Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It's Complicated

One vital bit of information: no one, save for you readers and those who live with me, knows that I’ve become dedicated to getting fit and healthy. I’m so tired of hearing, “Oh, you’re going on another diet?” or, “Sure you’re dedicated. You were ‘dedicated’ to the last one too.”

And this, I’ve found, complicates things.

It was my friend’s birthday yesterday and a bunch of us took her out to lunch. It was the first time I’ve gone out to eat since I started waddling down the ‘healthy way’ path over two weeks ago. I wouldn’t have even gone except I felt really guilty about ‘being too sick’ for her birthday party. But…I wasn’t sure I could say no to the cake. For me, cake is like kryptonite.

Naturally she chose our favorite gourmet burger restaurant -- you know the kind with burgers as big as your head and french fries the size of your thumbs. Luckily for me, they had salads. Yum, right? So, as I stared longingly at the monster-heart-attack-on-a-plate pictures in the menu, I ordered a grilled chicken salad while everyone else greedily ordered greasy delicious goodness.

This presented a new challenge in the willpower adventure. Up until now, I’ve cooked, so that means everybody at home eats the same thing as I do. The only willpower required is making sure to cook something healthy. At the restaurant, no one ordered a salad but me. Now for the real test of my willpower -- watching them eat what I really wanted. And now for the newly discovered complication of not telling anyone of my epiphany -- the sharing offers.

Be proud.

Not only did I not steal the food off their plates, but I said no thank you when they offered me bites.

Small victory? Maybe. But each small victory gets me closer to my goal. I didn’t get to savor a burger and fries, but I sure savored my willpower on the way home.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Horrible Truth

Today marks the two week anniversary of my lifestyle change epiphany -- two very busy weeks of implementing “The Great Plan of Attack.” And as promised, I have manned up and not only unearthed and dusted off the malevolent scale but also stood on it. Drum roll, please. I weigh, a whopping, scale groaning, how-did-I-ever-let-myself-get-this-heavy, 315.5 pounds. *THUD*

After I revived from passing out, and hurriedly put that-which-shall-not-be-named back in the closet, I started thinking, “Holy guacamole! If that’s what I weighed after two weeks of portion control, food rules, and exercise, can you imagine what I weighed previously?” I’d guess-timate that I lost at least five pounds from cutting my food intake in half, easily. But, be that as it may, my official start weight for this Herculean endeavor is going to be 315.5 pounds because I was too big a wuss to get on the scale any sooner. It could be worse I guess. I don’t know how, but it could be.

In true masochistic nature, I plan on digging that cursed scale out of its dark corner in the closet every Sunday and standing on it -- no matter how much it begs me not to. I figure keeping a weekly total of pounds lost and current weight will help keep me inspired, but I’m not going to be a slave to the numbers. So says the obsessive-compulsive girl who as we speak already has a graph of projected weekly weight loss totals and is making a color coded chart to record the actual weekly numbers.

This momentous occasion calls for a celebration. Cookie? Maybe in the olden days -- two weeks ago -- I’d have suggested a toast with delicious baked goods. Now? How about a shot of sugar-free lime JELLO? After all, nothing beats the sweet taste of getting fit and healthy.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Necessary Evil

Doomsday is drawing ever closer. *cue suspenseful music* Every time I walk past the closet, I hear the scale laugh tauntingly from its burial ground. I’ve been successfully waging war on my food intake and have been having consecutive daily victories for over a week. I feel ready to up the ante and tackle a new evil.


I shudder just thinking about the “E” word but I know there is no way I’m going to come even remotely close to achieving my goals if I don’t start moving and grooving. I also had a nightmare about drowning in acres of loose sagging skin and I don’t want to look like I’m melting for real, which now makes exercise a high priority on my list. Must avoid loose skin at all costs. All costs.

For me everything starts on paper. So, you got it, I made a list. I wrote down all the areas I wanted to target. After I’d listed them out, I realized it would’ve been easier to have simple written: all of me.

