Thursday, January 19, 2012


So I came across a post on Facebook today, and I just couldn’t help myself. The post read, “I lost 2 pounds in three days using HCG! It really works!” My response?

“I’ve lost over 150 pounds in 12 months, and I didn’t have to shell out for pills, go under the knife, break the bank on prepackaged meals or liquid diets, starvation plans, or any urine from any sort of pregnant creature. In fact, I didn’t have to buy anything at all. It’s called ‘diet and exercise,’ and it really works!”

No, I’m not a bitch. What I am is someone who is sick to death of having people approach me with, “What are you using? How are you doing that?” only to walk away shaking their heads in dejection when I tell them the truth. I am sick of hearing, “Oh, you’re just stronger than I am” or “I could never do that.” There IS NO MAGIC PILL, KIDDIES. There is no wand to be waved, no surgery to do it for you. There is work.

Now, it would be a lie if I said I had no “miracle” to aid me. I do. It’s called “keeping track of everything.” I use a free website called “My Fitness Pal.” There are others. The site also has an android and an Apple app, so I also run it on my phone, my iPad, and my Galaxy Tab. With this program, I keep track of every scrap of food that passes my lips and every bit of exercise I do. I plan out my meals, usually a day or so in advance. It’s a numbers game, and sometimes I don’t get to have that freshly grated parmesan and asiago with my pasta because I just don’t have the calories for it. Sometimes I decide to pop on the exercise bike or go walking in order to earn those calories. Sometimes I trade off and decide that I’ll skip the smoothie for dessert so I can have the sausage with dinner. It works, and it didn’t take long for me to figure out how to maximize those calories.

Maximize them? You bet—instead of a heaping pile of 2-3 servings of spaghetti, I have ONE two ounce serving plus julienned carrots and squash. Bulks up the serving size, gives me a nice serving of veggies, and makes that meal filling without being gluttonous. I used to have two pieces of butter and garlic-slathered bread with pasta. Now? I have a salad with spring mix, dark green leafies, zesty sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers, and black olives, topped with a serving (carefully measured) of light dressing. If I want chicken strips, my husband breads the boneless, skinless breast strips with homemade breading and we bake them rather than fry. Same with fish. Cuts the calories in LESS than half, nukes the fat, and our son calls them “Epic.” Not bad for “health food.” Other favorites? Toasted ham and gruyere, toasted roast beef and fontina, rotisserie chicken with veggies, homemade 3 bean chili, grilled steaks with onions, mushrooms, and cheese, tuna roll-ups in lavash bread, homemade tyropita and sambusa, and good, old-fashioned hot dogs. And hot chocolate with melted peppermint and dark chocolate. Yummmmmy.

Now, I do have another inspiration, something that helps keep me in line. My diabetes. See, I ate myself into Type 2 diabetes. Yes, there’s a hell of a family history (mom, grandpa, uncle, sister, etc.), but fact is, it likely never would have appeared in me, had I not been morbidly obese. But watching that blood sugar and those carbs has made all the difference. I’m unmedicated, and in just a few months managed to pull my A1c down into normal range. Hey, I’m still heavy—I could lose another 75 pounds and still be called “fat.” Another hundred, and folks might refer to me as “the chubby one.” But that’s not my goal anymore—this isn’t about fitting into “skinny” jeans or hitting a particular size. No, this is about not ever needing to be on insulin. It’s about no taking medication for blood pressure. It’s about living to see as much of my son’s life as I possibly can. My “pretty” days are long over, and that’s fine—when did our society forget that people get old, and that old has a place, too? Who wants a silicone grandma with rock hard abs and plunging necklines?

Not me.

Am I “not diabetic” now? Of course not—if I eat a half a loaf of bread (or forget and pair stuffed clam shells with potatoes), my blood sugar shoots up into the 180s and 190s. That’s not cured. But it’s controlled. And before you think, “Oh, God, she never gets to have anything goooooood,” hush. Yes I do. Tonight, I’m having a cheeseburger (5 ounces of beef) on toasted oat bread (it’s not dry, it’s moist) with two slices of 2% cheese, ketchup, mustard, and dill chips, with a salad (see above), spinach, and slow-braised carrots with caramelized onions. Oh, and a strawberry-banana smoothie for after. My blood sugar will come in around 120, and all will be well with the world.

Don’t fall for the fads. Don’t buy into the gimmicks. And do NOT tell yourself that, short of a miracle, it’s “too late” for you to lose weight, that you’re “too fat” to get healthier. It’s not true—I could barely walk from car to apartment door, I could only do museums in wheelchairs and shopping in electric carts, and now I’m walking miles and spending hours on my feet. In just a year. So don’t—don’t look back a year from now and wonder sadly what you might have done. Do what I did—just DO it, then look back a year into it and say, “Wow, look what I did!” You can, you know. Promise.

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