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18 September 2002

OK--let's get the bad news out of the way: I gained 5.2 lbs. Now I know why I desperately need to stick with WeightWatchers and not assume I can go off and do it on my own. I can't. Time to admit that I am powerless over food without some sort of reckoning each week.

This is a perilous time in my new "lifestyle." The most weight I ever lost before in my life was 80 lbs and I did it for all the wrong reasons, which is why it didn't stick.

Phil.jpg (25047 bytes)I hate this picture. As a photo, it's very good. The guy on the left is my one-time good friend Phil Dethlefsen (who died several years ago). This photo was taken at his 50th birthday party.

He began to plan the party a year in advance, and I wanted to do something spectacular for him...something very meaningful to honor his having lived a half century. (Phil had a lot of physical and emotional problems and I was always trying to do things that I thought would help cheer him up). I decided that the biggest "splash" I could make, especially since he was quite wealthy and didn't need anything tangible, would be that I would finally bite the bullet and lose weight. I decided to give him 100 lbs for his birthday.

The plan was that I would only weigh at his house, so he'd be able to keep track of the progress. I kidded myself that he cared. He didn't, but he went along with it to humor me.

I worked diligently on my birthday present and had reached 80 lbs by the time of his birthday, July 29, 1984.

His partner threw a big party for him every year and it was always the same group of close friends--about 8 or 10 of us, I guess. Most of the others were people I only saw once a year, at this party.

Additionally, Phil and Woody had, in the previous year, bought a house with a swimming pool. This was going to be my big coming out party--all those people who hadn't seen me since I started dieting would be there. I would put on the first bathing suit I'd worn in years. Phil would be so proud of me.

It didn't quite work out that way. I suppose when you travel in a group of predominately gay men, you don't expect them to notice things like a woman losing weight--at least not this group (Steve, Michael, Jimmy--you have been terrific!), though I kind of expected Phil to say something like "doesn't she look great?" But he didn't. Nobody else appeared to notice either (or at least nobody said anything).

I was already hurting from that when Phil, our mutual friend Ginger, and I found ourselves standing at the buffet table and Phil said "Oh--Bev!--get your camera. I want to have a good picture taken with Ginger and me." I took the picture. Nobody asked to take my picture. I spent the whole day feeling so hurt and disappointed and I was glad that I had to leave early (I was working with a show in San Francisco).

That day I stopped dieting. If Phil didn't care, why should I? Slowly the weight began to creep back on again and I never really dieted again, at least not seriously, until I started this new lifestyle change.

Everything about that diet was wrong. I didn't do it for me, I did it for someone else and kidded myself that that person cared. I didn't do it to feel better, to be healthy, or anything else. And when I didn't get the response I expected, I decided it wasn't worth it and I went back to eating all the wrong things. I hid behind food again. In a way I was "punishing Phil" for not caring, but he didn't care about that either. It was just all wrong, wrong, wrong.  My self-esteem came from the opinion of others, not from within myself.

This 5 lb gain today is a real wake-up call. Time to look at how I spent the past week and look again at why I started this lifestyle change. I had reached a point before I began this eating plan where I was comfortable in all that fat I was carrying around. I had found out that people loved me even with the blubber that hung down over my hip bones and the chins that made my face look round as a frying pan. I had come to accept that I'd always be that way and it was finally OK because people didn't seem to mind.

But I minded. I minded a lot. I hated looking in the mirror. I hated the round face, the constantly red cheeks, the belly that shook when I laughed like a bowl full of jelly. I hated dragging myself up the stairs and thinking how mortified I'd be if the bannister pulled out from the wall. I hated the thought of moving at all. I hated having to walk more than a few steps from the door of anything. I looked for excuses to drive from one side of the parking lot to the other if I was going to two different stores in a strip mall. And even though I knew people loved the me that was inside in spite of the covering outside, I couldn't love myself because of my disgust with the skin (and fat) I was wearing.

So this time I started this for myself. And as each pound has come off, with each mile biked, with each step taken, my self-esteem has grown. When I give in to food, I erode some of that self-esteem. I didn't like myself for eating that cheesecake (even though I loved the cake!) because it meant I'd let the food take over. I was not in control. Control is very important to me. (It's why I gave up drinking alcohol. Not that I have a drinking problem, but I don't like the feeling of not being 100% in control of my emotions and my behavior).

Seeing 5 lbs on the scale this morning (I was thinking maybe 3...somehow 5 lbs seems huge!) has jerked me back into reality, into realizing that I am still only one bite away from losing it all and from backsliding, slowly, slowly into that fat person I hate.

It's time for the ol' austerity program this week. Eating the low end of my points. Going to the club after Cindy and I ride so I add more exercise to my daily routine (and I'm sure that the AIDS walk on Saturday will help as well).

I know that people love me no matter how I look, but I can't love me when I feel that food controls my life and dictates my body shape. So if I have any say in it (and who else has but me?) there will be a loss next week when I step on the scale.    I'm going to put this little "vacation" behind me and get back on track. People who love me fat are just going to have to learn to love me at a normal weight because I'm not going to be fat again. But I'll certainly be a much happier person, a person who finally has managed to get a bit of self-esteem. A person who is much more emotionally strong and in charge of herself because she feels worthwhile.

I want to paraphrase Sally Field and say "I like me...I really like me!!!"

Quote of the Day

Motivation is born of desire. The stronger the desire for something, the stronger the motivation.

~ Anon.

Photo of the Day

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(I just needed the reminder...)


One Year Ago
Last Day in London
We could be at war right now for all the information I've had. The blaring headlines on the newsstands have gone back to local stuff.

Two Years Ago
Giraffes and monkeys and bees--oh my!
I decided there must be gay chimps. These two bared their teeth and kept the females at the top of the enclosure while the two of them were smooching in front of the glass that separated them from their audience!

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Pounds Lost:  72
(this figure is updated on Tuesdays)

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