victoria’s in my ‘fridge

Oh, did I tell you I’m a super model? Just kidding. (I’m sure I really pulled the wool over your eyes there.) But I did get photographed for my gym’s advertising campaign a little before I had my spell of illness, and I totally forgot to tell you about it. You may see me on a poster kickin’ around town one of these days with my “before” and “after” pictures. I’m not super psyched about the images because I think the make-up makes me look like an aging drag queen. Or maybe I just look like an aging drag queen in real life, but I’m delusional. (Sorry aging drag queens. I do so love you.) Good news is, I don’t think I look like a sea whale, so that’s sort of nice.

smoke and mirrors
smoke and mirrors
only losers exercise in full make-up. on shoot day, i was forced to be a loser.
don’t these machines look like medieval torture devices?
i don't like this one because i look crazy in the eyes.
my mouth is saying, “happy” but my eyes are saying, “take the fucking picture already.”

So what can I say about the week thus far? Well, I posted my “pointing to the bleachers” blog on, like, a Thursday last week. So naturally how could I stick to my plan over the weekend? I am weak and I have no will power. (Super interesting link on will power, btw.) It’s like I used up all my will power in my 20s when I was depriving myself of food, and I just can’t face the idea of that pain again. Seriously, there was a point in college when I was essentially starving myself and working out in the morning and at night. I was what I now refer to as a “lollipop head.” No boobs. No butt. Just a stick with a giant head. And I was completely psycho.

Of course I am a bit wiser now, I suppose, and I understand that the whole “slow and steady wins the race” thing is more than just a fable. And I have a knowledge about food and nourishment that I didn’t have at that point in my life when I would eat gummy candies rather than a meal because they had no fat!

On another positive note, since the weekend, I’ve filled in myfitnesspal every day. (Yes, you did calculate just three short days in your head, but that’s a lot for me – GAWD!) Yesterday I went over my calorie goal when I ate some chicken noodle soup at 10 pm because I was starving. But at least I ate some relatively benign food out of hunger and not a bag of chips because I was bored. (Imagine me waving my tiny, tiny toothpick sized victory flag.) I’ve also been consistently burning 50 more calories per run on the treadmill because I’ve picked up my pace while sprinting. (I alternate between a run and a sprint every 1 1/2 minutes or so for 30 minutes, in addition to my 30 minutes of weight training.)

proof
proof

As motivation (or torture, I don’t know which) I have placed pictures of Victoria’s Secret models throughout my kitchen to remind myself that I would like to look half as good as one of those girls by this summer so I better stop hoovering the ice cream. While I believe these women set unrealistic standards of beauty for the majority of us, I gotta be honest. I wouldn’t give my left arm to look like one of them. But I would be tempted to remove a pinky toe during my deal with the devil. I mean, it might affect my balance the tiniest bit, but that toe is pretty gnarly anyway. I’m sure I wouldn’t miss it. Okey dokey – that’s all I’ve got for now. Stay tuned.

watch, tomorrow I'll drop a knife in the kitchen, cut off the damn toe, and everyone will say, "well that stupid bitch deserved it."
watch, tomorrow i’ll drop a knife in the kitchen, cut off the damn toe, and everyone will say, “well that stupid bitch deserved it.”

pointing to the bleachers

Where have I been for the last four months? Well, as a matter of fact, I was hiding under a rock. I died like three times between September and November because of a nasty case of what I like to call tuberculosis. (It was actually just bronchitis, but I sounded like I was coughing up one of Doc Holliday‘s lungs, so I proudly call it tuberculosis.) I was literally sick for eight weeks, topping off my bronchitis with a fantastic case of strep throat. During most of that time, I continued to work out. I did not, however, continue to eat properly. I fell off the wagon, then the wagon rolled over me, crushing my mouth’s ability to stop eating pie and cookies. Anyway, I don’t want to bore you with the details of the last four months of my life. I just want to get on with it.

