I wonder what combination of tricks will help me lose weight this time?
I know Weight Watchers works if I just do it. In the morning I have good intentions and I’m determined to succeed, to once and for all lose the 6 pounds that stand between my clothes fitting comfortably and not. Disappear my Buddha belly. By evening, I am ready to sabotage the die-ette and eat some crackers (1 point), a piece of cheese (2 points) or a Dove ice cream mini (3 points).
Whenever I diet, I am setting myself outside my normal eating patterns and entering the Land of Crave and Denial, a place I’m sure to sneak out of or completely bust out of eventually.
Because I know I’m going to want what I can’t have, I’ve ruled out other diets like Atkins, Paleo, etc. There’s no way I’ll succeed by banishing whole categories of food – bread, pasta, sugar, fat, which in my mind equal toast with butter, pasta with anything, sugar in my coffee, ice cream, dark chocolate, salty nuts, potato chips, and anything fried.
I don’t want to diet, and yet . . . there’s this shelf of a belly, the same six pounds I’ve gained and lost for 30 years. Which is stupid. Why do six pounds or a piece of cheese matter?
There’s a body positivity movement afoot to accept your weight and quit worrying about a perfect shape. I admire the young women who feel sexy and at ease in their own bodies and proudly disregard their muffin tops and big thighs. But I am of a different generation, one that was taught from a tiny age to aspire to a perfect figure. Anything less than that and you are made to feel like a less valuable person. Which is also stupid. But I can’t get it out of my head, can’t stop mentally shaving off the extra pounds to see my perfect shape, or more realistically, my pretty good shape.
It’s not that I’m huge. I weight 20 pounds more than when I married and looked good objectively (or is that as an object . . . something set on this earth for other people to look at?)
I’m trim, but not thin. My extra weight isn’t a health issue. For now. But I dislike how I look. I wish I looked different. I’m not aspiring to lose 20 pounds. Just six so my clothes fit better. So far, I’ve avoided buying larger sizes. That’s the line I won’t cross. But if I gain any more weight, I’ll have to.
Besides eating a lot of fish, salad, fresh fruit, chicken breasts, veggies and walking for at least 45 minutes every day, I have all kinds of tricks like—
- Every day, I can have a planned cheat, like one sweet thing a day—a cookie or a Dove ice cream mini.
- I don’t eat low-cal chocolate or cheese. They’re a waste of calories and I’m only going to eat more of them until I have the real thing. Instead, I eat small amounts of the good stuff—like one Dove dark chocolate Promise, not five. It really does satisfy my chocolate crave.
- Have a 4 o’clock snack – a little hummus or a small piece of cheese and 2 or 3 crackers to tide me over until dinner.
- Drink some ice water or herbal tea at night instead of a mojito, a beer, or a glass of rioja.
- When the chip crave overwhelms me, I eat and enjoy a 1 oz. bag of chips fromSuperAmerica. A setback, yes, but better than a big bag of chips.
All of that works until it doesn’t. Until I don’t want to do it anymore. Until I crave more salt and sweet. Until abstinence sounds too pathetic and silly. Really? I can’t have a cookie? I really have to feel bad about caprese salad with creamy fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, basil, and good olive oil?
Which is why I have those six pounds to lose. Again. Which is stupid.
An excellent article, “Losing It in the Anti-Dieting Age” by Taffy Brodesser-Akner inspired me to reflect on my uneasy relationship with my weight. I highly recommend it.