Monday, October 17, 2011

The Doctor is in the House!

I saw myself in a full length mirror the other day and it struck me that my mind and my body are not in sync.
I saw a fat woman gazing back at her image, aghast, incredulous...
yet the mirror does not lie,
it was me staring into the mirror eyeing up a generous rump, and a blurred middle.
How and why did this happen?
Have I been sleep walking through my menopausal years? I think I have been n denial!

I do not want to give up on losing's been quite a few years, many diets and several dress sizes later...and I find myself wearing a 12 and recently some 14's. I cringe as I write this.
(there, I have typed it and will post it, so I have said it, and you have read it, it is no longer a secret)

Bringing home yet another diet book and I wonder why.
Am I crazy to think that there is some regime out there that will allow me to eat wholesome food that can be bought at the market, food that my husband will eat, food that will nourish satisfy and still shed pounds?
Am I a dreamer?
Will I always be overweight?
What do I need to do besides join and gym to lose some unwanted unhealthy fat?

I have heard talk of this diet by French Dr. Pierre Dukan and now the book is available here in Canada.
Rumor has it that the lovely Kate Middleton, princess royal has been following this diet.
Need I say more?

I lost 20 pounds a few years ago on The South Beach Diet only to gain it all back again within the year.
I tried the Fat Flush Plan before that and lost 15 pounds only to regain 20.
Then the The Park Avenue calcium diet book How the Rich Get Thin which I had great hopes for...but no surprise, it did not work for me.
What I am looking for is a forever eating plan, one that doesn't have extreme phases where food groups are eliminated, one that can be inclusive and sensible, healthy and affordable.

I don't want to buy prepackaged food or food with aspartame or any prepared food for that matter.
I want to eat natural and organic foods, food that is varied and food that comes from from all the food groups.

Dr. Dukan suggests eating protein exclusively in the first phase of his diet for 3-10 days.
Eggs, Greek yogurt, chicken, seafood and lean beef and 1 1/2 quarts of mineral water a day.
No fruit, no starch.
Right there alarm bells are going off.

How can someone who loves veggies eat only meats and seafood?
I suppose if I was guaranteed to lose 20 pounds I might give it a try, but something doesn't sit well with me excluding vegetables seems unbalanced...
I would have thought eating only vegetables would have been the way to slim down.
I have met very few fat vegetarians...maybe I need to give up meat?

This book sits on my bedside table and I read a few chapters at a time. I want to find some tips within the cover that will make it worth the money that I paid for it.
I might be rash in my dismissal of his diet and maybe I will warm to it when I get further into the "meat" of the diet.
I have more questions than answers.

Have any of you followers/readers tried this diet?
What are your opinions on the regime?
Did you lose weight ?
How are you embracing changes in your later years?

I for one am embracing black.
Black dresses, black trousers, black tops, coats, sweaters, vests...a bigger body loves black!
You heard it here...
Paint it Black.


  1. Oh Hostess, I feel for you. The only thing I can think of to suggest is that you visit Jan's Sushi Bar. She has really found a route to eating and cooking that works for her and her family. And it's really, really back to nature:). We will cheer for you, whatever you decide you want to do.

  2. Older age ie. post menopause and the ravages it places on our hormones...grrrr.
    I would be very wary of any diet that drastically changes your normal food consumption in a short space of time. Personally Hostess I eradicated highly processed wheat products in favour of gluten free or spelt flour options and have found this greatly reduces that awful bloated feeling.
    Red meat has been banished (more for ethical reasons) and the whole family feels better, we now source protein and iron from different foods. I could not live without my vegetables!
    Please keep us informed if you take this dietary plunge.
    Annie xx

  3. Dear Hostess,
    I would never follow a "regime" (I hate regimes, or diets) that prescribes only one part of nutrition. My insight is that one should eat a moderate mixture of all of everything - and distinguish between 'empty' and valuable food (see: I don't count calories). It is good when growing older to get enough protein - and enough fruits/green - and less carbs and even less fat. From 25 - 30 years on, one should reduce calorie input each year 10 calories daily - this is no contradiction to not counting calories (with 50 you eat 250 calories a day less) - it only hints into the right direction: we have to eat less and choose that less well. Then: doing weight training will not make you slimmer, but it helps defining muscles - so one can stand tall - that 'sheds' pounds in a second. To lose a bit of weight I recommend "Walking" - as a sport - that is aerobic and can be enjoyed.

