Tag Archive | weight watchers

Passed My Kid’s Lips and Straight to My Hips

For once, I’m going to side with all of the uber-conservative Christians of the world and say that Halloween is nothing but pure evil – not because all the gory costumes and creeping about late at night is a sin against God, but because the mounds of candy left lying around my house is a sin against my waistline.  Candy is the devil’s work.  Can I get an AMEN, sister?!

No, not THAT Candy…. oh, never mind.

I’m not one of those girls who is naturally thin – hell, I’m not even UNnaturally thin.  If you are one of those naturally thin people, I’m envious…. and maybe a little resentful.  But if you have ever uttered the phrase, “No matter what I eat, I just can’t seem to gain any weight”, you should stop reading this blog entry.  Seriously, STOP.  Now go find a blog that discusses issues you can relate to – like how miserable it is for you to have to shop in the junior’s department because you’re too skinny to fit into adult-sized clothes.

Are they gone?  Good.  Moving on….

I have to cover miles of rubberized road on my treadmill and eat lettuce like a ravenous rabbit in order to lose weight.  And if I’m not hyper-vigilant about what I’m putting in my mouth, I can pack on five or ten pounds in less time than it takes you to shout, “Twinkies!”  I have learned through years and years of trial and error (mostly error), which dieting tools work for me and which ones don’t – Weight Watchers is one of the things that work.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all Jennifer Hudson on you, and start singing, “It’s a New Day” or preach the “Believe, because it works” slogan – you get enough of that from all the commercial breaks on TV.  What she’s saying is true, but who wants to hear it when it’s midnight, and you have a face full of Little Debbie snack cakes?

I don’t care how much I believe – my ass will NEVER fit into that little black dress.

Being on Weight Watchers is effective but it isn’t always easy, especially when there’s a holiday involved.  Halloween is one of many dietary saboteurs lurking on the calendar – the worst one, in my opinion.  Halloween can become Halloweek or even Hallomonth because the holiday lingers as long as there’s still candy in the house.

Before I had kids, I had a solid Halloween strategy that helped keep the holiday pounds off – I bought candy I hate to eat for the trick-or-treaters that came around, so that the leftovers posed no temptation to me the next day.  Granted, it was stuff the trick-or-treaters probably hated too, but they should be grateful I wasn’t handing out fistfuls of broccoli.  We’ve all been to those houses….

But that dietary trick does me no good now because I have two kids out scouring the neighborhood for goodies, and bringing back all the candy I purposefully didn’t buy.  When they come home after hours of pounding the pavement, the first thing they do is dump their spoils out onto the living room rug and decide what to keep and what to give away.  Inevitably, the throw away pile contains all of my favorites – Almond Joy, Snickers, and Milky Way bars.  What my unenlightened children see as inedible, I see as dozens of little “fun size” reasons I won’t be able to zip up my jeans in a week.

The Weight Watchers program assigns every food item a point value, and the combination of your age, gender and weight determines how many points you get per day; I’m allowed 26 points.  There seems to be a direct correlation between how yummy a food is and its point value – the tastier the food, the higher the points.  It’s no surprise that Brussels sprouts are 0 points, and birthday cake is 12 points.  TWELVE POINTS! Guess how much a fun-size candy bar is worth?  2 points.  Sounds harmless enough, right?  It would be if I were even remotely capable of stopping at just one or two.

Can you stop at just one?  For those of you that just said yes, I told you to stop reading this blog entry…. you thin people can’t fool me.

On a day like Halloween, my 26 points don’t seem to go very far.  All the coping skills Weight Watchers taught me vanishes the moment I hear those chocolaty sirens calling to me from inside my children’s trick-or-treat bags.  I can usually last the first few hours without caving into the temptation, but when night falls the rationalizations begin…

The candy is just going to go to waste if I don’t eat it.  How can I waste food when there are so many starving children in the world?  Maybe I should mail them the candy.  No, that won’t work, it would probably get all melty and gross by the time it got there.  Besides, if they’re too poor to buy food, what are the chances they have a good dental plan?  I don’t want to give starving kids cavities.  How irresponsible would THAT be?  I’ll donate to heifer.org and give them a cow instead.  Milk is better for teeth…. oooo, speaking of milk – that would go great with a couple of fun-size Snickers….”

The American Dental Association reports that 2 out of 3 dentists
recommend cows instead of candy bars.

