Monday, March 1, 2010

The obvious answer

I was talking about doing Weight Watchers the other day and someone asked me the funniest question.

"Have you ever been on a diet before?"

I almost spit out my drink. I mean, I actually cackled out loud.

Have I ever been on a diet? Ha!

Oh diets, how I love thee, let me count the ways, er, programs.

Let's see, there was Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Quick Weight Loss Centers, Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers again. Slim Fast. The time when I ate nothing but a sandwich all day. The Six Week Makeover. Weight Watchers again. Atkins again.

And the famous Cabbage Soup Diet. For those of you who have been on a never-ending quest to lose weight, I know you know what I'm talking about. The Cabbage Soup Diet promises a 10-lb. weight loss in just seven (count em!) days. One day you eat only bananas. Another day just veggies. The best day is when you get to eat 20 oz. of beef, chicken or fish. And, of course, endless amounts of the nastiest smelling soup you ever ate.

My mom got the diet from a co-worker. We decided to do it and put the photocopied sheet on the fridge. She'd make a giant pot of the soup and the two of us would commiserate through the week about how awful dieting was. Even today, the smell of cooked cabbage makes my stomach turn.

But, it "worked!" At the end of the seven days, I may have been reeking of cabbage, but gosh darn it, I was a few pounds lighter, so I called it a victory. Of course, you're reading this, so obviously that weight loss didn't hold.

It's so easy to lose weight, some people in my life have told me. You just have to burn more calories than you eat. It's a lifestyle change.

Oh my gosh! That’s it! Thank you well-meaning person for giving me the keys to the universe! I mean, the word "duh" seems like an obvious, if not immature, answer.

The thing is, I know how to eat. I know what's healthy. I have more nutritional knowledge than some registered dieticians. The idea of food, its nutritional stats and what it will do to my body has consumed my entire being for a large percentage of my life.

Now, I'm not discounting some of the programs I tried (Cabbage Soup and other crash diets aside). But the problem with those diets were not the diets at all. The problem was me. I wanted a quick fix. A make-me-skinny-before-prom (or my first week of college, or a friend's wedding, or summer, or Tuesday) solution. And that was never going to work. Plus, in the dark, I was still struggling with the secret shame of binge eating.

So, what's different now that will help me succeed? My brain. My heart. My soul. This time, I'm sharing my secrets. All of them. And I'm allowing myself to get healthy, however long it takes. No matter how many speed bumps I have to overcome, I'm going to persevere and not beat myself up because of a misstep.

So, have I ever been on a diet? Oh yeah. But never again.
And, trust me, like Scarlett O’Hara said (in my version of “Gone with the Wind,” anyway):

“As God is my witness I will never eat a bowl of cabbage soup again.”


Jennie said...

I am also a CHOA employee and participating the WW program. I LOVE your blog and can totally relate to everything that you have posted! Thanks so much for doing this. You are truly an inspiration and by being so brave and writing such honest thoughts in your blog, you are helping many people (including myself)with their wellness journey. Have a great week!

Anonymous said...

"Have you ever been on a diet?"

"Ummm, no, but I *really* want to stab you in the neck with a spork."


Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog!! It's amazing how everyone I've talked to about it relates to you (no matter their size or struggle). We all have dealt and are dealing with so many of the same issues. Your honesty and wit used in your blog is wonderful! Keep up the good work; we're all rooting for you!