My New Plan

Let’s talk about my diet. Not the foods I eat, but the weight I want to lose. When I quit working at the Y five years ago, I sat at an appropriate weight. Maybe pushing the upper healthy range on the American Body Mass Index scale, but, just like people always say, it was all muscle. No really, it was! I worked at the premier fitness center in Gettysburg. I lifted weights at lunch. I instructed two spin classes a week. I ran, lots. Once, running in the park shirtless (gotta work that tan) a friend and his son saw me. My friend reported to me later that his son said “Dang, Mr. Cann is really fit.”

My response: “Ah, good, I’ve been trying to catch the eye of twelve-year-old boys.” I’ve been slowly adding weight ever since. A couple pounds per year. A few months ago, it finally caught up to me. Or at least it caught my attention. My work attire is something of a uniform. When I started working at the library, I bought four pairs of trousers from Old Navy—identical except in color: tan, brown, green and gray. Throw in a pair of jeans and I’ve got the workweek covered. The gray ones always fit loosely, like the sweatshop kid who made them was having an off day. Now, the gray ones are the only pair that fit. I’m wearing a lot of jeans to work—the ones I inherited from Eli when he lost a bunch of weight two years ago.

I warned Susan about my diet plan. Daily when I wake up, I weigh myself. And then I mark my weight on the bathroom mirror with a Sharpie. I did this once before. The first few years after my kids were born, my exercise program slacked off. I put on ten pounds. I looked soft. Emily, one of the fitness instructors at work started trash-talking me about running. She blathered on about how I would eat her dust if we ever ran the same race. Me in my late forties, her, super fit and in her twenties, it seemed like a stretch, but I trash-talked back. We picked a race two months away.

Sure, you can train obsessively (I did) and make gains (I did). But the easiest way to increase your speed is to drop weight. In those two months, I lost twelve pounds. To Emily’s shock, I beat her by two minutes in a 5K. When I announced my current diet, I knew I’d drop my excess weight in a couple of months, just like last time. My list of daily weights recorded on the bathroom mirror looks pathetic. Over the first three days, I dropped two pounds, but then I gained them back. I haven’t lost an ounce since. I weigh exactly what I weighed a month ago. The problem is I like to eat.

Today, after lunch, after an hour-long, cold-weather bike ride, I felt famished. I ate candy, I ate two chocolate chip pancakes, I ate a couple of handfuls of walnuts. Susan and I ran an errand. Still hungry and out on the town, I ate a Reese’s peanut butter cup blizzard from Dairy Queen. For dinner, I ate four pieces of pizza, and now I’m waging a losing battle against my craving for a Guinness beer.

I solve my problems by blogging about them. Typically, during the introspective three hours it takes to write a post, I’ve analyzed a situation from every possible angle. I almost always walk away with a plan. I’m taking a different approach this time. By announcing my diet to the entire world, I’m trying to shame myself into losing the weight I gained. In the meantime, I’ve started buying new trousers. One pair so far. I want to see how they wash up before I fill out the rest of my wardrobe. I’ll report back in two months. I better make some progress.

28 thoughts on “My New Plan

  1. 2018/19 fin_yr, I did strict calorie restriction two days a week. It worked. But my attitude since COVID-19 interrupted normal life has been to accept my desire for comfort food.
    I imagine your post has tapped a ring of expanded waistlines around the globe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s occurred to me that this inability to lose the weight could be tied to covid psychology. I think we all are more apt to give ourselves a bit of extra ‘comfort’ in our ‘new world’. I don’t think I could function on severe calorie restriction. I once did a day of fasting to see what it was like and I missed the next day of work because I had such a horrible headache.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I get your point. My face is actually much more attractive at my current weight. At my ‘fighting weight’ I look rather gaunt. Every time my father sees me recently he comments on how good I look. Still, 2 pounds a year will quickly add up to an obviously unhealthy weight. But really, so far, the only motivating factor has been to move up a pant size for the first time in 15 years.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I have studiously avoided educating myself on the evils of excess sugar in my diet. Giving up alcohol was truly a living hell. Do I want to go through it again with glucose? I write this with my tongue stuck firmly in my cheek, but coffee and candy are my vices and I’m not sure I’m ready to drop any more vices. But I have a really strong tendency to bonk (do they use that term in AUS?) and I know that is heightened by all the sugar I consume. Food for thought (pun intended).


