They Lie

Have you ever heard people in the health and fitness industry tell you that making small changes can make a huge difference?

Yeah, me too. They’re liars.

Small changes do not bring about anything. Not a pound. Not an inch.

I have a very sedentary life. I work a job where I sit at a desk all day. On top of that we have deadlines, so it’s not like we can just get up and walk around and “unchain ourselves” so to speak. I have gained at least 20 pounds since working in this new department.

In July the mobster introduced me to Pokemon Go. This is a game that involves a lot of walking around. Shortly after I got back from learning about this game I found out that there is a Veteran’s Park about a 5 minute walk away with 7 PokeStops and gyms. Until the weather got colder I walked over to that park twice a day, five days a week, instead of sitting in a break room with my feet up, reading. Sure, there were times I was swamped with work and didn’t get two breaks. There were even times I didn’t get a single break, I’m sure. But the point is most days I walked over and back, twice a day. Five minutes there. Walking amongst all the PokeStops and gyms to spin them. Five minutes back. Twice a day. Twenty minutes. Small change. Did not register a single pound as far as change goes.

Six weeks ago I started doing the C25K program. It’s not strenuous right off the bat but it is more activity than I was doing. Three nights a week I’m exercising for 30 minutes. Small change. Do you want to take a guess as to how much weight I’ve lost? The answer is zero.

The mobster also started the C25K program 6 weeks ago. He also downloaded MyFitness Pal and religiously inputs his food and exercise into the app. He has lost over 20 pounds.

I realize he’s a man and men lose weight more quickly. I’m not even upset about that. My point is this: He hasn’t made small changes. First, he’s running much faster than I am, he completes each running segment, which I don’t, and in addition to that, he has drastically cut down how much he eats. He skips breakfast or has a smoothie. His lunch is usually an apple, and there have been many times he’s gone home and steamed bok choy and kale for dinner. Yes, he mixes that up with something else, but nonetheless he’s not eating much. It’s not a small change. It’s a huge change.

My daughter has lost around 40 pounds since she went back to school in August. She’s working out now and uses MyFitness Pal as well, but the biggest part is she has to cook for herself and she doesn’t. She just doesn’t eat. Another big change.

This idea that you can make small meaningful changes is a big, fucking lie. I’m no better off for walking twenty minutes a day than I was when I was kicking my feet up and reading on my breaks.

I can run a goddamn 5k this April but it’s not going to matter. I won’t be one pound lighter. I can go to the gym 3 times a week and follow this running program or I can sit at home on my ass. I’m still going to weigh the same. Hell, I could probably train for and run a fucking marathon and I would still weigh the same.

I’m not the only one that has experienced this either. We have a weight loss challenge that is going to be starting up soon. One of the goals is to lose 20% of your body weight. The contest goes from March-July 3rd. I was talking to two ladies at work, to see if they were going to join, and telling them about my experience with doing the C25K program and not losing a single damn pound.

The one works out religiously with her husband after work. She changes at work and goes straight to the gym at least three times a week. She even eats vegetarian, and I often see her in the lunchroom eating her raw peppers and other veggies. She still struggles with her weight loss, her cholesterol, her blood sugar, and her blood pressure. She said it’s so frustrating at times. This is not new for her either. It’s been a long term program. She’s been doing it for over a year easily.

Another one said after she had her first daughter she lost a bunch of weight. She was running 3 miles every day pretty much but she still didn’t lose 20% of her body weight. Again, that’s not a small change. Running 3 miles every day is a big change.

And those fucking bitches on the weight loss commercials where they tell you they’ve lost 20 pounds and 8 dress sizes? I hate them.

Years ago (and sadly, I do mean years- Picasso was 2 at the time) I did low carb. I lost like 30 pounds. Would you like to guess how many dress sizes I lost?

The answer is one. One dress size. Thirty fucking pounds and I could say I went down one whole size. Awesome.

At the rate I was going I would have had to have lost 60 pounds to lose 2 dress sizes and 180 pounds to have lost 3. I would have been close to my birth weight if I had lost 180 pounds.

Part of it is how I store weight. I’m not one of those people with a fat ass. I don’t have huge arms or legs. I’m an apple shape. All my fat is stored in my hips, my stomach and my thighs.

