Monday, August 10, 2009

The History of Dieting

Hi, I'm Christine and I've been dieting all my life. I'm the little shorty in the back row and there's a reason you can only see my face right now. In third grade I weighed 103 lbs. but was also over five feet tall- freakishly tall for that age. (That's why it is so nice to marry tall and have big sons.) By the time I hit high school I could lose weight for a while if I focused, but it always found me again, consistently bouncing up to the 170's. I'm 5'9".

During those years I tried-

  • The Cambridge Diet - The first of the powder drinks

  • The Grapefruit Diet- Eat a grapefruit before each meal

  • The Scarsdale Starvation Torture Diet- Starve for two weeks eat for one, then repeat

In college I had good friends and between working and going to school full-time should have worried more about my waistline but didn't. Still, for weddings and such I'd try more diets.

  • The Cabbage Diet- gives you really bad gas

  • Ten Day Juice Fast- The first three days aren't bad and then it's heck

  • High Fiber Diet- My sister and I attempted to drastically increase our fiber for one diet. Not only were we miserable but everyone within a few feet of us was also.

After my first baby I lost thirty pounds magically. I was busy and happy and weighed less than I did in high school. Then I got pregnant with my second, retained water, didn't see my feet for three months and sobbed when I stood on the scale at the end of the the experience. Not only had I gained back the weight I lost but for the first time I tipped the 200 mark. ACK!!!! Once my baby was six weeks old I joined Weight Watchers and lost fourteen pounds my first week. (I doubt that would happen today.) I continued a few months and didn't reach my goal but made good progress. Still, WW was very expensive, so I quit and tried a few other diets.

  • Weight Watchers- Good but how long can I afford $8 a week

  • Slim Fast/Lean Cuisine- Slimfast for breakfast and lunch and a lean cuisine for dinner while you cook normally for the rest of the family and hope they don't can't you stealing bites of real food in the kitchen.

  • E-diets- Which I also really liked but spent so much time on the computer that it soon outweighed the benefit.

  • Sugarbusters- Got the book, tried it and decided that life was too short to live that way

  • GI Index- Too much math and I like math

  • Fen-Phen- Okay, I never tried this but remember watching all these friends of my that suddenly began to lose weight. It was unbelievable. They didn't look sickly or starved, in fact, they looked like models. I was tempted to do it and then the reports came out. One of my close friends actually died from that.

  • Cosmopolitan Lady- Joined the gym, they gave me a meal plan, hated going because everyone else there looked like they were anorexic.

  • The Ten Day Diet- A great diet but the food is through the roof on price. Totally worth it because you get to eat Red Snapper multiple days.

During this time, the needle on the scale kept going up until today I'm 257 lbs. You think by now I'd realize it's not the diet that failed, it's me- I'm the failure. I simply need to accept that I will never be a Greyhound. I'm a soft lovable St. Bernard, right? Sort of.

There are a few things I've learned along the way

  1. Diets can't be temporary- I will always need to limit my intake. Believe it or not, my jelly belly is a lot like credit card debt. When I spend too much, I carry around stress in debt, and when I eat too much, I carry around stress in poundage. Just as budgets aren't temporary neither is the mode in which I chose to watch my eating.

  2. Stress causes me to gain weight- My weight is like a little stress barometer- the more stress, the more I weigh. When I was recovering from an illness a few years ago I started working out multiple times each day at the YMCA and seriously restricting calories for two months. You know, I've got a great system because it countered the assault but hunkering down and not letting me lose any weight at all. Instead, if I take a lower key approach to exercise and weigh loss, it may give me more success.

  3. I have no control over loss of weight only over my behavior- Setting weight loss goals aren't really goals at all because we have no control over them. The year I lost fourteen pounds in one week on weight watchers was cake compared to the weeks I fought at the gym and ate very little a few years ago and had ZERO weight loss success. In my short-sightedness I abandoned my efforts because I was not achieving my goals. If my goals had been based on behavior, instead of weight loss, I may have had the verve to keep going, knowing that no matter what the scale said, I was keeping up my part of the bargain.

  4. All I want to do is feel better- I recently went to a knee specialist who told me that all I needed to do was cut my calories to 1500 a day. I've been there, in fact, I was there last week and gained three pounds. Extreme diets wipe me out and are very rarely successful for me. I want to feel good while I'm dieting so that I keep it up. I'm not going to kill myself at the gym or starve myself. I'm going to stretch but not too far and try to be gentle so that I'll want to keep healthy rather than feel like it is some awful medicine.

  5. Blood sugar control- After having such a bad week last week I have to admit that blood sugar issues can play an important role in weightloss. For me, that's a large consideration in how I'm putting my plan together. Like Steve Carell on Get Smart who was opening that granola bar when they were supposed to be staking out someone, consistant small meals are important.

SOOOOO- Here's my plan-

I'm going on a HAPPY DIET.

Eating- I need to eat every 1-1/2 to 3 hours with meals consisting of 350-500 calories and snacks 50-150 calories. The lower limits are as important as the upper limits so I need to eat as much as I need to limit my eating.

Exercise- Each weekday I'll participate in three types of activities. If I'm perfect during the week, then Saturday is free! Otherwise, Saturday is a catchup day.

  1. Cardio for 20 min.- Because of my knees that means swimming

  2. Stretching and abs- I've got a morning and evening routine that I've let slip lately

  3. Fun with the kids- As part of my efforts, I've got to do something physical with the kids each day

Extra Corners and Limits- There are a few more edges that will help me. Each week I may tweak this section a little but for now it consists of
  1. Fast food once a week- This summer I've gotten lazy. I'm determined to only resort to fast food once a week so that when I get it, I really want it.
  2. Water Intake- I've got to down two glasses in the morning before exercising and 16oz. with each meal. Sorry, that's it. I'm not going to drown myself.
  3. Morning Affirmations- I'm going to say nice things about myself to myself each morning as I get ready and rather than whine about what a pudge I am.
  4. Daily Success- I'm going to capture a daily success and write it down so I'm grateful for my day and increase endorphins. Maybe this blog is my one for today.
  5. Weighing In- Monday morning I will record my weight but remember it doesn't count. If I'm perfect and don't lose pounds it's because I'm becoming the most muscle bound woman on earth- so there.

Sorry, it's been such a mouthful. Well, I'm off. I've already been to the gym and swam for fifteen minutes. Then I sat in the hot tub with four close friends laughing and having a great time until my face was so red from the heat that it didn't go away for almost an hour. Oh well.

I also made a great brunch for everyone and have to run and get my snack now. Cross fingers. Remember, success is based on my BEHAVIOR not on weightloss so I'm hoping for a perfect day.


Shauna said...

Aaah! I could totally use a support group like this! I weigh 270 lbs and weighed 285 a month ago when I started exercising but it is REALLY hard when you're doing it on your own. Let me know if you have room! LOVE the post, I have tried SO many of those diets and have had similar results. Good luck!!

Tristi Pinkston said...

Good for you, Christine! I like how you're honoring your limits and making sure that you're eating enough as well as being careful not to eat too much. I tend to not eat enough, and that's very, very bad. :)

Tristi Pinkston said...


You're more than welcome to join the team. Send me an e-mail at and I'll get you hooked up!