Fiction

30 Days, 30 Pounds: The Final 10 Days

Read here for the second 10 days

Day 21 – June 19th; weight: 197.0 – 21.8 pounds to goal

I really have nothing to add at this point. I feel like I’m just being a big (FAT!) whiner about now. I will stick out the month, but it seems that no matter my resolve, this whole weight loss thing is beyond me. Short of taking up a serious gym regimen that I can neither afford nor make time to do, I don’t see how I will ever be down to where I want to be. At this point, I’m just beyond frustrated. It’s like the five stages of death: I began with bargaining (“If I am strict for 30 days, I get to lose weight… amiright?”), moving on to depression (for good cause: falling down a flight of stairs and ripping up a body part is a justifiable reason to be sad), through anger (the gift that keeps on giving as nothing makes me more short-tempered than being in a state of hunger and deprivation when the kids are lying about eating richer foods that I made and/or purchased for them), now on to denial, which has been all month long in some ways. I’m denying myself food, pleasure and relaxation; I’m in a state of denial over how to lose this damn weight.

Jazzy

That’s Jazzy the First on the left, next to Jasmine the Younger.

Well, today I feel like I’ve arrived at acceptance. There’s a reason why they call it “fat” acceptance or “body” acceptance; this is really fucking hard.

And speaking of really fucking hard, my sister had to put down her beloved Australian Sheepdog today. Jazzy was such a kind and sweet dog. I remember her trying to corral the kids when they—and she—were much younger. She had a good long life, but I’m very sorry for my sister’s loss.

Biggest Accomplishment: Not eating much on set. One of the main downsides to being on a shoot is that food choices are limited to whatever the producers are paying for. I had a couple Kind bars (the best and only granola bars worth eating, if you want my opinion) and the minimal at lunch. I drank too much coffee, but then I walked home (just shy of five miles).

Biggest Fail: N/A unless we’re counting the part about too much coffee.

Day 22 – June 20th; weight: 193.4 – 18.2 pounds to goal

And then on Day 22, a miracle! I haven’t done anything differently. I’ve just been keeping on keeping on. I am so relieved at this point that I went ahead and posted my first Challenge blog that I wrote three weeks ago. On it I noted that I would only post these blogs “if I succeed,” but in all honesty “success” is very much a relative term. To finally be below 195 is a success; to only have had two drinking days for nearly a month is a success; to be the lightest I have been since mid-October 2013 is a success. I feel like I now have true cause to forge ahead. I had already been contemplating switching to a different diet that I’ve had success with in the past. It’s 10 days long and pretty strict (not in terms of quantity but in terms of when you eat and what you eat), so I was planning on starting it on Tuesday after the shoot wraps and I have more flexibility with my time.

I feel like all the effort and deprivation for the past three weeks has had an actual result! Not just an overnight weight loss of nearly four pounds but a weight loss that brings a number up on the scale that I haven’t seen in a very very long time.

Biggest Accomplishment: Updating the blog. The past two days have been shooting days, so I haven’t had any time to do non-essential work. And this blog is non-essential, at least in terms of taking priority over paid gigs.

Biggest Fail: Eating off the plan: As already noted, craft services on set is pretty limited vis a vis “dieting.” Ordinarily, I would be fine eating on this set, but there’s almost nothing available for me with the diet. I finally got fed up (both figuratively and literally) with my food options and pretty much noshed on nuts and dried fruits all afternoon. Not bad for hiking in the mountains, but for just standing around??? Not so much.

Day 23 – June 21st; weight: 192.4 – 17.2 pounds to goal

The numbers appearing on my scale are so foreign I have to weigh myself three times. It’s a good feeling, and I am confident that at a minimum, I will make it to the half-way point on this 30-day challenge (i.e. I will average a half-pound-per-day weight loss or 15 pounds total). With a week to go and ten full days in the month—my challenge dates are probably going to exceed the 30 days, as I’m really judging myself on a June 30th deadline—there’s a slight chance I might even make it 2/3 the way to my goal. Honestly, at this point, just being below 195 seems like a dream come true.

I will have to see how the week works out, as I have two friends inviting me out this week and both will tempt me with alcoholic beverages. I feel like I’m so close to the finish line that I can’t cave. I am also looking ahead to July when I will be in Asheville for 10 days and drinking a lot of beer (I’m hoping to work in a couple of good hikes to off-set the beer calories). I want to be at a lower weight for a solid week before heading down south. I’d still love to drop another 10 pounds before the month’s end, but I know that I’ve made real progress so staying the course has to be my number one focus at this point. Boring? Probably. A good goal? Definitely!

