The Slow Burn

I got a few interested responses to yesterday’s post, so I’ve decided to continue random musings on the subject with fixed posts at the beginning and end of each month. I’m going to call the series The Slow Burn, because I like it. At the end of the month I’ll just re-cap how the month went and suggest new goals for the next month, and invite those who are joining me to leave their reflections from the month and make their own suggestions for the next month in the combox. At the beginning of each month I’ll post new goals and ramble on about how I intend to meet them. I don’t want to do a formal sign-up or anything, just comment if you want to do it with me or don’t if you want to do it but don’t want to feel any pressure.

For the rest of November, then, the goal is two-fold for eating: eat only one sweet a day (or eat sweets only once a day) and don’t go back for seconds. Janet mentioned in the combox yesterday that she would have trouble cutting down to only one sweet a day, and if you think you’ll have the same problem, just pick one time each day when you can eat sweets…after dinner, maybe, or in the afternoon. Then you’ll be limited in how many sweets you can eat just by virtue of sticking with one time period. Make sense?

For exercise, I’m going to commit to 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. Usually this will be Monday through Friday, but if I skip a day I’ll still have the weekend to make it up. I would really encourage you to join me in the exercise thing, because for me at least, dietary changes are much easier to stick with if I’m exercising. I’m also notably more cheerful when I exercise, so I do it as much for my mental and emotional health as I do for my physical health.

It’s already helping me to have blogged about it. This morning I got back from running and fell dead asleep on the couch while nursing Lincoln. I don’t know if it’s the cold I have or if I’m just completely exhausted, but I’ve been dragging all day. After I picked up Charlotte from ballet I opened the fridge to get bread for the kids’ lunches and almost grabbed a cupcake. When I’m tired, or sad, or moody, or when it’s Tuesday, I always reach for sweets. But then I remembered that I’d blogged about changing my eating habits and some of you were going to join me, and I had some cashews instead. I know that if I hadn’t blogged about it I’d do what I always do and say, “oh well, I’m tired today, I’ll do better tomorrow” ad infinitum.

Okay, so I have a little homework assignment for all of us. Melanie and Elizabeth Duffy mentioned bearing’s blog series on losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight in the comment box yesterday. I’ve read a few random posts on the subject from bearing, but I’ve never worked through her entire series. I’m going to read all her posts about weight loss by the end of December. I don’t think I’ll ever employ her charting strategy to maintaining weight, because charts frighten me, but I like that she emphasizes gluttony in her series. That’s something I want to think about this time around. Being overweight, after all, is not merely a physical problem. For me, and I suspect for everyone, it’s a physical, spiritual, mental and emotional issue. It’s completely tied to who I am as a person, and I’ll never be able to fight the dragon unless I can see it…all of it, not just a little bit. So read some or all of bearing’s posts with me if you want, but please do think about weight loss and the spiritual aspects of it, and maybe about what it means that we’re starting this together in the Year of Faith.

Since it’s been on my mind a lot lately, I’ll probably have one more post about weight-loss and body image this week, but I’ll get back to posting about baby poop and mischievous toddlers soon. If you have suggestions, too, please add them in the combox! I’m really excited about doing this with those of you who are joining me. I think we’ll do much better with each other’s help and prayers.


  • Claire

    I think I’ll join you too! I’m sick of staring at a stack of jeans that don’t fit. They aren’t “oh how I wish I were that skinny” jeans. They’re jeans that fit last year, and don’t now. Bleh.

    Joining you on the journey! Slow and steady, baby.

  • Marina Lehman

    It might be helpful to do a post on how our weight loss efforts can affect those around us. I have a close family member with BDD, and know various people who have been affected by eating disorders; this definitely colors the ways that I think about and talk about weight loss and fitness.

    I also want to commend you for your sane and self-aware approach to your eating and exercise habits. Your approach makes it clear that you want to change your life habits, not just drop a couple quick pounds for the sake of fashion. Good for you.

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  • Mamie

    From a different perspective, managing your metabolism is tricky–it’s not always a matter of how much you eat. I am trying a new tack by not eliminating sweets but grains. It seems easier to give up this category than carbs or sweets in general. I am a glutton for cookies, but there is no grain in a cup of hot chocolate. Made with black coffee instead of milk, it is a satisfying treat. I can manage one cup, but could NEVER eat just one cookie. I am not looking to lose weight so much as to get rid of the muffin top middle which I put on after last Christmas because I could not bear to throw out the left over cookies that were in my freezer. Of course I ate them.

  • Jennifer Fritz

    Currently not overweight but 7 weeks pregnant with #6. I’ll refer to this post in 9 months or so.
    I so enjoy reading your posts , its a healthy mix of what it means to be a mom of little ones and our Catholic faith and how it applies to reality. Appreciate your honesty!!