It’s Not All About the Numbers

I have a confession to make. I’m a chronic scale junkie. I weigh myself everyday, first thing in the morning right after I use the bathroom. Normally, it keeps me on track. I understand weight fluctuations, so seeing the scale fluctuate a few pounds here or there doesn’t really bother me normally. But this week, it’s got me shaking my head and I do find myself getting frustrated. I just don’t get it.

I’m attempting to think about goals for this next week and I’ve thought about not stepping on the scale at all, other than my Monday morning weigh-in (which I consider my “official” weigh-in). But I’m still on the fence ~ I’m not sure I could stay off for a whole week. And I don’t want to set myself up to fail. But on the other hand, I’ve been so frustrated with the numbers lately that maybe a week of not seeing them and not wondering would do me good. See what I mean about being on the fence?

I know my journey isn’t all about the numbers on the scale. In hindsight, I really wish I had taken measurements when I first started this journey. I wish I’d allowed people to take my picture because then I’d have visuals. But that’s the thing with shame. I felt such shame at how I looked I didn’t want any reminders. And the thing that saddens me the most is Kiddo because she and I have such an exceptional relationship, I know she just wanted pictures of someone she loved. But I robbed her of that.

I saw someone yesterday that I hadn’t seen in months. She was smiling and so happy when she hugged me and said, “Look at you! You’re so skinny!” Now, normally I’d say “Thank you, but……” (pick your ending here)…”I still have a lot to lose”, “I’m nowhere near where I want to be”, but, but, but, but, but. Last night, I simply said “Thank you.” That’s something I’m working on.

My Mom calls my almost everyday to tell me how proud she is of the journey I’m on. She’s so proud, in fact, that she’s started her own journey and now calls me for guidance just about as much as calls me to tell me how proud she is. My sister brags to everyone we know about how well I’m doing. She’s thought about doing this journey as well, but right now she’s focusing on quitting smoking ~ then there’s the fact that she manages a Chinese Restaurant and she’s just not sure how well she’d do with all the smells, etc. I can understand that. If I’m surrounded by foods that I choose not to have but that I really want, I’d tend to get crabby. At least in the beginning. I’m not sure it would bother me now.

Then there’s the fact that I now can shop anywhere for my clothes ~ not just the plus sections. Or the fact that I’ve had to clean out my closet twice now because my clothes are just too big. Or the fact that there were four coats my mom gave me 2 or 3 years ago that I’ve never been able to fit into. They fit now. Or the outfits that Mom gave me about the same time she gave me the coats. Most of them fit now. There are still a few I want to be able to get into, but for the most part they all fit.

My point, I guess, is that those are things I should be focusing on. Not the numbers on the scale. But that’s another journey. I’m getting there.

South Beach is not a Fad

It just hit me. I’m literally half my size. When I first started South Beach in January 2007, I was 234.5 pounds and wore size 24/26 pants. I’m now 168.5 pounds and wear size 10/12. That’s amazing to me.

Earlier today, I was perusing and stumbled across an article about the 25 Worst Fad Diets Ever. (you can read it here) Guess what diet was listed at #8? The South Beach Diet. I saw that and I saw red. So I clicked on the link to read the full-length article which sited sources as to why that particular diet was listed. A lot of them are no-brainers ~ I mean, what exactly is the tapeworm diet, anyway? It certainly doesn’t sound like anything I would ever want to try. And I’m totally against any diet that advises you to drink your meals instead of learning healthy eating habits. But, my curiosity got the better of me and I just had to find out why the South Beach Diet was lumped in with the rest of the “fad” diets. So, I clicked on the dreaded link and was routed to Dr. Jay Fuhrman’s site who (big surprise) is marketing his own diet plan ~ the Eat to Live program.

Now, I don’t know anything about Dr. Fuhrman’s plan. Nor do I want to. For the simple reason that he markets his plan at the expense of others. Without properly researching the very subject he’s opposing. His arguments about the South Beach Diet just aren’t true. A few examples:

One of the most dangerous diets ever designed. Two words: My ass.

You are told to move from a carbohydrate-restricted, high-protein phase back to a less restricted phase, but when you start to regain your weight (as you will inevitably do), you are instructed to go back to the more restricted phase again. Actually, you are told not to do this. As far as regaining weight, as with any eating plan if you don’t stick to your healthy habits, you do run the risk of gaining it back. The key word here is “diet” which is temporary.

