Category Archives: dieting

mixed messages, with berries

Sure enough, another TV moment has grabbed my attention.

It’s this new commercial. For what? Well, we don’t know at first. Something wonderful, surely, because there are all these jeans, but instead of sizes, the tags say things like “sassy” and “radiant” and “ooh-la-la” and the voice-over says, “wouldn’t it be great if we focused less on the size and more on how the fit makes us feel?”

Great message, right? We let that number tag in our clothes dictate so much of how we feel about ourselves, so the idea of jeans without a number is empowering! and fabulous!

But then the commercial goes on to tell us that we can drop a size with the Special K diet.

Huh?

So size doesn’t matter and shouldn’t define us but we still need to eat cereal three meals a day so we can be thin enough to fit in “sassy” jeans. So apparently even when there’s no numbers, there’s still a “right” size.

I get that Special K is, essentially, a weight-loss product (because let’s face it, would it really be your first choice if calorie count wasn’t an issue?), but why pretend then that sizes don’t matter and we should all feel good regardless of the label, and then in the next breath tell us how to get into a size smaller than the one we’re in?

Fail, Special K. Epic fail.

how not to diet

So in a rare burst of good sense, I just deleted a post about what a giant failure I am. It was a good vent, and I was really upset when I wrote it, but it didn’t need to be out there for posterity.

What does need to be out there is that binge eating is not a solution for anything, and the sooner I can figure that out and break the cycle, the better off I’ll be. “Sooner” being a relative term, since obviously in 40 or so years I haven’t quite gotten there yet.

It’s a pretty typical scenario. I get depressed, usually about weight or money or, more often, both. Maybe other stuff is added in. Maybe it’s February and I haven’t been to the beach in 4 or 5 months. Maybe the looming 40th birthday has me irrationally freaked out, particularly career-wise – I get terrified that I am not qualified to do any job out there other than the one I’m doing , and what the hell does my future hold if something happens? Even though the whole reason for that, of course, is my own crippling lack of self-confidence.

You know, just general stuff like that.

So the logical response to any of those issues is to eat. Even when you’re spending $40 a month on Weight Watchers and you’re so close to goal you can taste it (no pun intended) and so maybe possibly we can throw “self-sabotage” in there too as a reason for the binging. Because I know, as surely as I know anything, that once I hit my goal I’m going to think I’m fat at that new weight, and stress and obsess and screw up numerous opportunities to lose more weight. Repeat, ad nauseam.

I was doing great this week. I was a perfect little WeWa-er. I ate what I was supposed to, in its healthiest forms. Protein, complex carbs, limited sugars. Small glasses of red wine at night. Exercise. For four days. And the scale showed it, proving that if you just do what you’re supposed to, it works. So naturally, I fell apart in spectacular fashion. I binged. And I binged on what was in the house, so I binged on healthy food. Whole-wheat pasta with tuna added in because it’s important to have protein with every meal – even when your meal is about 6 serving sizes. A full tub of fat-free Greek yogurt with Swiss Miss mixed in for that chocolatey goodness that will make you forget to miss ice cream. Dark chocolate, because if you’re going to have a little chocolate, dark is much better for you, and if a little dark chocolate is better for you, a huge slab of it must be really, really better. A bottle of red wine. God, just think of the antioxidants coursing through my system.

So if you’re going to do shit like this, you want to be sure to save the worst of it for the night before weigh-in. That’s when, after a day when you cried more than you didn’t, you want to go OUT to dinner and make sure you get there in time to have three glasses of happy-hour wine, and since you’re splitting an appetizer-sized flatbread with your husband, who is at goal and will probably still be there tomorrow despite this, you should also order the bisque. Because nothing says Weight Watchers like cream- and butter-based soup. And then, just to be sure your weigh-in will be an utter failure, you should split a dessert the size of your head.

