At least I’m not allergic to speed limits …

My doctor called me the other day.

Have I mentioned how much I love my doctor lately?


Well, I do.

Even when he calls me to inform me that my cholesterol is now at 236 and my LDL and HDL levels suck rocks.

He does it in such a nice way that I can’t help but want to invite him over for dinner and feed him homemade macaroni and cheese and, if time allows, adopt him.

He did not yell at me or sit in judgment when I informed him that of the twenty pounds I had hoped to lose in the last six months, I had lost a total of negative 3, which is a euphemism for DAMMIT, I CAN’T ZIP UP MY PANTS NOW.

You know how many blog posts I’ve read since January 1st? A lot. Know how many of them dealt with weight loss or new exercise routines and/or diet changes? A whole helluva lot.

And I read each one with avid interest, because I find myself in that same predicament. Once again.

If you had told me five years ago that not only would I gain back all of my Weight Watchers pounds but my health would be seriously compromised because of it, I would have chest-pushed you in my best Elaine Benes impersonation, yelled GET OUT and stomped off on my way to the treadmill with a mouth full of carrot sticks.

Because five years ago, I thought I had transformed my life into a healthier, physically fit one. I had shed close to forty pounds through a combination of W² and huffing and puffing on the treadmill for 45 minutes a day, seven days a week, to the beat of ABBA and U2.

My legs and arms had definition and my sweats were not the only things ripped on my body.

I not only met my goal weight, I exceeded it. By a lot. A whole helluva lot.

And therein lay my downfall.

I do not know how to set limits. I do not know the meaning of the word moderation. Much like Zoe’s bike, I have two speeds: warp and stop.

I cannot do anything half-assed or half way. It’s either 110% or it’s nothing.

Go big or go home, as they say in Texas.

Do they actually say that in Texas?

Losing the weight on Weight Watchers wasn’t the hard part for me, once I made it through the first two weeks in which I had to wire my jaws shut so that I would not eat my own young. It took me less than five months to lose forty pounds.

Even now, I could probably do it again, maybe not as easily, but I’m pretty sure I could do it. I’d just send my kids over to Granny’s for a month or two.

But I can tell you with 100% certainty that I would not be able to maintain it.

Because maintenance requires limits and limits require moderation and moderation is the word I use to describe all of that swampy, murky, gray middle ground hell lying between for shit’s sake, Andy, you’re wasting away and ummm, do you really think you should eat that?

I don’t do limits. Or middle ground. I don’t do moderation.

I only do extremes.

Luckily for me, the only exception to this rule is laundry. By some bizarre twist of fate, I find that I”m perfectly content to scope out a big, huge, fat piece of middle ground in my living upon which I set five or six baskets of laundry and watch them grow roots.

But for everything else?


If you tell me I need to work forty hours a week, I will work sixty or, in the alternative, flagellate myself as a failure.

If you tell me to clean the house, I’ll cry and pitch a hissy but then I will clean that house until it is so sterile, you’ll feel obliged to wear scrubs just to cross the threshold.

If you tell me to change my life and do something I love, I will quite nearly kill myself 24/7 by researching it and then implementing it and thereafter analyzing it and ultimately revamping it, until it morphs into OH MY GOD, I HATE THIS and I morph into someone I no longer recognize.

I will be completely and utterly obsessed with whatever it is I’m tasked to do, to the exclusion of everything else.

I don’t know why I’m like this. I just am. And it is an utterly exhausting way to live. It takes a physical and emotional and mental toll that I can’t even begin to describe.

And so, I try to avoid it. This means I procrastinate, avoid and otherwise sidestep losing weight or a multitude of other things, trying in vain to ward off that horrible, burning need to exceed that I know will consume me.

On W², I became so engrossed in the execution of the program that I lost sight of its most basic goal – to realize and sustain a healthy weight. I couldn’t see the forest for all of the low fat, high protein, high fiber points dotting my path to weight loss nirvana. Points became my life. How many I was allotted, how many I used, how I used them and how I could earn more of them.

And most important of all, how I could hoard them and stockpile them, knowing that the more unspent points I collected, the more weight I could potentially lose.

