Hat on Top, Coat Below


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August 13, 2002

I weighed 163 pounds this morning. That’s not good, but it’s an improvement over yesterday’s 165. That was hard to see, that 165 staring up at me, particularly since I was 158.5 only nine days before that. How did I gain six and a half pounds in nine days? Simple. Lots of eating, little exercise. But man, it seems so unfair that in a little over a week, I could undo two months of weight loss effort. I just want to stomp my feet and wail and throw myself down and kick my legs against the ground and have a good old-fashioned tantrum about how hard it is to lose and how easy it is to gain.

My Weight Watchers tracker tells the story of how I got from there—my recent low—to here—back where I was eight or nine weeks ago. Day 1, I was five points over my limit. Not good, but not irredeemable, either. The grilled sandwich I had for dinner at Panera Bread that day was not the best choice points-wise, but it was darn tasty, and I don’t regret eating it. Day 2, I was a mind-boggling twenty-three points over; that’s one entire extra day of food. Again, it was dinner that did me in; I really should have eaten the breadsticks OR the pizza OR the cherry cobbler, not all three at one sitting, at least not in the quantities I consumed. Days 3 and 4 were better. Had I just skipped the cherry cobbler, I would have been at or very close to my point goal for those days. Day 5, it was muffins and Parmesan cheese (eaten separately) that put me over. It gets really bad starting on Day 6, when I stopped writing down what I ate after lunch. I was no longer even pretending to be on program. Days 7, 8, and 9 were vacation days, and I ate whatever I wanted from the available choices and wrote nothing down. It was a blur of fat and sweets and lack of control.

Looking back over this record, and remembering what else was going on for the past week and a half, I see the attitudes that sabotage my weight loss progress. First, there’s the “celebrating = eating” belief. Mr. Karen’s birthday was last week, and that meant making merry. It wouldn’t be a proper celebration without a rich dessert, and what he wanted was cherry cobbler, a specific kind of cherry cobbler, one that has 18 grams of fat in each not very big serving of tasty crumb topping and sweet cherry filling and flaky crust. I could have stopped at one serving, but I did not. Why? It was yummy– really, really yummy. The last bite did taste as good as the first bite, too. At least I exercised enough self-control that I ate only one serving each day, rather than stuffing myself at one sitting. I guess that’s one tiny positive I can take from the cobbler experience. Vacation was another story—no real positives there. Vacation is just another type of celebration, according to my internal logic. Vacation is for having fun, else why not just stay home and work, and having fun means eating fun things. Fun things are usually fattening things: coconut shrimp, brownies with frosting sprinkled with colorful candy topping, burritos heavy with sour cream

In addition to the eating for fun, there’s also my practice of eating for self-medication. I wasn’t feeling all that well from mid-week on, first getting a cold and then cramps. Unless I’ve got food poisoning or the flu or a migraine, eating cheers me up and makes me feel better. The effect is temporary, true, but it’s real. I really need to find other ways to pamper myself that don’t involve mass quantities of cheese and cookies and chalupas. But food is so easy, so available. Other things take more time and effort, and when I’m stressed and feeling bad, I want a quick, easy fix. Food has been my fix for a long time. I’m not sure how to replace it. I can’t just quit food. But I’m a smart, resourceful person (my mom tells me so); I should be able to solve these issues.

The key now is to start from where I am. My tracker is filled in with what I’ve eaten since yesterday morning, and I’ve stayed within my point limit so far. I know how to do this. I’ve done this before. I can do it again, starting right now. Still, there’s a voice in my head that’s pitching a fit about having to do this. My sister-in-law, Fay, doesn’t have to. She went to Weight Watchers once, lost the little bit of weight she had to lose, went on maintenance and never had a problem again. She says it was easy and is easy. The only thing that keeps me from hating her for that is I know she realizes it’s hard for other people, like her mother and me, and doesn’t gloat. That doesn’t keep me from feeling just a little sorry for myself that I don’t have her metabolism. I must keep reminding myself how much better I feel when I’m at goal weight. Or maybe not; some days goal weight seems so far off. Focusing out in the distance like that may not be the best thing, especially now, when I can so clearly see the ground I’ve already covered that I must traverse again. But traverse it I will, because the only way to get to 140 is through the 160’s again. At least I’ve only got a few of the 160’s to do this time.

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