Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Long hours, short days

This is a particularly henious week for a few reasons.

1) I was informed late last week that we would be asked to work 50 hours a week...for the next three weeks. (This is only day two of week one.)
2) I normally only work 40 at the office, and maybe another 5 at home. I'm at the office around 45 hours a week due to a lunch and coffee break. Love my capped hour consulting gig. 50 hours means, if I want to leave at 5:30, like I normally do to get home to my life, I have to be here at 7:30 and not take a lunch break.
3) I am T-minus 33 days to my triathlon and no where near where I need to be for training.

This combination means I'm about to go into a challange that has the potential to crack my will. Pizza doesn't sound good now, but it might somewhere around Wednesday of next week. That's just a guess. It's more likely that as Easter draws near (and the end of Lent with it) that candy will once again be freely within my reach. I admit, I have a sweet tooth, especially when I'm tired. I haven't been craving it lately, especially with the help of 100 calorie packs of cookies, but I know it's got potential to rear it's ugly head and become an epic craving.

So anyway, for the next three weeks (essentially, all of my training time), I'll be working over time (without getting paid over time) and having to squeeze in training.

This is not counting in the fact that Chadd's mom is coming to visit us for Easter. I'm really excited to see her and have her stay with us, but it means I also need to really spend some of my spare time cleaning the apartment. She'd never judge, but I never want to look like I live in a dump. Also, I guarentee you that I will much rather spend time with her than go to the gym right after work.

Not to mention that she and I have started a secondary business (http://loveyourface.myrandf.com/ if you're curious) and need to spend some time getting that hammered out.

So, when it's all said and done for the next...20 days-ish...I need to be on top of my game, prepared to be tired, unwavered by quick, fatty food and sugar rushes, and still have energy/the will to go to the gym at the end of the day. Sadly, I can't go in the mornings while this 50 hours business is happening...so now it's gotta happen at night. The prime "nah, I'll cut the gym" hour.

I made a schedule to combat all this. Last night was a 45 minute swim--check.

Today, with church, I'm giving myself my day off.
Wednesday: Gym date with my brownie-craving friend (you want to be called by your real name or do you want a new identity? gchat me.)
Thursday: After tutoring, bike and run
Friday: Off or Swimming
Saturday: Off or Swimming
Sunday: double aerobics

I'll update on my success (I refuse to consider failure) as we move along. I think I'll stick with it out of the sheer fear of drowning in the triathlon.

For your reading/research pleasure: Best and Worst, brought to you by Eat This, Not That (essentially, volumetrics and a good research team.)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Date Night Dilemma

Chadd and I have busy lives. And in this economy, we also have economic lives. The combination here makes staying home, opening a bottle of wine (me) and playing video games (Chadd), a lot more desirable than going out on a date. This has actually been a really good thing in a few aspects. It's made weekends very restorative for me. I get a lot of sleep and relaxation and I also get to be in charge of what we eat. I can go grocery shopping, plan out my meals for the week, and cook at night. And it's also reassuring to know that Chadd and I don't get sick of each other when we're at home together on a Friday night. I've really enjoyed our low-key evenings; they're even romantic to me.

But this weekend, Chadd took me out for the classic dinner and a movie date. Needless to say, I was excited and nostalgic for our first few dates when we were back in high school. Our first date was to Coldstone one evening after he came to see a play I was in. *nostalgic music*


The big down fall for dieters, I believe, is when they are no longer in a position of 100% control. I can go to, let's say, Cosi for lunch because I know that their signature salad with the dressing on the side (fork dip method) is about 260 calories. I know that Noodles & Co. has a chart that disects pasta dishes by calories, fat content, amount of carbs, and sodium. But when we go to a local restaurant or a chain that doesn't like to advertise their nutritonal information...you're left with a undesireable options: "it's probably not that bad" food or guessing and possibly eating something you didn't want to begin with--makign going out pointless.

So when Chadd took me out on Friday night, I had a few choices to make along the way.

Going out is fun because it means you don't have to think about dinner. All you have to concentrate on is the people you've gone and the fun you're having. It's time to change that mentality. It's especially fun when you're going on a rare date night and want to really treat yourself. This is part of our mentality--and there is NOTHING wrong with it. I'm a big proponent of going out to eat as a special event, a treat, a celebration.