Biggest Accomplishment: Spending all day working. Freelancing is not for those who want a “sabbath” day, but now I’m caught up.

Biggest Fail: N/A

Day 24 – June 22nd; weight: 193.0 – 17.8 pounds to goal

My last day on set gets cut short (I was wrapped by 1 p.m.) and I come home utterly exhausted. While I really love being on set, it’s a lot of work! I know that sounds oxymoronic, but the truth is most of us in a “professional” line of work spend incredible amounts of time sitting on our asses, whether it’s work on a computer or boardroom-style meetings or traveling to work on a computer and take in boardroom-style meetings. To be on my feet all day with the rare day off back at working on the computer writing, it’s been a challenge for sure. A good challenge, but I could use some rest. Lucky for me, the weather is near or above 90 for the next two days so I’m guessing my rest will be less than ideal.

Biggest Accomplishment: N/A.

Biggest Fail: Combination of food and exercise. I had thought I would be on set all day so I hurried to do about 20 minutes of yoga followed by 10 minutes of meditation. That’s only half my typical allotment. When I got home early from set, I didn’t have the energy to do more exercise or make a salad, so I just whipped up some leftovers from the night before (not a horrible choice: roast pork and brown rice). And then I took a nap. After going on full thrusters for a week, I guess this isn’t that much of a fail.

Day 25 – June 23rd; weight: 192.6 – 17.4 pounds to goal

I’m in the home stretch, as it were! Today I’m starting a 10-day “diet” that I’ve done successfully once before. It’s from Ann Louise Gittleman, who has written a series of books about healthier eating. This was the diet that introduced me to the notion of “healthy fats.” She wouldn’t like that I have roast pork in my fridge (that may end up on my plate at some point); she’s also a big proponent of all-organic food. Depending on your access to farms, The Fast Track Detox Diet may not be for you. But since I’ve had some success before, I’m going to give it a try to end the month strong.

A word about coffee: It’s not allowed on this diet. Ordinarily, giving up coffee is not much of a problem for me. I switched to 1/2 decaf about five years ago and I only ever have two cups. That’s the equivalent of one cup of caffeine per day. However, since I’ve been on sets with very little food I could reasonably consume, I’ve been substituting with coffee. And not the decaffeinated version. Hopefully I won’t have too much of a reaction from going cold turkey on the morning jo.

Mostly, I just want to get reinvigorated so that I can wind up the month lower than 192-193. I know I won’t get to my challenge goal of 30 pounds; it was a crazy plan to begin with. However, I know that a month ago had I tried to do this diet, I would have balked a day in. Now I feel like I can manage it because in many ways it will be more food than I’ve been eating most of the month. It’s a grazing type of diet, which is why I couldn’t start it while I was working on set. Having regular “snacks” (e.g. a couple hard-boiled eggs, a small orange, a cup of raw veggies) is a big part of why this diet worked for me last time: I never felt hungry and my metabolism was always on “high.”

Of course, this also means I need to get to a store today to buy (some of) the food I need for the next few days.

Biggest Accomplishment: Skipping coffee. Oh, and I can fit into my shorts! Which was good since it was over 90° and sticky as hell.

Biggest Fail: Not getting up on time. I guess my fatigue from the last week has lasted: I set my alarm for 4 a.m. to get up and do yoga. My body just said, “Nope. Not happening.” It’s really hard for me on days when I work in the city to fit everything in… especially when it’s 95 degrees in my apartment by noon! (For the record—or FTW—I did do my own personal version of Bikram in the middle of the afternoon.)

Day 26 – June 24th; weight: 191.6 – 16.4 pounds to goal

I am finally to the point where I’m doing what I set out to do: lose a pound per day. The first day on the detox diet went pretty well; I ended up skipping dinner as the kids weren’t home and I had purchased a bunch of fresh berries from a farm stand yesterday. I’m not a huge fan of fruit (too sweet), but I did enjoy having an orange (on the detox diet day one as a snack) and some blue- and strawberries for my dinner (not on the plan, but I wasn’t up for beef and veggies, which was the prescribed meal).

I definitely feel like the half-way point is within my reach. I’m no longer ambivalent about only getting half way to my goal weight, especially as it came under a full-time effort during this challenge. Of course, the irony now is that I feel like continuing into July, whereas a week ago all I wanted was for this month—and the challenge—to be at an end. I will try to reserve my analysis for the final post. It will definitely be weird not blogging about this every day.