Eating half a dozen candy bars becomes far less gluttonous when you think you’re selflessly ridding the world of tooth decay.  Of course, that same line of thinking will probably end up buying me a one-way ticket to Wilford Brimley town too – a sad place where nothing but the syringes and test strips are fun-size.

I’m thankful that this sugar-coated, willpower crushing holiday only comes once a year.  But even when the Halloween treats run out, I know there is another dietary hurdle looming close on the horizon – instead of chocolate, this one will be made of stuffing and apple pie…..

This is my Thanksgiving autobiography – originally, it was going to be entitled “Fuck the Turkey”
but the editor didn’t want people thinking the book was about turkey porn.

Advertisements

I’m a Total Crack Whore For Cupcakes

If somebody asked me, “What would you do for a Klondike Bar?” I never imagined my answer would be, “I’d have one of my internal organs yanked out through my belly button!”  You probably think I’m joking, but recent events have proved that I’m more than willing to make that trade.  Don’t you think that should entitle me to my own Klondike Bar commercial?  It’s a hell of a lot more than this guy was willing to do….

You might be wondering how I found myself in a situation where I had to choose between one of my organs and an ice cream sandwich – not too many people find themselves at that particular crossroad in life.  To get the full picture we’ll have to turn the clock back about four years to 2008….

We find the heroine of our story (that’s me, in case you’re wondering) elbow deep in a pile of leftover birthday cupcakes.  Remember what I said about Klondike bars?  You should, it was only a few sentences back.  Well, times that by ten and you’ll come close to what I’d be willing to do for a Betty Crocker cupcake.  Which is why my husband should have known better than to leave me alone in the room with them.

But on this day, my happiness would be short lived.  Somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd cupcake my stomach staged a coup – I guess it didn’t like the way I was running the show.  Judgmental bastard.  The revolution was messy and unbelievably painful.  I went from blissfully munching away on frosty goodness to feeling like Betty Crocker had strapped on a pair of combat boots and kicked me in the gut.  Shortly after the crippling pain started, the real fun began.  A wave of nausea hit me, the likes of which I hadn’t seen since my first trimester of pregnancy.  I’ll spare you the details, but I will say this much – the cupcakes were far less tasty the second time around.

After TWELVE hours of this agony, I caved in and called my doctor.  If you want to truly appreciate how much it takes to get me to go to the doctor, read this- I Hope There’s Not a Doctor in the House.  It wasn’t just the pain that finally made me pick up the phone, it was also the fear that with my next heave, I was going to puke up my lower intestines.  I didn’t know if that was a possibility, but it felt like it was.  And I figured that it was my doctor’s sworn duty to make sure that didn’t happen.

My doctor listened to me bitch and moan for a little while and then he told me I probably had an ulcer.  I agreed to come in the next day for an abdominal sonogram to test his diagnosis.  I didn’t think he was right, but I was too ashamed to confess to him that the previous night’s cupcake orgy was most likely to blame for all the medical drama.

My diagnosis of dietary stupidity was confirmed when I woke up feeling much better the next day.  When I went in for the test, I didn’t expect them to find anything legitimately wrong with me.  Much to my surprise, they did.  Though it wasn’t the ulcer my doctor expected – it was gallstones.

My doctor quickly scribbled down the name and number of a surgeon and handed me the slip of paper.

“What do I need this for?  I feel fine now.”

“Your gallbladder needs to come out or you’ll keep having these attacks.  That surgeon is tops in his field.”  He said, as if that was supposed to comfort me.

“I’m sure he’s awesome with a scalpel, but I’d rather keep all my internal organs where they are – even the expendable ones.  Besides, I’m all better now.  Really.”

My doctor let out an exasperated sigh, “It’s your decision, but you should keep the phone number in case you change your mind.”

Change my mind about being carved up like a Thanksgiving Day turkey because of one tummy ache?  Not likely.  The way I saw it, there was only one reasonable option – I threw out the phone number, changed physicians and pretended like the whole thing never happened.  Thankfully, my gallbladder agreed to play along with the charade.

I lived the better part of four years symptom free, which only served to strengthen my resolve that I didn’t need surgery.  I had one or two gallbladder attacks a year, but for the most part I continued on my merry way, indulging in the occasional cupcake or two (or twelve) without any physical repercussions…. at least none beyond the expansion of my hips and thighs.

Fast forward to July 2012, just one month ago….

