Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Why I’m Not Fat

I know that some readers must think that I’m a huge woman with little or no self control.

I’m a perfectly normal sized woman: I’m five feet, five inches and I wear a size eight.

How is this possible if I’m eating all this candy?

I have carefully chosen my poison. All discretionary calories in my diet are devoted to the consumption of candy. And how do I end up with enough extra calories?

I drink water. Really, that’s all I drink except for coffee (with 2% fat milk) and sometimes plain tea. No sodas, no fruit juices and very little alcohol. I might have three drinks each week outside of the water/coffee/tea style. I don’t actually enjoy sugary drinks, so it’s not like this is a hardship. I’ll have fruit juice, especially when I’m traveling. But sometimes I’ll go on a kick and want grapefruit juice or V8 juice for a while. But then it’s back to water. Think about it - you can have that 240 calorie candy bar if you give up the two sodas or fruit juices a day (300 calories).

I don’t eat much other junk food. I don’t eat red meat, it’s been 19 years since I’ve had a hamburger and I don’t even eat french fries that often (maybe three or four times a year). I don’t eat potato chips (but I love pretzels) or really much in the way of fried foods. I have ice cream about once a month. I don’t go to fast food restaurants very often, though I like McDonald’s Egg McMuffins without the meat (that’s probably not so bad anyway) about once every two months or so.

I don’t eat cake or pastries (except for a good chocolate croissant). The whole cupcake fad is rather lost on me. I do love cookies, but I don’t keep them around the house that much, and when I do have them, I prefer homestyle cookies over the mass produced ones (the exception is those ginger cookies with the lemon creme that I get at Trader Joe’s). When I’m greeted by a fancy breakfast buffet, I’ll head for the bowl full of fresh berries before I’ll ever consider eating a donut. It’s not that I’m making “healthy choices” so much - I just prefer fresh berries and cottage cheese.

The candy is put away. Most of the candy I have for review or just eating is usually put away or at least sealed up. This reduces the urge to shovel things into my mouth without even realizing it. Even at the office, unless it’s something I’m evaluating right that moment, it’s in the drawer or in my bag. Out of sight, out of mind. If I want it, I have to think about it first, then get it out. When I have candy while watching TV, I’ll often put the portion on a little plate or in a dish instead of setting the whole bag down next to me (because I will eat it all).

I don’t eat dessert. Candy is my dessert. Unless we’re going out to dinner, I rarely have “dessert” at home. Sometimes in the summer it’s sorbet, fruit pops or chocolate covered bananas, just to cut through the heat. Every once it a while my husband will make spiked fruit smoothies. Sometimes we’ll cut up a pineapple or have some strawberries and I’m a huge fan of mangoes. There are times that I really want something creamy and I’ll make some cooked chocolate pudding or tapioca. But for the most part, I don’t eat a programmed dessert.

I mix my candy with other snacks. I like to mix other foods in with my candy snacks. I like raw almonds a lot and pretzels. Almonds go with just about everything - licorice, chocolate, toffee, caramels. By diluting the candy with a protein like almonds, I’m satisfied quicker and I also don’t have that huge sugar rush and then crash.

I don’t like dressings or sauces. I love salads and sandwiches, but I can’t stand dressings or mayonaise. That saves a lot of calories. I also get to enjoy the taste of the veggies instead of the sauce.

It’s kind of odd, since I’ve been doing Candy Blog, I haven’t really noticed that I’ve eaten more candy, just a larger variety than I used to. Before this public service, I would eat the same treat, day in and day out for months at a time. Sometimes it was licorice pastilles, sometimes it was Hershey’s Kisses and then a few weeks later I’d switch to Heath Bars. Now I don’t have much room in my discretionary calories for just eating “my” candy.

My husband cooks most of our meals and we have an excellent diet of lean protein (fish, poultry and beans/rice) with lots of whole grains and fresh vegetables. It’s not that this is a chore or a problem for either of us, he’s a wonderful cook and I enjoy all of his meals. I never feel deprived. When we eat out, I enjoy interesting and healthy fare usually seafood as we don’t cook that at home as often. When we order in, it’s more often some won-ton soup and prik king (spicy stir-fried green beans) than a pizza. I love sushi, which is a really lean meal.

My big indulgence when it comes to regular food is cheese. I love cheese and often make it my primary protein for some meals. If I were to excise something that’s unhealthy from my diet, it would be the brie, not the chocolate. A favorite snack is cheese, crackers and an apple (sometimes that’s dinner, too).

