Jul 11 2014
When trying to be an interesting person, and, let’s face it, we all should try because it’s just too easy to slack off into mediocrity, we know that there are topics of conversation that are completely uninteresting to other people. Don’t talk about that weird dream you had last night. Or your acid trip in college. No one cares about the details of the traffic you got stuck in. Bad beats in poker. Don’t discuss what diet you’re on. Wait, what? Everyone wants to know everything about each other’s diet? That’s new.
It comes with age, I guess. G-d knows I never cared what wacky diet my friends were trying but as I got older I’d see a friend who lost weight and inevitably ask “how’d you do it?” And currently, I’m on my first ever diet-with-a-philosophy (ie: not just “eating right” but following a plan about which there is a book–which I have not read– and websites–which I’ve totally skimmed) of my life and when I mention it to people, usually with some degree of embarrassment, almost every single person has leaned in and asked to hear more. A number of people immediately joined me on my diet without knowing anything about it. My friend Meghan mentioned the diet to me a couple of years ago. The big thing I remembered about it years later is that there is a “cheat day” once a week where you’re encouraged to eat anything and everything you want. The other thing I remembered is I asked her why she was checking into the BBQ place Hill Country every morning and she said she was eating some crazy egg/meat breakfast dish that was ok on the diet and it all sounded very doable.
I am someone who has been overweight most of my life. Most of that time, I didn’t really notice. I was happy size 10-12 (and I know we’re not supposed to be validated by male attention and that whistles out of car windows get two days of hashtagged complaints on twitter and we’re not supposed to like when men like us but) men loved me. I had a big butt and big boobs and apparently those are features men in NYC seek in women. Again, I get that people feel bad about themselves despite outside attention but the top complaint I’ve heard from overweight people is that they feel invisible. I never felt like my weight got in the way of my social life whatsoever and, for better or worse, I wore whatever I wanted (I note this because my biggest complaint about my body right now is that clothes don’t fit me correctly).
I had back surgery in 2004 and rocketed to a size 14. That was the first time I remember thinking, huh, I’m not as in love with myself as usual. Yet, I didn’t do anything to try to lose it, just bought bigger clothes. It all came off 3 years later, in the summer of 2007, when in the darkest period of my life, unemployed and going through a break-up, I slept until 3pm everyday, woke up, went to a poker club where I’d order Chinese food as my one meal of the day, and play poker until morning. On nights I wasn’t playing poker, I drank. A lot. Depression works! I got together with my husband shortly after this period and on our wedding day I was a size 6, both of us in the shape of our lives. My friend Cora took a picture of us from behind and my ass in that shot is my main motivation for all subsequent dieting. Today I’m back in 10-12 land and so freaking miserable about it. I guess if I had never gotten to what I now see as my goal size (8) I wouldn’t hate myself as much. But knowing how much better I could look just kills me everyday. My wardrobe from those 6-8 glory days hangs in my closet taunting me. The silk white Prada dress I wore on our honeymoon. My favorite pair of jeans.
The real story of my body, since I’m laying it all out here, is that I’m not a big eater. I don’t make great choices in what I eat but quantity-wise I’ve had many people tell me I eat nowhere near enough. The biggest thing is that I don’t eat breakfast. I’m not hungry, at all, until about 3-4pm. I’m writing this right now on my “cheat day” and it’s noon and I’ve only had coffee. The diet mandates breakfast, which I’ve been forcing myself to have everyday, so I’m actually using my cheat day to *not eat*. The other thing is I don’t gain weight (back surgery and two pregnancies being the only 3 exceptions to this) nor do I lose it (other than when I’m at rock bottom in my life). I’m down 7 pounds right now in 17 days of doing 4 Hour Body and it’s downright surprising. I’ve been super strict about it, no drinking, no dessert, no bread, pasta, rice, though I have been eating dairy which 4HB prohibits. I just can’t cut out everything so I’ll accept slower weight loss and eating cheese. I miss fruit. I really miss bourbon.
I love food. I love booze. My husband and I are both really into it. I’ve written about it before. Trips revolve around where to eat. We’re on a huge bourbon kick. I get an email about S’mores macarons and I make a mental note. My husband comes home and reports there’s going to be a Smorgasburg Jr. near our house serving tacos in parathas. YES. And Deb from Smitten Kitchen tempts me daily with brownie ice cream sandwiches, pictures of cherries and introducing me to something called the Perfect Manhattan which is like a million times better than the Classic Manhattan I’ve been obsessed with all year. I don’t want to be the person who orders everything on the side, can’t end the day with a bourbon, never eats dessert. I hear a lot about how dieting is stupid and it’s important to make a “life change.” I’m under no illusion that what I’m doing is making a life change. I want to get to my happy size 8 place and then coast. I’ll even go work out at that point, something my brother harasses me to do everyday. I’m not trying to be skinny, I honestly never wanted to be. At size 8 I feel amazing. Sure, I’ll take my wedding size 6, and my ass looking like that, but 8 is where I belong. Once I get there it will all be about maintaining. So here I am, about 20 pounds to go to get to where I want to be, doing this so I can get back to being me.
If you’re interested in the 4 Hour Body diet, this is a great guideline/summary. If any of my friends want to do it with me, I do find it’s easier when there are others suffering (not really) alongside me.