Friday, January 23, 2009

Don't Call It a Diet

Suuuuure, I tell myself. Of course I'm not on a diet. I only got those cans of Slim-Fast Optima because I'm too lazy to wash dishes after breakfast. I only got the mini plate because I wanted to make room for dessert. I only got those apples from the store because I got used to my parents eating fruit after every meal.

(...Wait, that last part is a bold-faced white lie, and I know it. My sister will tell you how much pie I destroyed over the holidays compared to the amount of fruit and veg on my plate.)

And then it hits me, when I get to the store and pick up the 5-lb. bag of pink grapefruit because it was "more affordable" than the bag of apples, that I really should stop lying to myself.

The fact remains that I did gain a lot of poundage back - not just for the lack of exercise and the roller-coaster cycles of depression and stress that besieged me all of last year, but because I didn't watch everything I ate for the whole year. That doesn't mean I've stopped the stress-eating - yet - but judging by the way I went through four pounds of apples since Sunday, it looks like I'm beginning to get the hang of this whole "healthy eating" stuff.

That's why, when my friend proposed going on a diet together, the first thing that came out of my mouth was "I'm in." Trust me, I don't like cutting calories and eyeballing portions as much as you do, but there's a very competitive person who's dying to get out from under all this cellulite - and that person would practically kill to fit into another pair of Size 14 jeans this spring. That's also the same person who's sick and tired of being the person who takes home cake and macaroni salad from every party. (And why does it have to be the cake and the macaroni salad? I can't even make sandwiches out of that stuff, people.) I may be broke, but this one-person pity party isn't going to stand back and go home with sloppy seconds any more... not just with food, but with, you know, practically everything else in my life.

Still and all: I'm not going on a "diet."

Here's what happened during the last few times I went on a "diet": I tried so hard because I wanted to be loved. I thought that cutting portions would make me smarter, sexier, or a better person over all. I always went in thinking that my friends and family were going to love me more if I lost X pounds in Y amount of time, in greater direct proportions. When I failed, I failed spectacularly, to the point where I did become suicidal. Talk to me about the times when I stopped eating in college because I just stopped "feeling like it," or the times when I wanted to overdose on fatburners because I felt like a loser at work, and I'll be quite blunt with you. Talk to me about the last time I tried intense high-impact cardio - with the hope that I'll burn off pounds and meet hot guys while doing so - and I'll tell you how my lungs gave out so much that I ended up with relapses of both my asthma and bronchitis.

This moment, with all the shakes and the fresh fruit and the smaller portions? Doesn't feel like a diet to me. The shakes really are there because my mornings are always rushed and I'd rather not blow all my calories on a greasy omelet. The fruits are there to take care of both the fiber and the stress-eating, especially during the times when I would rather eat than knit. (Also because I hate the processed-food aftertaste that I get from most snacks.) And the mini plates? Not only are they easy on my pocketbook and my calorie counts, but they're also easy for my stomach, since I can't handle big meals any more... or at least any big meal that isn't attached to celebrations at hand.

No more sweets, mac salad, or leftover fried whatevers from other people's pupu platters that I can't recycle into legitimate meals the next day. And definitely no soda. Not even diet soda, which I used to drink by the gallon. That stuff I have to cut down to no more than 2 a week, because anything more than that would just irritate my stomach on top of the bloating and the heartburn.

Not a diet, really. More like a change of pace.