Yes, you can have your candy and eat it too, but it’s really a matter of priorities. I generally believe that most of us can listen to our bodies and eat what it says it wants, within reason. If I’m craving something, I’ll usually have it but I try not to overeat. I listen to when my body says it’s hungry and I stop when I’m satisfied. I’ve also found that eating slowly helps with this, because it takes at least 20 minutes for your body to realize it’s hungry. Portion control is probably more important than anything else. “Calories in” must be at the level of “calories out” for a stable weight. I have an innate sense of my own intake and know when to stop. I know I eat about 1600-2000 calories a day (yes, it varies that widely) and I generally front-load my candy intake early in the day so I can make adjustments with my portions for the major meal of the day. I’ve never been on a diet, nor do I ever plan to diet to lose weight. If anything, I should increase my activity to maintain my weight (as that has more benefits for my bones and heart than fewer calories).

I also have to credit my natural fidgety nature and active life. Yes, I know that I am probably blessed genetically with a solid metabolism, but I have to credit my mother for instilling an appreciation for a huge variety of foods which provides me a good counterbalance to my love of candy.

What are your tricks for working candy into your life without it killing you?

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:25 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     News

  1. I’d be more worried about one’s teeth than weight.

    “What are your tricks for working candy into your life without it killing you?”
    Fast metabolism and a devil-may-care attitude. I’m probably dying, but it doesn’t bother me in the list. As mentioned, I’m more worried about my teeth.

    Comment by El on 2/16/06 at 12:12 am #
  2. good post!  thanks.
    the part about eating almonds/pretzels with your candy is especially interesting.  i bet that really does a lot to balance the blood sugar, and keep you from eating too much.

    i think the secret to my success (5’2” and size 4) is that i don’t have that shovel-food-in-without-thinking danger that a lot of americans have. i usually get palate fatigue after eating a few bites of something, esp. something sweet. and i never am tempted to finish the whole package. 

    also, i love to run, and run 30 treadmill minutes at least 2x a week.

    Comment by Rachel B. on 2/16/06 at 9:20 am #
  3. The “candy in my desk drawer” trick doesn’t work for me. I find that I slide it open and take something out without even noticing - pretty soon, the entire contents have disappeared. Same thing when I have salty snacks in the drawer. This helps explain why at 5’5”, I am NOT a size 8! :^) What helps me is more along the lines of portion control (e.g. only bring 1 serving to the office), and being more mindful of what I’m eating. I guess that’s what you are doing with your drawer, it’s just that my drawer doesn’t work like yours! Can we change desks? :^)

    Comment by Tricia on 2/16/06 at 10:49 am #
  4. Cybele's avatar

    El- I share your concern about teeth. Personally, I think sugared drinks, especially sodas are more harmful than candy.

    Of course good dental care helps.

    I can’t say I’m proud of my teeth, tho most of the damage was done before I reached my teens.

    Rachel B - “palate fatigue”! That’s a great phrase! I’m also pretty active, which helps. I intentionally park far away at work and of course hike and do the boating thing (you’d be amazed at how many more calories you burn just standing on a boat because you have to maintain your balance).

    Tricia - I hear you about not only not having it in plain view, but not having it available. Ziploc baggies with a single portion of nuts and pretzels have been a good trick for me to keep in my bag or drawer instead of the whole package. Of course someone always puts something tasty in the break room here and it can be tough.

    Comment by Cybele on 2/16/06 at 12:39 pm #
  5. I’m going to have ato try the eating protein with sweets, sounds logical. I will have to FORCE the water down my throat, I hate water. My docter looked at me like a monster when I told her I only drink a half cup a day, if that.

    Comment by nini on 2/24/06 at 8:52 am #
  6. I’m 5’2”, wear a size 4 (sometimes a 2), and I don’t “diet”.  I am mindful of what I eat given my family history (diabetes and high blood pressure) but I don’t outlaw any food from my diet.  I think that’s one of the main keys in having a good relationship with food and not getting so consumed with dieting.  With this said, I eat candy and other sweets in moderation.  When I have chocolate, I prefer the dark bars that you have to let melt in your mouth, so you enjoy the chocolate first of all, and you don’t end up eating the entire bar in one sitting.  Also, as an office worker, I usually always take the stairs and probably only use the elevator twice a week at the most.  It’s so important to keep your legs and entire body moving whenever you can when you’re working in such an environment.  Lastly, I noticed that genetics have probably kept me at a steady weight and frame… Some people, unfortunately, even those at my age (early 20s) have genetics that really react adversely to sugars and starches.  I think I lucked out in this way, but I always make sure not to take it for granted too much because genetics will only help you so far.  It’s really about self control and being mindful, but not obsessive, about what you eat.