I made a chart with the days of the week and what exercises I will do on which days. Every day I have crunches, push ups, and stretches, alternating days between Pilates, aerobics, and weights. The sight of it on paper is daunting, I know, but I did mention the drowning in flesh dream, right? Enough said.

Every good chart needs a rewards system in place, so it goes without saying that I have one. For every week I honestly complete the chart, I will treat myself to a little something just for me like a pedicure, new scented lotion (it’s an addiction, I can’t control it), or a new book and a bubble bath. I figure with as much hard work as I’m going to be putting forth, I should have the opportunity for some pampering too.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Saying Painful Goodbyes

With my first weigh-in looming on the Sunday horizon (yes I’m finally going to get on the scale and see the terrors that await me), I’ve decided to be more proactive than just eating half portions. I’ve now moved on to Phase 2 of the Great Plan of Attack: concentrating not only on how much but what exactly I’m putting into my body -- with emphasis on making sure it’s good for me. Yes, the joys of my new lifestyle are without number.

In the past, I was the queen of fad diets. If there was a new miracle get-thin-quick scheme I was the first lined up to try it. I lived the horror that was the Cabbage Soup 24/7 Diet, jumped on board with Tommy Lasorda and Ultra SlimFast plan, survived eating bacon and mayonnaise with Atkins, tried every diet pill ever invented, and anything in between. Some I had better success with than others but they all ended the same. When I stopped, I gained all the weight back and then some. Apparently, I hadn’t lost the weight. I’d just momentarily misplaced it while it multiplied like bunnies.

While none of the fads worked, I decided not to let that knowledge from having done them go to waste. Why not take everything I liked or made sense from the multitudes I’ve tried and meld them into an Average Jane lifestyle change? So that’s exactly what I’ve done.

I did mention that the joys are without number? Well, I’m numbering them. I will be creative and eat a healthy diet following these few, simple rules:

1.) No processed sugar. Truly the most painful rule.

2.) If it doesn’t grow that way -- don’t eat it. For example: Fresh fruit is high in fructose (fruit sugar) but in its whole fruit state it has a lot more vitamins and minerals and takes more energy to break it down for digestion. Fruit juice on the other hand has more sugar than a soda and takes no effort to digest.

3.) Starches convert straight into sugar and then go straight to my hips. So I avoid potatoes, corn, and peas to name a few.

4.) No white bread. Bleached flour is evil. However, I’m not a fan of the whole grain breads. It all tastes like cardboard and sawdust to me -- so I don’t eat bread period. Most anything you can put in a sandwich can be wrapped in some lettuce which is better for you anyway.

5.) No bleached white processed flour pasta. Either whole wheat or there’s kinds out there made from “vegetable flour” that is much better for you. Rule of thumb for pasta: always a side dish -- never a meal.

Ouch. How it pains me to look at that list as I think longingly of my lifelong friends: desserts, potatoes, pasta, bread, candy, chips, and chocolate (which does, in fact, deserve a category all of its own). But then I consider the whole person I have to lose, and decide maybe these friends aren’t all that good for me, and perhaps I’ll like my new friends better, once I get to know them.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mind Over Matter

Epiphany? Check.

Goals? Check.

Plan of Attack? *crickets chirp*

So, I have my awesome goals and I’ve written them in triplicate -- no really, I did -- once here and twice on paper to be strategically placed in the kitchen. One is affixed to the refrigerator by magnets and the other is taped to the snack cupboard. This way, I can’t possibly forget that I’m making a lifestyle change while under the influence of the siren’s call for junk food.

My first area of attack is portions. I’m not a dietician with formal nutritional training by any stretch of the imagination, but it seems to me if you cut what you normally eat in half, you’re bound to lose weight.

I decided to implement this idea by loading up my plate with what I would normally eat then getting a second plate to split the first in half. I immediately wrap up the second plate and put it in the fridge -- that way I can’t cheat and nibble off it.