I wore the same clothes to every single weigh-in … the same socks, undies, bra, biker shorts and faded, blue Old Navy T-shirt. For five months I did this. Because it was winter, I would dress in layers and basically strip in the waiting room, down to my weigh-in clothes. I’d have timed my weigh-in in such a way that I could ensure that my own personal waste management system (that I affectionately refer to as my bowels and bladder) had sufficient time to do their duty and rid my body of any unnecessary poundage. I shaved. Right before stepping on the scale, I took off my glasses and my watch and my wedding rings and my bracelet. At the last moment, I exhaled.

I lived, ate, slept and dreamed my points. To the extent that I once called my girlfriend at 11:30 p.m., and pleaded with her to get out of bed, go downstairs and read me off the nutritional value from the bag of tortilla chips we had opened that afternoon. I had had three of them.

But then came maintenance. Which meant I couldn’t go below my point allotment. I couldn’t hoard my points. I had to stay within a certain range, not go below it.

I had to set a limit.

I had to find that murky middle ground quicksand and jump into it.

I had to maintain average. Ordinary. Normal.

And my brain just gave up with a WHAT THE HELL?

Maintenance just blew my plan to smithereens.

I lasted maybe two months on maintenance before I packed up my suitcase chock full of Pepperidge Farm Orange Milano Cookies and climbed the mountain known as HERE WE GO AGAIN and started my decline.

And five years later, here I am.

At the bottom.

Except this time, I’m five years older, in my forties, pre-menopausal, with high cholesterol, with a family that has a colorful history of heart disease complete with heart attacks, valve replacements and bypass surgeries. My hips have spread like butter and my waist has relocated to another zip code.

Sucks rocks. Boulders, even.

Obviously, I don’t blame Weight Watchers. It’s a fantastic program that really works.

Obviously, I blame myself because if I could just find it within me to look at the very idea of moderation as a nutritional health benefit instead of a soul-sucking leech upon humanity, I’d be typing this while decked out in size 8 sweats.

Today I will pick up my first prescription for Simvastatin and feel heavier than usual and realize that failure weighs a freaking ton.

I’m not going to use my blog to shout out to the world that I’m going to lose weight again in an attempt to hold myself accountable because that’s not why I write this blog.

I write this blog as a creative outlet, with the benefit of putting a smile on your faces as well as mine. Hopefully. So far, I’ve been successful at keeping it from consuming my life and sucking my will to live. Not exactly blogging in moderation but, at least, not blogging as if my life depended upon it. Baby steps, right?

But if I started using my blog as a cyber scale or virtual report card on my girth, history has taught me that I will undoubtedly learn to resent it and then abandon it in favor of keeping my sanity. Then all ten of my readers would be forced to email each other, asking if I fell off the face of the earth when they weren’t looking.

I just don’t know if I can harness my passion to exceed before it dictates, then decimates, my passion to write and I’m not willing to gamble the latter to find out.

Big, huge, kudos to all the bloggers out there who have the wherewithal to include their readers on their journey of weight loss. I wish I could find that kind of balance. As I read your blogs, I rejoice with you, I commiserate with you, I pull for you. I admire you.

I just know that I’m not one of you.

I may lose weight. I may not. If I do, I’ll let you know. If I don’t, I’ll let you know that too.

Or not.

I will, however, lower my cholesterol, even if it takes a pill to do it, as much as I dislike the entire concept of that idea. But I think I’d dislike a quadruple bypass or stroke even more.

Now I’m going to go call my doctor and see what color he’d like me to paint his room.


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30 thoughts on “At least I’m not allergic to <em>speed</em> limits …”

  1. Avatar

    I know just how you feel. Maintenance (who made up that stupid word anyway)that’s the key and that really is the hardest part of all. I think a lot of us have done exactly the same as you but until we realise the ‘maintenance’ is for the rest of our lives things won’t change much. The thought of eating healthy and EXERCISE!!! for however many more years I’m here is very depressing and demoralising, it’s enough to make go and eat a whole packet of something, anything covered in chocolate.

  2. Avatar

    Eh. Getting old sucks too. That’s the pre-menopausal thing that causes you to either eat a bag of peanut M&M’s, or else yell obscenities at your dying dog because she just barfed, one more time, on your rug. *sigh*

  3. Avatar

    Get out of my head, AGAIN! We are indeed the same person.