Me and my netty pot. It's gross but it works.
me and my netty pot. it’s gross but it works. speaking of glamour…

I was reading this article in Glamour magazine the other day while getting a mani/pedi, (God, first world problems – losing weight and hanging cuticles – it’s really disgusting) and I came across something interesting by the editor-in-chief of Sassy magazine. To paraphrase, she basically said that the bravest, most interesting thing you can do is write about your challenges as they are happening and not after you’ve figured them out and can wrap them in a perfect little inspirational bow. When I first started writing this blog, that’s what I was doing. But as people actually started to read it, I started to feel like I couldn’t let them down – that I had to be this food and exercise earth mother spouting little nuggets of self-loving wisdom.

The truth is, losing weight is a messy affair and the details are ugly and uninspiring a lot of the time. And I’m not a hippy dippy earth mother who’s full of love. I’m a self-deprecating cynic. And besides, before I can start giving advice, I have to get a grip on all the emotional eating that I do. I have come to the realization that I have some serious issues with food that need to be addressed before I can have any success with weight loss. There, I fucking said it. (Oh, by the way, I’m also going to swear more because that’s actually how I talk and I’m not going to worry about offending my audience anymore. So if you don’t like swearing, well, go fuck yourself. Ha, ha, ha…) So my blog is now and forever-more going to get real.

I am a food sneaking, wine drinking, calorie underestimating, “I’ll start on Monday-ing,” yo-yo dieter. When I hop on the scale at my gym and act all, “I don’t know how this happened. I’ve been eating so well,” the truth is I’m a LIAR! I eat way too much food. I LOVE FOOD! And I don’t know how to change my ways. I really don’t know what to do. I’ve tried and failed a million times. You would think I’d give in to my fatness. I’m almost 40 anyway. My hot years are over. I should just let myself go, die and get crane lifted out of my house like that woman in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. (Although apparently, according to the attached article, she just lost 250 lbs. so maybe I should put that in my judgmental pipe and smoke it.)

But I can’t give up. As a matter of fact, I kind of want my 40s to be super hot cougar time. So, here I go again…my gym is having a weight loss competition for the next six weeks. And I’m going to be 40 in exactly 71 days. So, like Babe Ruth in the 1932 World Series, I’m boldly pointing to the centerfield bleachers. I want to lose a mere 10 pounds by March 14. If I don’t hit a homerun, I’m going to look like a jackass. But if I do, I’m going to shine like a sardonic star. Follow my pain here at zaftig girl or “friend me” on my fitness pal.com.

yeah, i ate that.
yeah, i ate that.

one day at a time

If I don’t start tracking my food, like today, all the hard work I’ve done over this past year is going to disappear. Isn’t it amazing how fast you can put on weight and how long it takes to lose it? Right now I have a muffin top. In two weeks it will be a bundt cake. Why is it so hard to get back on the wagon once you’ve fallen off? Every night I go to bed and say, “I’ll start tomorrow.” Then the morning comes and the day seems so daunting, and all I want is a nice muffin or scone or croissant. Greek yogurt does not pair well with coffee, and it certainly does not make me feel warm and cozy.

I had the best pumpkin muffin and Fair Trade coffee at the original City Feed and Supply today.

I’m still struggling with the extremes of being on or off a diet. I just stopped mid-sentence because I was going to write that I don’t know how to go from dieting to making a lifestyle change. Then I laughed because I’ve TOTALLY changed my lifestyle to include exercise. And I did that by taking one step at a time, being consistent, and not beating myself up if I missed a workout. Huh. Maybe this applies to food too…

My breakfast buddy – some random totally adorable dog. He likes muffins too.

