, record-keeping... it's hard to tell how reliable anything you're looking at is. [not that there aren't some good sources.]

and what sources there …


i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:

am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [summer edition]

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another…