I’m in a wedding this weekend (YAY for true love for my best and oldest gal-pal!), which is super exciting. I am excited about every part of this wedding weekend!
Except, a few weeks ago, I tried on my bridesmaid dress, and realized it was a TEENSY bit snugsy, since I’ve been doing a bit of stress-eating (and maybe stress-drinking?) this fall. So I was like, shoot, I need to fix that ASAP. I need to give up carbs! I need to run five miles every day! I need to count every calorie!
I have a Mindy Kaling-esque attitude toward weight and dieting, which (if you haven’t read her book, and if you haven’t, do it immediately) means that I frequently feel like I want to lose weight. And yet, I’m also happy with my body most of the time, save for my arms which I frequently want to simply chop off. I work out, and try to eat a fairly healthy diet, but listen: I also love beer and cheeseburgers and chocolate and could eat all three every single day, so I refuse to give them up. So, I indulge in good food, and I work out pretty regularly, so although they kind of cancel each other out (kind of, I said. KIND OF.), I realize I will never have Jessica Alba’s body, pre or post-baby. And for the most part, I’m cool with that.
In my adult life, I lost 20 pounds once due to Weight Watchers and training for a marathon. In the time since, I’ve gained and lost 5 or 10 pounds every once in a while. But like Mindy, I never feel fat enough to really change the way I eat nor feel skinny enough to be totally happy with my weight. And although I may do Weight Watchers again, and I may train for a marathon again, I’m about 99% sure I’ll never do both at the same time again, so that 20-pound weight loss is a pretty memory but not something I’m likely to repeat.
So, as I shimmied into my dress a few weeks ago and considered how I might shed 4 pounds to feel truly excellent in it (as opposed to good, but a bit sausagey), I thought, why is this so hard? Surely after 26 years, I would’ve figured out how to mentally and physically just eat healthily for 3 weeks and lose 5 pounds. And yet, I have not. I mean, in my BRAIN I have learned. But in every other part of myself, I have not.
I haven’t learned what I should do – but I have learned a bunch of things I should not do. So as I sit here eating my veggies (after I ate a piece – albiet a HALF piece – of birthday cake), here are things you shouldn’t do if you want to lose weight:
1. Don’t buy Spanx. Just don’t do it. It’s a crutch. While I fully support women who are self-made billionaires as the inventor of Spanx is, they simply mask a problem. You’ll never be as motivated to lose the weight when you know you can just wiggle your way into Spanx and look great.
2. If you’re going to buy Spanx, as I did last week (because hello, I’m wearing a bridesmaid dress this weekend), don’t you see the irony when you look at down at your basket in Target and see Spanx and a bag of candy corn? DON’T YOU SEE IT, LAUREN?
3. Don’t even try to give up sweets, unless you’re doing it for Jesus. The only time I’ve ever successfully given up sweets for a sustained period of time was once during Lent, when I treated it more as a diet than a spiritual experience, which was… not great.
4. Don’t decide overnight to train for another marathon. You will get injured and then you’ll be less active than ever for a while.
5. Don’t buy healthier desserts in an effort to eat fewer sweets. You know you’ll never eat that carton of lemon sherbert, anyway, because, come on.
6. Do not marry a straight man. They are unable to determine whether you’ve gained or lost 10 pounds, even though they look at you every single day. (this one is kind of a joke, because as much as I want my husband to tell me when I’ve gained weight, I have the sneaking suspicion that I may not actually like it if he actually did it)
7. Do not follow any Instagram account with the word “skinny” in its name. Contrary to my popular opinion, looking at a picture of a skinny person in the morning will not stop me from eating buttery popcorn later that day.
8. Do not compare yourself to a skinnier friend. THIS IS THE HARDEST TO FOLLOW AND ALSO THE MOST DAMAGING. Do not go on a diet expecting to look like them, but also, do not eat something unhealthy just because you see them eating it and think, well if a SKINNY person can eat it… It doesn’t work that way, Lauren. It doesn’t work that way.
So those are my rules. As you can see, I haven’t learned much… and yet, I’ve learned so much. Now, if only the rest of myself could start listening to my brain.