A LIFE OF DIETING – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I’ve lived with dieting my whole life. Growing up, my Mom gained and lost the same 40 pounds many times over. She was only 5’1” tall so that was a substantial amount of weight for her. She was also on a low sodium diet for her heart, so watching what we ate was an everyday thing. We loved food, but always ate healthy.

From my twenties to my forties, I got lucky and could eat whatever I wanted without gaining weight. I had a hyper active thyroid for a while which might have been part of the reason. Anyway, when my husband and I ate our way through France for two weeks, I gave up desserts for a week or two to lose the five pounds I had gained. Those were the days!

In my forties, maybe due to perimenapause, I suddenly put on twenty pounds. I didn’t think anything of it until I tried to lose the weight and couldn’t. For the entire twenty years since then, I’ve been struggling with weight. It may only be 5 to 10 pounds, but for me, it’s a big deal. My metabolic rate seems to hover somewhere around zero. I have to starve to lose weight.

I was thrown out of Weight Watchers. On their lowest level of points, I maintained my weight, but didn’t lose. They refused to ‘allow’ me to go below the minimum calorie count they deemed ‘healthy.’ So I left and tried Jenny Craig. They are much more flexible and I’ve been with them, on and off, for four years.

I love Jenny Craig. Many people don’t like having to buy prepared foods to eat every day. To me, it’s a Godsend. I hate spending the time and energy to shop, plan and cook meals when I can only eat a fraction of what I really want. I hate having to weigh all my food. It feels creepy and obsessive to me. I don’t want to think about food at all.

That’s what Jenny Craig lets me to do – not think about food. The six or so times a day I’m supposed to eat something, I just go to the freezer or cabinet, pick something out and eat it. No worrying about what to eat or how much. I can also snack on vegetables and salsa whenever I want, so I’m a happy camper.

I left Jenny after reaching my goal weight and maintaining it for a full year. Big mistake. I went back to eating regular food, but being careful about what I ate and how much. I still always eat healthy and love fruits and vegetables. Things were fine until my daughter came to visit for Xmas in 2015. I decided it was a bummer to have to ‘diet’ all the time when we were eating out with friends a lot. So I stopped monitoring what I ate for ten days. I didn’t binge, I just didn’t pay attention.

I gained six pounds and you guessed it, I had trouble taking the weight off. Again. In fact, over the next year of self-help ‘dieting’, I managed to gain two pounds. I continued to struggle for more than a year, going down a few pounds, then back up a few. I seemed to always be  perpetually dieting but not losing weight.

I recently reached a critical level of frustration. Suddenly, I remembered I didn’t have to go it alone. I could go back to Jenny Craig. Get meals, counseling to get me back on track. I hadn’t even thought about that for the past year. I made an appointment and immediately felt more in control. With the packaged foods, I’ll go back to knowing exactly what I can eat each day. And they add some fiber, or something, to their foods, so I’m actually satisfied eating their small portions. I didn’t mind doing this diet – why didn’t I think to go back to it earlier?

I think the answer is we all suffer from the myth that dieting will be easy. For me, it’s mostly common sense and self-control. I was beating myself up when I couldn’t drop the weight on my own. I should have reached out for help sooner.

I just started Jenny again so I haven’t lost any weight yet. But I feel more in control, less agitated and less obsessed with dieting. I still have to watch what I eat when I go out, but for the most part, I know what I have to do. And, I know I can do it. Just — not necessarily alone.

14 thoughts on “A LIFE OF DIETING – BY ELLIN CURLEY

  1. On their 1200 calorie diet, I lose two pounds in six weeks. The problem is, I don’t actually eat much more than that. I gave up for now. I can’t afford it anyway. But it wasn’t hard, at least.

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      • I have to figure out what would work. Possibly nothing, in which case, if I’m careful, it will drop down by itself over time. With one thing and another, I can’t do anything dramatic. My body will not let me. I sort of hoped, but when I saw that number, I realized I had a problem. It was worth a try.

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  2. My down fall is baking. If I make it I eat it and there’s always someone having a birthday in our family. Otherwise, I skip dessert. It’s a headache.
    Leslie

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  3. oh metabolism, the bane of women everywhere. At least they can’t blame us for THAT. It’s built into the system. I think we have always realized it, but male doctors look at you sideways and hand you a diet sheet. riiiigght
    I found walking helps, if only to tone the muscles. Swimming is fun, but you can gain weight instead of lose it because the water supports you and you may burn calories but you don’t burn fat. Im not sure why it works that way, but it does.

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    • I’ve started walking on a treadmill. But I have sciatic nerve problems so I can’t walk much. I don’t think I burn a lot of calories, but I am stimulating my metabolism and building muscle tone. Exercise is always a good thing. But some people get carried away and it becomes an obsession. Not something I’ll ever have to worry about!

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