Aug 13, 2013

In which I lay myself bare

This is the most vulnerable I’ve ever made myself – definitely online, and maybe ever. Far from my typical posts laden with sarcasm, this one is just going to be me, laid bare, hoping that you’ll understand me a little better, and possibly that it will give you some insight into someone else in your life you’ve been struggling to understand.

Well okay. There might be a little sarcasm.

I think I told you when I started this awful diet-and-exercise thing a month ago that I wasn’t going to talk about it a lot here, because talking about it makes me think about it, thinking about it depresses me, being depressed makes me want to eat Reese’s Cups, eating Reese’s Cups makes me gain weight, and gaining weight defeats the entire purpose. AND makes me want to eat more Reese’s Cups.

But the reason I’m bringing it up again today is that for the first three weeks, I lost three pounds per week. Just dieting and exercising, but being really diligent about it. When you have a lot to lose, it comes off quickly at the beginning, you know. Last week, I stuck to the plan, and I only lost half a pound. SAD FACE, but I had known it would slow down.

Yesterday, after yet another week of diligent exercise INCLUDING SATURDAY, clean eating, and tracking my caloric intake and exercise on my handy app, I didn’t lose any weight.

Not. An. Ounce.

Now, I’d like to know what a normal person does when that happens. That’s not a sarcastic statement. I’d ACTUALLY like to know what a normal person does when that happens. Do you jut your chin out, pull up your big-girl panties and say, “Well, there’s always next week!”

Do you call a friend, moan about what a pain in the ASS this horrible regimen is, listen to her pep talk, eat one tiny Hershey’s miniature as a consolation prize and then immediately get back on the horse?

Do you redouble your efforts, add another half-mile to your route, take another 200 calories off your daily intake, eat more raw veggies and saltless almonds?

I ask you what a NORMAL person would do in this situation because here’s what I did: I bought three rolls of Rolos, one king-size package of Reese’s Cups and a Little Debbie Nutty Bar. And I’m thinking that might not be how a normal person would handle it.

Just based on societal clues.

A couple of weeks ago, when I first posted about my aspirations to lose weight, my dad called to tell me he was proud of me … that he’d been worried about my long-term health. He asked if it was still hard, if I was still struggling with the self-deprivation.

I laughed, I said, “Um, YEAH. It’s not going to get any easier.”

He replied, “It will, sweetie. Once you’ve been at it a little longer, your stomach will shrink and you won’t get as hungry. You won’t want to eat like that. Just keep it up. You’re doing great.”

He meant to be encouraging, as only a dad would intend. But here’s the thing: I’ve rarely eaten because I was hungry. I eat because I like the way it makes me feel. He doesn’t understand, because something that’s broken in me isn’t, in him.

You may find the statement I’m about to make hyperbole or completely insensitive, but I hope you recognize the truth in it: 

Thinking that someone like me eats too much food because they’re hungry is like thinking that an alcoholic drinks alcohol because they’re thirsty. 

There is no correlation.

Back to the candy: I didn’t eat it in the car – but only because the self-loathing had already begun. I took it back to my office and stuck it in my drawer. An hour later, I told my manager and friend, “Vanessa, I have a lot of chocolate in here, and I need you to take it or I’m going to eat it.”

In that moment, I had a single shred of self-control, and I was trying to use it.


I said, “I need you to get it out of here. Either take it, or I’m going to go throw it away. If it stays here, I’m going to eat it. All of it. Please take it.”

She took it.

(She immediately ate one of the rolls of Rolos right in front of me, but that’s neither here nor there, Internet.) (Well, maybe it did cause just a SMIDGEN of homicidal rage to bubble up inside me, but just a smidge.) (Or just slightly more than that.)

After work, I called a friend and asked her if she could meet me for a walk. We walked four brisk miles, and I told her about not losing weight this week, and about the chocolate, and about how I almost killed my manager with my bare hands, and we laughed.

So, “normal”? I guess that’s about close to normal as I’m going to get. My own personal five-step program:

1. Get royally pissed.
2. Buy ungodly amounts of chocolate.
3. Give chocolate away to people who "don't want it."
4. Walk, talk and laugh away the week's disappointments.
5. Begin the new week secure in the knowledge that I didn't eat the damn chocolate.

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