Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I've Got a Theory

200.4 lbs. Eh, it’s better than 202.8. Word to the wise: beware of  nuts. The delicious little bastards will trip you up. I think the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf trail mix was behind my recent blip.

So, I didn’t need Steak Day after all. Dammit.
One of the things strictly forbidden on the HCG Reduced Calorie Phase is cheese other than cottage. Cheese is my kryptonite.  I haven’t had alcohol since January or chocolate or potato pancakes and those are all big favorites, but the lack of cheese hurt. I was beginning to hallucinate wedges of Jarlsberg tapping at the window and begging to be let in.  My inner conspiracy theorist saw Kraft out to get me with increased ads for their Deluxe  Macaroni and Cheese (which is pretty much rubber cement flavored like salt) and Cheez Its and even cat food with cheese. But I remained strong until the day when I could indulge my taste for aged curd. (“Someone cue the Staple Singers. What? ‘O, Happy Day,’ DUH! Whadda mean, that wasn’t the Staple Singers? Whatever, just play the damned song!”). Today being a rainy and cool day in L.A. (If you’re old enough to remember Albert Hammond and “It Never Rains in Southern California”, 1972 I believe, you kind of have to feel bad for the guy because you hear that phrase over and over again during this weather, more allusions to the song and the guy doesn’t get dime one in royalties because the song isn’t actually getting played)., I got out the crock pot and assembled spaghetti sauce.  For those about to say, “Wait, you’re on no sugar, no starch,” I have this to say about pasta: its main purpose in life is a sauce and cheese delivery system. Screw the noodles. 
And today, for the first time since January, I had spaghetti sauce (gravy, if you’re from East Boston). And, for the first time since January, Parmesan cheese.  Ah. And tomato sauce. Cooked tomatoes are rich in lycopene, so this was very healthy. That’s what I’m telling myself.
In efforts to make positive, small changes to my food intake without doing a lot of big stuff, I have tried soy cheese and I have tried almond cheese. The polite way to describe them is “not my thing, really.” The more direct way I’d describe them is “tastes like recycled vomit. Are you trying to kill me?” Soy products, particularly tofu and soy cheese are actually crucial parts of a long-term plan by extra-terrestrials to poison human beings. Yeah, they’re not going to break out the big alien tanks and battle wagons to take us down; they’re going to be smart and do it gradually. If Glenn Beck was here with his magic bulletin board, he’d have lines and arrows from a picture of tofu to a picture of Charlton Heston while repeating, “Soy, Soylent, why do you think the first syllable of Soylent Green is  ‘soy’?” And then he’d blame it on health care reform. Actually, ol’ Glenn could stand to run a couple of laps.  Which brings us to today’s topic of “Crackpot Theories and Why I Fall For Them.”
Back in 1998, when Atkins was the rage (and my mother had subjected the family to Atkins when he first proposed his diet back in the early 70s. Let me tell you, some serious disgustingness came out of that experiment), I found a paperback called “Protein Power” written by two Arkansas internists.  It was the same idea: drastically cut carbohydrates, reasonable amounts of proteins and fats and you could lose weight and clean up blood chemistry. I bought the theory that by cutting waaaaay back on sugar and starch intake, your body got the chance to re-sensitize itself to insulin and bought Hood’s Black Pepper and Herb cottage cheese, since week 1, you were allowed 27 grams of carbohydrate per day. I don’t know the numbers, because I refused to allow a bathroom scale in my house (and would borrow a gun to shoot it if one did appear.), but my clothes got loose and I wasn’t getting ravenous by lunch time (something that happened when eating yogurt).AND I COULD EAT ALL THE CHEESE I WANTED!!! I don’t remember when or why I fell off the wagon with this one (it might have had something to do with the ban on eating tomatoes because of their carb content), but suffice to say, I did. Even if I didn’t stick to a particular plan, I did take something away from each one. From this, I became more aware of my carbohydrate intake and how it made me feel. And I would quash any rising guilt by saying, “Fuck it” and eat the pizza anyway. A lot of pizza. I have issues with portion control and eating too fast, but that’s for another time.
Back in the early 90s, Susan Powter was touting “Eat, Breathe, Move” which featured pictures of fat people doing reasonable exercises, claimed the author had once been a fat person (as well as a former stripper. One preceded the other) and had a fear of fat infiltrating the diet like a Joe McCarthy witch hunt. You could have rice cakes with jelly, if you wanted, but no peanut butter because fat was the enemy. Would anyone be surprised to hear that I gained weight on this diet? If you are, go directly to Jenny Craig. Do not pass “Go” and be prepared to fork over more than $200 to them.
I have attended an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. One. Let me clarify: the idea of the mutual support and the 12 Step Method is not a crackpot one, but these meetings do tend to attract an off-kilter clientele. The first clue was the more senior members of the group announcing that they had too much going on in their lives and they wouldn’t be sponsoring any “babies,” then the sickly smile that always comes with an insincere “I’m sorry.” I could have gotten past that, but not a single person there had only eating issues. One woman who spoke about how miserable her week was, rattled off a list of at least 10 substance and behavioral addictions before actually getting to her story. I’m not a fan of support groups.  I do believe there must be a 12 step group addiction.
I sought help from a doctor who handed me sign-up sheet for a weight loss support group conducted by his hospital (and oh, curiously enough, there was a charge for this group) that he told me to go to because “Well, you’re not doing very well on your own.” He also told me I was too old and too top heavy to be thinking about roller blades. I told him if he didn’t sweeten up, I’d step on his foot. We fired each other as doctor and patient. It was better than being on trial for assaulting him with a speculum.
In the meantime, airline seats were beginning to pinch and get smaller (I had trouble bending over to pick up something from an airline seat that was on the floor. That was not only due to an excess of belly, but also it was also somewhat rigid). I was sized out of the Misses sections of stores and into “Plus sized” stores.
I have one more week of “zero sugar, zero starch” left with this latest crackpot theory, The difference this time has been that I’ve seen the program all the way through (although I would incorporate more exercise into it. Misunderstanding on my part, but we’ll have a post-mortem later) and it has delivered. 
Next post: “Better Living Through Brain Chemistry.”

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