  4. Exercise doesn't have to involve joining a gym. Something tells me you'd really like yoga...or maybe a beautiful bicycle. Some kind of light strength training would definitely help you increase your metabolism so that you'd be burning more calories even while you weren't active.

    But you were asking about diet--I agree with Annie, above. Apparently, a lot of researchers think that obesity is caused by too many refined carbohydrates, not too much fat. And I noticed that when I cut down on them (and increased the amount of vegetables in my diet), not only did I lose weight, but I just felt better. Which is the best reason to lose weight.

    Please don't be so hard on yourself. You look wonderful in your most recent pictures. I am probably somewhat taller than you with a different body shape, but if I am still a size 12 at age 50, I will be very happy indeed!

  5. I find myself in complete agreement with Britta. ...and with the writer who comments that you look very trim and slim and healthy in your photos. I always like to remember the words of Sophia Loren (as well as I can remember them) "At a certain age a woman has to choose between her hips and her face".

  6. Size 12-14 isn't so bad is it? I put on about half a stone over the summer and am trying to lose it at the moment. For me it is all about portion size, I just don't think we need as much as we have been used to pre-40! Less of everything (no second helpings, ahem!), especially carbs, but more veggies works for me. Losing wheat flour and processed food makes a difference too. I have friends who swear by no carbs in the evening which I am going to try. I am wary too of extreme diets and like you want to tweak my way into eating in a way that is healthy and kind to the waistline! Best of luck, xx

  7. I was at my heaviest when I was vegan/vegetarian which was for about 20 odd years. I can't do these diets as I'm not a big meat eater and I loathe eggs, I've come a long way in education myself to eat well, I now have diet of whole grains, a little chicken, veggies, pulses.
    Carbs are really important to me, I don't feel full or satisfied unless every meal features carbohydrate.
    I gained 8 lbs after my utterly miserable stint on the Atkins diet which I stuck to religiously for 6 months - I hated it and had no energy to do anything. We are all different. Find out what works for you.

  8. Oh and as to exercise - it has never shifted so much as a single lb for me, I workout 5 mornings a week but my weight stays the same even if I don't.
    Personally I would have to do 4, 5 hours a day of training before it impacted on my weight, it's what I put in my mouth that makes the difference.

  9. I completely agree that any diet that excludes things from the menu can't be a balanced healthy way of eating. Dukan's diet is different in only one aspect, it actually has a lifelong plan. Though like you I don't agree with the first two phases. But it isn't completely without value, reducing the amount of carbs in your diet is the way to go and some vegetables do have a lot of starch. But ultimately you know your body best and know what works for you.

  10. someone I know who has battled with her weight (and often lost) has lost 15kg this year with the simplest of diets.She changed the size of her dinner plate! just a small plate and only one serving.No chocolate at night infront of the T.V and that is all.I'm really proud of you mum.
    So good luck, maybe this one will help. you we are all different and have to be happy with what we do. Liz

  11. I really believe in the wisdom that diets don't work. All the studies say that dieters weight just yo-yos up and down. I am trying to deal with the inevitable middle age weight creep by trying to enjoy my food more but eat less. I eat what I want, but I stay away from food between meals, pretty much avoid desserts, and always eat breakfast, even if it's a muffin! I like the smaller plate trick, and no seconds. Oh, and I agree with Tabitha, exercise isn't the answer to losing weight.
    Good luck, at least you know you're in good company!

  12. After viewing our latest vacation pictures, I find myself in the same frame of mind. UGH!!! not again. Seems I've been battling the same 15 lbs for my entire life :(
    NOT eating between meals, the smaller plate trick and staying away from sugar usually work for me. But what I am fighting against now is the lack of will power. TOTAL lack. sigh
    Probably the best thing to do is focus on our good health, put a smile on our faces and just do the best we can with the weight.

  13. Dear Hostess, I could have written your post myself. The first thing we have to do is accept that our internal metabolism is now much slower to burn calories. I believe Mirielle Guiiano's French Women Don't Get Fat is a sensible yet enticing way of enjoying food. For me, personally, fewer carbs, more protein is effective. I learned a lot from reading Gary Taubes book, Why We Get Fat. Good luck!

  14. Wow, the topic of your post really scared me!
    Luckily the post was not as scary ; ). I am a vegetarian, but need iron in pill form ( bad ).
    About different diets - I would not trust them either. The pounds/kilos come back, sooner than later.
    I think that what is needed, if you wish a permanent change, is a total attitude change towards food.
    We eat to live, but we don´t live to eat. That´s it, in a nutshell.
    I´d also suggest, that you quit drinking alcohol totally. I know, this sounds awful, but actually life is so much better without it : )

  15. First of all, Kate smokes. menopause we gain weight if we're healthy. After the periods stop for good, you will lose weight. So why fight the body's natural rythmn? A healthy woman of 65.

