Sunday regurgitation: If Smokey the Bear wore shoes, he’d no longer shake in them

Almost a year ago, I blogged about my propensity to go to extremes and my aversion to middle ground and how the combination of those two character traits pretty much destroyed my ability to maintain any semblance of weight loss.

Losing the weight had been easy. Keeping it off had been nothing short of impossible and it was only a matter of time before I could start forest fires simply by walking through them, courtesy of thigh friction.

I’m not going to write about how five months ago, I packed a backpack full of Fiber One bars, stretched out my legs, took a running head start and jumped onto the bandwagon again because that post would be epic and I’ve got no time for epics this morning as there is grocery shopping to be done before my kids wear out the phrases WOW, OUR PANTRY ECHOES! HEY, CAN WE MICROWAVE TUMBLEWEEDS? ((WEEDS)) ((WEEDS)) ((WEEDS))

I’m sure lots of kids want to use those phrases so why should my kids get all the fun?

So, I’ll just tell you that the bandwagon is as uncomfortable as ever and is responsible for more than my fair share of ass splinters but with any luck and a few more boxes of Skinny Cows, I’ll have something to report to you in the next few months.

I’ll leave you with that post I mentioned, At least I’m not allergic to speed limits, to give you a frame of reference so you know whereof I speak. Or type. Whatever.

Happy 2010, everyone!

Have a carrot on me. They taste phenomenal dipped in caramel.


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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11 thoughts on “Sunday regurgitation: If Smokey the Bear wore shoes, he’d no longer shake in them”

  1. Avatar

    Don’t be so down on yourself. After 40 is the time we will tend to gain weight because of our damned hormones. I’ve been trying to lose weight for years but not at any extremes. I try not to eat too much & try to exercise once in awhile. I pretty much gave up after I had my daughter 16 years ago…lol. My body is not the same as I was when I was in my 20’s & never will be again. I have resigned myself to that fact. I don’t love my body but I have learned that it’s ok to just be me, I think. I’m 42, 5’4″ & weight about 215. Most of it is in my tummy & butt! If I lose some, yay for me, if not, I hope I just don’t gain any. I wish you the best in trying to get healthier because that’s what is important! (((HUGS)))

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    Wow. I hear ya. I so do.

    My husband told me, while I was in my crazy food-combination, working out for 2 hours 6 days a week frenzy, that he would rather have a wife he sees, who is a little soft around the edges, rather than a fitness guru who he saw, like, never.

    Since then I have vacillated terribly in my attempts to find a balance that not only makes me fit into my jeans but also doesn’t drive me totally insane. I am still searching for that DVD…

    Sucking boulders right there with you…they don’t have calories, right?

  3. Avatar

    I hear you, Andrea. I have fought the weight battles for years. I have lost and gained over 100 lbs. TWICE in my adult life. I can lose it but maintenance is awful. Didn’t help that last week for mother’s birthday I made Tiramisu, my new favorite dessert. Doesn’t help that my kids don’t eat all the Christmas candy in the living room – they hardly ever touch it – but I want to cram it ALL in my face 24/7. I am a sugar-aholic. I am resolved to try and get back on the badwagon soon, like, this week. Right now it’s impossible but today I plan to eat my way through all the leftovers in the fridge and tomorrow start clean again. Pray for me.

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    I recognize all of that except the points system. When I was in Weight Watchers 30 years ago, I became obsessive about food. All I could think about was what was I going to have for my next meal or snack and when was I going to have my allotted 4 eggs a week and my two slice of bread or other carb each day. I made a banana bread that I ate for breakfast fairly often because it had everything I could have for breakfast and I could make it ahead and then pop it into the microwave as I headed out the door to work.

    I finally got very sick of myself and I’m sure all my friends were as well. Suffice it to say that I gave up after I had lost 70 pounds (almost to my goal) and it didn’t take long for most of that to come back on. But at least I got over being obsessive about what I would eat next. So no I’m fat but happy — except that I need to do it again for a lot of reasons and I’m having a hard time talking myself into trying to lose weight again. I guess I’m afraid to become that hooked into a “program” again.

    I’ve given up chocolate and amazingly, that was easy. But I can’t shake my addiction to those damned Doritos (spicey sweet chili flavor). I think it may be more rebellion than an actual addiction but whatever it is, they keep calling me and I keep answering.

    I’m moving later this year and I think I’ll vow to mend my ways in my new place. And maybe I’ll even try before that but not so hard.

    So whatever you do, good luck to all of us.

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    OMG, it’s like you imported my brain & issues into yours and wrote this blog for me! I did not use WW but I did lose 60+ pounds using Weigh Down principles and then proceeded to gain it all back and then some (read – a LOT!) in the intervening years. Maintenance is the Devil! Here’s to hoping we can both find the middle-ground and the elusive maintenance nirvana at the end of the journey…

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    Let me just say that I am SO behind on my SITS reading (probably due to my SITZ baths) that I am just now making it over here. But that’s pretty par for the course for me. Late to everything. Anyway, I love your blog like fondue and you have a new follower. And for the record, this is THE time to put weight loss/health goals on the agenda because they gyms waive their enrollment fees, Weight Watchers offers huge discounts and if you’re anything like me, looking at one more piece of chess pie is actually kind of nauseating. Time for a salad and carrot sticks (but extra caramel for me, please). Can’t wait to follow you on your journey. You must blog about your downs, as well as your ups. Knowing someone else is puking in the bathroom gives me hope.

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    I’d just like to say I totally get where you’re coming from. Reading your thoughts was a little like looking into the mirror of my inner self. If I were as funny as you, one might even think I’d written your post. Of course, I’ve never tried Weight Watchers, though it certainly wouldn’t hurt. Anyway, I’m glad I stumbled upon your musings, and I’ll try to visit more often. Good luck with those baby steps.

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    Regarding speed limits, the first time I visited Italy a woman I met said that the stop signs and traffic lights were “suggestions.” I’ve never forgotten that.

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    Hey, I feel you…I really do. I have never had success losing weight until weight watchers and I too, am a total all or nothing girl (have you ever taken the gallup personality test. Lordy, I am an “achiever” through and through.)

    Anyway…middle ground is not something that I adapt easily to either! I have been trying to “Give it a Year” and pace myself.

    I’ll keep you posted on my project…

    And yes, everything IS bigger in Texas and we say it too. 🙂

  10. Avatar

    Wow. Blogdom really is a sisterhood, isn’t it? As usual, it’s the beginning of the year, and ‘m on a health plan. And, as usual, it’s Thursday in my less-than-stellar life and I just ate 47 Whoppers. The candy, not the burger. I, too, struggle with limits and anything and everything in relation to the word “discipline”.
    .-= Kearsie’s last blog post is here ..*Cough, gasp, eyes water* =-.

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