When I lose weight guess what’s the first to go? First, it’s the boobs. As we all know that doesn’t help you fit into a smaller pair of jeans. Then it’s a two way tie between my face and my ass. I guess I’m not bothered by my face losing the weight, but even when my already flat ass shrinks even further it doesn’t translate into fitting into a smaller pair of pants. It’s all about the stomach and that shit doesn’t budge.

Thirty pounds and I went down a dress size.

This is all so frustrating. Everyone around me seems to manage. They’re all losing weight. I skip the fries. I try to eat healthier. It doesn’t matter. I don’t lose a fucking pound.

I finally tried MyFitness Pal. In order to lose a pound a week I need to restrict my calories to 1510. It will take me over a year to even get down to respectably fat. I will not meet my BMI requirements and I won’t be anywhere close to where I should be. In order to lose 1.5 pounds a week they take me down to 1260 calories a day and if I want to lose 2 pounds a week I can only have 1200 calories, which seems a little strange to me. The dip is pretty severe from 1 to 1.5, but it’s only a difference of 60 calories to go from losing 1.5 pounds to 2 pounds a week.

The first day I went over by 165 calories even with running. I gave myself credit for 205 extra calories although I didn’t pay attention at the gym because I didn’t think I would be doing this.

I had a package of crackers and a handful of almonds for breakfast. I can’t imagine that having bacon and eggs would be fewer calories, but maybe I’ll be shocked. I had a turkey bacon club, a side of potato chips and a pickle spear for lunch. That was over 400 calories. I only get 400 per meal at this rate. For dinner I ate honey teriyaki chicken over rice. I know I had more than what would be considered a single serving. That’s it. That’s all I had and I’m over my calorie allotment for the day.

There was nothing really fantastic that I had. It wasn’t a ton of food by any means. There was nothing sweet. Nothing that tasted amazing. I didn’t down a whole bag of potato chips or an entire pan of brownies. And yet I was still over. I’m not even on track to lose a pound and a half because remember, the difference between losing 1.5 pounds vs. 2 pounds is only 65 calories. I’m on my way to losing a single pound in a week if I keep this up. I’m also pretty sure that’s only if I exercise every day. Otherwise I’m not even on course to lose a pound.

The second day was not looking much better. I was at the gym for 50 minutes, running and walking. Burned a whopping 356 calories. Came home and had 2 scrambled eggs and 2 pieces of toast with some butter. That was 335 calories. I didn’t eat before I went to the gym around 10:30 so breakfast was really lunch. I had one meal and one snack of Jell-O sugar free pudding- another 60 calories. I had plans to meet a friend for dinner at Chili’s. I had a little over 1100 calories left. I figured I would probably have a bowl of broth and a side salad with lettuce and tomatoes only. No dressing. In my terrible, horrible, no good will possibly come of it mood I was sure that would probably put me over!

Oops- that’s 1400 calories! You’re over for the day.

With a goddamn side salad and a bowl of broth?

Well, the broth did have specks of chicken in it and we added a crouton to your salad. So yes, 1400 calories. Sorry, Fatso. Good luck tomorrow!

I ended up having the 6 oz. sirloin with a half an order of shrimp, the loaded mashed potatoes, broccoli, and a side salad. That was nice, but it came at the price of me being hungry all. fucking. day. long. I ended up having diet Coke instead of a flavored iced tea like I usually get because I couldn’t afford the calories. I certainly couldn’t get a margarita. I had to starve myself in order to go out to dinner, and honestly, if I had gotten up earlier and gone to the gym so that I ending up eating breakfast and lunch, I wouldn’t have been able to eat what I did for dinner. I would have ended up having to choose something that I didn’t want because it was the only thing that fit within my daily allotment of calories.

I HATE this fucking program. Basically it’s, “Hey! You get to be hungry. All. The. Time.” Unless you want to eat bok choy and kale all the time, and I don’t. Nor do I consider a large bowl of broccoli to be a satisfying meal. I hate cucumbers. I do not like radishes. I do not like raw peppers. All of these very low calorie foods I typically do not like. Fruit is not low calorie. An orange is anywhere from 60-80 calories, depending upon its size. That’s almost 25% of my calorie count for each meal. I snack on an orange, I need to reduce one of my meals. And that orange is not going to fill me up for two or three hours.