This makes me think of my friend Jessie who recently lost about 18 lbs. He and I were trapped in the car for almost three hours this weekend, taking our lives in our own hands as we drove through torrents of rain (the remnants of some tornado weather). During that time we talked about his weight loss. He’s been using MyFitnessPal (the online calorie counter) for the last few months. I’ve used this same site in the past. It’s easy to use but it obviously has not worked for me. His secret? Well, like most things, it doesn’t work if you don’t use it. He fills it in even when he’s fallen off from his plan. He fills in the Buffalo wings with bleu cheese. He fills in the Oktoberfest with the sugared rim. In other words, he looks shame in the face and he spits on it! When I “cheat,” I pretend the day did not exist. If I don’t fill it in, then the calories don’t count right? “No, no, no,” says the evil fat fairy. They count just the same, except it’s worse because you feel guilty about it to boot. Then the cycle of guilt and regret begins again. Well you know what shame? This is what I have to say to you.

Are you talkin’ to me? Are you talkin’ to me?

So, as of today, I’m going to start filling in MyFitnessPal, even though I’ve eaten like absolute crap. My goal is to fill it in everyday even when I go over my calorie limit. But for now, one day at a time. Thank you Jessie for being such a source of inspiration!

you’ve come a long way baby.

A year ago I saw a picture of a woman on Facebook who looked like an overstuffed blue sausage. I said to myself, “Geez, she looks vaguely familiar. Maybe she’s my fat, middle aged doppelganger…” Moments later I realized that that tragedy of a haircut, that terrible dress, that extra set of chins, was me. I promptly untagged myself and went into my room with a bottle of wine to cry it out.

It’s been almost a year since that fateful day when I decided I had to make a drastic change. I had to stop hiding under a layer of self-loathing and start living my life. I haven’t been perfect. I haven’t even reached my target weight. But as you can see below, something shifted.

A few weeks ago, I snapped this shot and truly realized for the first time since my journey began that my body has changed dramatically. I’m also no longer storing nuts for the winter in my cheeks.

I attribute most of this change to my program at Get in Shape for Women. I’m really starting to sound like an infomercial when I talk about this place, but it’s the best investment I’ve ever made in myself. I know some of you ladies and fat gentlemen have looked into it and it is expensive. (Although honestly, it’s about $20 per session for small group training which I think is totally reasonable. These trainers are talented!) But here’s the thing – you’re worth it. We can always come up with the money when our car breaks down so why can’t we come up with that money BEFORE our brains and our bodies break down? I am not a rich woman. I teach theatre for Christ sakes. But I make my body, my health, myself a priority. And I think you should too. Okay – I’ll get off my Oprah soapbox.

Joining Get in Shape for Women was the kick off to the “new me.”

So that “T.J. Maxx Moment” photo above just shows the physical part of my transformation. Yeah, I’ve lost about 15 pounds, around 10 inches, and I think something like 13 percent of my body fat. That’s totally awesome. I had assumed that, after a year of working out like it’s my job, I would look like a cross between Gisele Bundchen and The Incredible Hulk. But the reality is, I’m never going to look like Gisele or The Incredible Hulk because I have the legs of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Oh, and I friggin’ LOVE to eat. Yes, I’m going to continue this adventure, but I think what I’ve learned so far is that I need to focus less on the numbers and more on the happiness. The coolest part of this whole thing, to me anyway, is that I’ve reconnected with my inner athlete. I was such a sporty gal in high school. But somewhere along the way, I just stopped moving (unless it was to get to class or to work). I forgot that the simple act of moving brings me great joy. And I forgot  that I love to be outside! (I’m a Vermont girl. How could I possibly forget?) So below, in pictures, I’ve created a little synopsis of me plugging in, being present and really living my life for the first time in a very long time.

