Monday, March 21, 2011
Okay, This is Getting Old
201.8 lbs. Dear Body, Let me explain the concept of weight “loss”…
Okay, in case you were wondering, the Steak Day worked: I went from 202.8 down to 200.4, stayed there for a day, then this morning, bobbed up to 201.8. This is the sort of action that, in the past, would have had me yell, “Screw it. This isn’t working” and I would have headed for something off-limits. And how did that work out? Yeah, we’ll try something different. "Stay the course" comes to mind.
The increase could be due to the corned beef I had or the two non-fat sugar free (or maybe they weren’t and the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf baristas are not only big fat liars, but sadists) or the bag of nut-heavy trail mix (it had dried fruit that may have had sugar added). According to the rules of HCG, no sugar or starches for 3 weeks and I’m about to enter the third week. If tomorrow isn’t to my liking, it’s another steak day. Imagine my disappointment, having a lovely ribeye in the fridge ready to go (Trader Joe’s). If I don’t need Steak Day, I’ll cut it into thirds and spread it out over 3 days…
When I was a little kid, I saw my brother get approval for eating a lot. He was over six feet tall and, in a chenille robe, could have been mistaken for a large pipe cleaner (Not any more). My grandmother was a kitchen champion. Visits from my grandparents or to their house involved things like cheese pie, at least 2 or 3 different kinds of cookies, maybe pot roast or stuffed cabbage and other delights. Entrees involved a fair amount of salt, usually sour cream or heavy cream, definitely butter. Food was love.
Except around the time I turned 9. The high school pictures show a chunky looking kid. I remember my parents singling me out by showing me a newspaper article about how unhappy overweight kids were. I remember sitting there sobbing as they told me they were doing this because they wanted me to be happy. My mother started making a special kind of bread just for me and I had to take my lunches where my siblings were given lunch money. The bread tasted kind of weird and the other kids would make fun of my lunch (Hunts made desserts in a can and one of my classmates told me it looked like panther piss. This story, from over 40 years ago, still amuses my family and reminds me of the humiliation). My grandmother jumped on the “Susan is fat” bandwagon and felt free to criticize my eating habits while still pushing all the stuff she had me (“Just one. It’s only egg whites and air.” And sugar. And butter. And flour). It hurt, it all hurt, but since they were doing this for my own good, well then, I should just let it continue, shouldn’t I?
There was a day, while I was in seventh or eighth grade, where my brother was experimenting with his new camera and took some close-up pictures of my face (I had pigtails and glasses at that point). I remember my parents showing me the developed pictures and telling me I looked like Mama Cass. I shouldn’t want to look like Mama Cass (it was after this story, which is a true story, that my excellent therapist told me I should consider EMDR treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder).
In the meantime, I think it was the summer of 1980, when I made the infamous push with Dietac and Figurines. I can sit here, 30 years later and remember vividly the afternoon I so badly wanted to eat that I had to lie down on my bed for at least an hour to keep from giving in to the urge. I was SHAKING with the effort of stopping myself from eating. I don’t remember if I lived on Figurines, but they were a major part of my diet (fortified with vitamins and minerals, so they must have been all I needed). I probably weighed about 130 to 140 lbs. when I started. And I’m 5’ 7” and was at that point, but this effort to slim down really made my mother happy and God knows, there didn’t seem to be a whole helluva lot about me that she liked. I was doing 200 situps per day (and this was before the Crunch was invented, so we’re talking feet under a piece of furniture and form that would make Jillian Michaels burst into tears. That would please me. I’d love to knock that permanent sneer off that self-important bitch’s face but it would probably be like punching a brick wall). My clothes got looser and I remember that I had a pair of shorts that started off a little tight, but by the end of the diet, I could pull them off without unzipping them (actually, I can do that now with size 16 and size 14 jeans I just bought 3 weeks ago. Yea!). I know I’ve told you the next part, just sit tight: the day the scale hit 123 lbs., I raced out to the living room to tell my mother and her response was “Five more pounds and you’ll be perfect.”
And that was a failure right there.
So, here I am today, 31 years later and I am the only audience I need to please. Or displease. That took until I was in my forties to learn. I’ve had well-meaning friends who take their physical fitness very seriously offer “help” and “encouragement”, but they misunderstood and got overbearing. I belonged to a Planet Fitness and took one friend as a guest one day. Rather than doing the workout she had planned, she spent her time yelling at me about my form on the treadmill. She doesn’t know how close I came to back-handing her and I love my friends (even most of the ex ones).
I don’t know at what point I snarled enough at my family that they stopped talking at me and lecturing me about my weight, but I remember an incident some years back: I was in my thirties, had been following the Protein Power plan (we’ll get to that) and was talking to my older sister about something. I brought up the subject of my weight and what I was doing. I saw her take this big sigh of relief and then she opened up and proceeded to tell exactly what I was doing wrong, why I should be doing as she did (and by the way, she doesn’t weigh nearly what I do, but she’s got her share of chins) and it went on for at least 15 minutes. That was the last time I offered to confide in any family member or asked an opinion about the subject, so they’ve resorted to sniper tactics ever since. Understand, these are not happy people. Their refrigerators are stocked with things like Smart Beat “spread” (which tastes like crap), Equal sweetener (major bladder irritant), lower sodium “salt” (which tastes as good as the Smart Beat) and non-fat sour cream, salad dressing, creamer, milk (crap, glue, glue, a desperate cry for help). There is no pleasure to be taken in any of these foods. Smart Beat would gladden the hearts of the Puritans, who so hated pleasure and enjoyment, they shut down Christmas. Swear to God; they succeeded where the Grinch failed. Anything that is billed as a fat-free alternative uses some form of gum (like guar gum or agar. You know what agar is? Remember the sticky stuff in petri dishes for growing bacteria? Same thing! Yum!) to replace the consistency of the fat and I can taste it. It tastes gluey and disgusting. I have seen emails that include the entire family circle that talk of new exercise and diet programs (yoga, 10,000 steps, Weight Watchers) and get the sought-after approval from one generation up (and the occasional back-handed swipe at me), then go silent after about 2-3 weeks of glowing reports on how well the program is going. Yet, when I’ve seen the folks after the fact, they didn’t look any different.
So, I’ve taken to not telling anybody when I’ve changed my diet and exercise habits unless it’s necessary (For instance, “What the hell are you eating THAT for?”).
So here I sit, with an unwanted uptick on the scale (I may feel great over my lower blood pressure, pant size, cholesterol, ass width: what mainly matters is the number between my toes). Tomorrow, we’ll see if this is a blip or if it’s time to get a big bottle of whiskey, a scalpel and a Hoover vacuum cleaner with an edger attachment (although nothing outsucks Electrolux). That’s what liposuction is, isn’t it?
Posted by Susan Thatcher at 7:44 PM