March 30, 2012

chewing the fat: i can't diet. period.

It’s a bad word. It’s a four letter word.  It’s the “D” word. It’s a word that contains ‘die’ in it.
Hate it. Always have, even when I didn’t have to. 
I was the grinning, voracious 10-year-old kid who could cram six tacos into my skinny body, while family members would shake their heads and say things like, “Wish I had a hollow leg like you do,” or “This will all catch up to you some day.” 
Not me, I thought.  And then I ate another taco.
And really, it truly didn’t catch up to me until what I like to call The Trifecta of Weight Gain: I got married, I turned 30, I had two babies. 
Even so, if you had asked me at any point between the ages of 14 and 28, I would have told you I could stand to lose 10 lbs.  I look back now and wish I could slap former me.  I looked just fine.
Even now, 30 lbs heavier than my heaviest during my twenties, I look just fine. But I don’t look my best.  I don’t feel my best.  In fact, I’m awake at 3:41 a.m. with insomnia and guilt over Doritos.  So naturally I’m telling the internet about it. 
But dieting?  Just doesn’t work.  Not for me.  I love food.  Love it.  Don’t want to not eat it.  Don't want to eat 'just a bite.' I want all the bites. Having two pregnancies with relative closeness meant I ate what-freaking-ever I wanted every day for pretty well three years.  And on the other side of 30, well, that hollow leg is full and it’s spilling over into my backside and midsection.
So what’s a girl to do?
I feel it’s necessary at this point, with the internet being full of opportunistic and otherwise sad, cruel people, to tell you that nothing about this post is a recommendation, endorsement or advice of any kind.  It’s just one girl ranting about loving brownies but not the weight gain that comes with it.  If you want diet advice, talk to an expert. 
For me, it started February 22, 2012, when I decided it would be a brilliant exercise in self-motivation to embark on a three-day juice cleanse.  I did not see this as a quick weight-loss tactic (I didn’t lose a pound).  It truly was, in fact, something I wanted to do to see if I could.  I couldn’t.  I ate food every single one of those three days.  However, it was still a success for me: I drank juice, I ate a few pieces of fruits and vegetables and a bit of protein (like a boiled egg or plain tuna) each day.  Which means I made it three days without The Loves of My Life: coffee, dairy (oh, cheese), carbs and fat. 
So even though I DIDN’T LOSE A POUND, I was darn proud of my self-control.  It’s all in my head (except the fat, which is everywhere), and I did it.  The next week or so was good, too.  I ate mostly fruits, veggies, protein & ‘healthy’ carbs.  Flax seed is a thing, you know. 
Oh – and exercise.  Hate it.  Really, truly hate it.  But still, I was walking and going to boot camp and tried a Zumba class.  Side note:  Zumba is FUN.  I actually don’t hate it.  At least, not until I go to a class with a mirror, at which time I’ll recoil in horror at the sight of myself.
And still, I lost nary a pound.  So I fell, no, LEAPED right off the wagon and began eating everything in sight.  There’s been brownies, fried chicken, every type of white bread & pasta imaginable, ice cream, pizza (three different times), and, oh, Doritos.  Like, a whole bag of them.  Dipped in sour cream. 
So here I sit, at what’s now 4:10 a.m., struggling to find the balance.  Because no matter how much I love fried chicken nachos, the truth of the matter is that I’m 30 lbs overweight.  And that’s not society’s decision or some chart created by a doctor; that’s me remembering what number just happened to be on the scale when I looked and felt my best. 
I know two weeks of me doing the right thing does not a miracle make, but you’d expect to see the scale nudge a bit lower.  I’m an instant gratification sort of gal.  So I responded by self-sabotaging. 
I’m not quite sure where to go from here.  Both with this post (how does one wrap up a post when it doesn’t end with a recipe?) and with my – ugh – diet.  But it’s time.  Really, it is.  Goodbye Doritos.
I ate Taco Bell yesterday.*  And a dark chocolate covered marshmallow. And a dark chocolate covered coconut macaroon.  And maybe one other dark chocolate covered thing.
This morning, I cried because my favorite white jeans - taken out of spring/summer clothes storage - didn't fit.  They fit last summer, when I was already heavier than I wanted to be.  So now I'm even bigger than that.  And - AND - this particular storage box was my 'fat Amanda' collection.  There's a different spring/summer box with 'skinny Amanda' clothes that I haven't seen in four years.
So WTF self? Why can't I just stop with the eating of the delicious things?  Why am I thinking about a grilled cheese while I type this? 
Someone recently told me (and I'm paraphrasing), "eating food tastes better than being thin feels."
BINGO.  That's it, right there. In the moment of temptation, I'd rather taste a freshly baked baguette slathered with whipped butter than ever look good in a bathing suit again.  Until it's time to wear a bathing suit.  Then the self loathing comes.  And it's going to be a battle my entire life.  And I'm pretty sure food is always going to win. 
If you've successfully lost weight while still eating what you want - at least sometimes - I want to know about it.  What works?  What doesn't?  Where can I get a fresh donut at this hour?
*I'm about to save you just shy of $2 - don't try the Doritos taco from Taco Bell.  It tasted as disappointed as I was in myself for eating it. 


  1. That's an interesting quote at the end, about how eating food taste better than being thin feels. My friend Lindsay (of says nothing tastes as good as being thin.

  2. Dang it! I finally broke down and tried a Doritos taco today. Like you, I was disappointed . . . very disappointed.

    I, too, experienced The Trifecta of Weight Gain. After three kids and three different weight loss plans, I finally found something that works for me: Weight Watchers. A friend asked me to attend a meeting with her. I was skeptical but went anyway. The thing that really sold me is that with WW, you can have anything you want as long as you account for it. There wasn't a thing I couldn't have. It's all about choices.

    Seven months later, I was 30 pounds lighter and back in my healthy BMI range. The Weight Watchers mantra is true: It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle. Now that I'm on the other side of that 30 lbs (55 lbs lighter than my heaviest weight), I can say I agree with the comment above with one slight tweak: Nothing tastes as good as being HEALTHY feels.

    You CAN eat what you want and lose weight. Even chicken and waffles. ;)

  3. I completely understand. I am the same way.

  4. I can so relate to this. Especially being a food blogger and what feels like constantly being on and off a diet. Ten years ago I weighed the most I'd ever weighed and was mortified when I finally realized it. I joined Jenny Craig for about two weeks but it was so expensive. But they taught me how to count calories and exercise. Which led me to buying Lean Cuisines because suddenly they were dirt cheap compared to Jenny's meals. I've successfully kept off 20 of the 30 lbs. I lost, but that 10 always creeps back up. So I go back to counting calories. It's really quite simple. You've got to burn more calories in a day than you consume to lose weight. Now sure you should do it with nutritious things, but some of my calories will include Girl Scout Cookies, cupcakes, lemon bars. You can definitely work it in. I've also started cooking a lot of meals (and they actually taste good!) that fit into my calorie budget (if I eat another Lean Cuisine, I'll shoot someone). Best advice I can give is start slowly and don't beat yourself up when you eat a taco. Tomorrow starts at zero all over again. It's not like you're never going to eat another cheeseburger. Just find good food in the meantime!

  5. Ugh, I can so relate. I don't even have a baby to blame. I'm about 25 lbs over my "happy" weight, and I can't manage to stay motivated long enough to actually do anything about it. Maybe I should just suck it up and go to Weight Watchers. At least maybe that would shame me into sticking with healthier eating.

  6. Nice post. For a bit of light relief you might enjoy this cartoon about the food pyramid.