This is the first time I left the gym and exercised outside (this spring) with my husband and my friend Nancy hiking at Blue Hill.
Then Nancy and I decided to run a  5K obstacle course while being chased by zombies. We survived with our brains intact.
This summer I started riding my jalopy of a bike to and from work everyday adding an extra 30 – 40 minutes of cardio five days per week! Look at those pit stains!
While parasailing isn’t exactly exercise, it is darned outdoorsy. I mostly like this pic because my leg muscles look so lovely.
This summer on vacation with my momma, my bubba was still hanging on for dear life. But as you can see, I don’t give a rat’s ass. I’m not going to let some extra dough ruin my fun!
I did Baptiste Yoga even before I started at GISFW. But it was always a little (read excruciatingly) painful. I would have rather stuck my finger in a light socket than do downward dog. Last week I struck an eagle pose for Aaron at home after my class (the pic Nancy took of me was too foggy to see thanks to all the sweat in the room). Now, (my name is Pollyanna) I get more relief from this than from a massage.
What’s really cool is that I’m having a positive effect on the people I love. My husband (notoriously an exercise avoider) has taken up kayaking. There we are on Lake Sadawga in Vermont.
And today I just spontaneously bought a weighted hula hoop! It’s great for your core and just plain fun!

In short, for all its trials and tribulations, this year, in addition to losing weight, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned about acceptance, growth, perseverance, faith, and let’s be real, about how, if I eat muffins for breakfast, I might as well just glue them to my hips. So thanks for reading peeps. You are my inspiration. I’m ready for the next chapter. I hope you are too!

operation skinny bitch II – back with a vengeance.

About two months ago my trainer Jess came to me with a compelling offer. She told me that Get in Shape for Women (my gym for a little less than a year) was starting a new marketing campaign showing the progress real women at the gym have made since joining by utilizing before and after photos. She asked if I would be one of four women to participate in this “Client Transformation” campaign, and I accepted. This means that on August 11, I will be at a professional photo shoot sucking in my gut so hard I will likely pass out.

For about a week in June I was positively gung-ho about losing weight for the big day, navigating the food world like I was in a museum – look, but don’t touch. I ate vegetables and fruit and little four ounce pieces of fish. I ran for miles every day. I was perfect! But by week two, I was an art thief, smashing and grabbing everything in my path. Nobody’s perfect. Deprivation doesn’t work. But I never learn.

Two weeks ago I decided to jump-start my weight loss by drinking protein shakes for breakfast and for lunch, with two tiny snacks in between and a sensible dinner. (Writing this just now, I realize that sentence was almost verbatim the words used in the Slim Fast ads. Sad.) After a week of that agony, I lost .8 lbs. No, that is not a misprint. That is, in fact, a period before the 8. Less than a friggin’ pound.

Last week, I came down with a vicious stomach virus that lasted for three days. While it was utterly disgusting and incredibly painful, I took a sick pleasure in the thought that my mad dashes to the bathroom, followed by the dilemma of figuring out which end was more urgent to get on the toilet, would result in a svelte, rather emaciated version of myself. (Ladies and fat gentlemen, you know what I’m talking about.) But today, as I triumphantly stepped on the scale, I discovered that I had lost a mere .2 lbs. What kind of cruel world doesn’t reward dry heaving with weight loss?

Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned that, in addition to my brutal workouts at the gym, I’ve been riding my bike to work everyday and I’ve been running with the Emerald Necklace Running Club. What the F is it going to take for me to lose this weight? If my husband drank protein shakes, came down with the stomach flu, and did just one of his 15 minute walking “workouts,” he’d either be hospitalized for anorexia or dead. And he would look fantastic.

So I’ve got three weeks and I’m desperado. I weigh 164.2 lbs. Two months ago I wanted to be down to 150 by the photo shoot. Now I’ll take 160. But I’m starting to think that may be a pie in the sky fantasy. Mmmm…pie…

So what do I do? It doesn’t appear that I’ve fallen into a fat vortex, so there may still be hope. Ladies and fat gentlemen and skinny people too, I need your help! What am I doing wrong? I’m a little sailboat being tossed about in the sea. Throw me a lifeline and I’ll try not to drag your ship down with my fat ass. Looking forward to your insights. Thanks a million.