Speaking of weird: How odd that we put all this personal junk out there for people to see? It used to be I kept a journal; it was a very private enterprise. Now, it seems like we have no privacy; what, between the government spying on us and corporations tracking our ever click, we now add personal revelations in blog form. The philosophies of voyeurism aside, I decided to share this mainly because I did it! I took the incredible (from my standpoint) effort to challenge myself to lose weight in a pretty drastic way, and as part of that challenge I decided to blog about it. It would be silly not to reveal myself at this point, particularly as I think I’ve become a wee inspiration to others. It’s really hard at middle age to stop the clock and roll it back. Once upon a time, young people were skinny and older people were “chubby.” It was just age and we seemed to go with the rhythm of life. Nobody wanted a bony grandmother’s lap to crawl up in!

I just read a study yesterday that 75% of men and nearly 2/3 of women are now either obese or overweight. I am not a fat shamer, but I do think that when you live in the majority it’s much easier to stay there. That doesn’t mean it’s a healthy choice. I cannot speak for anyone else; certainly I know obese people in better shape than I am, just as I know skinny people who are in worse shape than I am. Size isn’t necessarily a measurement of health. However, the average obese person does have more health-related concerns than the average normal-weight person. That’s just the truth. The causality may be multi-layered (I would argue a lot of what is wrong with all Americans is our food supply; we simply eat crap and for the most part that has nothing to do with girth).

I am still staunchly in the 2/3 of women who are above normal-weight. In fact, I probably always will be. My goal weight—the weight at which I know I am healthiest—results in a BMI of 25.8, which is still “overweight” according to their scale. I don’t for a second believe that the numbers from a study based on BMI are accurate. That said, I know many people who are diabetic simply because of their weight and eating habits. There are a great number of people whose lifestyles are diminishing their quality of life, often literally killing them. So, once again, it’s not about a number or a study but how I feel day-in and day-out. While I’m proud to be approaching the half-way point, I still have a long way to go. My 30-day challenge was to end at 175 pounds, but my year-long goal was to lose 52 pounds (landing me at 155). It’s still a day-at-a-time, and I hope this will be the jump I need to stay focused for the rest of the year.

Biggest Accomplishment: Putting in a very long workday and not eating while sitting.

Biggest Fail: N/A

Day 27 – June 25th; weight: 193.4 – 18.2 pounds to goal

One of the things I plan on doing after I get through this week is going back to once-per-week weigh-ins. The daily ups and downs are so draining emotionally. While a big (or even a small) tick downward inspires me, putting on two pounds for absolutely no reason whatsoever makes me want to lie in bed all day and never move again. Except maybe to get up and eat some chocolate.

I woke up tired (never a good start to the day) and with a headache (ditto). I didn’t overeat yesterday, and I did exercise. However, I think one point that simply gets overlooked in any weight loss regime is the effect of sleep (or lack thereof) on our bodies. I had a very fitful sleep, fully waking every couple of hours and taking some time to fall back asleep. I never sleep well, but last night was worse than usual. I suspect that is why my weight has ballooned. I don’t feel particularly bloated, but I do feel icky. This is the kind of feeling I was having for the better part of the month while I sat around 195-196 waiting to drop. I am cautiously hopeful that I will weigh less tomorrow, but—once again—this sucks.

Hoping that when I get through the challenge that I will no longer be torpedoed by these evil fluctuations.

Biggest Accomplishment: Went for a damn run. I didn’t want to, and I botched up the ankle a bit (had to walk the last mile—of three). However, I was looking at a day with no exercise accompanied by an intense desire to go to bed at 5:30 in the afternoon! The run burned some time and some calories.

Biggest Fail: I drank some coffee. While doing this detox diet (I’m on day three), I’m not supposed to consume any coffee or dairy. But you try waking up more tired than you were when you went to bed. And fatter! I just said, “Screw it,” and enjoyed a bit of morning routine. At this point, I don’t think it will affect my weight either way. Oh, and I felt way better after my two cups of half-and-half!

Day 28 – June 26th; weight: 190.0 – 14.8 pounds to goal

I am so glad I went for a run last night instead of caving and eating my son’s nachos! I’m half way to my 30-day challenge, which considering it’s Day 28 may not mean a whole lot but it does feel like a serious achievement. Not to mention (okay, I’m mentioning it!) that I’m at a psychological tipping point on the scale. If I can get below 187, that will be both 20 pounds I’ve managed to lose since January 1st and the least I’ve weighed in quite some time (I was able to get down to 187 the first week of October 2013; I probably wasn’t regularly below that since sometime in late 2012).

