Rant. Brain Dump. Filled with snark. Call it what you want. This is one of those posts.
It’s a new year. I have the same goals. Sure, a lot of them involve some sort of change or shift, but overall I’m striving to be the same, if not a better, version of the Elena I always have been.
It’s January so every damn commercial is for a car or a gym. If I see another Lucille Roberts commercial I might break my TV. There are only three in North Jersey, and a ton in the Bronx (I looked – I was actually convinced they were all in Staten Island, and shockingly, there are none there).
Weight Watchers. Jenny Craig. Nutrisystem. Planet Fitness. Retro Fitness. All of these commercials are filling up the time I’m spending fast forwarding to the next segment on Modern Family. On Facebook? JOIN MY CHALLENGE GROUP! CLEANSE THE HOLIDAYS AWAY! My news feed has been taken over by motivational quotes/posters from people schilling their newest, latest, greatest weight loss solution.
I was approached both online and in person about joining a challenge group. There’s “coaching!” there’s “support!” there’s “motivation!” Two friends approached me about “cleansing” with a product that I was very close to trying. Until I read the package, that is. I consulted two Registered Dieticians about this product and they emphatically told me to STAY AWAY because I could essentially starve myself for free and achieve the same results. This person kept telling me about “eating healthy” – how is drinking shakes all day “eating.” No, seriously. Where are you getting your Omega-3s? How is eating only egg whites healthy? All you’re getting from egg whites is protein; all of the “good stuff” is in the yolk including vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. I will never be on a “diet” that deprives me of anything. Ever.
Also, the sole purpose of our liver and kidneys is to CLEANSE our bodies and rid them of toxins. No juice or shake or pill can replace that. Duh.
I don’t want to say that I’ve struggled with my weight because I haven’t. It’s simple: I was always skinny. Always. Kids in school called me bones because I was so thin. One person said I could hula hoop with a cheerio (this was in 1988 – notice how these things stick with you, huh?) In middle & high school, I wore a size 0 in my Guess jeans. I wore a bikini and had beautiful, thin dancers legs. They were strong, too.
After college I dated a guy who didn’t give much of a shit about eating well, and we ate out all of the goddamn time. At all hours. We ordered more pizza that I want to confess. It disgusts me how much money I spent at places like Olive Garden, Ruby Tuesdays, Friendly’s, and IHOP (we lived in the STICKS and this is all we had going for us). We RARELY ate at home, and when we did, it was shit. Or it was takeout. Just thinking of what we ate and what we spent money on eating makes me want to vom.
That relationship was detrimental for so many reasons, and this was most certainly one of them. I was so unhappy.
When I moved back to New Jersey, eating well was easy. I was back home with my parents, my work schedule allowed me to exercise, I was swimming a lot, and I was happy.
Quite simply, I would eat more and exercise less. When I eat less and exercise more, I lose weight. There is no such thing as a quick fix, but there IS such a thing as a healthy diet. And not diet as in weight loss program, but diet as in what I decide to fuel my body each day. The coffee cake in the office kitchen is not body fuel. It also doesn’t taste as awesome as everyone thinks.
I was successful on Weight Watchers which helped me re-train myself from bad habits and a bad relationship. Then, one day, my WW leader said this:
I get that somewhere this was supposed to be motivating. It was supposed to say “hey do you really need/want/have to have that cookie,” and for many, that’s true. You’re mindlessly eating. But I’ll tell you what, there is a TON OF STUFF that tastes better than being a Size 0. Why? Because food is meant to be fun. It’s meant to be enjoyed. We wouldn’t have shows like Top Chef, Master Chef, Hells Kitchen, Best New Restaurant, Top Chef Masters, Iron Chef (jesus, there are a lot of chef shows) without the art and enjoyment of FOOD.
I also hated the use of the word “cheating” as it implied I had done something bad. For me, i was mostly feeding a craving. If you are on a “diet” or “healthy living journey” and you eat something you want and you feel like it is “cheating,” just stop. Stop what you’re doing because that’s not how things should be.
So while I sit here, counting my calories, thinking twice before reaching for that dry coffee cake, I’m going to go home to night and eat the shit out of 1/4 cup of holiday M&Ms. They’re only 200 calories.