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Life on the Weight-Loss Plateau


I haven’t mentioned my weight loss program since March, leading some to believe that I’ve once again lost steam in my never-ending quest to finally rid my mailbox of Lane Bryant catalogs.
The reason I’m reluctant to make a report is that the television is barraged with ads and programs claiming amazing numbers of pounds lost or showing pictures of people who start out looking like Kathy Bates, lose 10 pounds and wind up looking like Calista Flockhart.
I can report a weight loss of only 15 pounds, but I still look like an Oompah Loompah, only an Oompah Loompah 15 pounds lighter. That’s okay by me. I’ve gone the rapid weight loss route several times. One dish of Starbucks Coffee Ice Cream and it’s all back again.
So it’s slow and steady for me and certainly nothing I can’t convince myself to do for the rest of my life. I remember seeing some diet program (it may have been an Oprah episode, back when I was watching her show) where the expert took a group of women out to lunch to show them how to eat in a restaurant and still lose weight. They ordered a grilled chicken sandwich, hold the mayo, which he proceeded to take apart by setting the bun aside (okay so far . . .) and then pointed out that the chicken breast meat was “shiny.”
“That means ‘fat’,” he said and proceeded to wipe the meat with a paper napkin. By the time he finished with the platter, it looked about as appetizing as Styrofoam.
I would never be able to live the rest of my life wiping all the shiny food that comes my way. In fact, I would never be able to live knowing that I had to completely avoid anything fattening. A life without cannoli? Why bother?
I do know there are certain foods I cannot have in my house, surprisingly un-gourmet foods that I cannot stop eating until they’re gone: pot stickers, Chip Ahoy cookies, the aforementioned coffee ice cream and – don’t tell anyone because this is really embarrassing – Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Apparently I’m not alone in my lack of control around noxious food. My friend Karen, a gourmet cook and major foodie, is powerless around Cap’n Crunch cereal.
So there is nothing off limits to me, I just can’t drown myself in food and have come to know my “trigger foods,” which are foods that are the gateway to a full-fledged binge. One donut can wipe out an entire pantry.
Having gotten the whole eating thing worked out, my loss is slowing even more, almost to the point of being an actual “plateau” – which is a dieting term for “I refuse to eat any less or move my butt fast enough to burn any calories.” So I, with my vast dieting experience, know what comes next: I must . . . ugh. . .formally. . . errrrrrrr. . . ex-er-cise.
The Treadmill of Torture and I have a nodding acquaintance right now. There were times we were closer, but it gets very tyrannical when given too much attention. But I’m now to the point that a morning knocking around what I insist on calling the garden isn’t cutting it anymore. And the only dog that walked at my pace is on maternity leave.
So it’s me, the Treadmill of Torture and my search for something to listen to while we’re communing so I don’t realize that I am walking to nowhere, which has all sorts of existential ramifications that I become aware of by way of an excuse not to do it. It seems no matter what I listen to, eventually the realization that I absolutely hate what I have to do for 40 minutes creeps through the soundtrack and suddenly a miles’ walk may as well be 30 miles.
My brother, a long-time runner, assured me that, as I get into better shape and lengthen my workout, the endorphins will kick in. I assume the endorphins numb the brain to the fact that you are now walking even further to nowhere. Frankly, all I got out of his advice was a gut-wrenching sense of dread at the phrase “lengthen my workout.”
Still, I show up four times a week. I know I’ll never come close to being considered “thin,” not with these sturdy Sicilian hips. I’m just aiming to live longer, if only to annoy my kids.
If I get hit by a bus tomorrow, though, don’t bother with paramedics. Call Dunkin’ Donuts.

Share  Posted by Jeanne Jackson at 12:48 PM | Permalink

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