I’m looking at that number on the scale both in disbelief and with trepidation: The truth is that this is just the start of a very long journey. Aside from needing to lose 50-55 pounds total (I eventually want 155 to be my “fat” weight, so a range of 150-155), there’s just the simple reality that if I abandon this current challenge and go back to my “lazy” ways, the weight will come back. I guess I didn’t really think about what would happen if I made progress on this challenge; I never truly expected to lose 30 pounds despite the lofty goal. However, had you told me a week ago when I weighed in at 197.0, I wouldn’t have expected to have averaged a loss of a pound per day this week! So, that’s progress for you. But it also means forging ahead and not going back… and I get the sense that it’s all going to be rowing upstream.

Biggest Accomplishment: I started writing a screenplay, which really has nothing to do with the 30-day Challenge, but it is among my goals for the year. And it was something for me, myself.

Biggest Fail: Went off the detox diet and my general food plan when the kids and I went to dinner. I didn’t splurge, but I did get the smoked fish (iffy) topped with sour cream (definitely not on the list) and served on toast (empty calories, for sure).

Day 29 – June 27th; weight: 189.6 – 14.4 pounds to goal

I don’t even know how to begin to talk about today. It’s Pride weekend and I was heading out for the festivities with my best friend, but she bailed when her aging (20+), ill cat took a turn for the worst. I sat by her side all morning (or the cat’s side when she was up frantically calling vets to do a home euthanasia) and then stood by while I watched the very kind, gentle and sympathetic vet put the cat to sleep. Waldorf is with his brother Statler; my friend is mourning; and my day kinda went pretty far south. I didn’t even get on a scale until after 3 p.m. and was a bit surprised to see my weight down. I don’t know my plans for the rest of the evening. I did buy a bottle of chardonnay, more as an honorarium to my friend and the day’s events than a true compulsion to drink. But it’s been a very stressful and difficult day. My plans for fun aside, this is about as bad as it gets for my bff (she doesn’t have human children, and she dotes on her kitties). My heart breaks for her. Losing a pet is second to losing a child.

I feel like this has been the worst week ever for the pets in my circle, between my sister’s dog and my best friend’s cat.

Biggest Accomplishment: Probably just getting through that time by my friend’s side and not completely losing it. The net result, though, was being completely drained emotionally.

Biggest Fail: Because I was at my friend’s house, I didn’t stick to the detox plan at all. I had a couple cups of (admittedly) weak coffee. And in the evening I had a couple glasses of wine.

Day 30 – June 28th; weight: 189.6 – 14.4 pounds to goal

I made it! Day 30 has arrived! I honestly never thought I’d get here. All in all it’s been a good month in retrospect. Reading through this journal, which I’m glad I kept, I realize that the hardest part about losing weight is making substantive changes and then sticking with them. I also realize that for me, at least, the reward of losing more weight than might be “recommended” far outweighs (ha ha, see what I did there?) any negative consequences. Of course, I didn’t fad diet, which I think is evidenced in my weight going unchanged from yesterday despite having a few drinks and eating dinner later in the day than I would normally.

So, what’s next for me? I’m thrilled to be down 15+ pounds. It’s a good start to the 50-55 I need to lose in total. My ultimate goal is to lose an additional 45 pounds or so. If I were able to do continue this regime through the rest of the summer, that goal would be met. However, counting lost pounds is a bit like keeping tabs on mythical lottery winnings. For now, I really think my immediate goal is to keep the weight off and maintain through my upcoming trip to Asheville—where I definitely will be drinking beer—in a couple of weeks. I am feeling okay about the current “diet” of all-healthy foods: heavy on the veggies, light on the proteins and fats.

Alcohol, which is a key ingredient to both my work and play lives, was easier to give up than I thought it would be. Once I really put my mind to it, I didn’t miss it much. I did miss out on some really cool release parties, which is part of how I typically end up drinking too much beer on a regular basis: great beers, often gratis. And while I didn’t stay sober for an entire month, I only drank every 10 days (three times total), so I’m very proud of myself for keeping off my favorite libation for the most part.

Biggest Accomplishment: Taking part in the Pride parade. It was seven hours on my feet and a ton of fun.

Biggest Fail: Everything? I ate too much and drank beer. I know this isn’t the way to celebrate the end of my challenge, but I wasn’t really thinking about the diet today. I had fun!

Day30

My final thoughts

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