Thursday, February 24, 2011

Falling off the Wagon

Okay, it happened and I’m ready to admit it. I took a nose dive off the wagon of my diet this last week and broke my fall on a package of double stuffed Oreo cookies, a cube of butter mixed with a little bit of baked potato and a peppermint shake from my favorite fast food restaurant.

It’s a tough world out there for those of us who were blessed with a little more fat than everybody else, although according to statistics (and I always believe those things) our numbers are growing.

Sometimes it feels like there is an army of marketers out there with the singal minded goal to keep us chubby and eating.

Case in point, it’s almost impossible to watch a TV program without being inundated with ads for fat laden, calorie horrific foods, being daintily eaten by super models with thighs so thin, they could thread them through the eye of a needle. Just what I need while I’m munching on my after dinner snack of raw carrots and water.

And when I’m feeling discouraged or overwhelmed or discouraged and overwhelmed which is more often the case, I don’t crave an apple or a nice green salad without dressing. No, I want pasta and brownies. Sugar, simple carbs and chocolate.

I don’t know why the stuff I love like See’s candy and double bacon cheese burgers with a side of steak cut fries has to be so unhealthy. If we can send a man to the moon, we ought to be able to invent food that tastes decadent but is actually good for you!

A lovely dream, but not very realistic. The facts are the facts, if I want to lose weight and be healthier (and I do), I have to eat fewer calories than I expend. End of discussion… sigh.

So where does that leave me? Sitting in the mud of my over indulgence with a sore tummy and jeans so tight I have to unzip them to breath? Or ready to rise again, dust the cookie crumbs from my face and hands and get back into the wagon of self control and healthy choices?

As Mary Anne Radmacher say’s – “Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow.”” And since she’s the same author who said, “Begin each day as if it were on purpose” I think she knows what she’s talking about.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Scale of the Scale

So, after nearly two months of relatively strenuous dieting, with only a few (well maybe more than a few) slips off the wagon, I am down 6 pounds, or maybe 8 pounds or perhaps 4.5 depending on whether I’m weighing myself on the doctor’s balance beam scale, my daughter’s precision digital scale or the WII fit action board scale . This opens up the obvious question, if the scales of justice are blind why aren’t the scales of fat?

All weight measurement appliances are not created equal, and can vary as much as five pounds. Plus the time of day, and the current temperature in the room can also affect results of the machine. And let’s not even go into the difference between weight based and spring based machines. The point is, some scales weigh you less than others.

With this in mind, I decided to go shopping for the most weight favorable scale on the market.

“You could always just set our bathroom scale lower than 0,” suggested my husband.

I shook my head and smiled. He just didn’t get it. I wasn’t looking to cheat by making 395 (basically -5) my starting point. No I wanted the confidence of knowing that my scale was honest and true… but lighter.

I approached a clerk in a high end department store and asked for their most user friendly scale. “I’m looking for something that will match a sky blue bathroom. I’d like the weight displayed in numbers that are positioned well in front so that I don’t have to pull back my breasts and belly just to see them, and since my eyesight isn’t what it used to be I need print that is large and bright.

“I’d prefer a voice enhanced model that would say something encouraging each time I weighed myself. Perhaps ‘Well beautiful, look who got up this morning. I’m so proud of you.’ And if a little electronic smiley face appeared, well that would be great too.

“I’m searching for a scale with some degree of artificial intelligence, so that on those days when I’m a little down or overly hormonal, the scale can take that into consideration. Then, rather than giving me my weight, it could politely suggest that my day would go better if I pass on the weigh-in and go straight to the chocolate.”

The cashier, a fellow woman with a few pounds to lose herself, was nodding her head understandingly.

“And most importantly,” I continued. “I’m looking for a product that weighs on the light side.”

The saleswoman put a gentle hand on my shoulder, her eyes full of sympathy and compassion. “I know just what you mean. The problem is we don’t have any scales like that, and I’ll tell you why.”

I nodded encouragingly.

“Bathroom scales are designed by men.”

Ahhhh that explained it. How could any man, regardless of how in touch with his feminine side he claimed to be, ever understand the weight measurement needs of a woman. Perhaps some day when girls choose science class in high school over creative dating, a woman will design the scale of our dreams.

In the mean time, I’ve devised my own scientific system for weight-loss accuracy. I now weigh myself in kilograms, and at 104 K I’m feeling pretty darn hot.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Skinny on Wieght-loss

You know what’s funny about going on a diet? The HUGE number of people, out to make a buck, who think that fat people are either naive or desperate enough to buy their outrageous claims. The other day I saw an ad on TV that promised me rapid and easy weight loss, and all I had to do was rub a special cream made of whale eyeballs and spotted owl feathers on my pockets of fat seven times a day….

Where do I sign up?

Another clever weight-loss guru suggested eating cotton balls. Yes, those little puffy white things you use to remove nail polish and mascara. The idea was that with your stomach full of indigestible fiber filaments, there wouldn’t be room for anything else … like say food. It makes me gag even to think about it.

I loved the diet that promised you could sleep your fat away.

Now there’s a lot of scientific evidence that getting a full eight hours of shut-eye a night helps control chemicals and hormones in your body related to over-eating. But this clown suggested something more along the line of hibernation. Cause see – if you’re asleep you can’t eat, just ask a bear.

Perhaps my favorite was the diet that recommended eating anything you want on even days and then fasting on odd days. As if the body didn’t understand the concept of roll-over calories.

Believe it or not, the best diet advice I got came from my son’s basketball coach and he wasn’t even talking to me. The eighth grade team was playing against a team from a neighboring town. This was the third time the two had been matched up, and both times the other team had won. The boys were hungry to even the score and the parents even more so.

Right from the start there was something different in that game. The ball seemed to be charmed and the team jumped ahead quickly. The score for our side soared, and at half time one of the happy fathers pulled the coach aside and asked him what the boys were doing differently this game.

His answer?

“This time we are trying to win not trying not to lose.”

I thought about that a lot, and I realized there is a subtle difference between the effort to win and the effort to avoid losing.

Applying it to my weight loss efforts, I’ve tried to look at this whole experience as a journey toward better health, not an attempt to shed a quarter of my body weight. I’m focusing on the foods I should eat that will give me energy and health and provide the most bang for the least calories.

The second best diet advice I got came from a conference I attended, where the speaker explained that when we stay focused on a goal or an idea, our body naturally works toward that same goal.

So in other words, my body is not the enemy and isn't purposely trying to thwart my dieting attempts by subterfuge and manipulation? Wow, what a relief.

Okay so none of those tips will help me shed seven pounds in seven days, or allow me to “think” the fat away, but maybe they will help me face this experience more honestly. I didn’t get fat in seven days, what makes me think I could get thin in that same amount of time?

Oh dear, I just looked at the clock and it’s time to rub whale eye/spotted owl cream on my pockets of fat again… gotta go.

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