I bought muesli at Trader Joe’s because it sounded exotic and foreign, like Vegemite or Weetabix. Then I brought it home and realized muesli is essentially granola’s cousin, only with more cornflakes and dried blueberries and possibly crystal meth. (I’m not sure what those little round things were.) There are certain foods I should not be allowed to buy and muesli can now be added to that list.
Lately, that list has become my grocery list. I was doing really well for a week and then, holy shit, I found myself plowing through the fridge at 11 o’clock at night, stirring peanut butter into ricotta cheese just because I wanted to eat SOMETHING. The next day I gave a coworker a ride home and was relieved I hadn’t left any embarrassing music in the CD player, but was less happy that the Krispy Kreme bag from breakfast was lying on the passenger’s side floor. I felt like I’d left a used syringe on the top of the trash, me, the poster girl for weight loss (literally, I have posters) who drank 400 calories of chocolate milk for lunch last week.
Some days I’ve been doing really well and some days it’s been so out of control I’ve felt like there must be something very, very, wrong with my brain. Like, perhaps my never-ending headache has screwed up my brain chemicals in ways I don’t understand and led me down a spiral of compulsive overeating. I’ve been hesitant to blog about this because the book changed things. I didn’t want it to, but it did. It’s a lot harder to be honest about my struggles when I’ve got a book out there with me standing in one leg of my fat pants on the cover.
How might it affect publicity if I admit that I’ve gained 10 pounds? I don’t know. Maybe somebody thinking about doing a story about my book will come here, read this and decide I am not worthy of their air-time and I’ll miss a big sales opportunity. I like to be honest about my struggles, but the simple message of a success story seems like a much easier sell than the complex “I’ve lost a lot of weight but still constantly struggle and will probably always be fucked up around food” story that is the reality.
It’s terribly ironic that at least 5 of those pounds are due to the stress of promoting a weight-loss memoir. The rest I refer to as my “mi-gain,” the weight I’ve gained due to my never-ending headache. But I figure, screw it, I’m not perfect and you’ll all be far less disappointed if I don’t pretend I am. I’m probably being far too hard on myself anyway. I’m nowhere near morbidly obese again, and I could go run a 5K after I finish writing this blog entry, which is more than a lot of skinny people can do. However, I’ve got to stop eating like I have been or else those things will cease to be true. And I REFUSE to buy new pants. I WILL NOT GO BACK TO LANE BRYANT. That bitch is dead to me.
So, Saturday was another fresh start, a day for healthy eating and definitely not donuts. It is disgustingly optimistic of me to say this, but I truly believe you can always start over tomorrow. Even if you eat a half-gallon of ice cream and a loaf of banana bread on Friday night, you can start fresh on Saturday. It is never too late to lose weight. Of course, I tried to be healthy by trying this new muesli-meth mix, but found myself craving it in the evening, so I reached for my desk drawer to indulge my other compulsive habit instead – gum chewing – only to discover – OH MY GOD! I was out of gum! I cannot remember a nanosecond in the past two years that I have been without gum. Ever since my dentist told me chewing gum with Xylitol would help prevent tooth decay, I’ve used it as an excuse to have breath so minty fresh that it would rival a Scope spokesman. (And no, I don’t think the gum chewing is causing the headache, so shut up.)
No gum. Crazy mad cravings. I ate too much muesli. I felt bad. “It’s OK,” I said. “You can make it up tomorrow,” I said, even though I haven’t been doing that lately. “I’ll buy some salad tomorrow and then…OH MY GOD! IT IS NOT OK! It is every letter in the alphabet except O and K! Your pants are tight. Your clothes feel uncomfortable. And you’re speaking at a blogging convention in a month in front of a couple hundred of people! You cannot gain any more weight! This. Must. End!”
So I went for a walk.
Thankfully, it was June 21, the longest day of the year and I think the sun set at midnight. I was able to walk almost 3 miles, and though I don’t have a calorie counter handy I think it worked off the extra muesli, which is now stored in the trunk of my car. (I was going to throw it out, but it is just too good to trash, oh sweet poison.) I don’t want to develop some anal habit where I am compelled to exercise off every extra calorie I eat, but I’m so glad I went for that walk. It made me feel a little bit more in control of my life, and my illness has made me feel anything but in control. It also does good things to my brain chemicals, making me feel a bit happier and less binge-tastic.
And it was a beautiful day. There was mist rising from the sidewalk as the sun evaporated puddles from the recent summer storm. Young couples were holding hands. Old couples were holding hands. Disaffected goth teens were smoking by the canal and I’m sure if I’d taken a photo they would all laugh at what they were wearing and how cool they thought they were in 10 years. I felt like I was part of my community and it reminded me of how much I just like walking. I’ve been doing a lot of running lately, but walking is perfectly good exercise too. You don’t burn as much energy as fast, but it’s calming in a different way and it’s less painful. I think I’m going to try to do more walking, maybe around town at lunch, and definitely AWAY from the food in my kitchen.
I know some women (and men) have spent their whole lives gaining and losing 10 pounds, but it’s something I’ve only been doing for the past year. Before then I just kept gaining 10 pounds and gaining 10 pounds and gaining 10 pounds and oh, lookie there, I weighed almost 400 pounds. It definitely requires a different mindset than the one I had when I blasted off 200 pounds at once. I’ll probably write more about that in detail later, but these past 6 months or so have definitely been the hardest for me. I haven’t been as hardcore about health and fitness. There’s been slippage, slowly, slowly, slowly, eating out more, not exercising quite as much and IT MUST STOP. So, I’m going to be stricter, probably do phase 1 of South Beach again, and there will be lots of walking, because there will NOT be new pants.