About Refined Foods, Humans, Cats, and Fats by Kathy

0kathy-blogThis post by Kathy Waller

At the outset, this post contains no advice at all, just what I’ve heard, and it will look like it’s about my cat (again), but it’s actually about weight management. But to get to the heart of the matter, we’ll have to go through the cat.

William is on a diet. He’s nine years old and it’s past time for him to take off the weight I’ve allowed him to put on. I want to prevent diabetes and all the ills the older cat is often heir to.

The vet advised me how I might  begin, but with two cats, it’s difficult. I can’t isolate him because he wouldn’t eat without Ernest eating first, and isolation brings the risk of his clawing a hole in the door. With cats, you don’t close doors, period. And the last time William and Ernest were separated for any length of time, William stopped eating (!), ran a high fever, and became practically catatonic (no pun at all). After a few hours, I took him to the vet, she put him in the cage with Ernest, who had been there a couple of days, and by evening, she reported, William was “eating like a horse.” I don’t dare keep them apart until William decides to eat.

I switched them to a grain-free diet–never could understand why carnivores needed grains–and they both fell to enthusiastically, but after a few days I began to worry I’d changed their food too abruptly. I did not want to throw anyone into liver shock, so I’m now mixing old food with new, and over three or so weeks will have them both back on meaty kibble. I’ll also check to make sure the grain-free they’re eating is of good enough quality.

To digress a bit–my massage therapist suggested the new diet. I spend an hour a week on her table, so we have time to talk about many things, including food and cats.

The following pictures give evidence of William’s need for a lifestyle change:

William official portrait china closetWilliam tv watercolorWilliam and Ernest sharing recliner 3William with kitten bookWilliam keyboardingDSCN1041 (1)



Now to the heart of the matter: I’ve had my own battles with weight management since I was about fifteen, and have battled long and hard with several weapons, some better than others. Finally I’m seeing progress and have hope I’ll get down closer to where I should be–not the 1991 level of 18% body fat, when I felt I could fly, but closer. The time since I was fifteen is too long to write about here, but I’ll repeat what I heard last night.

It was in one of those Internet commercials by a bariatric specialist who spends fifty-five minutes saying how shocked you’ll be to learn what she has to say, and the last five telling you about the pill she’ll sell you (I didn’t listen that long)–but one thing she said about refined and “invented” foods (chemicals) woke me up:

“Anything the body doesn’t recognize, it turns to fat.”

It sounded so reasonable, I asked the massage therapist about it. She said, “Hmmm, yes, that works.”

Later, she said, “That’s not exactly how it works. [I’d suspected that, I’m pleased to say.] When the body/brain doesn’t recognize something, it tries to wall it off and stores it in fat cells. What it doesn’t know is stored rather than excreted. But the doctor’s description is close enough.”

Well. I wondered why doctors and nutritionists don’t use the chemicals-to-fat equation to explain what’s wrong with eating refined foods. They say it in other ways, but not that way.

It’s like Emily Dickinson’s “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant– / Success in Circuit lies.” Why don’t they stop going in circles and say exactly (almost) what happens.

As I said at the outset, I’m just repeating what I heard. No medical or nutritional advice is offered here. I don’t want any humans or animals to be harmed as a result of reading this post. We could all be wrong.

But if it’s true, it’s bound to operate the same way in cats. I think.

A long time ago, I began a blog in which I would discuss my experience with pounds. A counselor once suggested I write a book about it. Personal accounts of such helped me in various ways, and I had a lot of experience and had learned a lot and might have something valuable for others.

I disagreed for this reason: All the women who write those books successfully are highly literate Jewish gals from the Midwest, and they’ve said all that needs to be said, and I’m a marginally literate Southern Presbyterian from Texas, and we Scots don’t necessarily want everyone knowing our business, and I can’t remember anything since childhood anyway.

He said he’d give me my notes. I’m sorry I didn’t take them, because I’d like to know what he noted about me. (Probably,”She never shuts up.”) (Jewish gals from the Midwest: Geneen Roth [When Food Is Love] and Betsy Lerner (Food and Loathing, a marvelous book]. And others.)

