It's never really been possible to kid myself, but if it had been, it definitely wouldn't be now. I have packed on some serious pounds since I moved here, probably from all the eating while traveling. This last couple of months have been especially food-filled, as I gorged on all my favorite can't-get-it-in-Germany junk while I was in the States, then we went to France, where the conference organizers stuff us with two four-course meals a day. Big courses. The organizer was one of us, and she was quite sensitive, so we didn't want to be rude - we ate it all. Not to mention, the food was pretty damn good.
I've never been really thin or athletic at all, but I don't want to be where I am right now either. It's moving into unhealthy territory, and anyone studying epidemiology as I am - or even reading the health news - knows fat around the middle is a very, very, very bad risk factor for every chronic disease under the sun. Keeping the family butt is.... okay. Putting on the doughnut around the center - bad.
I've only gone on a weight-loss effort once before, when I was living in Boston. I lost about 15 pounds, but it took many months and was really not fun. I love food and I hate feeling limited. I did it by counting every calorie and by playing Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) in my living room (much to the dismay of the downstairs neighbors). The counting approach worked very well for me because it set non-hazy limits. Anything hazy, and I WILL cheat. My love of food goes well beyond any capacity for willpower or any other motivation. DDR was great because it counted up for me the calories I had burned so I had a fully-quantified weight-loss program going on. And just as importantly, it allowed me to exercise in my living room in my ratty clothes with my hair looking all stupid, and with my fat jiggling around with an audience of zero. And, it's a game. It gives little, attainable goals that feel fun rather than feeling like torturous self-loathing. I was already getting the torturous self-loathing by withholding North End cannoli from myself.
I can pick up the DDR again here, thanks to my friends Mike and Jason, who brought me new dance pads when mine didn't survive the move. I'm not open to any public exercise, with the exception of walking or biking. And even worse, competitive sports - not. a. chance. I'm afraid for the day that I get too old or creaky for DDR - and I'm sure it's just around the corner, if not already kind of a bad idea.
But what of the counting calories? German nutrition labels aren't as detailed as American ones, and the calorie values are not given by a volume-based serving size, but per 100 grams. I don't have a scale of any sort (can't even weigh myself) to weigh out the grams of all my food. Has anyone tried calorie counting here? Did you have to suck it up an invest in a scale? Or did you just stick to foods that you can look up the values for online? (ie. medium apple = x calories, boiled egg = x calories, etc - sticking only to these types of foods) Or maybe recipes from a book/magazine that gives volume-based calorie info?