Last week I started a diet.
That may not be big news to most people. But it is officially the very first diet of my life.
I was born skinny and stayed skinny throughout my adolescence. I could (and did) eat whatever I wanted and never gained an ounce.
In college, where I developed really poor eating habits, I also started smoking, which apparently kept the weight off.
When I lived with Daphne I gained weight for the first time in my life. Oh, she did love that fried food. I went from skinny to thin.
When my world fell apart and I lost weight dramatically. Not that I cared. My friends kept forcing enough food down me to keep me from starving. When I was finally able to move from that place and begin a new chapter of my life I was 5' 7" and 105 lbs.
And then I met Martha. She started wooing me with chocolate. Yeah, that worked. She complained about my hip bones digging into her and started to cook for me. A pint of Ben & Jerry’s was dessert almost every night. Hmmm. I began gaining some much needed weight.
When we decided to have children, I quit smoking and noticed the first serious weight gain of my life And, as I’ve aged, my weight has slowly but steadily climbed. I was still thin in the 120s. Felt healthy in the 130s. Started getting that muffin top in the 140s.
When Martha and I almost broke up a few years ago, I discovered that no sex was not good for the metabolism. I gained almost 20 pounds and found myself weighing 165. Whoa! I couldn’t even find my hip bones. But when Martha and I got back on track, most of that weight disappeared through no effort on my part. But I still found myself hovering in the low 150s.
Having always been a person who could eat anything I wanted and still be thin, dieting is a hard concept for me. I love sweets and ice cream and snacking at night. I eat all day at work. I have been doing it my whole life. My brain tells me I'm thin while my clothes are telling me otherwise.
Martha loves to eat too but she is also a life long dieter. She can easily gain 50 pounds and then diet it off. She is a professional dieter. She has boxes in the attic with clothes ranging from size 8 to 16. But she does these fad diets - eats soup for every meal for weeks, or cuts out all carbs, etc. - not suitable for an amateur like me.
I have opted for a 1200 calorie a day diet. 300 k breakfast, 300k lunch, 400k dinner and two 100k snacks. And I must say I am eating healthier and reading labels. Who knew a jar of macadamia nuts had over 2,000 calories? I could polish that off in one sitting. Pecan crusted chicken salad at Fridays - 1360 calories. For a salad!!! I bought these 100 calorie snack packs - sweet and salty chocolate covered pretzels - only to discover there were like 9 pretzels in the bag. Really? 9? And they are microscopic in size. Pretzel crumbs really.
The first few days I lost a couple of pounds. I’m not looking for anything radical - 10 pounds would put me in a healthy place. 14 pounds, or as my British friend Haizey would say - a stone, would be ideal. Yes, I need to lose a stone. But then I already began to cheat - lunch out with a friend going through a hard time required dessert and then Martha made an irresistible blueberry pie - and I gained some back
People have told me losing the last 10 pounds is the hardest. I am already fairly active, especially this time of year. And I drink a ton of water. I like healthy meals (if someone makes them for me) but easily rip open a bag of chips rather than cook for myself. But the hardest is the will power part. I work in an building where people bring in food all the time - coffee cake, brownies, cookies - and most people have a small dish of candy on their desks. Since my job requires me to coordinate with a lot of other departments, I spend my day grazing from office to office.
So, if you have any helpful tips on how to do this, I would be most appreciative. Especially how one can walk past a bowl of Hershey kisses and not rationalize that eating just one won’t matter . . .