But anyway, I decided a while back I would blog about it, and I set up the blog and named it Guts and Midriff, after a line from Shakespeare.

There’s no room for faith, truth, nor honesty in this bosom of thine. It is all filled up with guts and midriff. ~ William Shakespeare, Henry IV Part 1, 3. 3

Shakespeare has a line for everything. And it appeared no one else had used that as a title.

I wanted to be anonymous, though, because I was afraid I’d make a mistake within WP, and my name and all my sordid secrets would be out there and all the billions of blog readers would learn them and I would be–something. I don’t know what, since I’m sure all of them are out there anyway. But I left the blog private and unwritten.

Now I shall throw caution to the wind and open Guts and Midriff, and let everyone know what I think I know. So there.

This post is late because last night, when I finally chose the topic and began writing (as usual), William climbed into my lap. When he wants to occupy my lap, there’s no discouraging him without repercussions–he slips down and takes chunks of my skin with him–and there’s no room for both him and the laptop, as there used to be. So I stopped writing. Then I fell asleep in my chair for a couple of hours, and he almost slid out of my lap that way, and I decided it best to go to bed. And I’ve had appointments today, so there.

To repeat something else, I heard a minister say an excuse is, “the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.” Yeah, sort of, as in I should have written this last week or last month, but I did begin on Friday, and it wasn’t okay, and that’s what happens, and then when I begin, last minute, William or something jumped into my lap. He was in my lap last night while the bariatric specialist sat on the footstool, finishing up her commercial (the pills). Excuses vary in quality, and this one isn’t great, I realize.

To quote a different minister, whom I think I’ve already quoted on this blog, “It’s a grrrrrrreat” failing.” He was Scottish, and, like Shakespeare, said everything better than just about anyone else, so I’ve spelled it roughly as he said it.


Kathy Waller blogs at various places
and has had two stories published
in a recently-released anthology,
but she doesn’t have time
to say anything else about that.
She’ll fix it later.


*(Kathy Waller blogs at Kathy Waller–Telling the Truth, Mainly,* and at Austin Mystery Writers. Her stories hMOW cover - amazon pixave been published in Mysterical-E and in Murder on Wheels: 11 Stories of Crime on the Move (Wildside, 2015).Telling the Truth, Mainly refers to a line from Huckleberry Finn. The blog was formerly named To Write Is to Write Is to Write, an allusion to a quotation from Gertrude Stein. It was a good quotation but a bland title.)




29 thoughts on “About Refined Foods, Humans, Cats, and Fats by Kathy

  1. Oh, Kathy, I CAN SO RELATE! My husband and I started a new food plan in October and did well for about two weeks. We’ve backslid so we’ll re-start in January, along with billions of other people! LOL It’s hard, for human and animal, to make a lifestyle change — well, at least for about 90% of us. Best to you and to William as you both navigate the boundary waters of the body image and lifestyle change.


    1. Gayle, I’m so sorry you can relate. Like you, I do very well for a time but then slip–usually starting with a sandwich–and it’s difficult to take that in stride and go on. As to the lifestyle change–I used the term in the post, but every time I hear, “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change,” I want to snap, “It is a DIET.” You change your lifestyle by eating/not eating certain foods nearly all the time, and by being physically active, and by doing other things, and the eating part is called a DIET. A little cynicism leaking through, sorry. Thanks for your comment.


  2. Thanks, Doris, for your comment. I’m grateful for your support. I try to support William, but he doesn’t necessarily reciprocate. Months ago, David bounced a little rubber ball up the stairs, and William followed it up and then down, and I thought, Now he’ll get some exercise. On the second bounce, William chased it to the top of the stairs, watched it descend, and lay down to wait for the next ball to approach. Now he lies down four or five steps up and waits for it to come down. If it slows and stops on his step, he taps it and gets it started again. Next we try a peacock feather, but I have grave doubts.


