I have been on a mission to lose 85 pounds in 20 weeks, but in these two weeks things fell apart. No, I didn't gain weight, or cheat even once. But my deadline has disappeared, and my dieting role model fell off the wagon after a major disappointment of her own.
First the role model: my mother introduced me to this diet, and at one point even worked in an online forum dedicated to people following the plan. While she always had reservations about the personality behind the website, there was no question that the diet worked for her and for many, many others. The science was strong, the plan was effective, and personal quirks were just that — personal quirks. This month, however, tensions that had been building in private spilled out into the public, and the personality was exposed as a fraud. (I am not using a legal definition here; I simply mean that a private investigator produced photos apparently showing that the personality collecting money to help others lose weight looks to weigh something north of 300 pounds herself.) Despite my mother's 90+ pounds of weight loss, this revelation sent her reeling and left her — and me, by extension — discouraged. I wasn't as directly affected as she was, since I never paid anything to join the website.
Then came the second blow. Readers of my first article in this series may remember that I picked the 20-week span because that ended a few days before my departure for Central Asia, on a trip I've been planning a long time. I saved up money for the expensive plane ticket. I started a campaign to lose 85 pounds. I paid extra to expedite a passport renewal to avoid any potential uncertainty. I was ready! This week I was on a conference call, credit card in hand (literally!), buying my plane ticket online, when one of the members of the call said something that I knew immediately would lead to the cancellation of the trip. It took a day for events to play out, but that's what happened. My entire reason for losing weight was gone, just like that. It took a few days to even begin to see any upside, and it's still hard to really remember in the face of the overwhelming disappointment.
I mention this not just to bore you with details of my personal life, but because one of the primary reasons overweight people are overweight is because we tend to eat in order to alleviate stress, and I've had a bundle of stress and even despair lately. I know that my body would love some of the foods I won't allow myself to eat. I would physically feel "better" because of the chemical responses my body would produce. It has stretched me to the limits of my willpower, and I've even found myself "cheating" in small ways. I didn't go off the plan, but I did go back to those salty foods and diet sodas I gave up weeks earlier. If I can't have chocolate, then beef jerky and Diet Dr Pepper will have to do!