  16. Hostess! You are not fat, you are average. I can guarantee you that I would think I was thin if I was a size 12 or 14! I am an 18 or 20. I have been working hard on trying to accept myself as I am. It is hard to do. Please try to accept yourself and try to be healthy at what ever weight you are. We are so bombarded by the must be thin media that I think we are losing our perspective on what normal is. I have been on more diets than I can count on both hands and feet and I think that is why I am the weight I am now--way too much dieting.
    Be thankful for the body you have that keeps you alive every day to enjoy this beautiful world.

  17. Hostess, I struggle with this as well, am wearing those same sizes, have tried several diets. This year I was vegan/veggie for 9 months in solidarity with my sweetie (he switched to vegan to deal with a health issue) and lost a little but not much. Lately I've added eggs and some dairy back to the diet and am considering a low-carb diet like Dukan's. I'm still on the fence as I don't believe diets are the answer.

  18. I can definitely see that exercise would not help Tabitha shift weight, as she has no weight left to shift. :) And one problem with exercise is that it tends to increase one's appetite, which is why a lot of people inadvertently gain weight when they exercise.

    But I have noticed myself that in periods of inactivity (a year or so ago, I suffered a ruptured disc that kept me on my back for several months), even when my diet remains the same, my weight will begin to creep up--and it has done so more and more rapidly in past years. And even when I am not gaining weight, when parts of me are less firm, my clothes don't fit as well. My doctor told me that reducing my calorie intake too much would result in my body's going into starvation mode and being more resistant to giving up that once I resumed eating normally, the weight would return with a vengeance.

    So perhaps it's true most people can't lose weight by exercising; I don't know--it seems to work for me. But one can only cut so many calories from one's diet, so the deficit has to come from somewhere. And I do know that I am in far better shape at almost 42 than I was at my dewiest at 19. You might not lose weight, but you very well might lose a dress size or two anyways.

  19. Please Hostess don't compare yourself to a young KM she is under pressure to be 'thin' in photos' ok but see her in real life and the word skeletral comes to mind not a nice sight!

    What works when we are young does not in the 50/60s...I have never dieted always was slim till the mid 50's and I started to eat sweets for Britain...chocs,ice cream,cakes, biscuits etc.
    I was aware it was emotional eating but did not care.
    Then suddenly saw this huge woman in a shop window....the 'light bulb' went off in my head.
    I have never eaten any of the above since and the weight slowly left..this will not apply to other people,and I am certainly not the slim girl of yesterday,but on the whole I like what I see!!!!

    Am with Britta on the diet situation.

    Maybe keeping a note of everything you eat for a week or so might help you to decide what healthy life style will give you the results you personally need for your body type.

    We women are in this together, and thank you for sharing your thoughts.Ida

  20. Menopause does increase the challenge doesn't it. To me the key is fitness (for strong, toned muscles including the heart) and portion control. It's the old calories in - calories out equation. I wouldn't stop eating fruits and vegetables although I would try to eat the most nutritious ones. Please were color as much as you like and a big smile on your face!

  21. I feel your pain. I had heard about this diet and that Kate and Pippa were on it, hence the amazing figures that are sporting. Although, I need to remind myselves that these young women are younger than I, have never had children and likely have much more time (and money) than I to work out. In the end, I do believe it's all about exercise and portion control, two things I don't do very well.

  22. Many good comments here so I guess I don't have much to add. I would stay away from this diet, as for Kate I wouldn't be fooling around with cutting out food categories if I were her, isn't she on deck to produce an heir? When I see her all I can think is that she should put on a few pounds!

    I watch my weight as I was heavier once by 20 lbs. I avoid sugar, never eat in the evening (or drink) and generally watch my fat intake. Lots of veg. I do drink wine and eat a little meat.
    I also do Classical Stretch for 23 minutes a day and I swear by it. It makes the muscles long and lean and keeps the joints healthy, it's really soft medicine.
    I think you're beautiful and there's no way you have to be stuck wearing all black!

  23. Think of the bright side, the extra fat on board fills out wrinkles. Hence, I have barely any wrinkles! Catherine Deneuvre also said words to the effect of- I choose my face before my derriere. I live this philosophy. and I have realised that life is too short to deprive oneself of the great gastronomic pleasures! But then do I deprive myself of tiny clothes? I just try to be content with whatever I am- Chubby or dieting.