And just to ensure a complete meltdown on the scale, you should get on the treadmill to do a run and break down crying two minutes in. Crying does not earn activity points, sadly enough, even when done on a piece of exercise equipment.

What the fuck, people? What the FUCK? I can’t even get on that scale tomorrow – it’ll be up a good 5 pounds and I can’t even think of the tailspin that’ll throw me into.

sorry, this post is boring, but theraputic

I thought I had it all figured out.

After years – a lifetime, really – of discontentment with my weight, I thought I’d finally found the secret to satisfaction. It’s not something I’d recommend, necessarily, but it worked, at least for a little while.

During the four years I was a good 50 pounds overweight, I thought I’d give anything just to get back to a weight I used to consider “heavy” – a weight that sat right at the very highest end of my “healthy” weight range. And then I got there. And for a while, I felt fabulous. I went shopping and fit into size 8 jeans and could have died from sheer joy. I liked looking at pictures of myself and how I looked in the mirror. I knew I had another 10 pounds to go – but 10 pounds! Only 10 pounds! To be just 10 pounds overweight was heaven, it was normal, it was good.

That lasted about a month.

I reached that point right at the start of the holiday season, and like many people, I kind of relaxed my eating during that time. I didn’t even gain weight, but have been sitting at the same place for about two months now. You know, the same place where I was thin and fabulous? Only now, I’m discontent again. Now I look in the mirror and I see pudge that needs to be budged. I see a pooch above the waist of my jeans. I see a body that cannot be seen in a bathing suit. I see a number on the scale that I’d have killed for a year ago, that I’d have bet I’d never see again – and it makes me unhappy.

Worst, I’m starting to doubt that I can meet my goal. I had a certain place I wanted to be by my 40th birthday, and now I don’t know if I can get there. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have a set goal in mind before – I was just eating, tracking, doing my thing, and the weight could come off when it came off, it didn’t really matter because anything was better than where I’d been. When you start to put pressure on yourself and have these very concrete goals, it’s easier to get frustrated when you don’t meet those goals – and that frustration manifests itself back into discontent and bad thinking.

I need to get my head back into the “good” place. I need to be realize that if I go on my 40th birthday shopping spree at the very weight I am now, that’s OK.  But I also need to realize that’s still two months away, and, without putting pressure on myself or setting hard goals, if I keep eating right and working out, I’ll probably weigh less then than I do now. No “I must see this number or I’ve failed.” That’s the mindset I’ve had my whole life, it’s not healthy, it’s got to stop. But honestly, changing that mindset is going to be harder than losing the weight.

you people are slackers

Jeez, my last post was on August 20, and here it is almost Christmas. Where have you people been? Well, while I was being too lazy to blog you people were gone, all kinds of crazy shit has gone down. Like, I have lost another 20+ pounds and am back down to a relatively normal weight for the first time in years. Also, probably not unrelated to that, I have actually completed a 5K. I can actually run slog 3.1 uninterrupted miles. In fact, I have even moved on to the Bridge to 10K program, which I estimate I should complete just prior to the end of the world in 2012, which is good because I’ll be able to run from the zombies. Also, Mollie has learned to walk perfectly on a leash and never jumps on my houseguests, and Savannah has overcome her fear of everything and battles dragons in her spare time.

OK, those last two things are not true, although possibly more believable than me voluntarily running 6 miles.

But seriously, it’s all about Weight Watchers, which I have been following and abandoning since 1997. Ironically, when I first started the program I weighed about what I do now. Of course I was  – wait, where’s my calculator? – much younger then. But even then I didn’t stick with it long enough to make Lifetime, which is a shame because it probably would have saved enough money over the years that I wouldn’t have to work now. This time, though, I am going to do it. Why? Because my husband is making me. Seriously – he is absolutely dead set that we see things through to the bitter end and get that Lifetime membership. Of course, he’s two pounds away from goal and will probably make Lifetime before the end of January, having had 60 pounds to lose to my 50. I have 10 pounds to go, which means that I might have to receive my Lifetime membership while running from the zombie apocalypse. Because that, my friends, is the difference between men and women. “Fair” is not part of the game.

