Friday, May 2, 2008

Running on Empty

This week would not be what one might describe as "On Plan."

In fact, Not Even Remotely might be a good descriptor.

Can we take a minute to discuss my loathing of the phrase "I cheated on my diet..."

Cheating, to me, implies breaking the rules with the intent of winning through unfair means.

[Complete and total digression here.... my father has a comic strip magnetted to his refrigerator. It's of a baseball game. The first frame has the pitch. The second frame has the umpire yelling "Foul! There's a foreign matter on this ball!" The pitcher says "What's foreign?" The last frame has the umpire yelling "Foreign is Sushi!" That comic has been on my father's fridge for 20+ years now. I didn't get it when he first put it up. I don't get it now. But it does sort of pop into my head from time to time to puzzle me exceedingly.]

Forgive me, I've been (and still am) sick. Digressions become more frequent with me the less restful sleep I've been getting.

Back to cheating... When you cheat at cards, what are you doing? Trying to win a game when the rules of the game say that you should lose. I had a friend in high school who loved to cheat at cards - particularly solitaire. She flipped cards 1... 2... 3... the way you normally would, the first time she ran through the stack... when she started running low on cards, she did an alternate shuffle that moved the cards into her hand 2.... 1 behind the 2.... 3.... she still lost from time to time. But she won more games than she lost. She was really quite defensive when I pointed out to her that she was cheating.

"I'm only playing myself," she said. "How can I cheat myself? What possible difference does it make?"

"Well, I know you're a liar," I said. "And so do you. Don't you think your self-respect is worth more than that?"

So... if cheating is a way to win by breaking the rules, it is, therefore, impossible to cheat on a diet. Since, you know, cheating on your diet actually prevents you from winning. (Or losing, as the case may be!) Eating foods that are off plan, or in amounts that are off plan isn't cheating. It's just eating... and it's not going to help you lose weight. I'm not even willing to say that Gastric Bypass or lipo are cheating... since those procedures have different risks and temptations and expenses that make losing weight through those methods just as fraught with peril, temptation, and self-remorse/self-disgust as any other options.

There is no cheat; there is only lie.

Now lying... that's something I understand.

I try not to lie to other people too much - it's too freaking hard to keep track of. You have to remember what you told, and more importantly, to whom. And then you have to worry about whether person A who thinks one thing will talk to Person B who knows something else entirely... You end up having to be involved in conversations that you have no interest in, so that you're there to turn a conversation aside from a topic that you don't want them wandering into... it's a lot of work, and in the end, it's not worth it at all. Trust me. (Oh, sweet irony, how I love you!) But I lie to myself all the time. I've been lying to myself for years. "Oh, I don't look that bad..."

The biggest lie I've told myself, though, was this. "As a chronic asthmatic, I'm not going to live very long. I may as well enjoy eating, since I'm living on borrowed time anyway."

I'm 36 years old.

I was never expecting to live past 35.

I was certainly never expecting to live without my inhaler inches from my fingertips. Without the near consistent trips to the hospital every 6 weeks. Without waking in the night, gasping for breath. Without pausing in the middle of marital activities to grope lovingly for my nebulizer saying, "Hold that thought, would you, Thomas?" Not being able to laugh freely, for fear of sending myself into an asthma attack. I vividly remember a trip to watch fireworks with some friends, and we had to walk about a mile from where we parked to where we could see, and I had to stop every quarter mile to rest and use my inhaler. By the time we got there, I was shaking from the effects of too much albuterol. I vaguely remember my husband and my best friend joking about something to do with biting, but that's all... I can't remember the fireworks, I can't remember any conversation... just this nagging, low grade fear, nearly buried in the back of my brain while the front tried to keep on breathing. I am going to die like this.

Jeez, was that a digression worthy of a politician or what?

All of this boils down to nothing more than a long self-defense of my eating habits for the last - is it Friday already? Shit! - six days.

I have NOT been eating On Plan this week. I have NOT been exercising. I have NOT been drinking water. Almost a whole week at this point, and there's the snarky side of myself that wants to say "Well, shit, you've been Off Plan most of the week, may as well just finish the week off, right?" The sick part of me says, "Plan whatever you want, I'm having nothing to do with any of you, so just shut up and go away."

