Monday, October 7, 2013

Diet and insanity

I have been on a diet from September 9th, 2013 and I am beginning to lose my enthusiasm.  When I was young I could lose 5lbs the first week and 2 lbs a week thereafter.  All I had to do was stay on the diet.  By the way, have you like me tried every diet under the sun?
The first diet I remember was my mom sending me to school with cottage cheese and canned fruit in a little container for my lunch.   I was still in grammar school then.  The next diet I remember was the fat and protein diet.  My mom included my sister and me in her diet and it was butter, bacon, sour cream, whole milk , eggs, meat/meat/meat, and lots of tuna fish.  When you could not have carbs to go with the butter all the fat became old very fast.  I loved tuna fish but I preferred it in a sandwich rather than a can with the oil coating it.  None of us could maintain that diet very long.  Later, after I left home,  mama found the weight watchers diet.  It became her diet of choice for the rest of her life.  She tried to engage me in the diet and I did try several times over the next 50 years but I never got into it.  It was just too much food, and boring.  I wanted quick results like when I first arrived in NYC.
 I stayed at the Webster Hotel for Women, on 34th street and 9th avenue.  I want to tell you all about those days later but for now: breakfast and dinner were included in the weekly rate and I stayed there for 3 months.  In that 3 months I lost 30 lbs.  I was the thinnest I ever remember being.  The food was so bad at the Webster you couldn't pay rats to eat it.  Breakfast would seem easy but......  The toast was always cold and stacked in trays.  They served our good friend Marge, with it(colored oleo). They had a pot of over cooked gluey oatmeal and a pitcher of  milk and a bowl of white sugar next to it.  There was a tray of poached eggs swimming in lukewarm water, and a large bowl of hard boiled eggs.(sometimes they were undercooked and still soft in the middle.  They had pitchers of watered down orange juice, weak coffee, and tea bags with barely hot water.  All I can think was they must have really tried hard to make it as bad as it was.  This was the first I knew of institution food and I was not happy.  I would go to the dining room and grab an apple and a hard boiled egg to take for lunch and run out the door.  There was always a monitor there who made sure you didn't take more than one of each thing.
Dinner was even worse.  I can't remember all the fabulous dishes but they ranged from greasy meatloaf, to poached fish, to heaven only knows what  casseroles, to occasional stringy beef or fatty pork, served with bland and lumpy mashed potatoes and warmed over, tasteless vegetables like string beans, peas, carrots, and wilted salads. 
I was very poor the first 3 months because out of my $63.00 a week I had to pay the agency fee that found me my first job, and pay for my hotel room and board. 
I used to eat practically nothing.  I could not afford to buy extra food, though I could manage to pay for cigarettes and coffee.  Fortunately or not both were cheap at the time.  I walked to work and back and it was about 25 blocks each way.  One day, early in my enforced diet, I will never forget.  I had bought a  salt pretzel from a  vendor and covered it with mustard.  As I was walking and munching a man stopped me and said "what is a fat girl like you doing eating pretzels?"  I was so hurt, even as I was also so hungry, and I bawled all the way back to the hotel.  After that experience I no longer ate anything on the street, but would take it instead to my room. 
The weight came off so easy when I was slowly starving and later I was so happy I seldom had any desire to eat.  Finally, when I got an apartment with my first roommate, I could still not afford much for food.  I would buy elbow noodles and tuna fish and butter and cheap white bread.  I would eat the noodles with butter, salt and pepper for supper and carry tuna sandwiches for lunch.  I also had peanut butter and jelly.  I just had coffee for breakfast.
I was able to maintain my weight loss, except for a few lbs either way until after I married, went to India, and came home to a dead mother.( again, more about that later ). 
I ate to comfort myself and also went up to 3 packs of cigarettes a day.  The six months after mama died were the worst months of my lie.  I loved her so.  I would wake up with nightmares, and crying for a year after her death and poor Srini really didn't know how to handle me.  He was just quietly always there to hold and comfort me and we eventually got through it.
Then the constant rounds of dieting began again in earnest.  Up and down I would go.  the cabbage soup diet, fasting every other day, Weight Watchers, the Woman's Day diet, the Family Circle diet, the Atkins's diet, The low carb diet, the high fat and protein diet, diet pills, lemon juice and water, vinegar and water.  You name it, I have tried it.  It became a little more difficult after 1976 when I became a vegetarian.  I would have to tweak each diet to find non-meat proteins to substitute. 
I have found through my vast experience that a 1000-1200 calorie a day diet works best for my eating habits and restrictions.
So I am at it again.  I get tired of jumping on the scale and seeing it not move.(it must be broken or stuck), but alas, it is not. The older you get, the harder it is to lose weight as everything seeks it's own level and stays there. I have however,  a very firm commitment to lose 20 lbs.  I will still be too heavy but this time I am not doing it for vanity, but to breathe easier.  Since I am at my limit for medications all I can do is try to improve the rest of myself.  Now that autumn is here I can walk more and at least get some exercise.  So wish me well my friends.  It is a long haul and a heavy load to carry, but carry on I must.  We will discuss this again after 13 more lbs.