So speaking of WW, they rolled out new program a couple of weeks ago, which is “revolutionary” and “completely revisits the science of weight loss.” Cool. So of course, this has meeting members freaking out. You’d think someone told them that steak is now made from chinchillas and they can only eat it while riding unicorns on Thursdays. And this is why I hate going to meetings. Because people are stupid. See that book on your lap? It is just FILLED with answers. It was printed and given to you because it contains the information you need, not because the tree population was getting out of control. You don’t have to keep asking the meeting leader how the points have changed for <insert every food item in the known universe here>. And to the lady who spent half the meeting asking various questions about KFC? Your first step to success on Weight Watchers might be STAYING THE HELL AWAY FROM KFC. Just a thought.

You people will be shocked to learn that my intolerance of stupidity has not changed at all while you were gone. And good lord, there’s a lot of stupid in this world.

I suck at blogging because it’s hot and a stranger made me run

I’m going to skip all the apologies and reasons for not blogging now, and go right into just blogging. Except, I do have to say that every time I click onto this thing to write, I get all distracted by themes, and trying to make this thing look like I want it to – and I have been completely unsuccessful so far.

But anyway. I can be forgiven for all of that because I just jogged in 98-degree heat. Don’t ask me how those two things are related; I’m just pretty sure that jogging in 98-degree heat is so virtuous that it negates pretty much anything.

See, what happened is I started doing the Couch-to-5K plan. Well, no, let me backtrack. What happened is, four years ago I gained a shitton of weight (a shitton, in case you were wondering, is 42.6 pounds. I think it’s metric). Four years of whining about my weight later, my darling husband gave me an ultimatum. Sick of my constant on-and-off dieting, starting and not finishing Weight Watchers, South Beach, Nutrisystem, etc., he said, OK, we’ll start Weight Watchers again. But if it doesn’t work, that’s it. It’s the last diet we’re doing. EVER. Either we stick to this or we just live fat. And miraculously, we’ve stuck to it. We just finished 16 weeks and I’m down 20 pounds and he’s down almost 30 (the penis, you know, is a powerful weight-loss tool). But the thing about starting a diet when you’re really overweight is that at first, weight comes off pretty easily because you’re just not meant to be holding onto that kind of blubber. But at some point, you have to actually start working at it. Which, sadly, means working out. And since we’d finally cancelled our bloodsucking LA Fitness membership, that left me with two options: the dreaded exercise DVDs or the Great Outdoors . I chose option B  because I just wasn’t ready to cope with Leslie Sansone and Denise Austin yet. Started walking the dogs daily, then started adding in jogs. No real plan, just jogged – well, really slogged (slow jogged) – power-walking senior citizens regularly lapped me. But as with most things, I got bored and lost my inspiration, and also it got really, really, Florida-summer hot and humid.

And then one of the bloggers I follow started doing Couch-to-5K — someone who had admitted to an utter loathing for walking, never mind running. And so, as things happen in this Internet age, a total stranger inspired me to start the C25K program. Because I am not cool enough to have an iPhone or iPod touch with the cool C25K app, I downloaded an old-fashioned podcast and off I went.

So here I am, having just finished Week 2. I am not sure that I’m making any progress, except not having died, which I suppose is a form of progress. I’m a little terrified of Week 3, in which I’m expected to jog for 3 full minutes at a stretch. But since I’ve signed up to do a 5K on Sept. 11, which will be right after the end of Week 8, I’ve got to see it through. I”m really wishing I’d had the good sense to get inspired in November, though.

So … ummm, what was I saying? Oh yeah. I haven’t updated my blog since I swore I was going to start blogging again, two months ago, but it’s OK because I ran for nine minutes in hellacious heat. Yep. That’s my story.