Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Fat Fatwa: Finding Motivation

I swear, the past twenty-four hours have been hellish.

As far as I knew, Weight Watchers was *not* supposed to feel like this.

Here's the deal: I was expecting to feel obnoxious. I've been at the beginning of a major dietary coup before. I know I wasn't supposed to feel all sunshine and rainbows. But, come on! The problem is, that for a few days now, since I started my campaign, I have been famished. It's not that I am starving myself.  We had a pretty good stock pile of frozen veggies and fresh fruits.  And I have been hitting those like a madwoman.  And no matter how much of those I ate, it wouldn't be terribly long before they would be gone, and I would feel like I hadn't eaten anything at all.  Nothing.  It was freaking awful.

When you go to bed and wake up feeling like you want to gnaw your own arm off, something is amiss. For a while I was wondering if the whole experience was going to be like this.  Am I going to just continue to feel like an emotional wreck? And will people allow me to be grumpy?

Really the happy pappy dieting success people were getting on my nerves too.  Can I not just be allowed to be grumpy?  Can't we all just allow each other to be grumpy at least in the beginning?

I think we should allow ourselves to feel awful without retribution.  Why do we expect that we have to feel one way or another? Why do we feel it necessary to require others to feel happy, pumped, or on fire? I would argue that each individual needs to process an experience individually.

Still, I would like to feel better and not feel like I was ravenously hungry all the time. I was going through all the usual suspects.  I was using all my Weight Watchers points.  That was the problem the last time I tried doing the WW thing about 7 years ago. I would not use all my points and not only would I not lose weight, I'd feel like ass all the time. But that's not the case here. I had been loading on all my zero point, power foods that they recommended.

I was eating better. What the heck was going on here?!!!

Then it hit me: carbs and sugar.

The natural progression, because sugar and carbs have a tendency to scarf up points like nothing else, was to avoid those things. And this is good.  A good transition to make. But my body was obviously going into shock. I was having my own little biological nervous breakdown for lack of scones and sandwiches and things that had sugar and empty carbs coming out the wazoo.

So I got myself a sandwich at lunch.  On a whole wheat, denser and more fiber-filled bun.  A lean barbecue chicken sandwich.  And while I felt a little on the tired side, it was SO MUCH BETTER than what I felt like before.

On top of this, I was able to do a Trader Joe's run, where my family helped me stock the cupboard, freezer, and fridge with an array of interesting foods. I have soups I have never tried before, and multi-rice dishes, and fiber-rich snacks and healthy bread. All ways to round out the diet where I was lacking and get a little adventurous.  I also picked up kumquats (which I had never tried before) and blood oranges (which I also haven't tried.)

Here is my thought: if I have to upend my dietary life, let's try something completely different. Let's do a little culinary off-roading and see what happens?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My Fat Fatwa: Episode One

To start off my blog again, to return to the blogosphere in a dramatic style, I would like to announce that I joined Weight Watchers.

This all began innocently enough. I was watching television with my family, and my dad pipes up and recommends, out-of-the-blue, that I should join Nutri-System.  I pointed out that I didn't think they would have the selection of frozen, pre-packaged foods that I would totally be on board with.  Every commercial featured a cheesy, dairy-filled commercial with milkshakes and the whole nine yards.  As a member of the lactose intolerant this would wage unmitigated gastrointestinal blitzkrieg.  And I'm pretty sure that the selection, while good, isn't good enough to keep me satisfied in the long term.  And I know that the transition from pre-packaged food to real everyday eating habits can often cause issues.

So I pointed out that if I was going to do something like that, I had been more thinking about joining Weight Watchers.  It had worked a little at one time when I attempted it before. Before life got even more complicated, stress had piled on, and everything changed again. 

And so it began.  I thought about it, and decided that I would take advantage of sign-up fees being waived and try to plow into the whole weight loss thing again.  I signed up, and am now in the midst of trying to completely readjust my life.

What I had found most frustrating lately, is the ads, magazines and such. All of the success stories I see on television talk about how easy it was with their plan.  I absolutely refuse to even try Jenny Craig, not only because it doesn't seem any different from Nutri-System, but also because the women look worse than they did when they were heavier.  The after person is supposed to look gorgeous, vivacious and healthy, and invariably the people they choose look less healthy and attractive at the end.  No thanks.

That's awesome that your plan helped you lose 20lbs. Even 35 lbs. Awesome. Actually, you looked great before you lost weight. Now try needing to lose more than 50lbs.  That's where I am.  That's where most of the people I know who try to lose weight are. 

Can we get real here? Weight loss isn't easy no matter which plan you choose. One year I tried doing the South Beach Diet, and felt like I was in an uncomfortable, fatigued fog all the time.  It was awful. Your shake, even if I am lucky enough to be able to consume it, will not bring about lasting change.  

Even calling it a "lifestyle change" seems misleading to me.  Let's lay it all out here on the line.

Weight loss is more like trying to win the Iditarod in a self-made sled made of Churros powered by squirrels.  Or attempting to climb Mt. Everest in a bikini with suction cups on your hands. 

If you watch a show like The Biggest Loser you find people really brutalized in order to lose a bunch of weight.  Guess what? Even if you're not in a gym for hours with a personal trainer and abiding by their plans, it's going to feel like you are being brutalized.

And here I am, by the way, a few days in. If you are like me, are you going to be a happy camper a few days in? I think if you're doing it right, no.  And by the way, this idea that if you just follow this thing or that thing that it will absolutely work.  You know what I think works? Is finding what is closest to something you might kind of be able to do.  That's the best we get. The best we can hope for. Is something maybe that we can do.  Maybe.

I don't think I'm alone. I think the only avenue for change is a glimmer.  Not much to hang our hat on, but let's give it a go.