      • Hi Jeff,
        It’s not about giving up anything, but knowing how to minimise spikes and thereby control weight.
        A few years ago, then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull introduced a bonk ban to stop ministers on his side of politics having sexual relations with staffers. That’s the most commonly understood meaning of the word in Aussie.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have the opposite problem. I have trouble getting enough calories into my body. Years of chronic pain, the ups and downs of oral medication, several bouts of cold turkey severe withdrawl… all added up to a kind of eating disorder that has nothing to do with body image. I just don’t like to eat, and very rarely does anything sound good.
    I have summer clothes in three sizes and mostly wear sweats in winter, so I can tighten or loosen them as my weight fluctuates.
    I’ve also discovered that my post menopausal body has changed and probably will never be the curvy body of my younger days.

    Maintaining health is the most important thing, and I know you’ve got that covered.
    Putting things out on blog DOES give us a sense of accountability. I’ve done the same, even though my blog group are wonderful, supportive people who would never give me a hard time if I failed.

    Good Luck reach your goal, Jeff!🤞🥳

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Had a wonderful laugh out loud moment at this line, Jeff: “Ah, good, I’ve been trying to catch the eye of twelve-year-old boys.” : ) Good of you to warn Susan.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Food.. I love eating. If I didn’t live in this athlete-filled, sports-obsessed town, where going out to eat costs a fortune and groceries are no cheap endeavour either, I would very likely be morbidly obese. Oh, the mirror-sharpie tracking sounds psychologically painful.
    You have this though. You’ve just made yourself accountable on the internet!!


  5. You can do this, Jeff. I believe in you, as do all your readers and blogging friends. I think writing your weight on the mirror is super brave, as everyone in your household knows precisely how you’re doing. That’s probably a good thing, as not only are you accountable to us on your blog but also to your family (or anyone else who uses your bathroom). I know that I achieve more when I’m accountable to someone else. I don’t have the willpower to simply be accountable to myself.

    It’s great that you still exercise in various ways and have cut out the Guinness. I didn’t know that the 0% alcohol variety had many calories anyway – I should read the can again. Comfort foods are the hardest things to give up because, after all, we all want a bit of comforting in our lives. There’s got to be healthier ways of getting it apart from food.

    I’ve been trying to lose some weight (again), too, purely by diet, as I can’t exercise. I’m using Weight Watchers. I was doing really well until last week when I had a somewhat calorific meal out and a takeaway sandwich and crisps at the hospital while waiting for my bus. I’m really annoyed as I gained a 2lb back this week – ugh – now I’ve got to work harder to lose it again. What are your downfall foods? Sweet or savoury? I’m a savoury person, especially crisps and peanut butter (not together, although …) 😋

    Good luck, Jeff. You’ve got this 😊✨.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I should probably do something like weight watchers or Noom. I’ll give this a go for a bit and see what happens. My first few dinners after writing that were absolutely horrible–salty, fatty superbowl food, an sub sandwiches (do you call those hoagies?) that we ordered from Susan’s coworker a month ago as a fundraiser. Getting back on track now. My exercise program is going better than it has in a couple of years. Now I just need to transfer that to weight loss. Spring will help. 20C here today. Looking forward to airing out the house.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hope your new eating plan is going well, Jeff, although it’s early days yet. I’ve done Noom and Weight Watchers, and I prefer the latter (plus, it’s a fair bit cheaper). Noom involves a lot of science, which I found detracted from the dieting process. WW is much more straightforward and includes a barcode reader that works out the points so that anything prepacked, like a sandwich or even a ready meal if you eat those, is automatically calculated for you. (I don’t eat ready meals anymore as they’re mostly very calorific and contain too much fat and salt, however tasty they are).

        I wasn’t sure about the hoagies, so I had to Google it. Apparently, we do have them over here. They are usually a long crusty roll, like a sub. Hoagies have to be crispy rather than soft. The name hoagie is used more commonly in America. Funnily enough, as I typed this comment, my spellcheck kept suggesting I use the word sub and not hoagie, so I guess they’re interchangeable. Good luck with your plan – I hope it’s going well.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This is an interesting story about someone’s journey to lose weight. It shows that it can take a lot of effort and dedication to reach your goals and that it’s important to have a plan and a support system to help you along the way. It’s also important to be mindful of your eating habits and to take breaks and enjoy yourself in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

    Liked by 1 person

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