There were, of course, bumps along the way. Our evening went something like this:

After getting our movie tickets for "I Love You, Man" before dinner, we went over to Chadwick's on K street. Chadwicks, for those of you who are not local, is basically a mix between a sports bar and an average American Grill. It's the perfect pre-movie outting--right by the theater, quick service, wide selection.

We opened our menus. Normally, I'd have ordered a beer, a cheeseburger with jalepenos, maybe some guacomole and fries. This totals to a whopping 1,000 calories (that's choosing a bud select, which I would never choose).

I say to Chadd: "You know, I'm getting sick of eating salads."

Don't get me wrong, I like salads. I especially like good, unique salads that fill me up, and taste better than a normal garden salad...but after a while, I like sinking my teeth into a nice, juicy burger. After all, I am a texas girl.

Thank god for iPhones, I googled "turkey burger" to get a calorie read out: 600 calories.

I was probably visably distressed.

Chadd said, reassuringly: "I don't want you to feel like you always have to eat salads, what else do you think you can eat on the menu? I want you to enjoy yourself."

I perused. I finally settled on a salmon BLT sandwhich. I knew I'd ditch the bread, but pick up the sweet potato fries. SP Fries have the benefit of being lower in carbs. When people go the sugar busters route, sweet potatos become their best friends. I planned to keep the LT and ditch the B. I'm not really a bacon fan. Remember, rarely do buns actually taste good. They're normally slightly stale, buttered or wipped with mayonaise. Use a half bun and you'll get a better taste of what you ordered--the burger, the club of the club sandwhich, etc.

Chadd is a gentleman and likes to order for me. I also love this. So when he orders the salmon for me and our waitress let's him know that they're out of salmon, I'm back to the drawing board.

Much deliberation later, I determined on the veggie wrap, which I then pulled apart into grilled vegetables, disposed of the tortilla, used the fork dip method with the sundried tomato aoli. And it was good. I employed the method of "I'm hungry, I'm not craving." Chadd had wings (I had a bite to curb the craving) and a steak wrap (nothing I was interested in that evening) and fries (I literally, honestly, had exactly 1).

I will be curious to see what happens when I do have an honest craving.

So our hero passes another big challenge: date night.

For now, I think I'm too paranoid to go off my diet on a splurge night. But I'm sure, in the not too distant future, you will hear about a night of philly pizza. And damn will it taste good.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My new favorite tool

I'm sure you all are wondering how I have the time and patience to figure out the calories in everything I eat.

I'm wondering the same thing.

Aside from having the amazing self calculating spreadsheet that I created in all my consultant-ness a few weeks ago...I have...


I know, that's kind of a let down, isn't it? I use food lables when possible, but for the most part, I google. Want to know how many calories that honey wheat bagel is? No problem, if it's not name brand, simply google: calories honey wheat bagel.

There are a few sites that consistently pop up, calorie king, calorie counter, nutritional data...

But today I have found the most amazing thing. While researching my burn at the gym on the rowing machine and treadmill on self.com, I came across an add for Nutritiondata.com.

I use them a lot, so I thought I'd skim around. While I haven't tested out this tool yet, you can use it to CALCULATE HOW MANY CALORIES ARE IN A RECIPE!!! AAAHHH

I love my volumetrics cook book, I really do, but I also love cooking in general. I love trying new recipes and experimenting with new oils and spices. Not all of these cookbooks and foodnetwork.com recipes have quite figured out that I need to know my caloric intake.

www.Nutritiondata.com requires basic log-in information, but it's free, and I love free things like I love my food: a lot.

By the way, you can also save these recipes. I'm in love with this new tool. I'm thinking I'm going to have to test it out either tonight or this weekend.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Burger of doom


This makes me a) sick b) starving.


Constant Cravings


We allllll have them.

If we didn't, the commercials wouldn't have these ridiculous commercials about women who cheat on every diet they try, or hoards of screaming women running after a 100 calorie pack of oreos truck. (I hate those commercials, in case you wanted my opinion...which you obviously do since you're still reading this blog.)

Cravings are hard to beat because they're chemical and then they're reinforeced with a mental/emotional behavior: a habit.

Everyone experiences cravings, if you don't...something is wrong with your chemical make up and you and I can never be friends.

Think about a runner training for a marathon. Big races historically throw a large pasta carb load dinner the night before a race, despite the fact that science now says that protein with a little carb added is the best meal prior to race day. But every runner associates pasta and garlic bread with that big race day. That's a situational memory/habit. The sleepy, restful feeling you get after that dinner is something runners cling to so they can sleep before a big race. I had to break an enormous habit of carb loading on Saturday nights before my distance run on Sundays post marathon.

