Dieting is legitimately the worst. You know what’s also the worst? The fact that it’s cheaper to eat like shit than it is to eat healthy. At one point McDonald’s was marketing their Happy Meals as “$1.99 Family Time.” Two dollar dinner? Check. Done. But when I go to the store for groceries to make lunch for A WEEK for ONE PERSON and I’m spending $70 on veggies, fruit, meat and yogurt, something is wrong. And so we don’t eat like we should. Sure, there are an abundance of other factors that go into weight than just the food: eating at the same time every day, working out, getting enough sleep, limiting stress, increasing your water intake, etc…. But if you can do all of that consistently, I want to meet you. Seriously tell me your secrets because even though my resolution is to get my shit together, I don’t think I could ever be that together.
Growing up, I tried every sport under the sun. I was always running around, goofing off, never stopped moving unless it was to read. I could eat LITERALLY whatever I wanted and I wouldn’t gain weight. It was the best. My thighs were a little bigger than some of my peers and they did “the thing” when I sat down, but I never really worried about it. My metabolism remained unchanged until senior year of college when my eating habits and all of the other factors finally caught up to me. Feeling 22 kicked my butt. I was taking 18 credit hours both semesters, writing my capstone paper, working 40 hours per week across three jobs, involved in four student organizations, trying to find a job after graduation, attempting to maintain personal and professional relationships…. I could go on and on. I could never eat at the same time every day. When I could eat, it was usually greasy sandwiches/subpar pizza from the Cyber or my friends and I would go get dinner at 10:00 PM because we realized we hadn’t eaten since breakfast. I honestly don’t know when I’d sleep…a few hour naps here and there between 2:00-4:00 AM in the reading room and then having to rewrite the last paragraph of whatever I was working on because It likely made no sense and usually had a “adf;ljk;e4rh rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr” at the end from falling asleep on the keyboard.
Fast forward. I got an interview, bought a suit, landed a job, moved away, found myself in the midst of what I thought was my dream job. As most of you who’ve followed this blog since the beginning know…it was not. I moved three hours away from my family (yes, I know that’s not far), I knew a total of one person in the place that I moved and I lived alone. Not the most ideal of situations. My days were so draining physically, mentally and emotionally, that after an unhealthy school cafeteria lunch, I’d come home and eat popcorn for dinner because I would rarely have the energy to cook anything. One night a week, I’d go to lunch with a friend and it was usually cheeseburgers or too many tacos. Such was life. My boss even pointed out in a meeting that I’d put on a lot of weight that year. Yikes! Not my finest hour.
I came home, worked three part time jobs and all but lived in my car because I was either driving to work, driving for work, or driving home from work. Too many unhealthy and quick lunches on those drives. And then I found the job I have now. It’s been a constant ebb and flow as to whether I pack a lunch for a while and then go out for a while. At this time last year, in an effort to shed some of my many extra pounds, I wasn’t eating carbs and working out a ton. I increased my water intake and limited my “extracurriculars” in an effort to get more sleep. It didn’t help. The weight would not budge. And then I got sick…
I found myself victim to a bout of tonsillitis that would not go away. How annoying! I mean, life could be so much worse, but whoomp there it is. I stopped working out because I couldn’t breathe and my throat hurt so much that surely it was going to kill me. Nothing quite like choking on your own exhales, am I right?
So I made an appointment with an ENT and we decided that the best course of action was to remove the tonsils and the adenoid (did you know there’s only actually one? I didn’t) for good measure as that was likely the reason I couldn’t exhale properly. In order to avoid missing work, I had them removed the day before Thanksgiving. For the first 24 hours post-op, I couldn’t have been doing better. I was up, spending time with my sister who’d flown in from Florida, eating a few bites of macaroni and cheese. The queen of the comeback. I was ready to return to work Monday and prove everyone wrong that said I was going to need more time. But as Thanksgiving wore on, my body (without my permission) shifted into reverse. I got up from the table, leaving my barely picked at mashed potatoes behind, and took up residency on the couch. My family, the never ending teasers that they are, had all kinds of things to say about my attempts to rest but I didn’t have the energy to give it right back. My throat had never hurt so much. The small sips of water I could manage were so excruciating, I thought my throat was shredded and that I must be bleeding out.
