Friday, May 27, 2011

the four letter word, part 2

(apologies ahead of time to my two male readers.  sign off now.)
(In case you missed my last post on this topic, which was written last summer, the four letter word is diet.  For some reason I can't link to that post, so if you want to read it, go over to the labels and pick 4LetterWord, then scroll past this one to get to the old one.)

So, I'm not going to diet.  I already told you that I can't.  It just doesn't work.  I start obsessing about food, and I end up eating way more than I would if I didn't do anything at all.  I hate obsessing about my weight.  I hate the way our culture eggs us on to obsess about our weight.  I hate that we even have to think about it at all.

But I'm past the age where I can just eat what I want and assume it will be fine.  Up until a few years ago, I was lucky to have a good enough metabolism that I could do that.  I haven't been really thin since before I had kids, but I've never needed to lose more than 10 lbs or so.  But then I hit my mid-40s, and my metabolism slowed to a glacial crawl, and I started adding a couple of pounds every year.  And then I went back to school.

Last summer when I posted about this, I wanted to lose ten lbs--not 10 lbs to get back to some ideal state of thin-ness, but just to get back to someplace reasonably healthy.  Oh, how lovely was that day.  Because instead of losing, last fall, during the first semester of my master's program, I gained five pounds.  And then this semester, I gained another TEN.  In three months, I gained ten pounds.  So now I'm up 25-- not from my ideal weight, just from the "reasonably healthy" weight.  None of my clothes fit.  I had already, a couple of years ago, decided that I was just going to have to live with my increasing size, bought all new clothes, got rid of my old skinny clothes, and generally adjusted.  But this is just too much.  I've crept up smack dab into the middle of the overweight section of the BMI index (27-ish).  I can't buy an entire new wardrobe again.

But I can't diet.  So what to do?  The obvious, I guess.  Exercise more, eat less.  I've been working on this since the Monday after I got done with school.  I've sort of come up with a system.  The guidelines are (I can't say "rules" since that would offend the wordless one)(cue Geoffrey Rush "the code is more what you'd call guidelines"):  only eat when hungry.  don't eat after 8 p.m.  limit sweets (although fruit is fine, and I'm not worrying about a teaspoon of honey in my pero).  and I'm also trying to keep a food journal.  That's it. The exercise part of it I already described in that last post.

It actually was working pretty well, even though I had failed a couple of times on the "don't eat after 8 p.m." part.  When I weighed myself Thursday morning, I was down 3 lbs from the Monday a week and a half before.  But the problem is that things happen, you know?  Example- last night we went out for our anniversary.  We don't get dressed up and go out to a nice restaurant very often.  There was no way I was going to have a salad and a glass of water.  I didn't have bread, and I didn't have dessert (I was too full for dessert, anyway), but otherwise I ate a normal meal, and I had a greek martini (which was yum, by the way). 

So I woke up this morning feeling guilty and depressed and fat and ugly.  But as the day has gone by, I've recovered.  I'm not doing this so I can meet some absurd cultural standard, I'm doing it because my metabolism has slowed down and I need to adjust what I eat accordingly.  This isn't about losing weight so much as it is about changing my eating habits.  I need to eat less, and I especially need to eat less empty calories (sweets and junk food).  And I did eat less than I normally would have last night, so that's a win, right?

I'll try not to post about this very often, because I know it's a boring topic.  But I thought it might help keep me accountable to the new guidelines if I said it publicly, so here 'tis.


  1. you know what is scary? I published this, and then on the "Your post published successfully!" page, a column of 4-5 diet ads showed up. They weren't there before. How do they do that? We probably don't want to know.

  2. My friend you are not alone. I have to say that a number of years ago I had what I call my "Scarlett O'Hara moment", you know, "As God is my witness I'll never diet or be ruled by my scale again!". And I have stuck to that. When I have dieted in the past I totally obsess about it. All I can think about is my next meal and what I cannot eat and how much I want what I cannot have. And my entire mood would be set by what my scale said. So about the time I hit 40 I stopped using the word diet and doing the diet thing. And life is good. I exercise. I eat healthy most of the time. I am a plump 51 year old woman with defiantly gray hair and if Hollywood doesn't like it then they can just......

    I need a cookie.

  3. Sorry I'm so late, but I felt it was still worth saying: yay! Diets just don't frikking work long term anyway, so why suffer and THEN be unhappy when you gain it back?

    But also... I totally cheated and went to look at your fb photos. Ummm don't forget to keep Le Perspective and ignore Le BMI which is often inaccurate. Because the pics of you in 2008 look thin. And the pics of you in 2011 look what you call "still reasonably healthy." So while I totally understand the desire to stop the gaining weight trend (same panic happened to me when I went back to school, and when I started a certain medication) -- and to not have to buy more clothes, and eating healthy is always good, and if you lose a few pounds that's cool... may you be blessed with feeling beautiful every morning!! :-) Cause you don't look overweight bebbe!