Think about a smoker. Smokers have the added hindrence of the chemical reaction--one of the strongest in the world (apparently stronger than some heroine chemical reactions). Having a cigarette sets off chemical receptors in their brains that soothe them, mentally and physically. Add the human emotions surrounding a habit - boredom, stress, whatever, and you have a powerful craving that can take years to escape.

Think about your average dieter: someone who has gone through a few diets with minimal results and a lot of backwards sliding (lose a few pounds, feel great, go back to eating how they want, stop going to the gym, go back on diet). They associate diets with withholding, strengthening a craving when it occurs due to our lovely vendictive emotional make up. Add to the fact that a lot of cravings for sugar and carbs are chemically based, most often, based on being tired. When we're tired, our bodies want quick energy--simple sugar and simple carbs (they boil down to about the same thing).

Now, shout out to my dear friend, who is also embracing the volumetrics lifestyle. She's going the weight watchers way, which is essentially a program that makes calorie counting a bit easier to track.

I IM'ed her and said: I'm craving carbs.
She replied: I'm craving brownies.

I said to her: We both must be tired.

We are. It's been a tough two days at our respective offices.

So when I went to get lunch today (a big huge salad from the mall salad place, with chicken breast totaling to about 250 calories), I had to force myself to not get a bread stick (remember, I had my big slip Monday and a minor stumble Tuesday morning), or fries from the food court, or a pretzel.

See, here's the hardest part.

Just like a smoker who knows smoking will kill them, or the distance runner who knows that a dinner of chicken breast, green beans, and a few small boiled new potatoes is better than pasta...dieters face the same problem. We all know that X food is not in line with our goals. We know it and yet we just.don't.care. Or at least, I don't. I'll be the first to admit I have a weakness with food.

It's really easy to forget, but: hunger is not the same as a craving. Similar, our body doesn't equate a certain number of calories to a certain level of fullness.

I'll elaborate, because I in my nerdy nutrition curiosity, learned that our bodies process "full" on a volume basis. How "full" we are is truly the same on how FULL our stomach really is. You can have a 573 calorie king sized snickers bar...but you won't be as full as if you had something 10 times that size with a lower caloric value. It's just the way it goes.

Sucks, doesn't it? I'm bummed that chocolate has a ridiculous amount of calories as compared to lettuce. They don't consider lettuce a luxury item for a reason, though. Same goes with wine and good cheese....not sure why a burger and fries haven't made the luxury list, but you get my drift. Luxury is code for FAT.

Before we go to solutions, let's examine prevention. No one's ever going to erradicate a craving. Or if they do, hand me that pill. Regardless, eating 5-6 times a day in small portions will tackle a craving in two ways, and give your metabolism a boost. If you eat constantly, your body maintains a feeling of "full" and you're less likely to get hungry, then crave a quick fix. Also, by continuing to process low caloric food, your body is still processing, keeping your metabolism fired up. And finally, it takes care of that emotional component of eating when you're bored. My 3:30 snack is what I look forward to come 2 pm.

All that requires planning. And how's that phrase go class? "...the best laid plans..." (I'm not actually sure how that phrase really ends, but it's something about f'ing up.)

When planning doesn't happen....

There are two "real" ways to tackle a craving, and a third that sounds like crackpot science and could backfire in the worst ways...

1) Realize that the loaf of garlic french bread sounds great because you're exhausted. NOT because you're hungry. You're having a craving, but whether or not your hungry is all that really matters. The solution here is this.
Figure out why you're craving something:
  • did you see a commercial? (emotional/memory trigger)
  • are you tired or stressed? (chemical trigger)
  • are you hungry? (chemical trigger).

Solution: Drink water, if that fails...Eat. But don't eat what you're craving unless you're prepared to deal with the consequences. Have an apple, a few carrot sticks, rice cake and peanut butter, a huge glass of water will often stave of boredom hunger.

2) The second is to have some of whatever it is. Really want that garlic bread? Okay. If you're one of those magical people who's super power is self control, be my guest. Have one slice (about 150 calories). Chocolate is your weakness? 1 square of dove chocolate is 42 calories. Stop the craving by eating slowly, and drinking a lot of water before and after.

3) (crack pot advice)...make a friend who has an enviable metabolism eat the craved food in front of you. This often back fires (at least for me). Watching Chadd eat a 5000 calorie diet and lose weight makes me want to throw up all over him. Or punch him. Or eat chocolate. Or all of them. For one of my friends, this satisfies her craving.

