(Me, circa 2005, having a salad and starting a diet.)
It’s time. Or at least that’s what I’ve said about every time, since about 1982.
It’s always time and it’s never time to lose weight. There’s always a new artisanal grilled cheese shop waiting for me to experience. Damn you Brooklyn.
This time it’s different. This time I’m in pain. You mean vanity hasn’t prompted me to try and lose weight? Nope. The fact that I’m a fashion hound and can’t shop anywhere but tasteful and drape-y Eileen Fucking Fisher? Nope. That I do my best to afford a first-class ticket so I don’t have to worry about oozing into my neighbor’s spot? Nope. The fact that my 5-year-old niece likes to giggle and say to me, “You’re fat!” and then slap my belly with her little paw.
And funny thing that thing called love. My husband and I like to tell each other, “Every day is not a celebration.” Because sometimes happiness is yet another great excuse.
Back to the pain thing.
At the end of last year, in an effort to ignore the food part of losing weight, I’d decided to sign up with a trainer three days (and a thousand dollars later) a week. At the same time, stairs had become a problem; I would grip the railing, huff and puff to reach the top of several flights of subway stairs and notice my legs, feet and knees hurt all the time.
The trainer idea sounded smartish. Except that my 20-something, former professional soccer player trainer — I’ll call him Guillermo — decided to have 255 lbs of me running laps on the treadmill and jumping dup and down from those aerobic step benches. When I’d complain about the sharp pain in my knees and “maybe I have arthritis?” he just waved me off laughing, “I always thought I had arthritis after a match but it probably just means you’re really getting a workout!”
Uh, yeah… turns out, it was arthritis. And, an MRI indicated a torn meniscus in both of my knees. Ugh. Major ugh. I can’t say it was the trainer’s fault, exactly, it’s possibly something that I’ve had for a while (have an MRI and you don’t what the heck they’ll find.) I may never know.
I traded my trainer for a physical therapist, and after six weeks of massage, ice, stretching and strengthening to help alleviate the pain around the torn-up knees, I started to feel a bit better. When my doctor told me surgery wasn’t entirely necessary, at least for now, I asked him if there was anything else I could do to help alleviate the pain. He said, in words a bit more diplomatic than my five-year-old niece, “Lose weight.”
So here I am again.
But this time, I want to do it right and I want to do it for good. The doctor suggested I perhaps try medical weight loss or a nutritionist, two approaches I’ve never tried - and I’ve tried them all. I’m by no means a diet newbie; in fact at one point I was the editorial director for AOL Diet and Fitness.
To wit: Me on Fox’s Good Day New York in 2005 or so.
I was definitely overweight then, but it didn’t matter, I was just hiring well-heeled nutritionists to write and edit the copy… and occasionally star in hilarious “Aol Beach-Ready Boot Camp” videos with Jillian Michaels (thankfully I can’t find those videos anywhere).
Honey, I know everything there is to know about dieting, it’s just that putting it into practice thing.
The trick is that my brain has to be completely focused, a little “fooled” and in the game. I remind myself that this is only temporary; that slice of pizza is in my future, just not right now.
It’s also about not battling myself and anyone who’s ever called me “fat” throughout my life. As in, “F you, I can have that cheeseburger and fries, I can do whatever I want! Fat is a Feminist issue, people.”
It is, until your legs start to give out and you can’t get up the stairs anymore.
So in my true system-obsessed fashion, and the way I approach everything when I have a myriad of options (finding an apartment, hiring the right person), I create a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet detailing each possible option, service, doctor, nutritionist, hospital, private office, group that I might want to try. I detail their services, what kind of specialist they are (nutritionist, endocrinologist, dietician, integrative doctor), their website, phone and rates as I get them. Then I create a 1-5 ranking system based on the qualities I’m looking for: Are they Nearby? Expensive? Professional? Are they comprehensive? Meaning, do they address body and brain. And finally, do I like them? Then I tally up the scores to get a good picture of which way I should be leaning. Here’s a fuzzy abridged version which is a work in progress. If you’d like the template I’m happy to send it along.
So stay tuned, I’ll be tracking the methods, doctors and approaches I like as I go.
Wish me luck and share any doctors, nutritionists, tips or techniques that have worked for you, below.
(This is last weekend at 826 NYC’s “Scrabble for Cheaters.” The last time I will “cheat” for a while.)