Many are aware that ketogenic diets are dangerous if maintained long-term, but if done for a short-time on and off, as recommended in the South Beach plan, you lose weight, regain it, lose weight and regain it (i.e. yo-yo your weight), which is even more dangerous to your heart and your health. Well, South Beach isn’t a ketogenic diet. South Beach is a good carb, good fat diet which I’m sure any registered dietician worth their salt would agree with. As far as good carbs, well, there are all kinds and I eat them all. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, etc. There is nothing ketogenic about it. Good fats ~ how about olive oil?

After I read what Dr. Fuhrman had to say about South Beach, I went on to read more about what he had to say about Weight Watchers. Now, I used to do Weight Watchers ~ about 4 or 5 years ago, and I did pretty well on it. I lost 40 pounds, but then I stalled. And stalled. And stalled. And I take responsibility for it. It wasn’t the eating plan, it was me. I totally know that. But I did end up gaining the weight back and then when I finally had reached the highest weight I’d ever been in my life, that’s when I decided to rededicate myself to healthy eating. And I chose South Beach. Not because there’s anything wrong with Weight Watchers at all. Just for me and my level of personal responsibility, the South Beach plan works better for where I’m at. (Although, there are times I really miss my Luna Bar and Yoplait yogurt breakfasts).

Getting back to the post on Weight Watchers. I’m going to list my thoughts on a few of Dr. Fuhrman’s points.

Involves calorie counting and portion control. Most people do not keep the weight off permanently with this type of diet. It’s been awhile since I did WW, but I don’t remember counting calories. I remember calculating for points ~ which made sense. If I remember correctly, it had something to do with the number of calories and the number of fiber equalled the point value. And since when is portion control a bad thing? A lot of us are in the boat of having to lose weight because we didn’t know about portion control. Or emotional eating. How many of use were told when we were children “You can’t leave the table until you’ve cleaned your plate.”? Or how many of us are prone to bulging when stressed/depressed/anxious, etc., etc. And don’t get me started on the “most people” crap. I’ve already talked about this in my points above.

Reduces both calorie and nutrient levels simultaneously, reduces disease resistance, making you more likely to get the chronic diseases that afflict Americans today like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and cancer (all which result in a premature death). Interesting. So relearning bad eating habits and substituting healthier alternatives to the more fat-ladden snacks we’ve grabbed in the past can lead to premature death? I think my personal physician may have something contrary to say about that.

I’m not even going to bother posting the points that Dr. Fuhrman wants to make about his plan. Because, while I read it, I could have been reading about South Beach, or Weight Watchers, or any other number of plans out there. I guess what I’m trying to say in my rather rambling and convuluted way is that we’re all in this together. Whether it be South Beach or Weight Watchers or any other plan, I along with countless others are on a journey of self-discovery, of becoming healthy, of becoming fit, of wanting to live longer, of wanting to fit into the skinny jeans, of wanting to just feel better, of wanting to look in the mirror and liking what looks back. It’s a common goal, whatever the journey.

My Journey

September 11, 2005 ~ weight 216 lbs:
Today’s the day. I’m shopping today and tomorrow will be starting South Beach. I’ve spent a lifetime dieting/not-dieting, succeeding, gaining what I’d lost back, plus an extra 10-20 pounds. Now I find myself at 36 and over 100 pounds overweight. I can say “I don’t know how it happened”, but that’s not true. So, today’s the day. Tomorrow I’m starting a new path. I lost 40 pounds, gave up this way of eating June 6, 2006 and gained it all back, plus about 20 pounds extra.

January 12, 2007 ~ weight 234.5 lbs:
I had a bunch of health problems last year, so my attitude took a deep nosedive south. I’ve come to accept everything, so I’m feeling better about it, most days. Of course, when I took the nosedive, I also gave myself permission to go completely off the wagon ~ which only succeeded in causing me to nosedive even further south. It’s a viscous cycle. I lost 60 pounds by October 2007, and then “maintained ” through the holidays. I gained 12 pounds.

January 2, 2008 ~ weight 188.5 lbs:
I’m restarting today ~ I’ve pretty much been maintaining the past few months, give or take a few pounds ~ My pants still fit, so that’s a good sign. Haven’t been on the scale though, and won’t until I’ve finished up P1 again. Although, I do have a dr. appointment today. Who was the brainiac who scheduled a dr appt right after the most fattening holidays ever invented??? Oh right, that was me 🙂 Anyway, I’m going shopping tonight and restocking my fridge. I’m looking forward to getting rid of my excess baggage this year. Have lost 15 pounds to date and am continuing on this journey. It’s slow progress, but I’m planning on persevering this time.