Final word: When I find out how to inhabit Chadd's body when I'm eating, I'll let you know.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Booze and the Epic Morning Fail

Oh beer.

Beer has a ridiculous amount of calories.

Your fearless leader had an epic fail after her minor victory against office food yesterday.

As it grew later and later, the troops grew restless and beer was supplied.

I had a few. Two.

Calories per beer I had last night: 153/12 oz.

Just two of those constitutes dinner. (And I also had dinner)

The good news here is that the hero of our tale only had two beers.

This is my rule because I've learned what happens the next day after more than two drinks, and no, it's not a hangover, though I'm sure that happens. It's that horrible bloated feeling. I like waking up, feeling thin and awake. Not tired and fat. Two beers is right at that line, but not over it. I wake up feeling nothing more than tired, which I would like to chalk up to being at the office from 6:30am to 9:30 last night.

This morning, because I was running late, I didn't eat breakfast, which was dumb. I have a very tempermental blood sugar levels...so I had a pesto veggie omelet thing. It sounds healthy, but from what I gather, anything that sounds healthy that isnt' in a pure form (hard boiled egg, fruit, vegetables). It's 740 calories not healthy.

This sounds horrible, and it is. But it's okay because I'm going back to Cosi for lunch and having a huge salad for dinner. Skip the cheese and the dressing (dip your fork tongs in for minimal calories, max taste) and you've got 228 for a salad.

Tonight, I'll be so tired I'll probably just have a salad at home, looking at my calculations for a small salad that I make at home...you get 61 calories, take out my dressing and use the dip method, we're down to 24 calories.

Our grand total for the day:

740 - Omelet sandwhich of doom
083 - Fruit salad
019 - Coffee
228 - salad at lunch
061 - salad for dinner

Total: 1131

Not bad, friends, considering I'm aiming for 1300 a day. It'll take off some of the edge from those two beers and fatty dinner last night.

I'm sure you're thinking that "for someone who counts calories, she must be panicking, she's probably freaking out."

You can assume otherwise, but I'm not really freaking out. I'm a bit disappointed in myself because I totally blew through that decision gate that said "this isn't going to be good. you'll feel bloated and sleepy all day tomorrow."

But it's almost a relief, because here's the deal. I was waiting to screw up. That sounds like I can't control my actions or that I was sabotaging myself, but think of it like this. When you first learn to ski or skate or anything that requires balance, the biggest fear is falling. But often times, once you fall, you go "that wasn't that bad, okay, next time I will have more confidence" and you fall less as your confidence builds. It's a weird circular system.

Now that I've really, totally blown it, I can readjust, I can better prepare and I know that I won't lose my mind over it. It's also something that will happen again. You can't not have that piece of pie that great aunt norma slaved over. You certinaly cannot refuse your soon to be mother in law's butter glazed, gravy coated, and deep fried chicken. And if you're stuck in a long meeting where they serve lunch (which happens to be chinese food)...you're going to eat.

Aside from cravings, none of us are 100% in control of what food is available to us. And for that matter, it probably shouldn't be. That's why I still go out and have lunch with my friends. It's why I let the office buy me lunch (and beer and dinner)...because let's face it. Neurosis of food is neurosis of food, even if you're losing weight.

And like I've said. I love food more than almost anything. And I don't like being neurotic about love.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Eating on the Job

I have passed a milestone. I have survived eating on the job.

I'm not at my normal office today, but I am at work.

I'm helping out with a special project, so I'm with a different team that I'm very comfortable with. Since they've all been working late hours and long days, they've been given the luxury of ordering food on the company. They definately deserve it, they all look a little too tired.

Regardless, this is my first major obstacle:

The office sponsored lunch.

The lead up has been daunting:
I had to be here this morning at 6:30 am. This means that I had to be up and out of the apartment around 6 am...not conducive to making my own lunch. Plus, I got my baking spree out last night for my team: blueberry muffins and brownies, so I wasn't about to carry anything else.

So when my senior manager footed the bill for lunch...from MatchBox (the most amazing pizza in downtown DC)...I was forced to make a choice. In this economy, you take free food. That wasn't the issue. The issue was: shop from the list of gourmet salads...or the list of gourmet, wood burning stove cooked pizzas. This was an epic battle.