Look at my skinny sister Teresa Betit! If I didn’t love her so much, I’d slap her across the face. She joined my gym and she says it’s the best thing she’s ever done for herself. I feel the same.

strong

As many of you know, my Dad passed away last month so I’ve had a doozy of a time keeping the train on the tracks in general, much less maintaining my weight loss plan. But at this point, putting the challenge of losing weight in the same sentence as the pain of watching someone die of cancer seems a bit absurd. Nothing gives you a little perspective like the death of someone you love.

But here I am, still alive. So do I give up my “petty” goal of a muffin top-less midsection for a more lofty one like becoming a Zen Buddhist or saving the whales? Ummm…somehow that just sounds less fun than thinking and writing about myself. (Just kidding – sort of.) And I’d like to think that maybe this blog is inspiring other fat asses to stop stuffing their pie holes. So maybe I am helping to save the whales after all! (Thanks, I’ll be here all night…)

But in all seriousness…

When I spoke at my Dad’s funeral, I told the story of how I recently ran up this crazy steep hill in my hometown on a sweltering day, and all I wanted to do was give up and go home. But this thought ran through my head: You’re Roy and Ann Betit’s daughter, and you don’t quit. Those two fought the fight of the century to beat that disease, so even if I’m just a diluted version of them, I’ve got the moxie to keep fighting to reach my goals. And to be honest, I don’t think losing weight and putting focus on my health and fitness is petty at all. In fact, I realize more than ever that I’ve been given this amazing gift of a strong body that runs and jumps and hugs and lives. So I better honor it by taking good care of it.

My Dad, Roy Betit, and my great nephew, Daniel Roy Betit.

operation skinny bitch

It’s less than a month until July 4th and I STILL haven’t reached my goal. I’ve accepted that I’m not going to be at my high school weight, but GOD! Look at the picture. You’d think that since I’ve been working out like it’s my job, I’d be a little thinner than this. But it’s the food. I just can’t stop stuffing my face. Late last night, after a crappy day of having my car towed, I was feeling sorry for myself. So I drove up to Centre Street, and like a woman possessed, I was transported into Charlie Chan’s. (Despite my constant eating, I never go to these kind of skeeve holes.) But once there, I ordered a Pu Pu Platter for one. It came in a grease soaked brown paper bag, and once opened, a sea of deep fried, not goodness, but nastiness, tumbled out. I was repulsed. (And I also had a fleeting thought about an article I read in the Metro about Chinese restaurants that were busted for serving cat, which pretty much sealed the deal.) So I threw the “food” in the trash, went home and went to bed.

I know I’m supposed to love myself, but all I can see are my fat thighs and my saggy boobs.

I’ve had enough of the extremes. I’m either eating clean or I’m eating dirty. And when I say I’m like a woman possessed, I’m kind of not joking. Something comes over me and my rational mind shuts off. (Does this happen to you? I’m so curious about how other people are triggered to eat…let me know.) I forget about the bikini and the jeans and I just think of the immediate gratification. I want the bad feelings to go away, and for a brief moment, the food usually comforts me. Soon after, my stomach is full, but the emptiness is still there. Throughout this process, I’ve realized what an emotional eater I am. I’m kind of shocked at how often I eat because I feel sad, and even more shocked at how often I feel sad. I’ve got to change my thought patterns. I’ve got to start embracing the positive and feeling gratitude for all the good things in my life. So, despite the cold and the rain which usually brings me down, I’m going to try to be positive. (I know a life coach would tell me not to “try” just “do” but geez Louise, that’s the best I can do for today.)

Do I look skinnier from the side?

