Here’s the Skinny

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I’m a social eater.

Just as some people, when they go to a party, can’t resist drinking every cocktail they’re offered, I can’t make myself choke down the diet-saving Zone bar I optimistically stashed in my purse when a friendly hand is extending a gooey, warm, 5,000-calorie cheese Danish to me and gesturing towards an open dish of savory seafood dip and fancy crackers.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been trying to lose ten pounds. I’ve spent my adult life in a constant state of Diet, ranging from casual efforts to cut back on my late night snack habit to all-out desperate assaults, complete with gym memberships and cabbage soup regimens, on the sneaky flab molecules that have suddenly taken up residence on my inner thighs. Recently, those tenacious ten pounds have widened their circle of friends to include a few more and they’re all currently having an extended party around my waistline and upper arms.

Paul, my love, my sweet, devoted partner through thick and thin (and all variations in between), claims blindness when it comes to my jiggly bits. Bless him. He’s so earnest and convincing that I actually believe him. And, strangely, it’s that knowledge that one person in the world truly thinks I am beautiful which makes me want work hard to feel that way about myself.

So I diet on.

***

I do have a plan. It’s one that’s been endorsed by doctors and diet experts the world over and was just passed on to me in the condensed, four-word version by my friend and mentor Dr. Steve Frye, who has, himself, emerged victorious from the trenches of the Battle of the Bulges. Here it is:

Eat less. Move more.

It’s so crazy that it just…might…work!

Unfortunately, I’m facing some major pitfalls:

*Social eating. As I said, social eating or special occasion eating, as some call it, is a major problem for me. And by “special occasion”, I don’t just mean office Christmas parties and Thanksgiving dinners, but also such events as “JoAnn’s is having a sale!” or “Lost is on tonight!” It doesn’t take much for me to excuse a little overindulgence in the name of fun.

*Late night munchies. It never fails. I’m sitting on the couch, watching the latest episode of CSI before bed, when that Taco Bell commercial comes on. Ever suggestible when it comes to cravings, in mere seconds I am overwhelmed with desire, powerless before the burning need for a Grilled Stuffed Chicken Burrito with sour cream. One day I’ll meet the man who came up with the idea of the 24 hour drive thru window. And I will punch him in the nose.

*Morning comes too early. I believe I’ve mentioned before the gym membership card I have moldering away in my wallet. All my whining notwithstanding, I actually like going to the gym. Every time I manage to squeeze in a workout, I feel good, I sleep better, and I have more energy. The problem is that since my gym doesn’t have child care facilities, the only time I can manage to slip away for an hour on the elliptical trainer is five in the morning. I’ve forgotten how to get up at five in the morning. I can go to bed early. I can set my alarm. I can lay out my workout clothes. But as soon as my head hits the pillow, something goes awry, and the next thing I know it’s seven o’clock and time to fling the entire family out of bed and into our frantic morning routine.

*Sabotage. Sometimes I’m moving along really well, drinking lots of water, exercising and eating right, when suddenly some well-meaning friend happens by and unintentionally throws a monkey wrench into the works. A loaf of pumpkin bread. An invitation to go out for dessert. A chocolate basket. Small hurdles, perhaps, but any one of them might trip me up and send me careening off track. I think the main problem here is that I let little setbacks snowball into major surrenders. I must rid my vernacular of the phrase “In for a penny, in for a pound.” There are just too many pennies.

So, you see, I have my work cut out for me. There are a lot of obstacles between me and the svelte proportions to which I aspire. Fortunately, I also have one thing going for me. That same stubborn optimism that motivates me to stick a Zone bar in my purse on the way to the smorgasbord also keeps me ever hopeful, despite the setbacks. It enables me to get up when I’ve fallen (plummeted, plunged, pitched, crashed) off the wagon and to begin again.

Because, as any serial dieter knows, tomorrow is always a good time for a fresh start.

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15 responses »

  1. Great post! Sounds like my life, except for the feminine touches.

    I’ve spent my adulthood with a few extra pounds that made me unhappy. But I learned to just live with it. Until my wife’s first pregnancy… I ate right along with her, in sympathy of course. And gained 30 extra pounds. Eight years later, why can’t I shed those as easily as I gained them?

    My daughter heard me talking about how I needed to eat better and exercise more, so she created a special diet just for me.

    I’ll post it on my blog tonight. It’s really cute.