I literally had to leave the office to settle my mind out on it. I took a lap, made some copies, sent a fax and came in...still unsure. I could literally smell the pizza.

The hard thing here is that even though I KNEW I should have the salad, I wanted that pizza. And I found myself justifying it. It's a thin pizza, I'm going to go to the gym later (I'm not, I have a date with Chadd's big TV and netflix tonight). But finally I realized, thanks to the support of a coworker, who suggested that we split a tiny pizza and get salads, that I could cope with the salad option.

I also had a stroke of genius and said to myself "you're always craving something then you always regret it, but you never feel the other way around." So I went with the grilled tuna salad. My dad has always told me, "if you're still hungry, we will order more."

I do regret that it was too small. I never say no to more greens. I did have that piece or two of pizza. Very thin crust, and was it cheating? I'm not sure, but I don't feel guilty...because when I got to that pizza, I was as full and satisfied as I could be (with a salad) and I made a healthy compromise.

I'm a very vindictive person with myself. I get irritable if I've withheld too long...and what do vindictive people do? They cheat. So there's always a balance to strike. Flirt, but don't cheat. Indulge, but don't over indulge. And it's a thin line. About as thin as the crust on my pizza.

Some history on me and salads:

For a while, Chadd and I were having a salad before dinner. This was back when I was working from home. I could start dinner casually while responding to emails and making calls, then move into a salad while dinner cooked. Now, I still spend time cooking, but most of it has to be up front to get dinner out, then make lunch for the next day (I told you, I love to cook). I always found when eating a salad prior, I ate less than half of what I normally did. I need to reinstitute this.

- When you get home from the grocery or when you go to make salad next, chop enough for three salads, bag it up or put it in tupperware. If you do it while you're already chopping, you won't go out of your way. Then a salad is literally throwing things together.

My new motto?

Eat the salad first.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Sunday Milestones

On Sundays, I step on the scale.

I don't actually have a scale at home because I am obsessive compulsive and I would be on it every morning, every night and soon you would see another spreadsheet that caculates my weight fluctuations over the course of the day.

Not healthy.

So I've limited myself to Sunday after my aerobics class.

Today was both elating and disappointing. Technically the math works out that if you burn/don't eat 1000 calories a day from your daily requirement (which you can figure out with a scientific calculator and a formula), you'll lose 2 pounds a week. I'll walk you through that formula when I have the patience and I forget how much I hate math.

Regardless, after three weeks with minimal slippage on the "life style" (diet = bad word) and decent gym appearances, I've lost 5 pounds.

This is awesome, because for some reason, weight loss revolves around numbers in 5's--5, 10, 15 pounds. Those are milestones. So even though my goal was 6, 5 still feels pretty good. But I'm kind of wondering about that one last pound. Why couldn't it take a hike like the rest of it's unwanting cousins?

The bottom line is this. We're a culture of fast, now, get it done yesterday. xenapal, quartrix, superweightlosspillsupreme...whatever they are. They promise "I lost 48 pounds--FAST!"

Sure, maybe they did, but let's get real. There's that little star at the bottom of the commercial that explains "*results not typical!" They were probably also dieting and exercising and getting paid to lose an inhuman amount of weight.

Safe weightloss is, I am not lying to you, 2 pounds a week. So no, you cannot lose 10 pounds before you go on spring break next week. Or if you can, you either had a plastic surgeon or you did something that did more damage to your body than good.

It will take you about a month to lose those 10 pounds. But think about it--a month really isn't THAT long.

Commit yourself to 1 month of watching what you eat (honestly, not forgetting about that cookie you had) and working out (running because you're late to a meeting does not count). I don't promise 10 pounds, but I do promise that you will lose something. At the very least, you will feel better about yourself.

In other news, next time I teach cycle, i'm using flo rida's "sugar"

Edit: I just realized that I needed to clarify those 10 pounds in a month. I'm talking about sustainable weight loss. Not water weight. Some people see huge numbers when their body starts to lose weight, but only about a third of this weight is actually fat. The rest of it is water. Remember, our bodies are primarily water weight...and being hydrated actually helps you burn fat. So dont' skimp on the water/fruits/vegetables, they'll help you out in the long run, even if you don't see massive water shed the first month.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Win: Eggplant Lasgna

I love pasta.

That's a dumb statement. Who DOESN'T love pasta? It's fast, it tastes good by itself and even better with cheese and other amazingness.

But I could live on pasta.