On the plus side (bah, I want to get OUT of the plus sized clothing, thanks awfully!) it's not that I've been over-indulging. It's that I simply have not been eating. If I'm lucky, I've been getting in ~800 calories a day. Maybe 2 waters, but mostly soda. (For some reason, swallowing water makes my throat hurt worse, and as I currently feel like I swallowed a bookcase. Sideways! I'm just not up to water. Soda. Or hot tea/coffee.) I haven't been eating my veggies either - partially because my tooth still hurts a bit (that's at least finally getting better!) and partially because I just DON'T WANT TO. So there!

Yesterday was the closest to On Plan that I've been since Saturday. And I'm still off by 3 waters and an oil.

You know the worst thing about all this? I'm sick. That's not an "excuse", that's not a "justification", I'm not "rationalizing" or "in denial." It's a freaking FACT. I'm sick.

So why the hell am I feeling guilty about my eating? (or lack thereof) Jeeeeeeeeez!

I did my measurements today. It's been about a month since the last time.

Upper Arm: 12 inches. (stayed the same)
Waist: 38 inches (down 1 1/2 inches)
Hips: 43 1/2 inches (down 2 1/2 inches)
Thigh: 23 (down 3/4 inch)

So, that's 4 3/4 inches lost this month. And adding up all my losses, I've lost 6.8 pounds in April.

Time to get philosophical about it. I've been saying it to other people for a while now, so it's time to take my own damn advise.

Scratch dirt over that day, it's done. Start again today.

(I'll try. But I'm still sick, so I may have to scratch dirt over today, too... I'd better get better soon, though, because I'm seriously running on empty right now.)


Chanda (aka Bea) said...

Oh girl, you have to go a little easier on yourself. Life sometimes steps in and flips you the bird. As sick as you've been all you need to worry about is getting yourself better, nurturing yourself by whatever means you can. (Seltzer water does wonders for a sore throat, btw, it even comes in flavors). I hope you feel better soon.

Anonymous said...

There is NOTHING wrong with being off-Plan when you're ill! Reducing diets are not designed to be followed by a sick person.

When your immune defenses are activated, your body couldn't care less about *reducing*-- it's all about fighting off the germy invader. Your metabolism's waaaay down, and lots of things probably aren't functioning as they should anyway. Exercise can make it worse, especially if you're running a fever or if congestion makes it hard to breathe. (The advice I read was that if you are "neck-down sick"-- anything more than a stuffy nose, headache, or mild sore throat-- stay home from the gym, and stop right away if you're "neck-up sick" and exercising makes you feel worse.)

And no, none of these are excuses-- it's hardly your fault that you got sick, and there's nothing you can DO about it except to bolster your immune system as best you can until it vanquishes the foe (Or, well, foes. Lots and lots and lots of teeny weeny foes. A microscopic viral biker gang, putting their feet up on your internal furniture, spilling beer on your internal carpet, racing their bikes over your internal... right. Enough analogy.)

Lots of sleep, plenty of fluids, vitamins, and whatever protein you can swallow should be the whole of your Plan until you're back to your largely pain-free, nose-breathing self.

(Hot broth is easier to swallow, too, sometimes.)

Feel better, hon! ::HUG::

Cammy@TippyToeDiet said...

I really, really appreciate your take on "cheating". Call it splurging or being off-plan or whatever else, but please don't call it cheating.

I read a good article today on Sparkpeople and one of the points the author made about successful "dieters" was that they allow themselves to fail. You're sick. You feel miserable and tired. You don't necessarily "deserve" to eat a bunch of unhealthy things, but you do deserve a little slack in the 100% adherence to the eating plan rule. Do the best you can until you feel better.

In the meantime, those are some impressive numbers you posted! Well done!

Sunflower said...

When you're sick the ONLY thing that should be on your agenda is getting better, then once you are back in the game, then get back on plan, dont worry about the rest.

Hanlie said...

You're not eating because you don't have an appetite, right? The reason you don't have an appetite right now is because your body doesn't really want food. It needs to be hydrated, but it really doesn't want the food for the simple reason that it needs the energy normally used for digestion (the function that uses the most energy in our bodies) to fight the infection. So don't worry about it. Listen to your body.

Your body's cues are more important than any Plan.

Hope you get better soon!