The attacks were coming almost daily – despite the fact that I joined up with Weight Watchers, lost nearly 14 pounds and banned Betty Crocker from the house.  It seemed no matter what I put in my mouth, it made my stomach hurt and caused me to throw up.  And let me tell you, salad is no less gross than cupcakes when you’re forced to pray to the porcelain god.

After a couple of weeks of misery, I wanted to remove my gallbladder with a kitchen knife and a pair of tweezers.  It was then that I realized I was ready to revisit the idea of surgery, so I made an appointment for a consultation.

When the doctor walked in, I was relieved to see a head full of snowy white hair.  He didn’t look old, just experienced – like Sean Connery in The Hunt for Red October (minus the facial hair and cool accent).  I felt like I had caught him in the prime of his surgical life; young enough to still have steady hands, but old enough to have had lots of practice cutting stuff out of people.

He started off by giving me a detailed explanation of the laparoscopic surgery, complete with colorful diagrams just in case I didn’t know where my liver and gallbladder were located.  I didn’t.  He also showed me where the four little 5mm incisions would be made, one of which would be through my belly button – where my gallbladder would be making its final exit.

Who the hell came up with this method of organ extraction?  Did his colleagues think he was crazy when he explained how he was going to pull the gallbladder out of his patient’s belly button the way a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat?  Do you think he yelled, “Ta-da!” when he was done?  These were the questions I was pondering as my doctor suddenly launched into a long list of foods that I’m not allowed to eat….

“You can’t eat any red meat or pork.  You also can’t eat any dairy – no ice cream, butter, cheese or anything with fat in it; skim milk is okay.  You can only eat chicken breasts – no thighs, wings, or anything with skin on it.  No pizza either.  Fish, turkey, fruits, veggies, and whole grains are all okay.”

I only knew the guy for five minutes and he was already trying to take away several of my reasons for living.  That’s no way to win friends and influence people.  In fact, in that moment I kind of hated him a little bit.

“Um…. wait a minute.  Is that the diet I’m supposed to follow after the surgery?  FOREVER??”  I asked with a hint of panic in my voice.  If that was the case, I was fully prepared to walk out of his office and take my gallstones with me.  I had already given up cupcakes in an effort to lose weight and stave off triple bypass surgery – what more did he want?  Did he really expect me to never eat ice cream again?!  Screw. That.

“No, that’s the diet you should follow if you decide not to have the surgery – to cut down on the risk of having attacks.  But if you opt for the surgery, you only have to stay on that diet for about a month.”

I was almost giddy with relief.  “Oh, okay.  In that case, rip it out.”  I said with a smile.  I suddenly wanted to hug him.

Then we talked about what to expect during my post-op recovery period. Since I was on a newfound health kick (a detail you might have missed because of my love affair with cupcakes and rabid defense of ice cream), my main concern was about my ability to stay active.  From past experience I knew that one week of couch surfing could easily result in 5 pounds being added to my ass.  So, I asked him how long I had to wait before I could go back to jogging on the treadmill.

“You’re basically going to be stabbed four times.  You’re not going to want to go anywhere near your treadmill for at least a couple of weeks.”

STABBED?!  Great, now I was thinking about the shower scene in the movie Psycho.  Good job, Doc.  Did you skip out on med-school the day they taught bedside manner, Mr. Bates?

“Do you have any more questions?” He asked, oblivious to the Alfred Hitchcock scene I had playing on a loop in my head.

“Nope, I think that about does it for me.”  I said, and with a shake of his hand I promptly left the examination room.

I needed a drink.  And possibly a cupcake.

Letters to My Treadmill

June 14th

Dear Millie,

Hi!  Long time no see, huh?  Well, I guess if I’m being honest that’s not technically true.  Every time I walk into the family room I can feel you glaring at me, but I haven’t risked a glance in your direction because I feel guilty about how we left things.  I know I promised we’d hook up again after the holiday season was over to work off all the Christmas cookies I ate, and I feel really bad for leaving you hanging for so long.  I’m sure you must resent how I’ve treated you, but it’s not like I planned to use you as a clothes hanger.  I thought that if I hid you beneath a mound of laundry, I wouldn’t be reminded that the remedy for my ever-expanding ass was right under my nose.  You’ve heard the saying “ignorance is bliss”, right?  Well, denial is even more so…. until you can’t zipper your jeans, then all bliss is lost.

