Thursday, October 2, 2008

Diets Suck

Sorry to be so crass, I don't generally use the "s" word, but it's true. Diets do suck, and I'm hating mine right now.

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood right now, because I've been pretty positive the last 5 weeks that I've been seriously dieting. I've been stressed by the amount of work school has been (business classes were waaaaay easier than English), feeling like I'm barely keeping my head above water in most of my responsibilities, and just realized that in setting my blog's comments to "moderate" it means that a bunch of comments have piled up that didn't make it to the site, and it's my own dumb fault. So I'm a little down on myself currently.

But let me celebrate one thing: I've been going to the gym daily - that means every single weekday - for three weeks in a row. And the two weeks before that I went two or three times also. Five solid weeks of working out consistently, and it's amazing! I've never ever ever been able to keep that kind of momentum. Three weeks is about the longest I've gone, and never every day.

I couldn't understand people like my friend Susanne who not only enjoy exercising but have some kind of fundamental need to do it every day, but I'm starting to get it. There is such a feeling of power when I can tell my body to do something and then accomplish it, even though it's hard. Being sweaty doesn't bother me quite so much, although I have to admit that I favor the machines positioned right under the ceiling fan. (I've often thought that treadmills,etc. ought to come with built-in personal fans, directed right at your face. Maybe it has to be powered by your footsteps or something. That's my million-dollar invention, right there.)

I wrote a month ago about my adventures at the Zumba class. I've gone for 5 weeks in a row, and I'm amazed to find out that I can hold my own now. I even invited my friend Sylvia to come with me last week, which means that I trust myself enough to risk potential humiliation in front of someone I know, not just random gym rats in the freeweight section. I can last the entire hour without feeling nauseous, and here's the weird thing: it feels really good. Really, really good! I am turning into the kind of person who actually likes to exercise!

Today I rocked at the gym. I went to a class that had a 10-minute cardio warm-up and then 50 minutes of weight training with free weights and hand weights. I've done this class before, and it totally kicks my butt. I was able to move up from the 3-lb weights (hey, don't laugh, at least I'm trying) to 5-lb weights, and I hope to one day put some weight on the bar itself. We were doing some exercises to work some arm-related muscles, I think it was the deltoids and the trapezoids and possibly the rhombuses, and when I thought my arms were going to fall right off onto the ground, I let my arms hang for a few seconds. Then my inner Jillian kicked in and I could hear her screaming at me in my mind to get off my lazy butt and keep working!! (Jillian is the fire-breathing trainer on The Biggest Loser, and man, I think I'd keep working just to stop the screaming insults from her.) I started laughing when we tried to do some more lunges and my muscles were shaking so bad I could barely keep my balance, but I love that now when I'm going upstairs my quads hurt and when I bend over my abs ache. It's like a little, constant reminder of how hard I worked.

To top it off, after the class I hit the elliptical machine for 20 minutes, and then walked around the entire neighborhood for another half hour. I'm like some kind of working out machine! I'm unstoppable!

But let me tell you what is wanting to stop me: the scale. The freakin' blinkin' scale! Over the last five weeks here's what my stupid scale has said.

End of first month of diet, no exercise: Down 2 pounds.
End of week 1: Down 1 pound.
End of week 3: Down 3 pounds.
End of week 4: Up 1 pound.
End of week 5: Down 3 pounds.
As of today, Up 2 pounds.

So with eight weeks of being super careful about what I eat, including only a single slice of the ice cream cake from my birthday, I have lost a grand total of 6 pounds. Five weeks of exercising, and my weight is zigzagging up and down like a rollercoaster.

I hate rollercoasters.

Watching The Biggest Loser is encouraging and at the same time giving me all sorts of unrealistic expectations. I enjoy seeing people make such radical changes in their life, but when the contestants are lamenting only losing 8 pounds that week instead of 10, I can't relate. I'd just like to be consistently losing and not gaining. I'm so frustrated with this whole stupid dieting process that I'm afraid I'll do damage to my newfound exercise habit. If nothing else, it's making the other half of the ice cream cake in the freezer looking less like a sin and more like a just reward.

I know I need to just not weigh myself, but when the scale is down, it gives me such an emotional boost that I can't resist the temptation to check. Of course, when it's up my mood plummets in response and I vow to throw the scale away altogether. But I need the accountability, so it will stay in my bathroom closet, the specter that haunts me even on my best days, making me question whether all of my hard work is doing anything at all, or whether I ought to just eat that cake.

I don't have any pithy or amusing or even positive thoughts to wrap this all up. I'm not going to eat the cake, at least not today, but I don't have it in me to throw it away either. Maybe that means I'm not all the way committed, but I'd rather think it's a tactic, like Brigham Young keeping a plug of chewing tobacco in his pocket and asking it, "Who is going to be master, you or me?" Well, mint chocolate chip ice cream cake from Baskin-Robbins, who's in charge here, you or me? Clearly, it's me, and that's why you are still in the freezer!

(As a side note, Brother Brigham only lasted 9 years off tobacco before he started chewing again as a pain reliever, and then quit a second time for good. I have no idea what this means for my diet, but if I haven't lost this baby weight in 9 years, I'm eating that cake!)

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Hey Em, I am with you on the whole diet thing - never been a fan of "diets". I keep trying to get back exercising but then something happens. Like I was swimming everyday and then the whole family got sick so of course I had a three week break. Then I found out that I am pregnant and so it was impossible to get up at 5am to go to the pool.
Then, I got strep throat and was in bed for week. Then, we thought I may have miscarried(everything is fine) but I was not up for exercising while waiting to get an ultrasound. So now - I am hoping the exhaustion does not last too much longer(I am nine weeks along) so I can start swimming again. And even though I can "try" to loose weight, I can at least eat better and exercise.