    My taekwondo instructor…a very fit 28 year old single GUY, is quite smug about weight loss. He’s like “I quit drinking two energy drinks/day back in December and I’ve lost 11lbs. Why cant’ you just do something like that?” I told him that I eat 1100 calories/day and workout six days a week and gained 1.5lbs. last night. The math does not compute. So of course, I know he just assumes that I must be slamming down Twinkies in the break room when nobody is watching. He so doesnt’ get it.

  4. Avatar

    Weight maaintenance is very difficult as it is and add age on top of that! I do not do moderation who made up that work anyway. mmmmm, I love homemade mac & Cheese, I’m coming over for dinner.
    Good luck with everything, I’m pulling for ya.’

  5. Avatar

    Ugghh. I know the feeling. I recently lost 27 lbs, and gained it all back, plus more. I wish you luck in your journey, and if you see someone jogging besides you, looking like she’s going to pass out, feel free to ignore me.

  6. Avatar

    I never made it to maintenance. I lost almost 100 pounds and couldn’t get over that hurdle. Then I got injured and had to have shoulder surgery and knee replacement so I couldn’t exercise and then I felt sorry for myself and started eating crap again (btw orange milano cookies sound like to die for) and now 2 years later I’m back up 3 pounds over where I started. And yes I know that was one giant run-on sentence.

    I’m back to doing WW and trying to remember that this is a lifetime change and that the goal is to be healthier (Reese’s count as a protein, right?).

  7. Avatar

    I have been battling weight all my life. I have gained and lost enough lbs. to make several small, weird looking people. Right now I am horribly overweight and the only reason I can stay somewhat no a new eating plan [I don’t use the word “diet” because it’s evil] is that my knees are killing me.

    Suzanne Somers has a great weight loss plan, easier than Weight Watchers, and I suggest you get one of her books and learn the plan. It’s basically combining foods the right way.

    I also have to tell you, I worked for a guy a few years ago who had a terrible family history of heart disease. He tried to keep his weight down, watch his cholesterol, and exercise, etc. and he was OK. Then he got divorced and his job went south, and he stopped taking care of himself, had a massive heart attack, and died, at 44. It happens.

    PLEASE do whatever you can to get down your cholesterol. I look forward to reading your blog every day, plus BTW, your kids need a mommy…

    Sending prayers your way from Hote-Lanta where I am freezing today…

  8. Avatar

    This really reminded myself about my mental breakdown I had last week in Lane Bryant. I knew I had been gaining weight, afterall I quit smoking. so a few pounds were ok. So im off to lane bryant because well all my new clothes that i bought over the summer for my cruise no longer fit because i had possibly put on a few extra pounds. now i have always been ok about shopping there as i was only a size 18 and well “normal stores” sell size 18 so it wasn’t like i was large or anything.. really i only had a tiny toe in the door..

    when i went this time.. omg i tried on some pants i was between a 20 and 22.. and then the breakdown begain. no longer did i have a toe in the door, but i had moved all the way into the store.. ..

    i know blah blah blah.. i quit smoking.. but who cares!!! so I know exactly where your at, because once i put on my big girl panties and realized that i was OK.. i went and bought some really cute clothes in size 20/22 and got overmy self.

    so to make a long story short. don’t be to hard on yourself. the important thing is to be HEALTHY and HAPPY!!

  9. Avatar

    This means I procrastinate, avoid and otherwise sidestep losing weight or a multitude of other things, trying in vain to ward off that horrible, burning need to exceed that I know will consume me.

    ME! You just described me to a “T”. ugh…as for weight loss?? Well…I’m with ya sis! I can lose it IF I **cough**gag**exercise or at the very least get off my ever expanding butt!! Na..can’t see it happening any time soon though I do think about it while I’m watching The Biggest Loser and eating chips:)

  10. Avatar

    My physical is scheduled for Monday. My cholesterol was up last year thanks to my obsession with all things butter and cheese. That hasn’t changed. Wish me luck.

  11. Avatar

    I totally understand what its like to be a whole-hog type of person. When I lost many many pounds in ’04, I lived, ate and breathes calories, fat grams, points. All I ever thought about was my next meal and how I would plan out the next day to stay within the right range and still lose.

