The Take It Off Edition

This was a difficult week. A very difficult week. I had a coworker once say in reference to that infamous glass that I am not a pessimist or an optimist. I am a realist who’s had someone drink his water before. This was also a coworker who became embittered that he lived in a neighborhood that became increasingly Black and once told me that the Civil Rights movement did Black people no favors as Blacks did better under slavery. Of course this was in a workplace setting where I couldn’t respond properly.  Unfortunately, I didn’t know what sunny view of slavery he had as I surmised internally (can’t be the angry Black woman in the office when it’s only you) that he had never read a slave narrative or an African American history textbook to see how harsh that life actually was. I imagined that he would never watch the amazing film, Slavery by Another Name, which showed that southern Whites established a stereotype of criminality in Blacks in an effort to imprison and obtain free labor from Blacks after Emancipation. It is an enduring stereotype that everyone somehow bought into and we still aren’t free from. I’m sure he never read a statistic that was astonishing and inspirational to me. At the beginning of the 20th century, 90% of all Blacks were impoverished and that number dropped to 30% by the end of the 20th century. That is a lot of hard work and effort that no one trumpets. Sigh, what a week…



So back to the glass, I’m a realist who gets exhausted by all this reality. My original plan for this entry was to discuss the fact that I manifest much of my stress through my overwhelming love of food. So, let me return to that plan. Food soothes a multitude of ills. I obtain this wondrous click (to reference Tennessee Williams) when I eat a perfectly sugary chocolate chip cookie. That click caused me to gain 20 pounds in the last few months. Something odd happened. None of my clothes fit. I put on a dress, sat down in my car and immediately realized that I made a terrible wardrobe decision that I was stuck with a day of extreme discomfort. I decided to finally weigh myself and voila…20 more pounds. Considering that I was already a few pounds over when I last weighed myself, I realized I had to change my approach to life.

I have friends that barely eat or barely think about eating. A lot of these people are also picky eaters, which makes any attempt to eat out an extreme challenge. I read that overweight people’s hunger sensor works more. That is totally me. Except for years, I never really gained weight, or if I gained weight I could take it off rather quickly by eliminating a snack or adding 15 minutes per workout. However, once I hit my 30’s my metabolism changed and it was over. My action plan to keep the weight off was simple. I stay away from high caloric and fast food. No tasty food at home, none in my office. However, at my new job thin people with actual willpower constantly had all kinds of delicious snacks and treats. I need tricks and schemes.

I felt overwhelmed. I would need to lose 25- 30 pounds, not the stubborn 7 extra pounds that I seem to keep. I once again attempted to do the Fat Smash. It’s a diet designed by Dr. Ian from Celebrity Boot Camp. I saw a modified version online and was successful at losing weight when I gained 15 pounds due to my reliance on fast food while I was a travel warrior. I downloaded the book and started the program in last October. I failed oh so miserably. The popular criticism of the diet is that it is hard, very very hard. It’s a detailed multi-month, layered plan. Turns out the online version of the plan I liked so much but couldn’t find is the sustainment plan that you actually don’t get to until about three months in.

The first 9 days of the plan is a complete detox. It trains your brain to not like food. Okay, according to the plan, it’s supposed to cleanse your system of all the delicious bad food you consume. I’ve taken colon cleanse pills and done juice fasts before. How terrible could it be? Well, terrible. The key to the detox is really what you can consume: fruits, veggies, one cup of oatmeal, one cup of nonfat yogurt, beans, nuts, popcorn and brown rice.  There were other items I don’t remember because I don’t like them. The food must be cooked simply. No frying, breading, etc.. Over the course of three months, you can gradually add foods back a few at a time: sweet potatoes, whole wheat pasta and bread, lean meat, dairy, cereal. Some food you can never add back. After a month last fall, I lost about 7 pounds (that I kept off), but returned to old habits.

How do I lose this weight? Back to Fat Smash. Just for a month, then switch to something sensible like Weight Watchers. I made this decision like many Aries decisions, on a whim. I wasn’t prepared. First off, this plan is quite pricey. Plant based foods are way more expensive than easy processed foods. I ran to the grocery store, purchased my list of allowed items and was ready to go. Breakfast was oatmeal and blueberries. I hate oatmeal, but really wanted some kind of carbs into my day to avoid gas, lol. I actually eat oatmeal regularly. However, it’s with brown sugar and dried apricots that mask the mushy nothingness. No sugar or dried fruit which is just sugar were allowed. Man, did that oatmeal make me sad. Lunch was hilarious because I didn’t make anything the night before. That morning I just grabbed stuff for a salad: bagged salad mix, onions, red pepper, black beans, cucumbers and tomatoes. Then I had yogurt and grapes for an afternoon snack. The key to this plan is to constantly eat. Otherwise you get hungry, Incredible Hulk hungry. So I had pistachios and strawberries for additional snacks. At home, I realized that I didn’t feel like cooking. I really should have meal planned. So I stuck with a trusty staple I love: Wegman’s brown rice steamables and added a mixed vegetable steamable (I cheated and added the smallest dab of butter ever) and some cannellini beans. On the beans I sprinkled cayenne pepper. It was the saddest dinner ever. But I was satisfied.

Over the weekend, I finally devised a menu and things came together. I made a wonderful lentil soup that was everything. I grabbed some soup recipes from the internet and combined elements of two of them. The key was cumin and red wine vinegar. I couldn’t remember if I could have vinegar but I let it go. I made fruit smoothies for breakfast and forgot about the sad oatmeal. I also gave myself a small cheat everyday to stay on track. I had coffee on two days because I was extremely sleepy at work. Another day I had tea with the slightest bit of sugar. I have this apricot peach tea that really doesn’t need sugar but realized I was out when I got to work. I had 3 to 4 Hershey’s kisses to satiate my sugar cravings on some days. One day, I went to my new office’s taco Tuesday mixer and had some soft Chicken taco. That didn’t go well by the way. The cheats helped me stay on the plan and I felt physically great after about a week. I was detoxed. The first few days I felt a bit like how a Hollywood starlet must feel: hungry, slightly loopy and off balance. I am pretty sure this is how they must eat regularly to maintain their size. Plus, you aren’t allowed to exercise more than 30 minutes a day. So I got a lot of rest.

I did well, remarkably well. Even eating out. One day, I had Chinese food: mixed vegetables and brown rice. There was this tasty orange sauce that came with it that I devoured. I am not sure what it was or if it was allowed on the plan but I ate it anyway. I also learned to increase my portions. I was eating way too little salad. I moved from a bowl full to a plate full. Every drab meal was met with extreme excitement since I was always starving. However, eventually my appetite subsided and I started to eat less. I extended the detox to two weeks and after two weeks, I lost 9 pounds. I decided to skip the incremental steps and move to the sustainment portion of the plan as I was ready to eat everything. With the 5 pounds I lost in the two weeks prior, I am up to 14 pounds. I am halfway there. I just need no triggers make me want a cookie. Looks around…nope nothing here.



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