The first time I did this, the portions looked so pathetic and sparse I just knew I was going to be hungry afterwards. I promised my protesting rumbling tummy that if it was still hungry after the smaller portion, it could have the other half portion a half an hour later -- you know, so we’re sure you’re really hungry, I cajoled. It wouldn’t listen.

The answer was so simple. If I was a cartoon character, I swear you would’ve seen the light bulb above my head. I got a smaller plate and put my meal on that -- I don’t do the dishes, obviously. Suddenly it looked like I had a lot more food. Shockingly enough, after I finished the plate, I was full.

Dieting is extremely cerebral. I know the minute I think I can’t have something I’m racing to the kitchen to gorge myself on it. So, like the losing sizes versus pounds idea tricks my brain into thinking it’s not such a massive undertaking, putting less food on a smaller plate tricks it into thinking I’m eating the same amount as I had before.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Little Goals Are For Sissies

I’m a compulsive planner and goal setter, it’s like a disease. If it can be illustrated, charted, listed, or journaled, you can bet your cookies (mmm cookies) that I’ve done all of them and in triplicate. I love me some goals. So, I set some.

My first goal, of course, was the loss of an entire person, that pesky little 150 pounds, and I gave myself a year to lose it in. Hey if you’re going to dream, shoot for the moon! Now, I’m also realistic and know it’s a huge goal, pardon my pun, so I broke it down into smaller goals. Using my amazing math skills and knowledge of weight that’s healthy to lose in a week, I figured if I lost three pounds a week, I should be able to make my year goal, even surpass it.

On paper, the goals look perfect and easy, but really, I know better. If it were that easy, I wouldn’t be overweight and there wouldn’t be any phenomenon known as willpower. Slip-ups happen and there are even evil things called plateaus. I know these goals are going to be a major uphill battle, but nothing worth having is ever easy, right?

Right. Well, at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

In order to keep my goals attainable, I’ve taken it a step further. If I can’t hit the 150 pound goal, I would equally love to be single digits in clothes sizes and not care what I weigh. (Insert hysterical laughter here.) I’m tall and medium-boned. I don’t think single digits are in my future without looking like an emaciated skeleton. Not that I have anything against bony people, but I’d still like to have at least some womanly curves. So I’d be content, no, downright happy, as a size 10 or 12. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m an impressive size 28 right now. And doesn’t losing seven or eight sizes sound a lot easier than 150 pounds? It’s all in how you sell it to your brain.

Monday, July 14, 2008

And So It Goes

I’ve had an epiphany!

Before we get to that, I should probably introduce myself. I’m a thirty-something woman, an average Jane if you will. Just a work-at-home mom who realized I was turning into a work-at-home planet complete with my own gravitational pull.

Now, after five years of steadily getting bigger and the myriad of excuses I’ve used to justify my size and lack of ambition to change it, I’ve finally decided to do something about it. No more whining and excuses -- I’m firmly taking hold of my own destiny and attacking it with zest!

I’m committing to making a “lifestyle” change, which is my fancy way of saying I’m putting my big butt on a healthy diet and rigorous exercise routine. My goal: to lose an entire person’s worth of weight. One whole person. Roughly 150 pounds. Wow.

I have no idea what I weigh exactly at this moment, although I know it’s clearly over 300 pounds. The thought of getting on a scale wakes me up screaming at night. Oh, I have a scale but it’s where it belongs -- hidden in the closet behind the Christmas decorations. I just have to work up to unearthing it and actually standing on it. You know next week, when I’ve gotten used to the whole concept. Right now, I don’t think I could take the groans and it saying, “Get off, you’re killing me!”

So hop along for the ride, it ought to be a fun one with lots of ups and downs. Okay, maybe ‘fun’ isn’t the word, but I can promise it’ll never be boring -- even if it’s like watching a train wreck.

Fasten your seatbelts -- it’s going to be a bumpy ride!