    When I hit my goal, it was like I could finally exhale and live again. So, of course, the pounds slowly crept back. There are got to be a better way for us OCD procrastinators.

  12. Avatar

    I’m completely with you. How about losing the same 25 pounds twice? Yes, I did that in 04/05 and again 06/07.
    Now I’m trying for try 3.

    Baby steps, come and join me on this thread:

    I’m currently obsessed with We Cheer on the Wii. I’m so competitive that I now have swollen knees because I want to pass the song and be better then my oldest daughter (who isn’t 10 years old).

    I want to at least get moving every day and watch what I eat. It’s a start. No “d” word here.

  13. Avatar

    I totally get you on this one. I lost 116 lbs in 16 mnths in 1999-2000 on a combo of WW and slim fast pills, BEFORE they were, you know, taken off the market. I was also consumed by points. I knew ever point value out there. Then I got preg. Found LOTS of my lost weight, but thankfully not ALL of it. I’ve lost 50, but have more to go.. oh well, just know that your in GOOD company girl!

  14. Avatar

    Don’t think of the last five years as failure. You were just enjoying life to the fullest! 🙂

    I too lost about 50lbs in four months using SparkPeople and cutting out all sodas and caffeine. (Except for my daily shot of dark chocolate. All those antioxidants you know.)

    I quit doing my regular exercise and have now gained about 25lbs of that back. *sigh* Let’s just say that I was still overweight even after the 50lb loss, so I’ve never reached “skinny.”

    This time around, I’m trying ADDING instead of subtracting from my diet. I’m adding in green and white tea (all those healthy benefits in a cup of flavored water), and the SuperFoods (like spinach, honey, walnuts, EVOO, etc.) from the SuperFoods RX book.

    Now I just gotta add in the exercise. *Ewwwwww!* 😀

  15. Avatar

    If I can learn moderation, you can too.

    I won’t bore you with the details, much, but suffice it to say that I maintain my weight through moderation, after going through a phase in college where I believe I narrowly escaped falling into the anorexia category. Now I eat pretty much what I want, only I have this mental rule that tells me to push myself away from the plate while I still want more. I almost always leave one or more bites behind, even though I was raised to believe I should lick my plate clean because I was lucky to have food, unlike the children in Africa. I’m almost 50, and have gained a few tummy pounds that I could do without, but I’m not going to go off the deep end about them. They’ll come off when they come off.

  16. Avatar

    Me too! I didn’t even realize that for years I have bordered on OCD with certain things. It wasn’t until a coworker bluntly (but kindly) pointed out my tendancy to be 150% into something or completely abandon it. There is no middle ground. Weight loss, exercise, diet…these are no different for me. It’s an all or nothing proposition and I don’t know how to change this very core part of my personality.

  17. Avatar

    Dude! Me too. I am a W2 lifer. Who weighs far more than my goal weight and have for too long. I am not a middle ground girl either. All or nothing. And right now I’m about nothing! I can’t get to a place where I care enough to do something about my middle. Or my backside. Or my cheeks. All 4 of them. I just don’t care. I love Little Debbies and diet coke. And a whole slew of other food groups that my dr. doesn’t approve of as “anytime foods”. But mommies should be soft, right??

  18. Avatar

    Diets don’t work. Processed food makes you fat. Dairy makes you fat (cows milk has naturally occurring growth hormones that make calves grow big quickly, it’s common sense that it would make US grow bigger quickly)
    I quit eating processed foods and dairy products and have lost 57 lbs since May.

    Take the raw food challenge. You eat all you want and the weight falls off.

    Love your blog. You are very funny and I hate to think that you wouldn’t be around to write anymore.
    (how’s that for a dose of pseudo-mom guilt?)

    Cheers to you and I wish you the best.

  19. Avatar

    Okay, preaching to the choir, in a way. I lost almost 50 lbs and now I’m on the slippery slope back.

    Is it bad to say I’m glad to read that someone else is experiencing the same weight madness hell?

