I am about to brag. If you don’t want to listen to me bragging, you have my permission to stop reading right now. I generally hate it when people brag, so I wouldn’t blame you in the least. Bragging is obnoxious. If it isn’t one of the seven deadly sins, it should be. I much prefer self-deprecation.
But there are those exceptional occasions when a little bragging is warranted, even called for. And, in the first half of my eighth decade, I have arrived at one of those occasions, so here goes. In spite of a declining metabolism that may have reached its nadir years ago, I have achieved weight loss!
I won’t relate the actual number of pounds, but considering my starting point, the amount is not insignificant. And yes, I stand before you, in my slim jeans pulled from the back of the closet, very proud of myself!
I can hear all of you naturally thin people saying “So, what’s the big deal?” I don’t expect you to understand. But I know I am a champion to those like me who swim upstream against a tide of post-menopausal metabolic disaster. (Not to mention the tendency to over-eat and under-exercise.)
They say that sometimes you have to hit bottom before you make a life-style change. Well, I think that’s exactly what happened in this case. My bottom bottomed out!
The day of reckoning was my annual check-up and the humiliating requirement that one must get weighed. As has been my habit in recent years, I stand on the scale backwards and instruct the nurse not to share the result. Kind of like a “don’t ask don’t tell” situation. Denial is, after all, an acceptable form of self-protection.
But I was to have my moment of truth. She stepped out of the room, leaving me alone with my chart. And there was the heinous number, staring me right in the face.
I processed my new normal, which sent me into a state of mourning for my younger, slimmer self. I was passing through the five stages of grief, when I suddenly said “OK, stop it right there. I will only do four. I reject ‘acceptance’.”
And thus began my latest campaign to challenge Mother Nature (that bitch!)
On the internet, I researched the latest no-fail weight-loss plans. If my efforts were to succeed, it was important to keep abreast of the latest nutritional buzz. Was fat still bad for you? Was olive oil still good for you? Had acai berries been recalled? Did Peruvians still eat quinoa? Are pasta and ice cream on the list of super foods? (One can only wish!)
I considered the Belly Fat Cure. All well and good, but what about my love handles? The Slow Carb Diet? No thank you. I don’t have time for “slow.” The Six Meals A Day diet? Never! Look where only three meals a day has gotten me! And Dr. Oz’s Miracle diet? Sorry. As much as I respect your ratings, you lost me with the word “miracle.”
In the end, I decided to adopt a low-carb eating plan that had worked for me in the past. I then considered whether to start “tomorrow” or put it off until Monday. It’s just so tidy to begin a diet on a Monday. (And it would buy me a few more glasses of wine and some Oreo cookies.)
But the day of reckoning ultimately arrives. And as any experienced dieter knows, if you get through the first 48 hours, you’re on a roll. (Did I say roll? I had a dream about rolls. And bagels. And rye bread. With seeds.)
It’s been about five weeks now, and I admit it’s not been easy. There are times when even the dog food starts to look good. But discipline has its rewards. Like my favorite pants are no longer tight, and those now-baggy tops simply have to be replaced!
Also during this process, I’ve discovered some helpful dieting strategies, which I’m happy to pass along to you. (These may be useful for older men as well, who, I have noticed, are not immune to enlarging waistlines!)
- Announce that you are going on a diet. Tell your spouse; tell some friends; tell an enemy or two. Maybe even post it on your Face Book page. Once this becomes public information, you are less likely to back-track. It’s too embarrassing. Furthermore, you will be motivated by pure spite knowing that your enemies are just waiting for you to fail.
- You will be hungry. Get used to it. Learn to regard it as a virtue. You are doing something wonderful for yourself. As you are craving your next meal, imagine the pounds melting away. (OK, maybe ounces.) Don’t for one second believe that crap about this or that diet allowing you plenty to eat so you will never feel empty. Dieting equals hungry. Being on a diet is one long, extended Day of Atonement.
- Be prepared to eat plenty of eggs. Eggs are a low-carb, high protein food. Whole eggs, egg whites, Egg Beaters. Whatever your preference. Scrambled eggs, omelets, frittatas, hard-boiled, soft cooked. You will eventually get completely sick of eggs. In fact, you may never be able to tolerate anything with an oval-shape for the rest of your life.
- And finally , try to time the onset of your weight-loss program with your colonoscopy appointment. This is a wonderful way to jump-start a diet. It worked for me.
Will this be my last weight-gain battle? I highly doubt it. But I will let myself feel good about the results of this one for as long as they last.
And who knows? By the time the pounds roll back on, I just might be ready to accept “acceptance.” What a relief that will be!