The Ghost of Diets Past

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about my past diet attempts. In order to be successful, I have to examine why I failed in the past. And I’ve failed a lot. I’ve been dieting since 2002. That’s ten years of dieting, and I haven’t gotten anywhere.

My first diet was the Atkins diet in the fall of 2002. My parents were doing it, and it seemed like the thing to do. I actually lost a fair amount of weight, but I was eating nothing but meat and cheese, and my mouth tasted metallic all the time. It was horrible. And then I went off the diet for one day to go to my friend’s birthday party, and I gained a lot of weight from that one night, and I was still eating a fraction of what I would have before. So that clearly didn’t work. Over the next several years, I tried South Beach, the old Weight Watchers (where you got 2 breads, 2 dairies, etc), the slightly less old Weight Watchers (with the old Points system).

My most successful attempt at dieting was December 2010 to March 2011. I lost 30 pounds in 3 months on the Weight Watchers Points Plus system. I got down to 264, and I was feeling good about myself. And then I started work, and I stopped counting points. I went from waking up at noon to waking up at five in the morning, and I was consuming a lot more calories than I had been. For the first month or two, I still lost weight. I went from sitting at home, not moving all day, to standing for eight hours a day, lugging around heavy camera equipment (I’m a school photographer at the moment). So at first I wasn’t that worried because I was still losing weight.

But then I stopped losing weight. For a while, I was just staying the same, so I didn’t think too much about it. I thought that I could lose weight in the off season and maintain while I was working. It would take longer to lose weight, sure, but it was better than nothing. But then I started gaining the weight back. Part of it was probably that my body had adjusted to the new routine. Another part of it was that I started eating more. First it was just that I needed to eat more because I was always hungry at work. Then it was that I was stopping and getting fast food on the way home from schools. I ended up gaining back all of the weight I had lost and then some.

So now here I am, sitting at 300 pounds, and I don’t want to continue this cycle. I don’t want to be reading through these posts a year from now, wondering what went wrong. I need to fix what went wrong. I need to make sure that I don’t repeat the same mistakes I made last time. And that is what I’m attempting to do now.

Last time, I was too lazy/exhausted to prepare healthy foods.
I prepared healthy food for a while, but then I started to get tired. I was waking up between four and five most mornings, and I didn’t feel like cooking when I got home. I stopped wanting to make sandwiches every night, especially when those sandwiches weren’t going to keep me full for long. I didn’t want to make breakfast every night (or even every Sunday), so I just bought ready-made breakfast sandwiches. I ended up making crap for lunch just because it was easiest to make, and then I would still be hungry as soon as I got done with work, so I would stop by Wendy’s or Zaxby’s or Taco Bell after work and get something to eat for my drive home.

What I will do differently this time.
The most important thing is to make sure that I have enough food with me at work so that I’m not starving when I leave the school. It’s much harder to avoid fast food when you’re starving and you know that you’re at least an hour away from home. That’s why I’m planning to use my free time now to find a bunch of recipes that are easy to make so that I always have enough food to eat.

I think part of my problem also was that I was trying to eat once while at work, which is ridiculous since I’m often at schools from six in the morning to three in the afternoon. Eating once in nine hours is ridiculous. Of course I was always starving. I’m thinking now that I need to have a decent lunch and then two snacks with me, one for early morning and one for mid afternoon. I’m not talking huge snacks or anything (as those would definitely not help me lose weight), but I need to make sure that I never get to that point where I’m so hungry I’m going to eat the first thing I find.

Today I tried my first mock tuna salad (made with chick peas), and it was delicious. I’m thinking a “tuna” sandwich with some sort of cool salad (either lettuce or that rice/lentil salad that I reviewed earlier this week) would be a great, filling lunch. Throw in a fruit and maybe some nuts or a homemade granola bar or something, and this might work.

I just need to find four or five good lunch combinations and healthy snacks so that I can make a big batch of whatever it is on Sunday so that the rest of the week, when I’m exhausted, I don’t have to do a ton of cooking. Plus, if I have preplanned meals like this, tracking will be easy.

Obviously, I will still need to do a lot of cooking on the weekends, and I’ll still have to prepare some things the night before, but I need to dedicate myself to this. I need to stop making excuses for everything. I can try to make it as easy as possible to prepare healthy foods and stay on track, but I need to acknowledge that it’s not always going to be easy. Life’s not about taking the easy way out of everything. It’s about figuring out what you want and not stopping until you make it happen.


2 responses to “The Ghost of Diets Past

  1. Told you that you could do it! 🙂

    Can I suggest something? I totally won’t even be a tiny bit offended if it doesn’t work for you. It sounds a little buzz-termy (I love making up my own words) but for me – it worked. It helped my brain somehow to get out of the “diet mentality”.

    I stopped going on “diets”. All I did one day… was start getting healthy. In your “about” page you talk about wanting to be healthy and wanting your knees to stop hurting – stuff like that. Well, try making those things your focus instead of the weight and maybe… just maybe… it won’t all be such a chore. Let the weight coming off be a by-product of a healthier you.

    Like this: “the way to make my knees stop hurting is to make a huge mock-tuna salad so I can have it on Monday – Wednesday and Friday for lunch this week”.

    For me, my today looks like this: I have a gorgeous 5 year old little man (you might know this because I saw that you checked out my blog) who has Down Syndrome, Autism and we think he probably also has Sensory Processing Disorder as well. He doesn’t feed himself – I have to do that. He still wears diapers – so I have to change them. For all intents and purposes he is non-verbal – so I have to interpret what I can, where I can and quite frankly I usually have no idea where he’s at on any level at all. I also have my beautiful girl who is now 19 months old and has decided to enter the, eh-hem, terrible two’s a bit early. And boy… does she have a set of lungs. Even though she feeds herself now, I still have to change her diapers and she’s only just learning to talk so I have to interpret her wants, needs and moods too. My husband is currently travelling for work so we don’t see him as much as we’d like and it means I don’t get any breaks at all. We live in a tiny town with no family where the nearest grocery store is an hour and a half away (may sound brilliant given what we’re talking about but not really because when it gets to the end of the month and I have to make the trip to the store and there’s nothing in the house to eat except chocolate…..) and where we have no family to help support us. But still… I’m committed to being healthy and it’s become such a habit now, that I just do it.

    And you know what? These are exactly the reasons that I know you can do it. 🙂 Because I did.

    Keep going. I’ll keep reading. And when I find some good recipes I’ll send ’em on over.


    • I’m sorry you’re so busy all the time. It must be so stressful having to do that all the time! I can’t even imagine how much time you must spend taking care of your kids. But you’re absolutely right – if you can manage to stay healthy when you have so many other responsibilities, I should be able to do it, too!

      At the moment, I’m actually enjoying tracking my weight. I’m enjoying watching the number get lower, and I’m enjoying keeping track of calories and stuff like that. But I am definitely focusing on getting healthy, as well. I’m not just going to try to stay within my calorie range – I want to make sure that I’m only eating when I’m hungry and that I’m eating nutritious food.

      There always comes a time, though, when focusing on the numbers isn’t doing me any good, and that is when I will definitely switch over to focusing on becoming healthy full-time, if that makes sense. Obviously I’m always concerned with being healthy, but I think your way of thinking will definitely get me through those times when my way doesn’t work. I actually think that might work best for me – sort of a cycle between focusing on losing weight and focusing on becoming healthier. That way I’m not just focusing on one thing all the time.

      Thanks! ❤

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