Saturday, November 8, 2014

Epic Weight Loss Failures

All of my life, I have been overweight.

In elementary school, I knew I  was different from my other friends, and it wasn't a good feeling. I was "Fatty Four Eyes." I saw the normal-sized girls eating their lunches that contained celery and carrot sticks, dainty sandwiches with no crust, and apples, oranges or other fruit. My lunch was usually a hurriedly-made sandwich with a bag of chips and a much-hoped-for cookie. 

Everyone in the family always said I looked just like my grandmother, Nana, who was a big woman at 250 pounds. Her name was Hattie but everyone called her Happy because she was always smiling. I assumed that's why they said I was like her until I realized that we had more than a smile in common. We also had a penchant for ice cream, sitting all day and watching TV or doing some other sedentary activity. She drank Diet Rite cola, which was the only dieting she ever did.

My dad gave me a back-handed compliment once when he said that my fat was ok because it was hard fat. I guess he meant that it was firm, not jiggly, which made my fat good fat. My dad wasn't the best at giving compliments.

My weight didn't get any better in middle and high school. Around 7th grade, I started trying to lose weight, but I thought there was some quick method and I tried them all over the next 20 years.

I was class secretary in 7th grade and got a picture in the yearbook. Maybe this picture guided me to  became a yearbook sponsor for 33 years so I could keep other children's yearbook pictures from being cropped like this.

The first item I purchased to help with weight loss was AYDS, which was advertised as an appetite-suppressant candy that came in chocolate, caramel, butterscotch and peanut butter flavors. Now that was my kind of diet -- one that allowed me to eat candy!  The only problem was that I was limited to two small pieces a day. Even though it wasn't the best tasting candy, I was tempted to eat more than the two little pieces every day.

AYDS went away in the 1980s because of its name association with AIDS, the most feared disease of that time. It was a truly unfortunate product moniker.

I tried other quick-loss methods. I ate special cookies, drank meal-replacement shakes, and even had my ear stapled. 

I look back at the ear stapling and just shake my head. My grandmother found a dentist who shot a surgical staple into the cartilage of my ear.

The staple was supposed to stimulate a pressure point that controls appetite. Every time I felt hungry, I was to push on the staple. Now, let me tell you, getting the staple put in was painful and pushing on it for the next few weeks was also painful. 

If I still had that staple, I'd be totally in style with all of the multiple piercings people have now. My students would think I was one of those cool teachers. If the staple had delivered an electric shock, much like an electric cattle prod, it might have worked.

I jumped on the low-fat diet, the low-carb diet, and the cabbage soup and grapefruit and banana diets. Like most diet fads, after the newness wore off, I was back to my old eating patterns.

I tried Weight Watchers about a dozen or so times over the next 30 years. It's a wonderful program that I have had some success with; however, I got tired of paying so much for something I felt I should be able to do on my own. Yeah, right. Isn't that what most addicts think?

Another weight-loss method I had a lot of faith (no pun intended) in was at my church. It's a program called the Weigh-Down Workshop. Weekly, I met with a group of women and watched a video of other groups discussing the scripture of the week that was supposed to give us encouragement.

I enjoyed the meetings and enjoyed learning all the different scriptures and lessons. I did not, however, lose any weight. 

So what seems to be my problem? I am addicted to sugar but I also like salty, crunchy foods. I use food as my comfort. I don't eat to live but instead live to eat. It's taken me a long time to get it through my thick skin (again, no pun intended) but I have to expend more calories than I consume if I want to lose weight. I also have to do that every single day. Duh! 

I also have another problem of not looking at the day but instead I look at the whole. In other words, I don't consider just one day of being conscious of my eating/exercising pattern as being an accomplishment. I see it as an epic failure because I couldn't last for the long haul. 

Will I change my way of thinking? I hope so and I'll try again on Monday to have a fresh start. I'll vow to exercise at least 4 times a week and not to eat sweets.  Maybe this Monday will be the one.