    1. Thanks for commenting, Kaye. Today my massage therapist said I looked a little thinner. I realized later I was wearing one of my tee-shirts that fits like a nightgown. Oh well. Best wishes for January. Sounds like a good plan.


  3. Isn’t the weight battle (or the Battle of the Bulge) one of the biggest? I think most people can relate to your very witty and entertaining blog. My metabolism gets more efficient every year, I now store 1.5 calories for every 1 calorie I eat! Efficiency in any other area has declined. Loved the pics of your cat. Enjoyed your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment, Neva, and for pointing out that efficiency is the real culprit. I shall pass the info along to my doctor (who never says a word, because on my first visit I told him to never say a word).


  4. Good post, Kathy! Those ‘alien’ foods that the body doesn’t recognise just storing there as fat is scary. Much as I try to cook with fresh ingredients there is stil a major problem in my house. My husband does the bulk of the cooking by choice (he must hate my cooking 😉 ) but buys loads of processed items which can be tasty but I don’t really want to eat because they are processed. Best of luck with cats and pounds.


    1. Where in the world did you get that wonderful husband? My husband has been doing most of the cooking lately (five years), mostly because I’m late getting home or I don’t want to stand up or a number of other excuses. I think he’d like me to get back to the kitchen at least occasionally. We do well most of the time, but then disorganization sets in and some processed food makes its way to the table. But the explanation about what happens to refined foods impressed me, so there’s new incentive. Thanks for commenting.


  5. I was making my way down the paragraphs, thinking ‘who wrote this good piece?’ Then toward the end, I saw it was Kathy Waller. I had a cat who had diabetes. He dropped from about 20 pounds down to 7 pounds when his kidneys finally gave out. He got his insulin shots from me twice a day after eating. Nonetheless, I ultimately had to say goodbye to him, to my Tessir. I have to keep my weight under control as well, since I have Type 2 diabetes. Now’s a bad time with the days passing toward Christmas. You know… cookies, candy.


    1. Thanks, Mike. I forgot about ID-ing myself at the top of the post. All I could think of was getting it posted before 2016. I’m sorry about your cat. My Christabel had to be put down because of diabetes eleven years ago, and that’s one reason I’m adamant that William must get his waistline down. I’m at risk for Type 2 myself but never had any hint of it until a year ago when my doctor said, “You’ve lost ten pounds! And your blood sugar is up.” I was both shocked and indignant, because it was completely unfair, but when I mentioned I’d been drinking orange juice as if it were…melted chocolate ice cream…he rolled his eyes. Good luck handling holiday treats. I’m not around many at Christmas these days. If I can stay out of the eggnog , I’ll be okay. The cartons call to me every time I pass the dairy case.


  6. I added you photo and your links. Interesting blog, since I am struggling with weight gain. I am 28 pounds over my allotted amount. I was one of those girls who never had to worry about weight gain, even into my adult life, up until I went through the change, and I did change, in not such a good way. Now I’m constantly struggling to get back into some kind of control. Aggravates me that I can’t control this aspect of my life. Most people don’t see that I have a weight problem, but I can see it. Thanks for the blog. My brain thinks I’m fat, therefore I’m fat. LOL Cher’ley


    1. And thank you for putting my name and picture at the top of the post. My focus was getting the post online, and I forgot that part. / BTW, the fasting (we called it that) program I was in taught us to say “weight management” rather than “weight control.” It was supposed to give us a different perspective on the matter, but twenty-five years later, I don’t think it did.


  7. Hey Kathy,

    I think processed foods, especially prepackaged is hurting America’s health. I’ve cut back a lot but still have Doritos every so often. I love the name “guts and midriff.” I hope the blog takes off and you can give those other writers a run for their money.


    1. I agree. It’s difficult to cut all refined foods out of the diet–takes a lot of planning. I think you’re smart to have the occasional Dorito. As for giving the other writers a run for their money–I have no chance of doing that, but I can at least enjoy myself with another blog. Thanks for your comment.


