Banned Words: I’ll Start Tomorrow

It starts out innocently enough. In my case, a movie. The husband and I had been wanting to see Gravity for a few weeks, but overlapping schedules prevented us from the two-hour luxury. We finally made it yesterday night. As we planned our day, I thought about what we’d make for dinner. I had previously said on Saturday that I’d “start low-carb tomorrow.” I’ve been kind of “off” the past few days in terms of exercise, overwhelmed by life and feeling lazy. (House-hunting and being a business owner will do that to ya.) I knew I needed a fresh start. I decided that I’d have movie theater popcorn as my dinner. Yes, yes, that sounded lovely. There’s nothing like hot, buttered popcorn and a suspenseful flick to end the week. Wait! A little voice popped up in my head. “Popcorn isn’t low carb.”

“Oh, who cares,” the other voice in my head reasoned. “If you don’t eat dinner, and have popcorn instead, it cancels itself out. Sure, it’s high in calories, but you ate light today.”

The other voice responds, “Movie popcorn is the worst thing you could eat. The salt alone will make you bloat ten pounds. Add the butter oil and you’re asking for it. I thought you wanted to lose weight. Don’t do it. Losing weight means saying NO. It means discomfort. It means sacrifice. How bad do you want this? You have to make the change.”

The other voice, growing panicked, grasps for straws. “You deserve it! You’ve had a hard week, with lots of important, adult decisions. Movie popcorn is your FAVORITE. AND, you’ve eaten low-carb all day. You’ve already done so well! You can have a little splurge.”

The other voice, sounding sad, tells you to stop and think. “Remember trying on jeans at TJ Maxx? How the cold, metal button on almost every pair gouged into your tummy, made you cringe? How you’re avoiding the scale, knowing that your body isn’t “normal”, and that your small mistakes with food and exercise WILL ALWAYS show? Your hormones are wacky. It’s not just bad habits that make you gain weight, but it doesn’t help. Your body is actively going rogue. You have to work hard to prevent it from defeating you. It is what it is. Popcorn won’t help, on any level. You know that, Alyssa.”

The other voice, feeling defensive now, says “Just start tomorrow, Alyssa. You deserve this. It will make you feel good.”

The other voice says, firmly now, “No. I’m not starting tomorrow. I’m starting today.”

I’ve learned something about myself the past few years. I can’t just decide one day to lose weight and just do it. I have to decide almost every minute of every day. At least once an hour. I need to decide to drink water, to get moving, to not eat bread, or cookies, or candy. To refuse the movie popcorn. I need to recommit. I’m fiercely loyal to the things I love. Clearly, weight loss is not a thing I love.

So I saw Gravity. And for a riveting two hours, I sat, consumed with emotion and angst, completely lost in the story. The movie was phenomenal, and my husband and I left shaky and tense, rocked by the amazing visual effects and captivating storyline. We’re still talking about the movie today. I didn’t even miss the popcorn. Sure, the smell always seduces me when I walk in, but I didn’t need the crunch, the salt, the butter, the motions, the kernels in my teeth. I didn’t need popcorn. I didn’t need snacks. I didn’t need to start tomorrow. I needed to start today.

Weight Loss Whoopsies: Silly things we tell ourselves and do when we’re trying to lose weight

April and I were chatting on the phone tonight and she said we should do a weekend recap of shameful things we did this weekend that would not contribute to weight loss. She described her failed attempt at getting a Mountain Dew and I told her about splurging on a carton of Peppermint ice cream a couple weeks ago, that I ate slowly, small spoonful by small spoonful in the bathtub, like some secret agent that had been denied ice cream for several years, savoring each bite like it was made out of the finest ingredients. We then started laughing thinking about other outlandish things that give us hiccups or things we do when trying to lose weight that really make no sense- but are worth a laugh!

1)   In the Weight Watchers meetings I used to attend, women were religious about taking off EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF JEWELRY before they weighed in… even their stud earrings. You know, cuz that ½ carat pair of cubic zirconia will definitely tip the scale.

