Monday, February 8, 2010

Diet Schmiet

I started this crazy weight-loss thing on January 24, 2007.  Yes, I remember the date and can also tell you the day of my First Communion, high school graduation and then the last episode of "Full House" aired.  It's a gift.  Anyway, before that day, I had dieted before, once or twice.

  • Low-Fat:  This was in high school.  I think I read that book by Susan Powter.  Right afterwards, I eliminated all fat.  I remember going to school with a packed lunch of Tart and Tinys, Swedish Fish and Lemonheads.  Needless to say, I didn't lose much weight, didn't stick with it and never shaved my head into a bleached-blonde buzz.
  • "Make the Connection:"  My freshman year of college I went gung-ho on Oprah.  I read all of the Oprah book club books and bought both her diet book and her exercise video.  The book made a lot of sense to me, although I don't really remember much about it now.  I wore out a pair of shoes power-walking around my campus, lost 20 pounds and came home from the summer and gained it all back and more.  Just like Oprah!
  • Jenny Craig:  When I transferred schools, I was pretty miserable.  All my local friends were still away at school and I was working in a job that I absolutely hated.  One of my coworkers had recently had some success with Jenny Craig, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.  The food was expensive but I was living at home so I managed to afford it.  I lost fifty pounds and I felt great... until my Nana died and I emotionally ate my way into a larger dress size.  I think Jenny Craig is one of those things you can only do once, because when I tried to go back after a break, I couldn't handle only eating their food.  The experiment was a failure.
  • Atkins:  Who didn't try this back in the day?  It was a big switcheroo for me because I'm not a meat-meat-meat kind of lady (please refrain from sexual innuendos, my mother reads this).  I lost some weight but the bad breath and strange icky smell emanating from my body quickly ended this diet.  Bacon as a diet food was really interesting for a while though!
  • Have Whatever You Want:  After Atkins, I think I read the description of a diet book advocating eating whatever you wanted whenever you wanted it.  Sold!  I quickly ran out and bought ice cream sandwiches, cookies, carmel corn and brownies.  Two days later, when the cupboard was again bare, I headed back to the grocery store and replaced it.  I think I gained 20 pounds in a month but I still daydream about opening my cabinet and seeing six kinds of cookies.
  • "Eat This, Not That" and "Picture-Perfect Weight Loss":  Again discovered that if I am choosing between seven apples and a brownie, the brownie will win every single time. 
 Anyway, in January of 2007, I looked at my bookcase and saw that I owned at least a dozen diet books and yet still I was over 300 pounds.  That made me incredibly sad and angry, so I donated every last one to the Salvation Army and started making teeny changes in my life and taking things one day at a time. 

Strict diet plans are never going to work for me.  If you tell me I can't eat elephant ears, the only thing I'll want to eat for the rest of my life will be elephant ears.  Worrying about how many servings of each food group I eat a day or how many fat grams I consume is something I'll never do again.  Every time I start to go down that road, I end up feeling like a failure and I eat and eat and eat.  I'll never turn down a chance to go out for Mexican food and have a margarita (or two, or three) with dinner and if that means I'll never be below a size 10, that's just the way it's going to be.

The point of this whole study in yo-yo diets is that everyone needs to find a plan that works for them.  I know people who have lost a ton with all of the above methods and I would never fault anyone for trying them.  I firmly believe there's no "one size fits all" diet out there and the only thing I can tell you is what worked for me successfully.

I knew that being 315 lbs was limiting my life and that pissed me off.  The only diet that's worked for me is getting off my butt, working out and watching calories.  Yeah, it's taken three years and counting, and that annoys the crap out of me sometimes, but in the long run, I'd rather be happy and eat what I want than miserable and wearing skinny jeans.  And really, life without an occasional cupcake is not a life I want to live.


  1. Wow! I am reading this post and feel like it's me that wrote it because everything you've tried, I've tried! And you're right, the only real thing that works is getting off our butts and moving and watching what we eat. I keep saying that I'll never be one those those girls who can diet, lose the weight, and go back to a "real" life... this will ALWAYS be my life because I'm just built that way.... But once you realize it, you suck it up, put your big girl panties on and get it done. If not, the alternative is too scary to contemplate!

    Keep up the great work, thanks for sharing your struggle and know that there are those out here that are cheering you on as we struggle right along with you! :)

  2. Good post, Taryn. I think it's such an important step to understand what works and does not work for each of us first in order to get some good progress on diet, health, etc. For me, I have found pretty good results in "carb-cycling" since it is nice and simple and I don't count calories or any of that. It's the uber-crazy notion that I have to earn my carbs. On days of less activity, less carbs. More activity? You guessed it - more carbs allowed.

    Keep at it. Love your posts - added you to my blogroll too. :)

  3. Amen to all that. Whenever we're sick of maintaining or having to shed the same old however-many pounds, my husband and I joke that we'd rather die fat and jolly than miserable and skinny. Of course, there is a middle ground, but it's tricky to find it.

    Six kinds of cookies. That's my idea of heaven right there. Actually, I'd be a lot less terrified of dying if that could be guaranteed.