  8. Love your post Kathy. I lost 50 pounds on Weight Watchers 30 years ago. Since then it’s been a battle to both lose and keep the weight off. The difference with your cats is they think they’re being punished. First of all, your kitties are beautiful and I can see why you enjoy them so much. We have a little shih tzu and living with two old people has served to make her gain a little weight. She’s not picky about her food so I put her on a weight reduction food. My daughter had the rubber-band surgery. At first she lost weight, but it wasn’t long before she gained most of the weight back. My biggest problem now is that I am taking Bipolar meds, which are known for their weight-gaining properties. I am hungry all the time and and have to be careful what I eat. I think until my body acceepts and learns to absorb the meds, I’ll have to love myself just the way I am!


    1. I was a Weight Watcher off and on years ago but stopped when they stopped allowing two little bits of white starch a day and I nearly starved. A friend had the rubber-band surgery and lost a little. In the late ’80s I was on a (very) medically supervised liquid fast for seven months–felt wonderful, wasn’t hungry, didn’t have to cook, and was perfectly happy until I had to start eating food again. The program believed in eating lots of carbs and no fats. Didn’t work with sugar-addicted me. Then a counselor suggested I relax, stop following everyone else’s rules, and figure out what I needed to do (I didn’t even know how to recognize physical hunger any more), even if I had to gain weight. (I had to.) Ironically, when I was put on a med for BID last year, it worked with other meds I was already taking, and I’m beginning to eat normally again. It took a while to kick in, though. The counselor’s theme was just what you expressed–love yourself the way you are. If you’re interested, the book that helped me most was Hirschman and Munter’s Overcoming Overeating, about acceptance, not diet. They also wrote When Women Stop Hating their bodies, which a friend said must be fiction. I’m glad weight management isn’t the center of my life any more. As for our pets–they think they’re being punished, but at least they don’t have to cook. Thanks for your comment, and best wishes for an easier transition with the meds.


  9. I loved your photos of your kitties and I’m strictly a dog person. Hana, my rat terrier, has always had weight issues. Little did I know that feeding her brown rice as a puppy wasn’t a good idea! My vet said early on, “You know, she’s a little chunky” and I was shocked. From then on, she’s always been on “weight management” food and has maintained a steady 18 pounds because of it (her ideal weight according to my vet). She is an indoor dog and I try to walk her 3 times a day but it’s still not enough I guess. Plus she must have her Greenies every single night and if she doesn’t get one, she cries. I’m a sucker for her whining and she knows it. Luckily, I’ve found weight management Greenies now. Good luck on the blog, Kathy, and like Travis, I too love the name “Guts and Midriff.”


    1. I’m a cat person now because I live in an apartment, and dogs aren’t welcome. My first two dogs were rat terriers, wonderful playmates, but, as outdoor dogs, they were too active to have weight problems. One of the dogs was like yours–when he wanted a treat, he stared at his humans with such a pathetic look that one of us gave him a Milk Bone. My mother later discovered he was burying them behind the sofa cushions. Good luck at keeping your pup at a healthy weight, and thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m always excited when I come across someone who previously was a mama to rat terriers or is one now. They’re such fantastic animals – so smart and playful and feisty. Many people aren’t familiar with them or think their name is comical. Your reply made me smile.


  10. I think everyone struggles with their weight at some time in their life. I also believe that no one has the ultimate answer for everyone. What works for you works for you. Sometimes it may be changing your attitude about food, other times it may be self control. or introducing new healthier foods. At any rate making a gradual change just like you did with William seems like the best course of action to me.


    1. I think you’re right. Weight management is such an individual matter. That’s why no one solution can address the needs of everyone. I was the perfect weight for my build when I began dieting for all the wrong reasons at fifteen; that started the ups and downs I’ve gone through since. My vet said last week it was okay to change to grain-free catfood without mixing with the old first, and William hasn’t noticed. He may notice when we start gradually reducing the amount however. Thanks for your comment.


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