As I write this I’m into the third day of the Digest Diet. It’s nearly noon, I’m not even hungry yet, and I’ve lost two pounds.
I’ve been dreading writing about the poundage issue. I’m the one who removes every bit of jewelry, eyeglasses, and shoes before getting on the scale in the doctor’s office. Yes, I shave a few of them off my driver’s license renewal application. I’ve never uttered the numbers aloud to anyone, really. But if I’m going to do this, and have any hope of inspiring you to a healthier lifestyle, I need to ‘fess up. The morning I started the diet, I weighed (closes eyes, takes a deep breath) 210 pounds.
In my defense, somewhere along the way I lost half-an-inch. I have no idea where it went. But this morning when I weighed myself, I had lost two pounds, so maybe the pounds and the half-inch are in that nether place where lost things go—socks in the dryer, pens and keys—hanging out and having a good laugh about what it was like to have once been part of me. I like to think I gave them a good time.
For as long as I can remember, I was five-feet-seven-and-a-half inches in my stocking feet. Until I wasn’t. I also weighed 125 pounds on the day of my first wedding. I have fond memories of that 21-year-old body. And it saddens me to admit that even then, I thought I was heavy. (My second husband, bless his heart, told me early in our relationship that he “loves every inch and every ounce” of me. I ask you: Am I not the luckiest gal in the world?)
Let me be clear: I’ve never had an eating disorder of any sort, unless having a gusto for gastronomy to go with my zest for life can be called a disorder. (It can’t. And it shouldn’t.) But I was always aware that I tended toward the upper regions of the scale. My first conscious memory of this was shopping for school clothes and being directed to the rack on which the 6-Xs hung. Still, I was never really what you would call obsessed with my weight. I liked my body well enough—and I appreciate it even more now, even when certain parts tend to make their presence known in the way of aching joints and lower back pain. And even when the inventory of my “parts list” has been diminished by numerous operations. No, my attempts at dieting were typically triggered by a special event or a special outfit. And they were always, until reaching life’s midpoint, successful. The best diet up until this one was something published in Glamour Magazine in 1974—”The Do and Don’t Diet.” I would love to find a copy of this somewhere.
But here I am, trying this Digest Diet, and I have to say how impressed I am. The shakes are so filling that a couple of times I haven’t been able to finish them. They’re delicious, and so is the soup I made the other night. (Tonight I’m going to make a shrimp soup.) I’ve walked one mile each day for the last three days. With the exception of yesterday, when I slept in because I was plainly exhausted, I’ve felt energized. I recognize that what I’m doing is retraining myself how to eat. The book, written by Liz Vaccariello, explains the theoretical underpinnings of the recipes and food plans. Certain foods are fat releasers, others are fat retainers. The fact that all of this has already been figured out and tested, using current science, makes it pretty easy to follow. I measure ingredients, but I don’t have to weigh anything, count any calories, or keep track of points or carbohydrate grams. The premise that I love the best about this diet is that I’m eating whole, natural foods. I’ve been tempted by try those quick-fast meals and prepared shakes, but I’ve always feared the slippery slope of their preservatives and artificial ingredients.
So what are my goals for this? My first goal is simple: to remain on it for the full 21 days without backsliding. My second goal is to lose 15 pounds. That will get me below 200, something I haven’t been for a very long time. Bound up with these goals are others, like feeling more energetic, reducing pain in my joints, and finding the motivation to exercise everyday. The fact that I can likely achieve these goals while improving my health is a tremendous bonus.
I’ll have more to say about body image in a future post. But for now, I’d like to share with you an article that really touched a nerve with me. Tell me, has anyone ever made you feel bad about the way you looked?
“Being Hip,” by Amy Sue Nathan in HuffPost Divorce
Other than providing me with a copy of The Digest Diet, Readers’ Digest is not paying me to blog about my experience on the program. (If I lose the weight I hope to lose, that will be compensation enough.)