Not So Phat with Fat
Putting my thoughts on a diet
-Melina Gerosa Bellows
Wow, I’m actually eating less. That’s what I notice after deciding to accept myself at my current one-size-up weight. Jauntily, I step on the scale to check. Maybe I’ve actually jinxed the weight off by ceasing to care about it.
I look at the number blinking back at me. My jaw drops. I’ve gained another five pounds?!?
As I sputter with outrage, the scale hisses back at me. Fool! If you could have been content a porker, don’t you think you would’ve figured that out three decades ago, instead of torturing yourself with starvation, running on creaky knees, and letting me, your digital nemesis, dictate your self-esteem?
The stupid scale is right. So what if I’m wearing my new, Sobo-sanctioned BCBG orange maxidress? I just focus on the hoola-hoop of muffin around my midriff. Then I get doubly mad at myself for letting my superficiality bother me.
I lament to my friend Nina, who is a fellow lapsed member of Weight Watchers.
“Once, this lady in a meeting said that she was miserable when she was fat, and miserable when she was dieting. So she decided that if she was going to be miserable either way, why not be thin?” Nina tells me. “Make sense, no?”
Totally! Right then and there I decided I’m going back on Weight Watchers, and I’ll talk Nina into rejoining with me. We decide to make our diet a priority for the next eight weeks. As Oprah says, “Put yourself on the list.
But I’m also going to enlighten Nina on something she doesn’t know about: the McDonald’s McFlurry.
Although older and wiser than me, Nina is a McFlurry virgin. As we pass the golden arches, I decide to rectify the situation before we start our diets.
Oreo concoction in hand, Nina looks mystified by the straw, a sort of pipe (to let the chunks through), with a spoon on the end (for scooping between slurps). A quick learner, Nina takes a long pull. Her eyebrows shoot up and her blue eyes widen in pleasure.
“And did you know that McDonald’s uses ice milk, not ice cream?” I say, proudly displaying my knowledge.
“Really? How many points do you think this has?” Nina asks, as she sips away.
Points are like Monopoly money when you are on WW. You get 20 points daily to “spend” on food. Vegetables are free. McFlurrys? Not so much.
“The McFlurry has 13 points!” Nina informs me the next day after going online to check.
“Oh well,” I say. “See you at the weigh in.”
When we meet with our WW leader Kim she tells us to temper our expectations. “A pound a week is what you should expect if you follow the plan to the letter,” she says. Kim has lost over 100 pounds and kept it off. Nina and I have each lost 30 pounds, more than once. Between us we’ve lost two super models.
I take a deep breath. Eight weeks of no desserts, no grigio and Gorgonzola, no barbeque bacchanalia, no summer over-indulgence to maybe reach half my goal? I look down at my stomach and decide I’d rather be miserable and thin than miserable and fat.
For a week I keep a food journal, exercise daily and focus on the looming countdown to my weekly weigh. I lose 2.2 lbs. Nina loses, too.
At the next weigh in, I lose a measly 0.2 pounds.
“It was the banana bread,” I say. Nina and Kim look at me.
“I had six slices,” I admit.
“Why didn’t you have just one really good one and call it a day?” Kim asks.
I regale them with the tale of my weekend.
I had invited another family to spend the weekend with the kids and me. I was a little apprehensive about juggling the kids and entertaining, but because I adore these new friends and our kids know each other, I decided it was worth the stress.
Unfortunately, however, my 4-year-old son Chase’s spanking new ADHD medicine was causing him to melt down like Chernobyl. I had no clue how to calm him down.
But I did figure out how to calm myself down.
My friend Stephanie had brought not one, but two loaves of her homemade banana bread. She puts coconut in it, and it is seriously yum. Every time Chase had a temper tantrum I had a slice.
“I thought I’d made up for it by skipping the pie and ice cream that everyone else had for dessert, and even managed a run, during which I cried my eyes out about the stress of the whole situation,” I say, “but…”
“Wow, that sounds really stressful,” says Nina.
“Yeah, don’t be so hard on yourself,” says Kim. “Once I’ve blown it, I think ‘Oh, screw it,'” I admit. “I guess the thing I really need to shed is my all-or-nothing attitude.”
“What you might want to focus on is not beating yourself up after you’ve made a bad choice,” Nina says. “Tomorrow is another day.”
Kim and Nina are right: I am going to focus on stopping that critical, whip-wielding inner bitch, the one who nefariously whispers in my ear “You’re not good enough…”
This week I am going to put my thoughts on a diet. Stay tuned.
Read Melina’s last blog: How to Look Good Fat