So now it’s time to take this yo-yoing, and I guess that’s really what it is, out of my dieting repertoire. Tonight I take a trip to Whole Foods to kick off Operation Skinny Bitch, and I’d like you to join me. Your mission, ladies and fat gentlemen, if you choose to accept it, is to first track your food intake online. Go to www.myfitnesspal.com and become a member. (It’s free!) Once there, click on “find members” in the tool bar. Type in my user name “christyannbetit” and add me as a friend. We can see each others progress, encourage each other, and have some accountability. Second, go weigh in, take your measurements, and take a picture of yourself (preferably in a bathing suit) so you’ll have many ways of measuring your progress. I know it’s scary, but once you check under the bed, the monster‘s usually not there. And if he is, pull him out into the light, and I bet he won’t be nearly as frightening as you thought. Third, comment about your challenges and your triumphs on my blog. I’ll be asking you how you’re doing, and I’m hoping you’ll be open and honest about your process because it will help everyone involved. Finally, give yourself a pat on the back. You’ll be taking the first step toward greater confidence and a greater sense of control. Once we’ve reached our one month goal, maybe we can get together and celebrate (with water and a celery stick – he, he)! Now GO because this blog will self destruct in 5 seconds.

Whew.

It’s been a rough few weeks.

Ladies and fat gentlemen, I don’t even know where to begin. I know I’ve fallen off the face of the earth with my blog and my food journal, and as a result, I’ve gained three pounds. But I just don’t really have the energy for all of this right now. You see, my dad, who’s been struggling with cancer for the last few years, is in the last weeks of his life. And to add insult to injury, the damn dog needs to be put down. I know. Can you believe it? Our dog Max (who belonged to me for five or so years until I moved to Boston and left him with my folks) is so sick that he will be put down tomorrow. I’m heartbroken. (And I’m also just one trailer park fire and a divorce away from a bad country song.)

Most of you will say, “Geez, if that isn’t a good excuse to fall off your diet, I don’t know what is.” Thank you, but don’t encourage me! I am weak and easily manipulated! I’m not suggesting that weight loss should be my top priority right now. But my health definitely should. Because nutrition has been the last thing on my “to do” list, I’m starting to feel like crap. I realize that I need to eat healthfully and mindfully now more than ever. The Ho Hos, the potato chips and the cheap bottles of wine might sedate me for a few minutes, but being present and dealing with my emotions like an adult is going to get me through this for the long run.

So how to get back on track when the track is undulating in a sea of uncertainty and sadness? One step at a time. Go to the grocery store. Make a meal. Write down what I eat. Tell people my intentions. Ask for support. (Hey, can I get some support?)

One thing I am proud of – I’ve managed to stay on my work out schedule as evidenced by my rug burned elbows from a particularly vicious boot camp session at Mike’s Fitness last week. (I’ll catch y’all up on my gym sitch, etc. in a hot minute.)

Ouch.

Anyway, I’m getting back on the blog wagon because writing brings me joy, and I could use just a little bit of joy right now. So, until my next blog entry, which will be written in the next few days (not weeks or months), hug your family and friends and tell them you love them. I’ll talk to you soon.

Max, I will love you forever.

sweet emotion

My Dad is dying. He beat lung cancer two years ago. Then he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer which he’s been fighting ever since. On Monday, my Mom decided to text me the names of the songs she wants me and my husband to sing at his funeral. A little preemptive I guess, but she’s been his care-giver the whole time, so I think emotionally, she’s at a different place with it than I am. She’s been preparing for the inevitable. I have not. I like to pretend that everything is normal, way up there in Vermont. And it’s surprisingly easy to do when you’re not living it every single day.  But the reality of the situation encroaches when Mom emails me about his blood count, the chemo, how he tripped and fell, breaking his nose. The reality intrudes when I’m up for a fun visit and we end up in the emergency room overnight. It’s kind of funny, or sad, I suppose, how I looked at the text, shrugged my shoulders, and continued on with my day. I didn’t stop to fully digest the information, but it was there, slowly eating away at me.

My lovely Mom and Dad

That afternoon, I threw a little party for my kindergarten and first grade drama class. This is a notoriously challenging group of (evil) munchkins, but nothing prepared me for the events to come. I put up streamers and balloons. I laid out cupcakes and candy and punch. I put on the soundtrack from Stand By Me because I love to see kids dance to “Great Balls of Fire” and “Yakety Yak.” When they arrived, a madness seemed to wash over them. Their eyeballs rolled back in their heads as they converged on the sweets like wolves on a freshly killed elk. Moments later, little Emilio and Rufus started tearing down the decorations. A mob mentality overtook them, and even the best behaved kids followed suit. Shreds of red tissue paper whipped about the room. Balloons were squeezed and popped like ugly pimples. High pitched squeals drowned out the 50’s music, and one little boy ran past me yelling, “we’re all drunk!” (I’m serious. He really said that.) All of this happened in the course of ten minutes.

