Friday, March 22, 2013

A moment on the lips...

I've been on a diet lately. This is not an unusual thing for me. I am not built to be a skinny girl. I crave carbs; I have no interest in vegetables. I view serving fruit for dessert as a cruel joke. My body clings to every calorie like a great famine is coming. (I like to think that, from an evolutionary perspective, my body is ideal, being built to lose nary an ounce of body fat, no matter if you starve it for days. It's a bit of a comfort.) I hate exercise: no, I don't get any sort of "high" from it; I get sweaty and tired and hungry. So very hungry.

Needless to say, for most of my adult life, I have been battling my weight. I am lucky in the fact that when I gain, I gain proportionally, so I can "hide" a certain amount, but there's a limit to anyone's ability to finding clothes that hide your sins. Lately, I have crossed that limit. (I'm always embarrassed to admit that I've gained weight, but being overweight isn't like a secret drinking problem; anyone with eyes can see that, yes, I could stand to lose a few pounds.) Maybe I should learn to be happy with my curves: I see plenty of ladies who are larger than me and rock it. But I'm not there yet.

I've tried a number of diets. When I was at my highest, I joined Weight Watchers, which I followed to the letter. I lost over 40 pounds, but it took me over a year. I kept it off for a while, but it creeped back up. (Unfortunately, dieting is one of those stupid things you need to do your whole life.) Now that I have a metabolism of a lady in her mid-40s, my metabolism is even worse than that.

Four years ago, I gave up carbs for a while and that worked quite well for me. Of course, I had a few extra factors to help out: I was living alone, going through the tension of a marriage falling apart (being stressed actually helps me eat less). I was working on a project at work that was so crazed, people still talk about it. Eating was not a priority. It actually worked! I got as thin as I had been in 15 years. But, eventually I started eating carbs again, bread was back in my life, and once again, the pounds creeped back. These days, I'm much happier, but that's not helping the waistline.

This year, I decided to revisit the no/low carbs thing, at least for a while. Lent was about to start, and I find that's a good time to diet. It's a long enough chunk of time that (with luck) one can see some results, but it's also a set amount of time. No trips were planned during this period, which makes it easier as well. I had my yearly physical right before Lent started, so I took that weight as my starting weight (sure, I was dressed, so my weight surely wasn't that high, but that meant the first few pounds were easy.)

A few things I'd like to point out: I get that no diet is actually *no* carbs, so, please, don't be telling me that "fruit has sugar!" I just say "no carbs" because it's easier when I explain to someone why I'm taking apart my sandwich. I don't actually believe that this type of diet helps you lose weight because it alters how your body recognizes food. I think it works for me because I am no longer eating a loaf of bread with chocolate on top. I don't believe in magic ratios of olive oil or amount of protein in each meal or a handful of nuts. I do believe that different people have slower or quicker metabolisms, and that's just the hand you're dealt.

I've modified the "no carbs" diet slightly. Here are my exceptions. Sauces are ignored. I am not trolling through a list of ingredients for spaghetti sauce or having my Chinese food cooked in a special way. I am not counting anything. I am not figuring out how many carbs are in a teaspoon of Splenda or whatever. I will allow the Atkins snacks, but no more than one a day. Here's the big one: I allow myself one "cheat" carb every other day. Once a day is too much (I've tried that), but I need something. This also allows for some needed flexibility: you're at a work lunch and there's nothing that you can have, etc. I end up using it on oatmeal for breakfast a lot, because I am a weirdo.

It's been going pretty good. I'm getting close to that 10-pound mark, which is enough to prevent me from giving up in a fit of frustration. It's probably not that noticeable to most people, but I can feel it. For that reason, I'll probably keep it up after Lent is over. I feel more in control, and my clothes are fitting better. I'm looking forward to things getting loose. I still am not so sure about fruit, but, for now, it's all I've got.

1 comment:

Lois said...

I'm in the same boat. I had to purchase a dress in mid-Feb for a dinner dance, and was horrified at the size I needed and the shape my newly 50 year old body looked like in the mirror. I can hide my weight as well, but dress shopping shook me up. I bought the Wheat Belly Cookbook, and a ton of almond flour. I have been mostly gluten free since Feb 26, and have lost some weight, and am happy with how living without bread makes me feel. I miss my bread, though, and cheat by allowing rice and rice pasta etc. Anyway, I dont usually post but just want to let you know that I'm in the same boat. Lois