    Comment by Susan on 3/09/06 at 4:54 pm #
  7. I have to agree to the part about all things in moderation. I am five foot 6 and a size 2/4 i eat healthily through the week and have a treat night on a Friday, but your right you do get palate fatigue and so a treat night to me would be like nothing to someone else. I love pretzels and very rarely eat chocolate, or cakes/cookies. I drink plenty water and exercise 4 times a weeks. I sound heoic but 6 months ago i was 100 pounds heavier due to stress so i know the “hold” food has over people.

    Comment by Lorraine on 11/02/06 at 5:05 am #
  8. I too, drink lots of water, avoid junk food ,don’t eat red meat, and so on.
    I exercise at least three times a week; swim and do weights.
    I do this for my heart health, and for stress reduction.
    I don’t worry about my weight, but eat in moderation and know when I am full so don’t overeat.
    I always have had a sweet tooth and ageee that not having candy in sight really helps, or else I just don’t buy it for a while, and then don’t miss it.
    The craving for sugar is from a yeast overgrowth,
    as I am sure it is for most.
    I solve that by making sure that I either eat active yogurt daily or else take an acidophilus capsule.
    It has totally eliminated my craving.

    Comment by Mary T on 11/19/06 at 2:05 pm #
  9. If you keep your teeth properly cleaned after you eat the candy, there shouldn’t be a problem. The enamel is worn because of lingering sugar on the teeth, especially from gummy candy and such. So clean teeth thoroughly.

    Comment by Jenn on 2/07/07 at 10:33 am #
  10. I wholeheartedly agree with all things in moderation.  Luckily I’m very picky about which candy I’ll eat-but the problem is the candy I do choose to eat I adore and crave like mad. *rolls eyes*  I do excersise, avoid junk food/red meat as much as possible, etc-and I brush my teeth after I have any sugary sweets. smile  (Plus with any candy I’m tempted by, I always just take a couple pieces and my brother disposes of the rest. wink )

    Comment by Breigh on 7/27/07 at 10:01 am #
  11. hahah i did think you were fat. You sure proved me wrong

    i think we can all learn something from CAN have ur cake & eat it too, if youre not crazy and eat asian proportions. You cant go wrong with the asians.
    SOrry, im side tracking about the asians.
    I mean to say candy is rad and you can eat it if you approach it properly.

    Comment by bebe on 7/28/07 at 6:31 pm #
  12. Hi, I’m opening a candy store next month.  Any words of wisdom for me?

    Comment by Lori Baker on 2/07/08 at 7:24 pm #
  13. Bah, this post just breaks a happy little daydream. Not that you were fat/had no self control, that never even crossed my mind (having read the blog it’s pretty obvious you’re not actually the type of person who inhales massive quantities of every edible substance in sight), but it’s like, a rock of healthy and sensible in the middle of a happy cloud of vicarious ‘caaaaaaandy’.

    Vicarious because I’m British and most of the stuff blogged here isn’t available to me, it’s just nice to read about all the yummy things that are out there, it’s a welcome distraction from everything saying ‘eat five portions of fruit and veg a day and take lots of exersise’ and all that preachy stuff that’s all over the everywhere, and just blah. Get back to the candy! :D <3

    Comment by Nivaya on 2/08/08 at 3:24 am #
  14. I swear, you have the same diet I do! I usually have tons of candy laying around at home and at the office. I’m more of a gummi bear, jelly bean, sour candy addict. People ask me all the time where do I put it? I’m 5’4 and my weight is around 110. I just stay away from the fast food and the fried and greasy stuff. I could never ever stop eating candy. Thanks for the Candy Blog Cybele. You make candy more fun smile

    Comment by Trish on 8/24/08 at 12:30 pm #
  15. I’ve wondered in the back of my head if you were fat or not, but something about how you describe the candies made me think “no, absolutely not.” It’s like, you talk about cutting them into portions, and then you’re judging them critically and seem to only drool like crazy over certain candy. Something about your style led me to believe you weren’t fat at all.

    Comment by Rachel on 7/06/10 at 12:37 pm #
  16. You sound like a weirdo.

    Comment by doof on 10/07/10 at 3:21 pm #
  17. I stumbled across your candy blog when I was looking up Bassett’s Liquorice Allsorts. I love this blog! I have candy about twice a week, and I also put mine on a plate (instead of eating out of a bag). The thing is, I also love junk food like chips and dessert like cookies and cake (I only eat those when they are around). I’m 5’4’’ and size 00/0, but I never exercise, so I sometimes wonder if all this food is going to cause health problems.

    Comment by Stephanie on 1/13/11 at 7:32 pm #
  18. Don’t let any negative comments get you down, cybele

    Comment by Lee Scott on 3/11/11 at 3:09 pm #
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