  24. Dear Hostess,
    I too have struggled with weight all my life! I am now 61,and at a good weight - but still unsure whether I'll stay at this weight! I kicked off with a diet. (like you,I've read every diet book under the sun) "The 17 day diet "by Dr.Mike Moreno. The TITLE caught my eye.It's basically high protein,low carb to start off with,and I certainly kick-started my weight loss. The big thing which helped me was staying off wine. I love a glass (or two)of good Aussie wine every night with dinner,so it wasn't easy to cut that out during the week, but now I have wine only at th weekend. THAT made a big difference though. Portion size is also important. We as women,particularly if cooking for our partners,tend to eat as much as they do. I've lost 5kgs in about 4 months. Doesn't sound alot,but on my small frame it's considerable. I'm happy with that,but know I will have to be ever vigilent! Good luck. Don't give up. You ca do it!

  25. This Dukan diet has similarities to Atkins. I don't have a problem with Atkins as I am a proponent of low-carb eating. Low carb doesn't mean ignoring vegetables or low-glycemic fruits, but rather embracing them. However, there are phases where veggies/fruits are restricted to jumpstart weight loss.

    However, if you go back to your former eating habits pre-diet, you are guaranteed to gain the weight back plus some bonus pounds. I would suggest doing some research on general nutrition, versus diet, and determine which foods promote a healthy weight for you for the rest of your life. For me, it is low-carb eating.

    Oh, and I know PLENTY of obese vegetarians and vegans.

  26. From what I see of the pictures you post on this blog you are lovely in yourself. Maybe, for your health and body type you are not going to be a 'skinny-minny'. Health is what is important and not all extremely thin people are healthy. Saying this I do think...although it isn't what one probably wants to hear, that lifting weights and exercise is important as one ages...both for weight control and bone density ~ a little added yoga for balance and flexibility doesn't hurt. Are you able to walk on a daily basis? Walking is the basis of all exercise and well being.

    I hope that you find a solution to this delemia I always think the moderation in all things is the best.(-:

    As to your comment on my chandelier in the kitchen...I bought it online. I like the way that the black iron goes with the chairs. Thanks for the compliment.(-:

  27. It can be done! Work on eating whole unprocessed food, look at portion size, and do whatever moving you can. I lost 50 lbs just over 4 years ago and have maintained it since.

    I should disclose that I did it through Weight Watchers (and I work for them as a leader) now. I still drink my wine, and eat chips, and eat chocolate! But I eat way more veggies, fruit, lean protein and whole grains - I actually eat way more than I used to, just better things in their natural form.

    Restricting any aspect of your diet will just cause you to feel deprived and want the "forbidden" food even more, and it's not healthy or sustainable in the long run.

    BTW, since we live in the same town, if you ever want to go shopping... :) Or meet for coffee, just to say hello. :) My email's in my profile.

  28. Thank you all for your wonderful comments! It's as if we are all gathered together for a discussion on weight. Like an online support group.

    My goodness this post has been such a gold mine for ideas and inspiration.
    I have finished the Dr. Dukan book and He has some really great points and they are based on scientific research and nutrition. I am tempted to get with this program but have to do some more research.

    Sheila- WW has interested me but I have never tried it so I am going to send you an email and perhaps we can get together and chat over coffee.

  29. we seem to be on the same page these days! For me it's all about accountability and portion size. October 8th I started logging my food and exercise at Daily Plate. It's on Lance Armstrong's website. It's easy and it works and it's free! I've been eating small healthy snacks throughout the day, lots of water and even chicken pot pie for dinner last night...only a small serving. I've lost 4.5 pounds as of 5:15 am and am working on a post of my small snacks once I lose my 10 pounds...that I've wanted to lose for 10 years. Let me know if you try Daily sounds like you're doing everything right!!

  30. Annie- Wow good for you! I'll look forward to your post. I'll also go check out the Daily Plate.
    We ate chicken pot pie last night! It was the first time that I had ever made it and I couldn't believe that we were eating the same meal when I went to your blog yesterday!
    I had a very small portion and really wanted more but drank water instead!
    Went to bed early and finished reading Dr. Dukan's book.

  31. One of the problems I have with the mirror version of myself is the shape of person I see. It simply doesn't look like me, the me I know. I don't mind the signs of age, spots, gray hair. And I don't expect to see a slender woman. But I do want to bring the mirror version of myself, the version everyone sees, in line with how I feel internally. I haven't decided on my plan of attack yet. So I'm looking forward to your thoughts/experiences in the coming weeks.

