I started dieting when I was 19-years-old. That was almost 40 years ago. It began with something called "The Conway Diet." I have no idea where it came from, probably Glamour or Seventeen Magazine. But the gist of that diet was such that my sister, with whom I shared a bedroom, would yell down the stairs at night:
"Mom, Cathy's farting."
To which my mother would reply:
"Cathy, stop that, your sister is trying to sleep." Two things here: my mother would never use the word 'fart', and how was I supposed to stop that?
So out went The Conway Diet. I have done the South Beach Diet, The Scarsdale Diet, The Pritiken Diet, The Atkins Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet (much with the same effects as The Conway Diet), Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig and last but not least Weight Watchers.
Sure, the downside of this is that it appears that I live from diet to diet, which is not really accurate. I had some kids in there, and I was satisfied with my weight and my looks most of the time. My diets were always about losing 10, maybe 15 pounds. I just wanted to get rid of that annoying jiggling or smooth down those bumps without using SPANX.
I learned very quickly that exercise was about 10 percent of the battle unless I wanted to become a triathlete. I was pretty sure that was never going to happen since I didn't even want to walk a quarter mile down my driveway for the mail.
I had my most success with Weight Watchers. For seven years I weighed in monthly and never was more than two pounds above my goal weight, which is their requirement. If you meet that goal you don't have to pay a fee. Weirdly, that became my goal ... never to pay a fee. And then I quit Weight Watchers. After seven years of not paying a fee, 10 pounds magically reappeared on my hips, thighs, flanks and flabby arms.
I was alarmed. I was sure I had beaten the battle of the bulge. For seven years, I was able to muddle through every month and starve myself at the last minute to stay within those two evil pounds. My physique was far from perfect, mind you. I was still looking at Heidi Klum and thinking, "if only I could grow 10 inches, I'd look just like her."
I was certain I had a severe malady. I had all kinds of post-menopausal tests to make sure I was not bloating up with a deadly disease. It turns out I'm ridiculously healthy and just fat.
So this is why I'm dedicated to dieting:
1. I've Become a Better Eater. The upside has always been that I have become a better eater. With each diet I have become wiser and more circumspect about what I'm willing to put in my body.
2. My Family Eats Better Too. My entire family has eaten better every time I've undertaken a new 'food plan', because diet has become a dirty word. We can no longer say "diet." We must change our eating habits. Well, we did, and it was very successful. We ate more veggies, no fried food at home, and a lot less pizza (to my husband's chagrin).
3. I Learn More About Nutrition. Each diet made me look closer at nutrition, taught me how to read labels, and really know what was in the food we were eating.
4. My Weight Stays In An Acceptable Place. My diets are because I panic when I'm supposed to, when I have sufficiently been too lax with self-discipline in the food category. It's no different than when I slow down my exercise routine to a near halt. That's not good either.
5. It Usually Ups the Ante with Exercise. Yes, the two do forever seem to be an evil marriage that stalks us wherever we go. Diet and Exercise. Like Boris and Natasha. So as I get back on the diet, I go back to a better exercise routine.
I have now discovered The Fast Metabolism Diet. I love this diet. It's like every diet I have ever done all rolled into one, without the farting, which is the nice part. But I love what Haylie Pomroy, the guru of this new lifestyle of eating, and a nutritionist, makes us say when we use the word D.I.E.T. It now means, "Did I Eat Today?" How great is that? I'm never hungry. You're not allowed to be hungry on this eating plan. And I'm working very hard to eat clean and appreciate real food. I'm once again learning more about good nutrition, why things like coffee are bad for you (not sure that will be a permanent sacrifice I can make), and what all this other crap in 'diet' food is doing to my metabolism and my health.
That's why I'll never stop dieting. Dieting makes me look at myself long and hard, usually for a pretty good period of time. It's like a serious retreat to get a grip on what I've been doing to the inside of my body. And the whole reason I diet is so I like to look at the outside of my body. Ain't nothing wrong with that, I say.
But I will keep my newest diet guru's words close to me ... Did I Eat Today?