  2. So says Katrina as I sit and read and finish up that very seafood dip and crackers. I should join in your aspirations (times about 3) just as soon as that leftover cheesecake is gone. Couldn’t you have had just one more piece? (says said friendly hand…)

  3. Amen Sister! I haven’t ever really been happy with my body and size – even when I danced 16 hours a week while keeping up with a busy high school schedule – so having 3 kids hasn’t done much for my self-esteem (spelling?). Anyway, my point is that I have about 15 pounds that I’d love to see sucked out a vacuum tube, but alas, it seems that isn’t in the cards either (considering I do not deal with pain well, recuperating from Lipo isn’t on my top 10 list!). I too have those late-night-TV-watching-cravings! If you find that inventor you mentioned (you know, the 24 hour drive-thru guy or girl), let me know because I have a few things I’d like to do to them…

    As for the men we love, I too find myself blessed to know that no matter what I think of myself, my adorable, hairy hubby will always convince me that I am the most beautiful woman in the world 🙂 Even when I know better…

  4. Oh yeah! I finally gave up and cancelled my gym membership. I too thoroughly enjoyed my 2-times-a week-work-out sessions, iPod and all, and I was even lucky enough to have child-care anytime I needed it. But, it was the whole, getting up and getting there that just wasn’t working for me!

  5. Ug! I’m SUCH a social eater! Yikers! Now that it has a name, I can confront it!

    See, I’m allright when I’m donig things like climbing mountains or monuments (which I did all summer long). But now? When it’s cold and rainy and dark out? Yeah. That doesn’t work out so well.

    And so I expand… *cry*

  6. I’ve got one word for you…actually, I’ve got a few, but let’s start with one: Willpower. You WILL become whatever you WANT to become. Only you can stop you from achieving anything you dream.

  7. Oh, we are destined to be great friends, dear Katrina. As I sit, eating my balsamic-vinaigrette salad (it’s good once, but everyday?) I can completey empathize!! I have a few more than 10, but I’ve decided I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired of myself. I’m the only one who can make the change. I need to move more, too, but my head and pillow are attached at the, well, head every morning, so I need to find a new answer. Here’s to power from within (for all of us!)

  8. Great post. We’re always bombarded with messages to eat more food. It takes great willpower to just say no. Sometimes I manage it and other times I don’t. Maybe it’s just a matter of practice? Heaven knows that with the holidays coming up I’ll have plenty of opportunities to say “no thank you.”

  9. This is so true and difficult. I agree with that statement. Eat less, move more. Especially the move more. I have been walking to and from work since Sept. plus doing yoga a few nights a week. I am shocked at how moving more has changed all my jiggly bits. The yoga is assisting my arms and thighs as the walking assists my waist.. I just cant let all that movement justify an extra slice of pizza or pint of beer!

  10. Right there with you, girl! It’s an almost 100% mental battle. What works for me is portion control and trying to get some exercise in. (Pretty much Steve’s “eat less and move more philosophy.) I also try not to eat so fast, which has helped a lot, since I often don’t really think about what I’m eating. Nothing is off my list – there isn’t anything especially virtuous to me in consigning myself to salads or evil in a cheesecake attack. I just attempt to savor what I’m eating, think about it, and find that I don’t eat as much as I would have normally.

    For those late night cravings, this may sound dumb, but I have found that just the action of making a hot cup of tea or coffee (decaf), sort of helps.

    As far as exercise, well, if you can get your sports bra on, you’ve won 90% of the battle! And dance parties with your kiddies ain’t half bad either.

  11. Oh boy! I know what you mean. I do not have kids so it is easier for me to work out. However, getting up at 6 30 to work out is a LOT easier than 5. It was all going well until my workout partner bailed and I got a new boyfriend who loves pizza and all junk. I was doing so well… eh, at least kissing etc burns calories.

  12. ahahaha! That is so funny. I am on the same boat so don’t you worry … at least, we’re gorgeous.

    We can always say … “oh yeah, i’m fat. you ugly” and then cackle like witches.

    Lol!

  13. Holy crap, I am right there with you with all these… it sort of helps if your job requires you to be in a certain shape or there are consequences…

  14. I saw something on the news about the “before, during and after diet” that it says really works. They interviewed a guy who’d been doing it since May or something and had lost 30 pounds.

    You drink one glass of water before, during and after each meal (that’s three total), and that’s it. It’s kind of a tricky way to decrease your portions. Plus, it’s gotta be good for your skin, too.

    And just think of the cardio you’ll get from running to the bathroom 26 times a day!

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