  20. Avatar

    And here I thought I was the only one who wore the same outfit to WW for weigh-ins!! I never even thought anyone noticed until the lady weighing me during my 5th week jokingly said, “are you gonna keep wearing shorts and a tank top even when it’s 30 degrees outside?” and I said, “you’re damn right, lady”. I was always shocked at those women who weighed in wearing jeans and heavy sweaters.

    Anyway, I totally feel ya on this. Since having my last set of twins (I just read that back…”my last set of twins” as if I’m popping out children in pairs every year), I’ve lost 35 lbs but I still have another 26 lbs to go. And I have a high cholesterol issue too, although it has gone done considerably since losing weight. I’m contemplating starting medication too if I can’t get it any lower on my own. I’ve been trying for a year now…eating raw garlic, putting ground flaxseed on everything that counts as food, eating oatmeal even though I gag on every spoonful, eating almonds by the handful, eating all the plant sterols I can get my hands on…I’m not sure what else I can do except lose these last 26 lbs but even then I have a feeling I’ll still have the cholesterol issue b/c it’s in the family.

    Okay, wow, I got off on a tangent there, didn’t I? I really just wanted you to know I get it. It sucks big time to finally realize that the extra weight can contribute to something more serious like a heart attack.

  21. Avatar

    Hey, I just typed out this super long comment and I think it got deleted somehow!! UGH!!! Well, the short version was that I totally understand where you’re coming from. I also have serious cholesterol issues too and I’ve done everything I can think of to lower it so I’m facing having to take a medication too. My dr is giving me one more shot to lower it on my own and then it’s onto prescription drugs!

  22. Avatar

    To quote The Creative Junkie, “I could have written this!”. I sit here nursing and I know I can’t diet because I can only go “full force” or nothing, and I don’t want my milk to dry up. To me, moderation has always felt like a waste of time and energy. Of course, this will be my downfall.

    Like you, I have considered blogging about weight loss just to hold myself accountable, the way the WW weigh-ins do. But you make a lot of sense when you say you begin to avoid your blog because of it. Bye bye creative outlet, hello instrument of accountability.

    What is the answer for people like us? I know how to lose weight as a single, childless smoker. But I don’t know how to lose weight as a wife and mother and non-smoker. Actually, I know what I’m supposed to do – but how to actually do it in such a way that life doesn’t start to feel like a chore eludes me. Who was it who said that living on a diet is almost as bad or hard as living with and managing a disease? The diet itself begins to feel as bad as the health problem you’re trying to avoid.

    Why can’t we crave vegetables? Why don’t they fill that yearning in our soul the way bread does? Good luck to you whatever you do, and if you find something that works please do share!

  23. Avatar

    Andrea you are such a hoot! I wanted to read your blog as I was thinking of writing something and wanted to see how I would stack up. NOT! You are a wonderful ‘story teller’ weight on or off! Just loved it. I am sure you are going to get a lot of sincere good advice as to what can work or things to try so I won’t go there. I just commend you for telling it as it is and with such humour. Good luck and keep writing.

  24. Avatar

    Loved your story 😛 I hope you and your doctor can work out a suitable cholesterol lowering solution taking into account your behaviours and attitudes!

  25. Avatar

    I’ve done the same darn thing! Minus the high BP and cholesterol… genetically lucky on that one so far…
    But the weight I’ve lost and gained the same 30 to 50 pounds over and over. Last year I lost 57. so far I’ve gained 20 back… I don’t do moderation either It is either all or nothing with me. I think it is a little late to change my personality at this point… I may just have to chain a personal trainer to me….

  26. Avatar

    Oh you too! Reading your comments hon we ain’t the only ones 😆 A few years ago the dr told me about my BP & cholesterol, I joined WW, lost 40 lbs. The sad thing was it did nothing for my BP & cholesterol, that is when they decided it was all genetic. So now I have back slided into a 60 lbs weight gain, getting that puts 20 lbs heavier than when I started WW last time! Hey at least I quit smoking through that 60 lbs, and I am now done with menopause. I know I need to at least exercise again, let alone head back to WW with my tail between my legs — but like you I am so OCD. If I do it I know I will become obsessed with the points, the exercise — oh what to do…. and the cholesterol drug worked great on my cholesterol but my body rejected it with going through all the listed side effects… grrr … if only I was born with a different set of genetic codes.

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