I have been seriously waging the battle of the bulge for the past 2 weeks. Well, that isn't exactly true. I've actually been battling my bulge for about 39 years, but I have been putting forth some serious effort for the past 2 weeks. I have tried many things that work short term, but I am looking to make a total lifestyle change, not drop 10 pounds for a special event. I have discovered that if I put on a show on Netflix, then I will walk on my treadmill pretty much like a brain dead zombie until it is over. I never watched the series 24 when it originally aired and I picked it because there were 192 episodes and because it is returning in May with all new episodes. I am totally hooked. Yesterday, I got on the treadmill and I walked for 80 minutes (2 episodes) because I was completely engrossed in the story. I could not imagine trying to watch this with a week between episodes.
My weight has always been an issue for me. I am turning 40 in 60 days. I has wanted to lose 40 pounds before my 40th birthday, but that will not happen. See, when I was 20 and I wanted to drop some weight, I would watch it for a few weeks and up my activity for a little bit and drop 25 pounds in a month like it was nothing. Not anymore. Now I amp up my activity, drink only water, cut calories, try to sleep more, and in general do everything that I know I should have been doing for the last 39 years, and I lose a pound a week if I am lucky. Getting old sucks.
The reason that I am so very focussed on this now isn't just because I am about to turn 40. In June I am going to the beach with my family. My family, my sister's family and my parents are renting a beach house for a week. My brother in law is a fireman and a mixed martial artist. My sister does Crossfit. My parents are both slim. The thought of standing next to them on the beach in a swimsuit has prompted my urgency, but my weight is something that I needed to work on anyway. I love everything that I am not supposed to -- bread, pasta, potatoes, Coke, cookies, beef, sauces and gravy -- basically everything that I need to cut to lose weight and be healthy. Those things are all fine in moderation, but it's the "moderation" that I struggle with more than anything.
I read somewhere that when you are trying to lose weight that you should make your intentions very public so that everyone will hold you accountable. I have no problem letting everyone know that I need to lose weight -- it isn't like it is a secret. Anyone who looks at me can tell that I need to lose some weight. My friend Christy and I are attacking our problem together by bragging about our successes and complaining about our setbacks and sharing recipes and tips. While Christy is my confidant on this journey, I have let everyone know that I am trying. The problem is that when you tell people that you are trying to lose weight, they all have ADVICE. Advice is awesome if it is helpful, but the problem is most of it isn't. So here are some of the gems that I have received over the past couple of weeks:
"Just eat less." (Wow, I never thought of that. Thanks.)
"There's this soup that was developed by the Mayo Clinic that I found online -- I lost 10 pounds in a week eating it. It has cabbage and kale and all sorts of vegetables that force your body to drop weight fast. I'll send you the recipe." (Can't wait.)
"Have you ever done a colon cleanse? It can cause you to lose tons of weight by eliminating the excess sludge in your digestive tract." (Yeah, I did one right before my colonoscopy 2 years ago. It is not an experience that I wish to relive.)
"You should get one of those neoprene belts to help you shed the water weight." (Why not one of those with the electrodes from late night infomercials?)
"Have you tried the Paleo diet? Basically you only eat things that the cavemen would have eaten." (Do I look like a caveman? I'm pretty sure that if I tried this diet I would ACT like a caveman...)
"You should do Atkins. You eliminate all carbs until your body goes into ketosis and starts digesting itself." (This sounds...pleasant.)
"There's this clinic downtown that gives you B-12 injections and HGC or something like that. You lose a pound a day." (And gain a pound a day when you stop...)
"Have you tried drinking apple cider vinegar?" (No, that sounds disgusting...)
"Have you considered the grapefruit diet? You eat a half of grapefruit before every meal." (I have tried the one where you eat 2 cookies before and after every meal...)
"You should come to Zumba with me!" (This one is hilarious -- I cannot dance at all).
"My cousin's best friend took this herb that made her lose weight no matter what she ate. I can try to get the name of what she took if you want." (Um, no thanks. Herbs are great, but they act differently for each person. I can pretty much guarantee it will not work.)
"You should try green coffee bean extract." (Or Garcinia, or green tea, or raspberry ketones, or the tears of kangaroos....)
Look, it isn't that I don't appreciate advice, I do. I wish there was a magic soup or an herb pill that would force my body to completely morph into Cindy Crawford, but there isn't. If there was, it would be a well known solution and I probably would have already tried it. I have done some things in the past few months that sound gimmicky but seem to help me feel better even if they don't aid in my weight loss. I have started taking "detox baths" at least a couple of times a week. I do not know how much detoxing is going on, but they make me feel better. I have also started doing something called dry brushing -- using a stiff brush and using long sweeping strokes toward the heart, you brush your skin before your shower or bath. The theory is that it stimulates your lymphatic system and allows your body to metabolize everything more efficiently. I have no idea if that is true, but my skin looks amazing.
I have begun telling everyone that I am on "The 24 Diet." I love explaining that all that means is that I cut calories, drink water, and hit the treadmill while watching 24. By my estimation, I should be good on episodes for at least 12-13 weeks at 2 episodes a day. Of course, when I get all caught up, I will have to find another show...too bad Downton Abbey isn't on Netflix.