***Results completely unique to one Linda Erin Keenan
I just read that the mayor of Oklahoma City wants his town to lose a million pounds this year. In my case, I wish I could say it was the mayor of my own personal Crazy Town , Oprah, who motivated me to lose weight. As a 30 hm-hm haus frau, I look to the Opracle for guidance on most matters; how my poop should look, is my vajayjay functioning properly, who I should vote for, how to tell if my husband is secretly gay. But when it came to losing weight, I didn't do it for my health, to nourish my all-conquering woman-spirit, as Oprah might sensibly suggest.
I did it because of my ass. After I turned 30, my butt embarked on its own great Northern expansion. My A-ha! Moment, as Oprah would say, came two years ago, when I sat in a toddler chair at the library, stood up, and picked up the chair with my ass. I had to pry it off, as the other sympathetic mommies politely looked away, fumbling with their cell phones and diaper bags.
2 years later, I'm 40 pounds lighter. My butt? It's gone from Kardashian to Calista. So what did I do? Freebase Hoodia? Become a surburban Meth head, tweaking my way through the Whole Foods produce section?
Nothing that dramatic. I did it by taking the advice of Elmo's soul-patch sportin' daddy in Elmo's Potty Game (played frequently in my toddler-ruled home): "Elll-moe, you gotta listen to yo' body!" In short, I chucked every diet and exercise plan I had ever read, and found out how to contain my emotions, and satisfy my undeniably rapacious appetite with less food.
Am I healthier? Maybe, maybe not. But I am 40 pounds lighter, and showing no sign of backsliding. Thus, I now offer up my list of rule-breaking rules that helped me lose The Great White Ass.
1. I didn't call it a diet, didn't think of it as a diet, and told no one.
I didn't one day shout from the rooftops, 'Hello, World! Make way for skinny Linda!' I had been down this disastrous road before. My college friends darkly recall my pickle and mustard phase. When I started eating (too much) again, someone would say 'what about that diet?' and then I'd mumble, and my voice would trail off, and that was it, diet over. That made me sad, and made me eat more.
2. I stopped exercising.
OK, I know this is heresy, and a cardio-vascular atrocity. I do chase a toddler, but I hate compulsory exercise. When I started "dieting", I heaved my flopping flounder body onto the treadmill. I had just moved from Manhattan to a soul-crushing exurb. I felt like my pleasantly, moderately decadent life was disappearing. It was too much at once for my fragile psyche. I soon began wilding through the fridge like the old Mike Huckabee. My husband said, "you won't lose more than 15 pounds if you stop exercising". That was 25 pounds and 2 years ago, sucker.
3. I stopped eating food I hated.
I hate salads; there, Oprah, I said it. I tried at first to eat the recommended buttload, if you will, of wasa crisps, leafy arugula blends, wild salmon, flax seed oil, salad spritz (is this for my food or my pits?). I stopped buying "healthy" food. I resolved to eat only food that I ate and loved during the Chunk Years. I continued losing weight.
4. I never, ever skip a good-sized meal.
For me, Deprivation = Diet Death. I aim for 400-450 calories or so a meal. I wasn't eating enough in past diets. Now I'm almost never stuffed, but I'm also never hungry.
5. Fat is my friend.
Call this cardio-vascular atrocity number two, but nothing satisfies me more than about 100 calories of fat every other meal or so, especially animal fat. Egg whites? No. Yolks. The stuff that sticks like crazy glue to the sink, and, presumably, my arteries as well. I try to keep the animal fat in check, but there's always some there.
6 But...I kept the carbs too.
No Atkins here. I don't sit around eating bacon with cheese slabs subbing for bread. I did cut down on portions of bread, pasta and rice, but I don't ban any food, because the Beast will rear up and demand that food. And The Beast must be listened to, which brings me to non-rule #7...
7. I feed the Beast.
Let's face it. We know the Beast that lurks in all of us. Mike Huckabee knows. In my case, it's inside that shiny, wondrous Ruffles bag, all salty and greasy. My solution: I stuff my face, feed the Beast, not often, and when I do, I make those Ruffles my meal.
8. I eat and run.
I eat like a Dyson Cyclone. I find that if I eat, get up and do a chore, like, say, watch Oprah, I'm satisfied by the end of the (cough) chore. Fast food? I eat more now than I did during the Chunk Years (lots of choices for that in the soul-crushing exurb). If I pick about 500 calories of whatever I want, and eat it driving away, I'm satisfied by the time I get home, and for hours and hours after that.
9. I always, always eat dessert.
About 300-350 calories tops of whatever I want. As I write tonight, dessert is a quesadilla. I've eaten a sloppy joe for dessert (and breakfast). But usually it's No Pudge brownies or Trader Joes' apple tarts. I go to sleep moderately full, which makes me very, very happy and keeps the Beast at bay.
This is how I lost nearly a quarter of my body weight, and a whole lot of butt. Am I healthier? A college friend who is an endocrinologist and M.D./PhD who studies diet sustainability at Yale says, yes, current research would say I am. But he and his lovely wife, also an M.D. at Yale had some praise and criticism for the plan and how I've presented it, which you'll hear about soon, in my next post.
I know with this 'diet', I'll never get my Oprah 'twirl' moment, where I'm brought out on stage and revered for going from frump to fab because I believed in my Self and my Worth. That's ok. It was pure vanity that got me to lose weight, so twirling in front of my own mirror suits me just fine.
I'd be happy to face any questions, tirades or the like about how this approach worked for me. Fire away in the comment section!