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15 August 2002

My friend Diane joined WeightWatchers recently and we've been comparing notes. She tells me that her leader (who sounds like a stand-up comedian), in discussing WW's points system, allows for the inevitable "million point day," those days when you lose all self control and dive headfirst into whatever happens to be standing by that you've been religiously (and effortlessly) avoiding in the days and weeks prior.

I had such a day over the 4th of July. Didn't have a clue what caused it, but there I was at 2 a.m., standing shoulder deep in chocolate cake, hating myself, and wondering what in the hell snapped.

The secret, the leader assures his members, is not to beat yourself up over losing control, it's to nip it in the bud. OK--you had a bad day. Everybody has bad days. The REALLY bad days are those that start bad weeks, bad months, and then bad indefinite periods of time.

After my "fall from grace" (I put that in for test whether he's really reading or not), the miracle for me was that I was able to pick myself up, get back to my new "lifestyle plan," and continue on.

It's hard to know what causes slips like that. In the past, a gain--of any amount--would set me into a tailspin. "I've gained an ounce, might as well give up." (That's pretty much how I handled college: "I'm flunking this course; I might as well give up school.") That's why I set my thought processes to regard this not as a diet, but as a change of life--another one. (Since I work all day with menopausal women, I thought I should clarify that!)

After the chocolate cake incident, I made certain that for the next week, I was religious about journaling every bite that went into my mouth, that I got rid of all the "treats" that I have on this "new lifestyle" that could tempt me into another little slip, and that I bulked up on veggies.

Changing this lifestyle involves doing more meal planning. Someone on The Pointers, a group for people on WeightWatchers (marvelous group for support, kvetching, reporting, and inspiration) generally posts the question to the group each morning: what are you having for dinner this evening?

Heck, I'm lucky if I know what we're having for dinner when 7 p.m. rolls around.

And that's a problem. If I plan ahead, follow a meal plan, then I'm less likely to be tempted by something else. If I wait till the last minute, when I'm already tired, I just grab whatever is closest at hand, and the means aren't as balanced, or as filling, or as nutritious, and leave the path open to snacking--oh, on legal snacks, to be sure, but still not the regimented daytime meals that I can have when I'm really working at it.

Another dangerous time for me is going out to eat. There was some funny list that was circulating awhile ago about how you know you're on WeightWatchers and one of the points was that you chose to stay home rather than going out to a meal because you couldn't calculate the points in a restaurant. Sad, but I find that's really true.

In spite of that, I think I did pretty good in LA last weekend. The best meal was the egg scramble where everything was zero points except the chicken in it. I was quite proud of that! I even allowed myself a roll with butter because I had points to spare. And since we were running around so much, I didn't have time to "pick" (with "proper" foods or otherwise).

So when I got on that plane to come home and cinched the seatbelt a good six inches to fit snugly around my lap, and folded the tray table down in front of me--flat, with several inches of space between me and it (unheard of in recent years), I was feeling right proud of myself.

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I went from the airport directly to the office and stayed there until about 3:30. This being the "new age" in air travel, I had no snack on the plane, so had had nothing to eat when I got to the office. Dr. G, whose wife is a flight attendant (so he knows) brought me a banana, yogurt and a granola bar for breakfast, and thought to pack a huge sandwich and a peach for my lunch, since we were going to have a long day.

It was all marvelous--and he assured me that it was all healthy. Problem was that the yogurt--cream topped Brown Cow brand--was twice the calories and fat content of my usual non-fat Yoplait (even if it WAS nutritious), and the granola bars were also, while nutritious, higher calories than I would have had with, say, a Pria bar.

As for the sandwich--my lord, the man can fix my lunch any day. It was roast lean pork on bread with mayonnaise and lots of green stuff--lettuce, cucumber, tomato (I guess those aren't green, are they?), sprouts, etc. Stuff I don't ordinarily like (the green stuff), but somehow whatever he did was downright delicious. He assured me that the only thing of questionable value in the sandwich was the mayonnaise, and I assured him I could have a little mayonnaise. BUT the sandwich was huge and, "good quality" or not, it was twice what I probably should have eaten. And I relished it all.

