The price of dieting

I don’t know why I’m about to tell you everything I’m about to tell you. I will admit, I have mixed emotions about it. Part of me is giddy knowing this is going to be loaded with good material, stories I haven’t told anyone, information that will stop you cold.   And the other part of me is thinking about how I’m about to put my marriage, my career and my friendships in jeopardy. But, as I think most of you know me to do, I’m going to go for it and deal with the fallout if and when it comes.  It’s like how I let the bunny run around when Tom’s not at home and then I listen to the complaints about everything he chewed up while I wasn’t watching him. But damn! When you look at that little 2 pound fluff ball and can’t believe that anything can be that cute?  How can you NOT let him get away with anything he wants and just know you’ll have to face the music later?  Well, that’s a poor analogy, and I hope I don’t regret this, but there are lessons I’ve learned that need to be told. So buckle up.

I’d also like to take a moment to give myself a shout out. I COULD be lying in bed watching the Bachelor with Tom right now. But I will sit at my desk instead, listening to his exasperated sighs and complaints of “why do I watch this trash?” come from the other room, so I can begin and hopefully finish this story.

Here we go, the story of my dieting attempt, and how it went horribly awry.

It started when my friend at work joined weight watchers and started tracking her food. She ALSO started doing 2-a-day workouts, like a professional football player, which sounded insane, but she made me jealous with her weight loss and toned abs.  So instead of doing 2-a-days, or even 1-a-day, or even 3-a-week workouts, I joined WW online. I figured that was the truth. I think most people struggle to lose weight because of what they are eating, not because of how much they are exercising. So I poured my efforts into watching and tracking what I eat.  I downloaded the little WW app, I made new friends who had like, oh, 340 pounds to lose to reach their goal weight, and I started to feel REAL good about myself. Then I went a few weeks tracking my food and tracking my weight and I wasn’t losing anything! That was super annoying and I blamed all my homemade meals. I can’t really enter all the correct measurements and figure out how many points I’m eating if I made it from scratch. So I stopped cooking. I started buying stuff that my new online friends said they were eating (a certain brand of string cheese, a flatbread you could transform into a sort of believable pizza, rice that isn’t rice at all, but actually cauliflower. And the best find EVER!!….a brand of ice cream that comes in pints and I could actually eat the entire pint and not go over my alloted points for the day. Do I believe something like that makes sense? Is even possible? Eat a pint of ice cream and lose weight? I didn’t really care. I was going to believe the talk and I was going to eat the pint.)

Side note: Tom just choked on his apples and screamed at the tv “are you kidding me?”  Turns out the Bachelor is taking his 10 girlfriends to St. Thomas tonight. This is after he’s taken them to Milwaukee (Tom’s hometown) and New Orleans (Tom’s adopted hometown since his sister has lived there 30+ years). Tom took me to St. Thomas/St. John a month after we met (conveniently, right after he got fired from his job. Interesting time to choose to go on vacation, but who was I to say no?), again after we got married, and again just this past year! So the near choking event that just happened is due to the fact that Tom feels like the bachelor is living a parallel life with Tom. He is BESIDE himself right now. This is an arguement to stay at my computer and not join him in our room, because we will never stop rehashing how completely alike they are.  So, back to my post.


Anyway, I’m not losing weight fast enough just by tracking my foods. So I decide to go all out, and cut out sugar altogether. I’ve done this before, and it gets ugly, for everyone living around me, but it does work. I get crabby because it’s hard, and it’s sad for me, to watch other people eating dessert and telling them “none for me” is just crappy. And how can I say no for myself without making everyone who proceeds to eat it around me feel guilty? I can’t. I can’t not do that. So I do do it. I DO make everyone eating dessert around me feel guilty. So I feel bad, and everyone around me feels bad and then everyone begins to hate my dieting efforts, so it’s a lose-lose-but not losing weight situation.  So I decided to go “sugar free”, but not dessert free. Enter: sugar substitutes!

Cancer you say? Maybe. But weight loss before cancer, I’m doing it.

I get sugar free coffee creamer, sugar free ice cream (not as good as the other ice cream, but probably more apt to help me lose weight), sugar free jelly, pudding, gum, energy drinks…you name it, I’ve got the sugar free version in my pantry/fridge/hand/mouth.  I ride the sugar free train for about 2-3 weeks, and that’s when the side effects start rolling out.

Gas. Flatulence. Farts. Toots. Whatever you’d like to call it, I can’t stop doing it.

I like to pride myself on the fact that I don’t “represent” that sort of thing. I don’t fart in front of Tom. I don’t even like to say or write that word fart. I remember my mom taught my sister and I to say “gas out”. As in “Peeee-yeeeew! Who just gassed out?”  There’s something more innocent about that term vs. fart. But regardless, I try not to do it.  If I feel it coming, I squeeze my butt cheeks together and pull everything upwards until I internally dissolve it. If one does escape, it’s usually silent and odorless.  I like to keep up this appearance. This lady like, cleanliness is everything appearance, no matter how false. I’m pretty sure Tom doesn’t even know I poop yet. 17 years of marriage coming up, and I think he’s still of the belief, (because I’ve led him to believe it) that I do not need to poop. Too dirty. Not interested. Thank you though.

So I’m savagely attacked by my GI tract in my body’s attempt to tell me it hates sugar substitutes and the effect is unstoppable gassing out.

My girls are horrified. I don’t protect them from the body’s natural discharges quite like I protect Tom, but I like to keep it somewhat under wraps. It’s hard to keep that stuff private when the first 3 years of their lives they would barge right through the bathroom door while things were happening in there and refuse to leave, but instead stay and try to continue to tell me whatever they needed to tell me, interrupting themselves with noises that made it abundantly clear that they could barely breathe and might be about to throw up. So if they are going to be that rude, I will not make the extra effort to protect them from my bodily functions.  But even being acutely aware that I do that kind of stuff, they were still appalled at the frequency at which it was happening. Which was, ALL the time.

I couldn’t even hide it from Tom. It was loud, it was painful, it was several times and hour, and it was super stinky. It was all day, and all through the night.  It was disgusting. I wanted to take it all back. Do a do-over. I wanted to clean my insides with a scrubby. I wanted to turn back time and not consume all that fake sweetener. I wanted to hit reset.

I could do nothing of the sort. The only thing I could do, was try to carry on. And that means I still went to work. And that means…..

Yes, I’m sorry to all of you who worked with me those long painful weeks. Yes, that was me. Yes, that is why I left the room abruptly several times a day. Yes, I tried to protect you, but sometimes, most of the time, I couldn’t evacuate the room fast enough to spare you.

I know I won’t be able to face some of you after this.  But the truth hurts. And if I can save just ONE person from going through what I went through, well then, it’s worth it.

Who am I kidding, no it’s not. Nothing will EVER be worth going through what I went through. Spare others? Didn’t even cross my mind! How about share in the suffering? How about someone else goes through this too so I’m not the lone a-hole ruining the air that others are trying to breathe? How about a support group? How do I ever get over the fact that I made my husband feel sick to his stomach by living in the same house with me? I hope I’m not alone. Just thinking that someone else might have gone through this is enough for me to get up and face another day.

I lost weight. But at what cost?

Bring my fat pants back out of the box. My dieting days are over.

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