  32. Dear Hostess, please don't diet but change two things: 1) find out how many kcals you need per day and track what you eat. By that you will reduce the extra kcals that make you gain weight almost automatically. And when you reach your daily kcal-goal, you either stop eating or - now comes 2) exercise.

    Exercise can be a long walk, maybe with nordic walking sticks, a membership in the gym where you step on the cross trainer 3 times a week or whatever pleases you.

    Dozens and hundreds of studies have proven that exercise and the simple reduction of kcals makes you lose weight.

    I registered at for free - it help me not to eat enough (never under 1600kcal).
    The truth is, weight gain is all about those 200, 300 kcals (less than a kit-kat-serving) per day. So weight loss is about those 200, 300 kcals per day, too.
    I am a huge fan of losing weight on a very, very slow path. Since my BMI is below 25, you can imagine it is not easy losing that "last pounds" that I want to lose.
    My goal was 2 pounds/month and after 4 months they already sum up to 8 pounds, slowly but steadily.

    I never felt hungry during the past months and after tracking my daily intakes for months, it's in my system: I know when I reached my daily goal and if this snack or that extra bowl of ceral would equal the extra 250kcals that day, that would sum up to 2 pounds by the end of the month.
    It is never about proteins or carbs but about the energy you need and the energy which is too much and lands on your hips.

    If you like more information, please contact me!

    The experience you have been referring to in your posting tells loud and clear: diets don't work.

    If you need motivation, I highly recommend Skinny Emmies blog. She reached so much already, is still on the way and I find her postings highly motivational.

    And please, don't diet!

  33. Kari- I've already started compiling a post on the first changes that I am making...stay tuned!

    Paula- The Livestrong site has much to offer and I love that it is a free site. A "diet" is not what I am looking for...I want a life long eating plan which is organic, nutritious, provides me with energy that can also keep my weight in a healthy range. I'll go and check out that blog, thank you!

  34. Hostess, if you need any help at livestrong, contact me. I am a heavy user.

    For example you can also track your walks as exercise, even create loops that show how many miles you walked and how many kcals you burn.

    Since you are living in the US, tracking the meals should be easy. Most of the products offered in the database are not available in Austria, I had to come up with alternative entries. I already read your today's posting, love the idea that you start walking. Guess why most parisienne women are so fit and slim - they walk a lot! From what I hear New York seems to be like Paris, lots of walking people, less overweight people than in other cities in the US.

  35. I am too lazy/undisciplined to attempt a diet. A very disciplined colleague lost 50 lb on Weight Watchers several years ago and has maintained her weight. It takes constant monitoring, however.

    I looked really a lot better when I was in France last summer. We walked at least one, more often two, sometimes even three hours a day.

    You look happy in your pics and SOUND happy in your posts. Really, I wouldn't worry. Just walk!

  36. Dearest Hostess,
    In my 40's I was the rockin' hot woman I had always saw in mind’s eye. I was thin, gorgeous and making money at long last. Really, I wish I could send you a photo. Then, two things happened: The real estate market collapsed and I began the long, torturous descent of my 50's. Six years later I am 30lbs heavier and baby, it will not move. (For memo has nothing to do with it.) Nothing works, diet or exercise. Nothing, After a certain age, as a woman, it's pretty much a little of this and a little of that but never a real meal and if you're married, you and he aren't going to be eating the same meal anymore. And those young, thin Middleton girls? One, their young and two, it's easy when you don't have to work for a living and everything is done for you, nor do you have anxiety because you're set for life. Anxiety is a major weight cause. All the women I know whom no longer work have dropped 10lbs or more, including my older sister. I've no doubt I'd be a smokin' babe too if I didn't have to takethebusforanhour eachwayeachdayworkforajerkgetsneezedononpublictransportationcleanthecatboxprunethegardenemptythetrashpay3mortgagesbecauseIcan'tsellyetsweepthedrivegotothegrocerystorefoldlaundryironpumpgasnadonandonandonandon. It's no wonder I have the face of a crone (like Coco said I would) because this DIY and living every day in the moment is really just nothing more than exhausting. So, just stop worrying and go rock your scarves and black jeans because Honey, you look Fab.

  37. Anonymous- You have some great points to make here. Anxiety and stress do have a huge impact on weight gain...I think it is the hormone cortisol that must take the blame. Your voice is a powerful one, do you have a blog by any chance I'd love to read more!