I get 400 calories a meal and no snacks on this program, unless I exercise. Or, I go down to 300 calories a meal with two snacks a day. There is not one goddamn thing out there that I find filling and satisfying for under 400 calories. I mean, look at my lunch on Day One. The turkey bacon club alone was 400 calories. That’s it. That’s all I get. Then I get to wait until dinner and have myself another sandwich. Sandwich only, though. No chips. No pickle spears. No dessert. No snacks. Hell, not even a celery stick or two. And dip for the celery sticks? Shut your mouth! You don’t get to eat anything that tastes good, or that you enjoy! You’re trying to lose weight.

So much for fifty-fun. I’m a raving bitch when I’m hungry and I foresee being hungry a lot. I did Weight Watchers for a few months before I got pregnant with Picasso. I was always hungry. To this day, eighteen years later, I still remember going out for lunch and getting a BBQ chicken sandwich and telling my mom, “This is the first time since I started doing this that I’ve actually felt satisfied after a meal.”

That brings up another point. When I did Weight Watchers those many moons ago people who weighed more were given more calories, or points, and as you lost weight you had fewer points. Is that how MyFitness Pal works? Because if so I’m fucked. I’m already a cranky fucking bitch at 1200 calories. If I lose 20 pounds (you know, in the next 6 months) and they take me down to 1000 calories or less, I’m going to be homicidal. If you think I’m a bitch now just wait until they tell me, “Guess what? You’re doing so well we’re taking you down to 300 calories a meal! And no snacks!”

I suppose my other solution would be to work out 2 hours every day so I might actually be able to have a side salad with my handful of nuts. Of course I have a full time job and a teenage son who doesn’t drive yet so I’m picking him up two to three nights a week and sometimes am not home for the night until 6:30 or later. Plus he expects me to cook for him for some reason. And that’s always a lot of fun. Cooking for others when you can’t eat because everything in the world besides fruits and vegetables puts you over your daily allotment of calories.

This whole thing is so depressing. First, you realize that virtually everything that tastes good makes you fat. You no longer scan the menu looking for something that sounds good; you look for something with as few calories as possible. So instead of a ground beef burrito you choose rat entrails and shit stew. Because it’s low in calories. It doesn’t taste good. You hate it. But you eat it because it’s the only thing you can eat within your calories. And because you didn’t enjoy it at all, you’re hungry again in an hour or two but you can’t have anything else to eat unless you want to go exercise for an hour so you can have that string cheese to tide yourself over until morning when you can eat an orange and let that get you through until lunch. Hungry. All. The. Time.

Second, you realize that while you might find something that is under 800 calories a serving, the serving size is actually really really tiny and it will come nowhere close to filling you up. Yes, that can of soup you’re going to heat up? That’s actually two servings so either pour half of it out or double your calorie count. I know you thought you were going to have crackers and maybe some veggies on the side but you can no longer afford those. Those grilled chicken Caesar salads that you think are so good for you? Well, those are more like three servings so you need to triple your calorie count! Guess what? You don’t get to eat 400 calories at dinner anymore! Enjoy a cup of broth instead.

Third, you realize you will never have a piece of cake, a bowl of ice cream, chips and salsa, pizza, or sushi ever again. There are too many fucking calories in it so there is no way to have it. period. and be able to stay within your calorie count even if you went to gym at 8 that night and worked out for the next four hours to try to gain some extra calories.

Why is getting fat so easy and getting skinny so hard? Oh, I know. Because exercise is hard and exhausting, and sitting on your ass watching television or writing blog posts is very easy and relaxing. Some food is delicious, like juicy burgers, sushi, chips and salsa, chocolate cake with vanilla icing, meatloaf. Other food sucks, like cucumbers, peppers, plain salads with no dressing. Fat is fun. Skinny is bitchy. It’s starvation and deprivation and a world of bleak gray.

Seriously, I am starting to question whether or not it’s even worth it. I could die fat, happy and young, or I can live to a ripe old age as a cranky bitch.

