The Monotony Diet
parked in the empty CADD cubicle, as usual, with my laptop, a
Tupperware container full of apple and orange slices, and an open can
of Slim Fast. It is the same lunch, with only minor variations -- a bag
of baby carrots here, a Chinese Chicken Salad there, a couple of yellow plums when they're
in season -- that I've eaten every weekday for more than a year now.I
call it "The Monotony Diet."
through the hour JoAnne wanders past my cubicle, carrying her Weight
Watchers Chicken Tamale Casserole, fresh from the microwave, and a can
of Diet Coke. She frowns at my spartan lunch and shakes her head.
don't know how you can stand to eat the exact same thing every day,"
she says. "The monotony would drive me crazy."
And she heads down the
hallway to her office to enjoy her 2 Protein/Milk, 1/2 Fruit/Vegetable,
1 Bread and 20 Bonus Calories.
Her tone is friendly but her message is clear. You're
doing it wrong.
the past twelve months I've had similar exchanges with a lot of
people: the Jenny Craig people ... the Dean Ornish people ... the USDA
Food Guide Pyramid people ... and lots and lots of the Weight Watchers
people. Ever since I started writing about weight loss and fitness
issues last year, after David and I got engaged and I realized that
I was going to look like the back side of a Schwann's delivery van in
my wedding dress unless I got off my big spongelike butt and DID
something about it, I've been hearing from others interested in
sharing their stories of weight loss. They write impassioned, eloquent e-mails, all about carbohydrates and
ketosis and monounsaturated fats. They explain the difference betwen
their eating plan and other eating plans. They send me recipes and
links and coupons for vitamin supplements. Most of them
are nice about it, and I learn something useful from them, and I'm glad
to hear from them.
Others aren't quite so nice about it. They never
come right out and say that they think The Monotony Diet is stoopid ...
but if you read between the lines, again, the message is pretty clear.
doing it wrong.
it's OK. I think you need to be a bit of a zealot
in order to succeed at any weight loss program. After all, have you
ever heard somebody say I lost fifty pounds and I feel great
... but I don't think my diet is working?
I think it's
important to passionately believe in whatever diet/weight loss
system/eating plan you're following, or else it doesn't have a prayer
of succeeding. JoAnne, for instance, has been going to Weight
Watchers for two months now, and it's clear that she thrives on the
structure and the social support of an organized weight loss system.
Counting points and going to meetings is what works for her.
in my case, monotony is what works for me.
many choices confuse me. Too much thinking about food weakens my
resolve. Too much fuss and muss and preparation frustrates me. I like
to get up in the morning and know exactly what I'm having for breakfast
and lunch that day ... because it's the same thing I had yesterday, and
the day before that, and the day before that. Dinner, the Open-Ended
Meal of the Day when I can pretty much eat anything I want as long as
it's within reason, is what prevents 'monotony' from turning into
'just-shoot-me-now drudgery.' Plus I can't even begin to imagine the
horror of standing in front of a big group of people and confessing
that I snuck into the kitchen at 2 a.m. and ate
half a tub of Cool Whip Lite with my fingers.
Internet journal is so much more PRIVATE,
It's not like I'm breaking any land/speed records in weight loss at the
moment right now, anyway. Those six extra holiday pounds are still
clinging to me like an old Pep Club sweater: uncomfortable,
unflattering and destined for the junk heap as soon as the weather
warms up. The Monotony Diet is keeping me at a nice safe plateau until
David and I can start bike riding in earnest. Another couple of weeks
-- once it's still daylight at 6:30 p.m. -- and we'll be able to ride
in the evenings after work, the way we did last year. And that's when
the weight will really start to disappear. The
Monotony Diet is only a small part of it: it's the combination of The
Monotony Diet and exercise that got me into that wedding dress last
summer. And it's the combination of The Monotony Diet and exercise that
will get me into that string bikini before Journalcon.
(Or maybe just
into a nice Size 12 pantsuit.)
like any major lifestyle change. For every person (like me) who gets
sober alone, you have another two hundred people who believe A.A. is
the only way. For every person (like me) who meets her husband-to-be in
an AOL chat room, you have another fifty people who meet each other
the old fashioned way (on a barstool). And for every person (like me) who is losing weight with Slim Fast and exercise ...
you have a Weight Watchers devotee who is sneaking into the office
kitchen at 3 p.m. for a bag of Oreos.
a great weekend, everybody!