Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

That’s a misleading title.  I know exactly why I can’t lose weight.  I know exactly what I need to do.  Maybe after spelling it all out, seeing it in black and white, I will be encouraged to make the changes I need to make.

I have always thought I was fat.  Even when I was 17 and 85 pounds (I’m 4’11”), I thought I needed to lose weight.   Part of this comes from being built like a two by four–all straight up and down, not a waist to be seen.  In high school I was using appetite suppressants, until my friend Dan saw them in my locker and threw them away.  The beginnings of some awesome body dysmorphic disorder.


I gained my 15+ pounds in college, subsisting on french fries and pizza.  Fifteen pounds on a short person is like thirty on everyone else, I swear.  I lost the 15 pounds.  I gained slowly through the end of college and into my first years teaching; by the time I was married I weighed the most I ever have.  Luckily, my husband (who knew me when I was 85 pounds) didn’t care.  I cared, though.

About a year before my son was born, I went to the doctor and received a prescription for weight loss medication that was all the rage at the time.  I lost weight.  I was almost down to where I wanted to be; it was awesome but it still wasn’t good enough.  I still couldn’t reach that elusive goal weight that I set for myself.  So, I had babies, gained, lost, gained then lost again.  About 4 years ago I was probably in the best shape of my life. Then I was derailed by National Board Certification and have yet to get back on track. (If you’ve done National Boards for teaching, you know that there is about a two month period when ALL you do is work on your portfolio–bye bye Bow Flex.)

I don’t really need to know what to do–I’ve done plenty of research, tried and failed with the quick fixes, cleanses, etc.  I just need to do it.  And I need to love myself a little more for what my body can do.  I grew two human beings, after all.

So here, in black and white are my problem areas:

1.  I love food, mostly food that is really not good for me.  I love processed meat like bacon and  salami and pepperoni.  Cheese makes me giddy.  Haagen Daaz chocolate ice cream is my ambrosia.  I love bread and pasta.  I crave fried food.  I covet creamy sauces and soups.  I like my beer.  I know the answer is to eat less of that and eat the healthy, delicious food that will fill me up and keep me healthy.


2.  I hate cardiovascular exercise.  I can strength train for days.  I love yoga.  I enjoy walking.  I need to move, though.  I need to get my heart rate up for extended periods of time, and quite frankly, if I even have a slightly better offer, I will take it.

3.  I drink beer.  Maybe one or two every night.

I don’t want to reach some magic “everything will be perfect at this weight” weight.  I just want to fit into the clothes in my closet.  I want to not hate myself for my lack of control, my laziness, and my gut.

Here are the things I’m doing right:

1.  I quit smoking 4 years ago.

2.  I quit drinking Diet Coke.

3.  I increased my garden size by 100%.

4.  I started doing yoga regularly, and am walking a couple days after work with my friend and colleague.

5.  I eat breakfast every day.

6.  I joined my building weight loss challenge to keep me honest, and participate in the wellness program. For the wellness program I keep track of things like fruit and veggie intake, sleep, exercise, flossing, etc.  I turn my card in each week, and am entered into a drawing.  I actually won today…50 bucks.  Woohoo.

7.  My husband makes sure I have vegetables at every meal.

Here is my action plan:

1.  I will do at least 20 minutes of yoga 6 days a week.

2.  I will walk more–and perhaps figure out how to turn myself into a runner.

3.  I will only drink beer on weekend nights.

4.  I will start using my Bow Flex again.

5.  I will concentrate on making and eating healthy food, most of the time.

6.  I will try to remind myself that being overweight doesn’t automatically make any good qualities I have null and void.

The time to begin is now, I know.  I’m trying to not make drastic, unsustainable changes.   I’m not looking for miracles…I just want to fit into my clothes again.  I want to stop beating up on myself because of how many chins show up in a photo.  I want to enjoy every day and not waste time on negative self-image, and stop comparing my body to everyone else’s.   Is this too much to ask?



Quitting Diet Coke **Update**

No, I don't have a problem

(Photo credit: laura.bell)

One of the (many) reasons I decided to eliminate Diet Coke from my life was the recent study that linked Diet Coke to depression.  A number of years ago, I started a prescription to Buproprion (brand name Wellbutrin) as a way to quit smoking.  While that wasn’t what helped me quit (Chantix did–but that’s another story), because life seemed a little easier while on my “happy pills”, I just never stopped.  I’ve always been pretty certain that a better diet and some exercise would compensate for the medication, but the pill just seemed easier–until I realized how bad my memory was getting–and I mean really bad.  Like a sieve.  I couldn’t function without post-it notes all over my desk and computer monitor.  So before Christmas, I decided to stop taking it.  Please understand, this is NOT a post encouraging you stop taking your antidepressants–you shouldn’t do that without talking to your doctor.  The thing it, I probably didn’t really need them in the first place, and now I wonder if my Diet Coke intake (4-6 a day until it was time for my evening beer) exacerbated matters.

Anyway, I have been off of the Diet Crack for 5 weeks.  I have replaced each can with seltzer water.  Is should feel great, right?  Everyone says so…

Well…I don’t.  Not really.  I mean I feel good that I kicked the evil chemical cocktail, but I don’t physically feel better.  I have been steadily gaining weight, and I feel bloated all the time.  I don’t believe it is the seltzer, after all there is less sodium in seltzer than Diet Coke, and the carbonation level didn’t really change.  I have actually been exercising more–yoga twice a week, walking after school and doing my So You Think You Can Dance exercise videos.  I should be doing more, but this is a positive change from just sitting on my couch knitting.

This week I am going to restart my food diary, to see if that helps.  The food diary (I use this one) is a great tool for me.  I know if I have to write it down and actually see the caloric and nutritional content I am less likely to eat junk (like those pieces of pepperoni that tide me over till dinner, or the gummy Life-Savers).  It is always difficult to be the only one in the house who needs to limit what she eats–I have three boys who have ridiculously fast metabolisms and can eat whatever they want.  Still, I’ve done it before, I can do it again.

Baby steps, I suppose.  I want to be able to fit in the clothes in my closet, and to be able to wear my bikini again in June when I go to visit my family in Florida.  I want to win the weight loss challenge at work.  It will happen.  Trying to not let my need for instant gratification get me down.  Oh–and my memory?  Much improved.  Really.  It isn’t what it was before I had babies, but it is much better.