3 thoughts on “They Lie

  1. I am just curious- you say a bowl
    Of broccoli isn’t a meal. You’re right- but couldn’t you add a bunch of bok Choy and broccoli to the chicken and rice you had? The reason veggies are good is because they’re low sugar and low calorie and full of fiber- you need that to make you feel fuller longer. Yep, they aren’t as delicious as the chicken it’s mixed with but it’s also just part of the deal? I can’t eat a lot of things but when I used to be able to eat eggs I made these really good breakfast quiches in non stick muffin pans, then put them in the freezer to heat up every day. Eggs are high in calories but a really good protein… fill the tins with frozen spinach and broccoli and a little bit of bacon 🥓 in each cup, then pour a dozen eggs over the veggies, bake in the oven until they’re toasty and delicious. Low carb, high fibre and nutrients, high flavour… but full of the good fats. You mentioned you went low carb/ I’m not a fan of keto or Atkins but I did read the south beach diet and I think it may help you- it focuses a lot on high protein but also high vegetable mix foods. So like- a 6 oz steak for lunch but with 4 cups of salad. It’s very effective at helping you not feel hungry. It takes about a week or two to get your body into the idea, because bread puts you onna crash course for sugar highs and lows but it’s very satisfying, easy to find yummy food to eat on it, and is less about counting calories and more about eating the right things. Crackers aren’t your friend- they are usually just really processed wheat, so they don’t give enough substance to take your tummy to the next meal. Almonds are great though. Maybe with a half cup of oatmeal- either baked to a cereal or cooked and sweetened with stevia. Don’t give up, just get out of your comfort zone lovely. Xx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Whoa so much to unpack here- I’ll start by echoing what Gone said. All calories are not the same, and if your menus consist of condiments, sweets, sugar based sauces and sodium filled soups and sodas/teas you’re fighting a losing battle. Food has to be natural or it doesn’t nourish nor fill you unless you have big amounts. Many times when we have uncontrollable hunger all day is because we are lacking nutrients 🤷🏼‍♀️
    Oranges have a lot of sugar but berries do not. Yogurts do nothing for you except make you hungry. None of these fuel.
    When they say little changes do a lot of good they’re not talking about weight, it’s improvement in cardiovascular, mobility and endurance. It’s a step in the right direction when you don’t want to go gung ho, and it’s supposed to be a springboard for additional changes.
    Every time we put food in our mouth the body react one of these ways: energize, make you tired. It will tell the body to either burn, store fat. Fake food or canned, boxed, whatever with preservatives or sugar free, when you eat it, the body has no idea what it is, cannot process it like real food (because it ain’t) so it stores in the abdomen and thighs. The liver can’t handle it because it’s already overworked. That’s why people can be skinny yet have a protruding stomach. That’s all the sugar free and preservatives. Go natural food and it will reverse course.
    There’s no reason why you can’t have all kinds of protein with sautéed vegetables, have hard boiled eggs or low sugar fruit with raw almonds for snack, have a zucchini or spinach omelet for breakfast with fruit or homemade Irish oatmeal. Believe me way less calories than salad with creamy dressings. You could have a big bowl of spinach or arugula with red onion and half a can of tuna in olive oil with vinegar and that will fill you for hours.
    Nobody can outrun a poor diet nor a high calorie diet. Weight loss is in the kitchen.
    When I lost half my weight after the accident in a few months I was doing Pilates at home and two miles on the treadmill 5 times a week, but I had to change what I was eating and drinking because to detox the liver and lymphatic system.
    A while back ago I suggested you read the Fat Flush plan. Even if you reject the diet plan it will teach you a lot about nutrition and what makes our body work best. There’s also menu ideas.
    Finally there’s no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for giving up. At our age it will be faster weight gain due to hormones. If this is important to you the sooner you start the better. That said- if you resent the process and are angry you have to do it it will be more difficult; you have to engage the inner warrior and look forward to the road. Have to be your own cheerleader.

    Check out Trader Joe’s for great prices in healthy food. No preservatives. Delicious food and great produce and meats.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Do some research on The Plan by Lyn Genet. It’s about what food works for you, not calories. Three meals a day and a lot of food. The hard part is all the food prep. But she also has you test exercise – too much exercise causes inflammation in some people – so folks who take up running often don’t lose weight. The struggle is real and I’m sorry. If nothing else, check out anti inflammatory diets. Those crackers or almonds may be hurting you. The other part of anti inflammatory foods is that you feel amazing and sleep better. I wish you luck. I’m happy to be your weight loss buddy! We can hold each other accountable. And be bikini ready in June 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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