Do you remember when I first brought you home a few years ago?  I was SO excited and I promised you that we’d hang out everyday.  How naïve was that?!  I should have known that you and I are too different to make a long-term relationship work.  You’re always on the move, and sometimes I just need to spend a little downtime with the other furnishings in the house – like Couch.  I hope I don’t make you jealous by saying this, but Couch understands me in a way you never could.  He is always so comforting and supportive, and doesn’t judge me for watching eight-hour House marathons on TBS.

Please don’t blame yourself for us not working out- it’s not you, it’s me.  I’m the one who made promises I couldn’t possibly keep and pretended to be someone I’m not.  But you have remained true to who you are from day one.  How do you keep on such a steady, straight course and never waiver?  I wish I could be more like you.  I’m really trying to turn over a new leaf… I know you’ve heard that one before, but I mean it this time.

I’d understand if you didn’t want to give me a second chance… well, it’s more like a fifth or sixth chance, I guess.  But if you’ll indulge me one last time I promise you won’t regret it.   I’ll meet you in the family room, sneakers laced and ready to run!  Whoo-hoo!!

Can’t wait to feel the burn,

Linda

June 15th

Dear Millie,

Today didn’t work out exactly the way I planned.  I apologize for being late for the big reunion, but it took me fifteen minutes just to find my damn sneakers.  I should have thought to look in the back of my closet because I put all my useless crap back there.  Once I found them, I thought I was ready to rock and roll, but I hadn’t taken into account that you would need some prep time too.  I know it’s been awhile but damn girl, you have definitely seen better days.   It took ten minutes to clean off all the dust that had accumulated over the last six months.  If I hadn’t, I knew there wasn’t enough Benedryl in the entire state of New York that would have saved me from the resulting allergy attack.

After wasting almost a half hour, my motivation was nearly non-existent and all I wanted to do was take a nap.  I knew it would be hard to start exercising again after all those months of hanging out with Couch, but I didn’t anticipate my feelings of frustration, self-loathing, and hatred towards you to be quite so overwhelming.  Sorry I called you an electronic piece of shit – I didn’t mean it.  It was said in a moment of agony because I felt like my guts were being forcefully yanked out of my belly button. If it makes you feel any better, the names I call Scale are WAY worse.  But in the future, I’ll try to direct my anger where it belongs – on the pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in the freezer.  If it weren’t for those tasty bastards, I probably wouldn’t be in this mess.

Miserably yours,

Linda

Dust-free Millie and my running goddess, Sveltelana.

June 16th

Dear Millie,

Clearly whoever coined the phrase “it gets better with time” wasn’t talking about a fat girl on a treadmill.  Our meeting today sucked just as much as yesterday.  My stamina wasn’t half what it was six months ago.  I can’t believe I ran a 5K race in November and another one at the beginning of December!  I must have been on drugs… or delusional… or on drugs that caused delusions.  If it weren’t for the finish line pictures, I would’ve thought I hallucinated the whole thing….

         

Can you tell which one was my first race?  I thought I was going to need a paramedic and defibrillator paddles when I crossed the finish line the first time.  It amazes me what a difference a month makes – look how happy I was to torture myself the second time!

Now six months later, I’m starting from ground zero again.  I had no delusions of grandeur this time around.  I was only going to walk with you – NO running allowed…. except when the Black Eyed Peas sing “Pump It” because despite my pathetic condition, I can’t help but run to that song (although my lungs did threaten to boycott my body if I didn’t stop).  But even at a slower pace I still felt out of breath, and at the 2.5 mile mark one of the toes on my left foot felt like an overfilled water balloon about to burst – seemed like a good excuse to stop.  I’m sure you wouldn’t have appreciated toe juice splattered all over you.

Oh, while we’re on the subject of things we don’t appreciate, let me say that I don’t appreciate you creaking and groaning the way you’ve been doing the last couple of days.  I already know I’m fifteen pounds heavier than I was the last time we got together, so I don’t need you reminding me of that fact every time I take a step.  I just joined up with Weight Watchers again, so quit your bitching or I’ll trade you in for a Bowflex Treadclimber – they claim to burn over three and a half times the amount of calories you do… not a threat… just food for thought.

Fuck the burn…. I need a brownie,

Linda

P.S. –  Here’s a visual diary of our progress this week.  As you can see by the pictures, we walked 2.5 miles each day but the finish times vary.  I’m trying to take solace in the fact that we got a little bit faster everyday, and ignore the voice in my head that reminds me that I managed to finish a 5K (3.1 miles) in 35 minutes not too long ago….