Jan 15, 2007

I Hate Diets

I haven't been on a "diet" in years. Not a real one where you have to stick to a food plan and someone weighs you once a week.. I've done my versions of diets in the last years: the cigarette diet, the lemon juice-maple syrup-cayenne pepper fasting diet. Except I allowed myself treats. Like a piece of sugar free chocolate. Which became fruit juice sweetened malt balls, or carob almonds. SO no it really wasn't a fast. I did lose weight. But I felt like crap. I'm not good at rules. I’m not good at dieting either.

The first diet I went on, I was a junior in high school. The only thing I remember was that I had to eat two apricots at 10:30 am on the second day. A strange thing to ask of a high school girl, to eat two apricots at precisely 10:30 AM. Why not figs or prunes? And why 10:30? I guess we need rules.

The next time I went on a diet was during my first year of college. It had been a horrible year. I'd broken up with my boyfriend, John Lennon got shot, and was stuck at a school I hated: UC Irvine. It was like going to school in a test tube. Sterile, uncreative, depressing.

So, four weeks shy of my 18th birthday in March, I decided to really go on a diet and really do it right. At least I'd have something to be happy about. I picked the Scarsdale Diet. It's a low carb, high protein diet like Atkins, but with fruit. You do the Diet Plan for two weeks, then do a maintenance plan for two weeks. Two weeks on, two weeks off.

After the first two weeks I'd lost so much weight, I just kept on the Diet Plan. By my 18th birthday I had lost nearly 15 pounds. My food was so "clean," that when I ate ice cream on my birthday, I got nauseous and threw up.

And so an eating disorder was born, and the rest is a middle class white girl's history. Overachiever girl, obsessed with perfection, finds her life is out of control, so food becomes the one thing she can control. It started out great. I felt great, I was exercising, I felt good because I was eating clean food. And I lost the weight I wanted to lose. But that addict thing in me clicked, and I became obsessed. My lowest weight was 92 pounds.

Slowly with the help of counseling, Overeaters Anonymous, and just being sick and tired of dieting, I got better and put some pounds back. But I had issues with food and body image from then on. I suppose I always will, our culture doesn't exactly promote healthy view of normal body weight.

I stayed very slim until I got my monthly cycle back. Oh yeah that was another byproduct of being so thin. I didn't buy Kotex for years. My doctor patted me on the shoulder and said, "when you start dating again, you'll start your cycle again."

This proved to be true. I met this really hot guy, we dated for several months. He lit my pilot light and Bob's Your Uncle, I was back patronizing the Women's Hygiene section. But with it came the extra pounds, and so began again the weight battle and all its attendant issues.

This time, instead of controlling my weight by controlling my food, I started smoking. That, and because I was pissed off at God at the time, so cigarettes worked with the weight and God-anger issues.

After a few years I put the cigarettes down. But I would pick them back up on occasion, especially when my boyfriend at THAT time made comments like, "you gain weight when you're on your period, right?" My response was to walk out, not talk to him for two weeks, and go on the cigarette diet(cigs, and chocolate malt balls). Which also works with weight and boyfriend-anger issues.

This same boyfriend inspired another diet a couple years later. When we finally broke up, it propelled me into what I refer to as "the Heartbreak Diet." It hurt to eat. It hurt to breathe. I starved myself down to a size Zero, but I didn't even want to live to enjoy the clothes.

Well, that was four years ago. And today I am mighty glad I broke up with the guy, but wish I could replicate some of that heartbreak lack of appetite.

It's been a terrific year. I met the True Love of love of my life. And he loves me just as I am. I also quit smoking for reals, interestingly enough, about the time I met him. I'd been off cigarettes, but resorted to them in a pinch, ie moments of stress, or feeling HALT: hungry angry lonely or tired. When I stopped the cigs I chewed the Nicotine gum. But that changed a year ago when I met Larry. I quit altogether.

And I gained 10 pounds.

Our friend Doug says that this is natural when you get married. He says it's because your entire single life, you carry around the tension of being single, and this burns calories. When you get married your body relaxes and it slows down. And you gain weight.

I came back from the honeymoon fatter. Well, we kept a huge bag of Costco trail mix in the car, that was part of it. But since Larry and I have been married, I swear I haven't been eating any more than before. Maybe less. I quit my late-night eating too. But I kept putting on weight. What was up, man?! Well, OK the occasional (often) dip in the "fruit juice sweetened carob almond bin at the "health food" store. But come on, man!

By Christmas, I had gained two pant sizes since my Heartbreak Diet days.

So I'm on a new fitness regimen and "food plan." Food plan is waymobetta to say. And to do. I'm eating all healthy food. I even gave up my Atkins protein bars.

I'm also back taking lots of yoga. A studio opened up the street called Your Neighborhood Studio. The classes are great, inexpensive, and I love the proprietor, Denise. They have amazing teachers, including some of the teachers who taught at the place I was driving to and from in Santa Monica. I like Power Yoga for the physical challenge as well as the relaxation. But the drive to and from Santa Monica was so maddening ( blogged about it here), that it canceled out any relaxation I'd gained. So walking six houses down to the studio is a no-brainer.

So I'm committed to eating right and exercising. At least for the next four weeks. I'd like to give Larry, and me, a really nice Valentine's present.


Anonymous said...

Weaning yourself off sugar ... a temporary craving.

Keeping your butt toned in your 40's ... a stunning achievement.

Finding a picture of a CELERY LOG ... !!! ... priceless.


Matt McKechnie said...

susan, thanks for the comment! that celery log is lookin' mighty fine. keep in touch and we'll look forward to seeing you on Earl!

Anonymous said...

Go get'em Susan. Don't forget the before and after pictures.

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