As with many overweight people, I live with the knowledge that I “have to do something” to reduce my waist size. I have read the South Beach Diet, the Atkins Diet, and Scarsdale Diet. I have watched Oprah, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, and that man with the big bushy beard on PBS. I read their books and signed up for their web pages too. I have tried almost every program on the market, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Overeaters Anonymous, and Dr. Bernstein. And each time I watch a new show, read a new book, study a new web page, or join a new group, I go in with so much dedication and determination I am convinced, that this time, finally, I will end up a size 10. But I also go in with my perfectionist attitude.
And here it ends.
If I can’t measure out a portion size exactly, meaning, if the broccoli, brown rice and tofu casserole says that it makes “8 servings”, and if one of those servings has, say, one extra piece of broccoli in it, I’m off the rails. My thinking then becomes, “well, if I ate one extra piece of broccoli, I may as well eat this bag of potato chips”. And the diet is now done. Of course I’m exaggerating, but it’s not too far off the mark.
Again, like any overweight person, I have had one of many, many, many, “Last Suppers”. My last hurrah before adopting a new life. Last night, it was Chinese food. Oh it was delicious. Hot and sour soup, spring rolls, Szechwan beef, pork dumplings. No veggies. I even picked out the onions and green peppers in the Szechwan beef. And as with any sudden increase in fat, salt and sugar, my body responded by puffing up like a balloon, feeling slightly light-headed, then a bit cranky, and finally, sleepy.
As I laid on the sofa last night, wallowing in my Chinese Food Hangover, doing the only exercise of the day by playing Angry Birds on my iPhone, I recalled a conversation I had with a friend on Friday night. He’s making small changes. First, the reduction of pop he drinks in a day. Second, as his lunch usually has some sort of carb in it, for supper he is choosing to eliminate the carbs, and just have protein and vegetables. I encouraged him for these small changes, because he will notice a huge difference over time. It seems so sane.
Back to me on the couch playing Angry Birds. I got angry at myself (and not because I couldn’t figure out Level 12 of Poached Eggs). I can dish out the advice and support, and know without a doubt that small changes over time will make the world of difference. So it was time for me to do the same. I put down the iPhone, donned boots and coat, and went for a walk with my hubby. It was a beautiful walk. The air was fresh, the sky clear. It was rejuvenating. The cells of my body gasped, “thank you”.
Now, my small change thus far. A week ago, I resumed swimming. The only sport, other than golf, that I can say I’m truly passionate about. Getting to the pool and into a swimsuit was the biggest challenge of the year. But I did it. This week, I vow to eat whole grains and incorporate more veggies into the diet. And here I will stop and let this become part of my routine, before I add something else to my New Me plan. I have to wade into this gently, with no sudden moves. I have Michael to consider too, and if I switched suddenly from carbonara sauce to tofu cheese on rice crackers, both of us will get pissy.
Sunday has always been a day of rejuvenation for me, and today, managed to keep my resolve by having whole grain bread, toasted,
With peanut butter,
A banana (cut up in slices to make it a “fancy” breakfast for Sunday morning),
And of course coffee. Coffee (and wine) are two things I refused to give up. Ever.