But the worst was yet to come. The party was, ironically, a reward for good behavior. (And in hindsight, I shouldn’t have continued with it after that ten minute frat party gone awry). But I had promised (per our usual arrangement) that the best behaved student, the one who had amassed the most gold stars over the course of a couple of weeks, would get a special prize. But for some reason, when poor little sweet Rose was given her inflatable electric guitar, three out of my twelve students burst into tears, sobbing and wailing, “IT’S NOT FAIR!”  It was like I had kicked their puppies or torn the arms off their teddy bears – it was like a kiddie apocalypse. It took me the remainder of the class to talk them all down from the ledge. I’ve seriously never seen anything like it. And I’m still reeling, trying to figure out where I went wrong.

The agony and the ecstasy. Can you believe this little blow up guitar was the source of all the drama in my drama class?

During my workout, the only thing that kept me motivated was the thought of cheating on my “lifestyle change” with a cheeseburger and perhaps some absinthe or heroin. Instead of dealing with the feelings that were cropping up in my mind about what a lousy teacher I was, I wanted to stuff them down with some french fries. Instead of calling my Mom and Dad to tell them that texting me about his funeral, watching him slowing deteriorate, the mere thought of living in a world without him, was breaking my heart, I wanted to drown my hurt in a box of wine. So you know what? I’m ashamed to say, I did. I fed my emotions with a succulent burger and a glass of hearty Cabernet.

My cheeseburger from Centre Street Cafe in JP, my big 'ol glass of wine, and what I like to call "girl porn" - an OK magazine. The depths of despair never looked so good.

While I’d like to tell you that, at the end of the day, I had some grand epiphany about how to manage emotional eating, I can’t. I don’t know the answer. The association with food and love and comfort has been going on for as long as I can remember. Mom told me that she used to pack me envy-producing lunches and bring home cookies and candy in the evenings, all to make up for her long work days. So it’s no wonder that I turn to some Ben and Jerry’s every time the going gets tough. But I am working on it. The day after my burger debacle, I got right back on the horse, tracking my food and working out. (Normally I would have said, “F – it. I screwed up. I’ll start again next Monday.”) More importantly, in the process of writing this story, I’ve discovered that maybe it’s time to have a real discussion with my parents about a thousand things that we just never get around to talking about, including how scared I am to lose them. So in the end, I guess that burger may have done more for me than just fill my belly. It prompted me to deal with my emotions, before they deal with me.

I forgot to mention - this was the icon that appeared on my Mac Monday morning. (Toasted hard drive TBD.)
Adding to my stress, at my Monday night weigh-in, I had not lost a single pound in two weeks. I'll tell you about NOT FAIR!

have your wine and drink it too.

Can you believe that a friend’s birthday soiree could cause me angst? (Well, if you know me, you know that many, many things can cause me angst. I could be on vacation while fretting about a bell boy’s long hours. I could be getting a massage while worrying about my taxes. But this is for another blog.) Last week my friend Lisa had an impromptu birthday gathering at a Mexican restaurant. Normally I’m pretty strict about my diet during the week – eat every three hours, keep the carbs low, and absolutely no drinking except for Saturdays. (Sounds like the rules to avoid becoming a Gremlin.) So when faced with a mid-week social situation for the first time since I started this nutrition plan, I was, well, kind of freaking out. Naturally, the first person (read victim) I asked for advice was my unsuspecting husband. Me: “So I definitely want to go to this party, but I’m not sure I want to drink.” Him: “Well don’t drink.” Me: “You know – just…forget it! I don’t need any pressure from you!” (Why he hasn’t tried to smother me in my sleep is beyond me.) Not getting the answer I wanted, I turned to my next closest friend, Facebook. And I must say, I received some thoughtful advice.

