I promise I'm not going to throw earworms at you every day from here to eternity, but it was just too appropriate.
Before I dig into the details, though, I need to comment on the comments. Marla, I'm thisclose to finished The End of Overeating. I made the mistake of starting The Botany of Desire before I finished and, frankly, the end of EoO was kinda scaring me. Sounded like a bunch of "don'ts" coming up, so I bailed. I can set up my own don'ts, but it's not the setting up that works, it's the doing, er, the don't-ing.
Greta, how wonderful to hear from you! And congratulations on sticking with your plan since spring. Care to share the details?
Okay, back to the plan.
I have, in a previous life (heh), been sugar-free for more than five years. I attended Overeaters Anonymous meetings in the late '80s/early '90s, and a requirement (then) for abstinence was No Sugar, No White Flour and No Red Meat. I might be making up the red meat part, but I don't think so. It's been a while.
As Greta commented, the first week of No Sugar is the hardest. The first week lasted three weeks for me: I was unusually emotional, and would cry if you looked at me cross-eyed. That gradually went away and by the end of the first month sans sucre I was fine. (In AA we say FINE is Fucked-up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional. I might have been that, too.)
Five months later I'd lost 30 pounds. No exercise, no "diet," no frozen dinners – just No Sugar, No White Flour and No Red Meat. I gradually added exercise (insane amounts of it), decided to add No Fat (this was the '90s, remember) to my list of restrictions and eventually lost another 25 pounds. I stayed at my ideal weight of 128 for about five minutes, and I was on my way back up again.
What happened was that I moved away from my gym and to another state with my now-husband, who thought I was being too restrictive and one day offered me a piece of pie at a restaurant. I'm not saying it's his fault, not at all. But my whole life changed when I moved, and my old friend Food came with me on the trip. I no longer worked – working takes up a lot of time one could otherwise spend eating and not exercising. I was alone during the day and for a couple of years when he worked out of town, I was alone for several days and nights each week.
Long story short: I know how to restrict myself and I know what happens when I stop. And I don't think I want to go there again.
This past year I've discovered the joys of local, whole food. My new eating plan includes as few packaged and processed foods as possible. One of the customs I've adopted in my dining room this year is having pizza on Friday night. It takes all the guesswork out of "what's for dinner" and the pizza is homemade, from scratch, with a healthful whole-wheat crust and reasonably healthful toppings. (I use whole-milk mozzarella. So sue me.)
Since Friday nights have worked so well (the amazing thing about homemade pizza is I have no desire to eat all of it, or even half of it – two slices [an eighth of a pie] is plenty), I'm applying that principle to every night and every meal.
No, not all-pizza all-the-time, but for breakfast I'm having yogurt with either fruit or granola. Each night of the week is a different dinner, but the same each week – stir-fry on Tuesday, beans on Thursday, breakfast food on Sunday, for example. Lunch will be leftovers from the previous night's dinner.
I'm measuring my portions and writing everything down. The past few days I've hit the 1200-calorie mark at the end of dinner. There's very little wiggle room here. One of the things I thought about as I was figuring this out is that when I was growing up we ate three meals a day and no snacks. I thought I was an overweight child, but really I wasn't – I had a couple of very tiny friends in junior high and high school, and so I felt like a cow during those years. But I weighed between 125 and 135 until I got pregnant for my first child.
My plan includes a daily five-mile walk, and I intend to add some running at least two days a week, with the idea of increasing the running and decreasing the walking. I've done this before; I can do it again. I'm going to do a light weight-training routine on Wednesdays. Once a week, no more, for the first month.
One of my problems is my all-or-nothing attitude. I need to figure out what works and what doesn't (I've been doing this for the past month or so), start slowly and work up to previous levels of fitness. I can't jump right in where I was three years and 30 pounds ago.
The Country Music Marathon is April 24, 2010. That's 187 days. Countdown starts today.