I didn't make the WW weigh-in at my usual time, 7:30 a.m., so went to the 6 p.m. weigh-in. By that time I'd had a whole day of eating, so was not weighing on an empty stomach like I usually do. To compensate, I removed my shoes for the very first time since I started WW. It was silly, I realized, but somehow I had come to realize that those numbers mattered to me. I like seeing that "weight lost" counter below this journal page go down each week.

So I was very disappointed that even without shoes, there was a half pound gain.

I said in January that since this wasn't a diet, but a lifestyle change, I wouldn't worry about things like taking off shoes, making sure my bladder was empty, not drinking coffee ('cause someone said it adds 2 lbs when you weigh), or any of the other extremes people go to before coming to a weigh in. But I have gotten used to seeing that scale go down (almost) every week and that's why I took my shoes off. I wanted that extra boost to get the weight down on paper.

But with the removed shoes, I still gained .8 lbs. Was it the sandwiches? Was it fat turning into muscle? Was it that I'd eaten all day, and was not weighing on an empty stomach? Did it matter? I will admit I didn't beat myself up over it. I knew I'd been "good" (how I hate the terms "good" and "bad" for weight loss. Gaining doesn't make you a bad person any more than losing makes you a good person. We get too hung up on the terms "bad" and "good," and yet we all use them.)

So then, if I felt that way and if I'd been wonderfully compliant with my eating program all weekend....why the bloody hell did I fall apart this morning?????

It was bread and butter. It's been months since I've had butter (save for one pat on my roll at breakfast in LA). I haven't even missed it. Suddenly there was a new, nice soft loaf of non-high-fiber bread and nice soft butter and...what would a piece of toast...or four...hurt? It's not that it started a whole eating binge reminiscent of the chocolate cake incident, but it was an out of control moment and I hate it when I do that--and I don't understand what makes me do it.

For dinner tonight, I cooked a low-point WeightWatchers TV dinner and a mountain of broccoli. And yes, I will record the million points for my indulgence this morning. But working with Dr. G this afternoon and hearing him talking to patients about problems of weight, cardiac health, diabetes, plus feeling how easy it was for me to get up from chairs, bend over, etc., will get me right back on track again.

But I guess that some bread and butter--or chocolate cake--just is going to come along once in awhile. It's like a menstrual cycle, which I haven't had for years. Or maybe it's the phases of the moon. Or sunspots. Or whatever.

In any event, in the interest of total honesty with everybody who reads this journal--and especially with myself--I have now made my confession (again) and I'll go say 3 Our Fathers and 3 Hail Marys and read a chapter from a vegetarian cookbook to absolve me of my guilt.

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Thank you for nominating my entry, Moving On for a DiaristNet award!

Quote of the Day

One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn't pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself."

~ Lucille Ball

Picture of the Day

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One of the photos from the
Judy Garland exhibit
(you'll see more of them)

One Year Ago
The Seventh Veil
This doesn't mean that I've suddenly developed some sort of unnatural jolly nature. The sadness is still there, the painful losses are still painful. But somehow I'm suddenly able to put a lot of things in perspective, understand things that I hadn't understood before, and I am cautiously optimistic that I really am on my way to achieving some sort of a "balance" which can perhaps even out the highs and lows that I've been roller coasting through for so long.

Two Years Ago
Cult Status
In my travels today, I encountered two different people, in two different places, who told me that this journal has a cult following. Oh my! A cult following? What’s a 57 year old housewife doing with a cult following?

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Pounds Lost:  72.2
(this figure is updated on Tuesdays)

NOTE:  This is a 0.8 lb gain; I'll talk about that tomorrow.

On the Odometer:  504.9
(hey--I made my goal:  500 mi in 2002)

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Created 8/13/02