How can I be snotty pants to this sweet face?

Many felt that having even one drink would trigger a slippery slope that would leave me gasping for air under a gurgling river of margaritas and a mountain of tortilla chips. Said Hannah, “Don’t drink. It’s empty calories and you will most likely be thinking about it all night, feeling guilty if you do.” This is an absolutely valid point. I don’t want to drink and be tortured by guilt. As it is, harnessing all of my anxious energy could probably stop our dependence on foreign oil. “I agree with Hannah. Remember it’s about good friends not food or drink,” said Linda. She’s right. Why am I so fixated on drinking? Am I incapable of having fun without being drunk? Should I stop writing this weight loss blog right now and sign up for an AA meeting? Others felt I should throw caution to the wind. “Have a drink and enjoy yourself! Have one for me too!” Thanks Mom – always there encouraging me literally through thick and thin.

Of course Mom can have as many glasses of wine as she wants because she's such a skinny minny. Unfortunately, I inherited Grandma Betit's genes. We called her a "handsome" woman, if you catch my drift ;-)

When I suggested that I could just work out harder this week in exchange for the drinks, Allison had this to say, “Maybe one drink. My go-to motto is, “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet.” And Jess had a favorite quote as well, “Abs are made in the kitchen.” They’re both right. Exercise can’t clean up your mess of a diet. (I have this image in my head of me eating a cupcake and my trainer John pulling up to my house like Harvey Keitel in Pulp Fiction. “You Christy? I’m Winston Wolf. I solve problems. Drop and give me 20.”)

Still many felt that the decision should be based on leading a balanced life. “Stop treating this like a diet my dear. It’s a lifestyle change right? So are you going to drink club soda for life?” asked Sean. Um…no. Point taken. “You can’t avoid social situations and temptation for the rest of your life,” said Nancy. While becoming a recluse does have its appeal, I would still want to drink in my cabin out in the woods.

Me and Nancy on a hike last weekend. Her advice: "Find a way to enjoy yourself without becoming a glutton. It's possible. Have a drink if you want it but make sure you have a clear limit. Also, becoming rigid and obsessive is likely what makes you binge later."

The whole balanced life conversation got me thinking about my waitressing days. There was this one woman who would come in with a scale and measure all of her food. She would also routinely bring in low-calorie frozen dinners for us to heat in the microwave. First of all, everyone in her family wanted to crawl under the table when she did this because it’s just weird. But beyond that, she was so fixated on her diet that she was forgetting to enjoy her family. In my opinion, she just wasn’t living.

On the other hand, there was this enormously large couple that would often come in and order pina coladas, clam chowders, fisherman’s platters and cheesecakes. They’d top off their meal with Diet Cokes. (Don’t you know that drinking a Diet Coke negates the power of fat?) They seemed pretty jolly, but the fact is, they had to be seated at tables because they couldn’t fit their ginormous bums into the booths. I appreciated their love for food, but I’m pretty sure they were eventually going to have to be crane lifted out of their house and buried in matching piano boxes.

So based on all the advice from my pals and all the memories of weird customer habits I witnessed over the years, here’s what I decided: I was going to go out and have a great time, but not without limits. I would have a lean dinner before I arrived at the restaurant, then once there I would drink two glasses of wine. The end. I told my friend Lisa my plan before the night began, and you know what? I friggin’ stuck to it. That’s right ladies and fat gentlemen. And now that I’ve made it through the woods with my first mid-week party, hopefully it won’t take a village to get me through my next one. But if it does, I know I’ve got one patient husband and some terrific friends and family who’ve got my back.

Me, Flavia and Lisa partying down. Lisa was so supportive, telling me if it was too much pressure, I didn't have to come to her party. But I'm SO glad I didn't miss it. Good times...good times.