By 6:00 the next morning, I couldn’t even get my medicine down. It already tasted terrible and cutting it with water didn’t make the process any more manageable. I had commitments I needed to honor that morning but asked mom to take me to the ER after I’d finished. Apparently I looked as bad as I felt and mom knew I knew something was wrong if I was asking to be taken to the ER, but obviously I wasn’t quite aware of the severity as I wasn’t putting the ER ahead of things I’d promised to do. So off to the ER we went. I had no more voice and needed mom to explain to everyone what was wrong. I knew I was dehydrated and expected a banana bag (not to be confused with a banana hammock. It was in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Season two, episode six. “Into You Like a Train.” Educate yourselves.), some anti-inflammatories and to be sent on my way, freeing up the bed for someone who really needed medical attention.
Much to my surprise, they admitted me. To the peeds wing no less. Actually that wasn’t the tough part at all. I had my own room with my own nurse, I was one of three people on the floor and it was quiet, not that one gets any actual rest in the hospital. I expected to be there overnight for observation and go home in the morning. Surprise again, I stayed for three nights. I choked down a few bites of cream of wheat and strained soup (yum—not), watched my former students play for the state title, played games on my iPad and cried (not surprisingly) because I was still in copious amounts of pain. By day three of my four day stint in peeds, I noticed that I looked different, smaller slightly. When I got home from the hospital, I got on the scale. I’d lost 29 pounds.
It must have been water weight…but do you really have that much? Even though I’d escaped my pediatric prison, I still couldn’t swallow without immense difficulty. I was still on a liquid diet. What did that look like? Lots of water for hydration + Starbucks for calories. By the weekend, I was willing to try soft foods so mom and I headed to my favorite breakfast place for blueberry pancakes. Much to my chagrin, they were not in the least bit palatable. I’d never tasted blueberries so “off” in my life. I knew they weren’t REALLY off as the texture was as it should be. What a disappointment. One thing I could choke down was chicken nuggets. Not just any chicken nuggets, however, but Wendy’s nuggets got me through. Mom bought some home for me with a Coke, the greatest of all carbonated beverages. One sip later I was handing it back to my mom. It tasted awful so it must have been mom’s Diet Coke. In disbelief, she handed me hers. It tasted exactly the same so she sampled mine. After repeatedly assuring me mine was, in fact, regular, I ended up throwing it away. So what’s the tally now? Fruit tastes old (I had tangerines and strawberries that tasted as poorly as the blueberries) and pop tastes diet. What else could have been done to my palate? Let me tell you. Chocolate tastes like wax, Jell-o tastes like dirt, I don’t even know how to describe bacon other than bad, ice cream tastes like sadness.
According to my ENT, all of this is normal and should come back eventually. Sure that sounds great when I think about the fact that I’m 60 pounds down from when I went to the ER, but all I’ve wanted for two months straight is a root beer float. All of my clothes are too big, which is cool until you realize what it costs to recreate your wardrobe. Additionally, my stomach must have shrunk while I couldn’t eat because now eating three full meals makes me sick. I’m lucky if I can eat two. Maybe I’ve stopped boredom snacking. But when I’m hungry I eat. What do I eat? Meat, veggies, cheese and bread mostly. I force myself to eat fruits because while they taste icky, I know I still need them. Everything else? Bye! Mom says I’ll eat sweets again once they taste good. I disagree, well not regularly anyway. Do you know how hilarious it is to explain how I lost this weight to people? I’ve literally done NOTHING. I still eat when I’m hungry, I just don’t eat things that taste like shit to me now.
So in recap, if you really want to lose weight without doing anything:
–Have your tonsils removed**
–Be admitted to the hospital for four days for dehydration**
–Consume only water + eggnog lattes for ten days**
–Only eat meat, veggies, cheese and bread FOREVER**
**I in no way actually recommend this diet for anyone. This was crazy extreme and isn’t fun. I’m not even running yet.
But there you have it. The story of how I got to the point where I could lose that much weight by cutting out sweets and literally doing nothing else and not wasting away to nothing.
“Pics or it didn’t happen!”
My face is still chubby and I still don’t know how to do hair but there ya go.
Sixty pounds and counting,