2)   From April: Writing down entries in your food journal different than what they actually were.  For example:  my friend once wrote down “carrots” instead of carrot cake. Her rationale was, technically carrot cake does consist of vegetables, so why list it as a carb when you can write it off as a free vegetable? (Alyssa’s note: HA! I sometimes catch myself cheating in MyFitnessPal. My food logs are private (to hide the fact that I eat peppermint ice-cream in the bathtub (hey, I stayed within my calories for the day!), but I wonder who I’m really fooling – ‘cuz cheating doesn’t mean it didn’t happen!)

3)   From April: Being on extra good behavior for two days before your weigh-in date so you can drop the extra water weight and result in some extra pounds down. It also clearly helps to be weighed first thing in the morning, before you’ve had anything to eat and after you’ve pooped, of course. (Alyssa’s note: Great minds think alike… check out the next one!)

4)   Before a weigh in, I like to make sure I’m as light as possible – as in, has everything been moving regularly? As in, are those double fiber English muffins doing their job? Yep. There’s a reason I sometimes drink coffee the morning of weigh-in. This is also a fairly ridiculous practice, as there’s no way a bowel movement can cause a sizeable shift on the scale, but you know… it’s all in the little things we tell ourselves!

5)   Thinking that while cooking, “tastes” don’t count. I caught myself with my finger in the pie the other day, so to speak, when I realize I had sampled my homemade pesto about 10 times before serving it. There was NO NEED to sample it 10 times, I was sampling because I was hungry. It’s a shameful reality to log 150 calories worth of spoon-licks!

April with the love of her life, Slurpee.

April with the love of her life, Slurpee.

6)   From April: When it comes to my Slurpee addiction, my hometown of Petaluma provides me with a plethora of 7-11s to meet my frosted Coca-Cola needs.  Typically if one 7-11 Slurpee machine is broken, I go to the next shop two miles away.  If that one is broken, I’ll drive another mile to another option.   This past weekend, after my second attempt to feed my Slurpee need, I took it as a sign that I shouldn’t have a Slurpee.  Sometimes, two broken machines in a row are the cruel reminder that you shouldn’t ingest that extra 60 grams of sugar that day. Sigh.

7)   Believing that if it happens on a weekend, it “doesn’t count”. I’m working on my logic behind the “I deserve this” talk I give myself when I decide momentary satisfaction (re: the EXTRA LARGE JUMBO ‘SIZE OF YOUR HATCHBACK’ BAG OF POPCORN AT THE MOVIES) is worth more than my future health.  Weekends are the danger zone for me because they’re filled with alcoholic libations, salty snacks and social eating of all sorts. I need to get my shiz in gear and realize a weak weekend can majorly weaken my week! (Try saying that 10 times in a row!)

Me and my favorite treat.

Me and my favorite treat.

8)   From April: Telling yourself that calories don’t count on birthdays.  This also can be prolonged to the entire birthday week and can be used as an excuse for family and friends to overindulge in birthday cake, ice cream, nachos, and candy from your unicorn piñata. (Alyssa’s note: April turns 30 this year. Unicorn piñata is so going to happen.)

9)   From April: I make a lot of meals for the kids I babysit for and often times, they totally leave behind perfectly good untouched pieces of dinosaur chicken and sweet potatoes fries.  I find a few ways to justify eating what the kids don’t.  How am I supposed resist that breaded chicken shaped like its ancesterous dinosaur relative when it’s roaring at me from the stove top not to waste it?  I can’t just throw away the leftover pieces of the heart shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwich I made for the kids with a cookie cutter!  That leftover bread is the leftover remnants of ART and it would be wrong to throw away art! Ha!

10) And the ultimate sin of weight loss… The old “I’ll start tomorrow,” or “I’ll be good tomorrow.” My attempts to lose weight the past few years have had so many “tomorrows” that it’s a wonder Disney didn’t sue me for the rights to use the name Tomorrow Land™. I’m the mayor of excuses village, and it is SO EASY for me to say, “I’ll just start again tomorrow.” We’re not always guaranteed a tomorrow, so my motto for 2013 is, I’ll start now. Let’s do it now, friends. (That’s ok – no really, you can start tomorrow. NOT!)

So, now that we’ve been brutally honest, fess up! Which of these weight loss “whoops” can you admit to? Any that we missed? Chime in!