I'm actually not a lasgna fan, but I was willing to give it a shot because of the eggplant (I know, right? go with me here).

A few years ago, a roommate and I tried to make eggplant parmesean. I came up with the idea after I had a phenominal dish at a little Italian place in Georgetown. I came up with this recipe:

This is the most amazing thing I've ever eaten.

So, when my volumetrics cookbook suggested Eggplant Parm, I gave it a shot.

You know my background, let me tell you about Chadd, who will serve as my recipe tester 90% of the time. Chadd is a young 20's normal guy. He burns through calories like a fire in a dry california forest. If he goes to the gym, he is capable of losing 10 million pounds and gaining it all back in muscle. He's that long lean baseball player type of which we are all envious. When he sits on his butt and plays video games, he loses weight. Don't ask me how, I wasn't a physics/nutrition/magic major. It's a guy thing.

What is abnormal of Chadd is that he is an incredibly picky eater. He would contend that over the past year of being away, he's gained a very expansive palate. I'll say that he'll try most anything once, but he still has his favorites. He cooks with butter and heavy cream and I'll be damned if it isn't the best food ever. But I gain weight when he cooks....or I eat a 10th of it and starve.

(My signature dish in college was actually Chadd's invention: pasta with heavy cream, butter, garlic, tomatos, peas, and mushrooms.)

When he liked the eggplant parm (see above), I jumped at our eggplant lasgna recipe. I suggest you all get the volumetrics cookbook since I can't find a link and don't want to get in trouble.

Regardless, while it was very good, it was a lot more time consuming than the eggplant parm, and Chadd thinks the parm was better. Number 1 cat thinks otherwise and has just now stolen chadd's leftover teaspoon of eggplant.

I vote with humans on food. While the volumetrics was good, I give the win to cooking light.

Dessert: I <3 skinny cow ice cream pops.
Friday night tip: A glass of white wine is about 46 calories. Save up during the day by eating fruits as snacks and you can throw back a few.

Chocolate Torte? Not this one...

I subscribe to Self online--I'm part of their 30 day challenge or whatever. I used it last summer until I got bored or too behind. However, their calorie calculator for workouts is top notch, so I pop in once and a while.

With this subscription comes little blast emails that I've subscribed to-mostly for the recipes.

I love to cook...and I'm a good cook.

However. Be aware....this low cal recipe sucked.

They promise me that "you'll love this chocolate torte, dripping with deliciousness"

Wrong. So very wrong. Especially at 300 calories wrong. (I didn't bother with the "whipped topping," so probably more like 200-250)

I was skeptical going in: prunes. Really folks? Let's hop on the PR bandwagon from a few years ago and start calling them dried plums.

But I was hopeful. Honestly, I think without the prunes it probably would have tasted like a low fat, dry brownie. The prune just added chucks of gooey...prune.

Bottom line: there are better ways and tastier results.

Next time, I'm going the volumetrics carrot cake route. Results to follow.

Off the list: Prunes.

The title is true

This isn't a diet.

Because let's be honest, the last time you said you were on a diet, you freaked out, cleaned out your cabinets, avoided eating out, vowed to hit the gym 7x a week, and scared off your friends when you started to whine about how happy hour was going to make you fat.

Then you had a bad day at work/fight with your boyfriendmomsisterbestfriendchildboss/got bad news/had a craving.

Suddenly, margaritas, chips and queso, and that one chocolate bar you hid under your bed just in case happen. All at once. You wake up feeling bloated, probably hung over, and like the past two weeks of starvation were just not worth it.

And you're right. It isn't worth it. Because I've been there, I've done that, and it sucks.

I have tried weight loss pills (they make you pee), boot camp (5 am is mean when you don't like your coach), the all fruit/veggie 1 week flush (wait til a head of lettuce is in your stomach and tell me you feel good. that's called gas.), and everything in between.

I remember being happiest when I was teaching aerobics 4x a week. I was training for a marathon and walking miles a day to go to class. My mom used to tell me that she was thinnest in college, walking across UT's campus with her art portfolio and surviving on eggs and toast...or when she was carrying me around in my toddler years.

The bottom line is that we all grow up to the point where unless you are a fortuante few, you have a full time job that requires at a minimum 40 hours. You have a family (or two cats and a boyfriend). You have things you do (volunteering...or drinking with the girls...or both). Exercise, nutrition, these things are not built into our daily lives anymore.

We yearn to look like airbrushed models. We want to be as slender as the freakish mannequins who wear the clothing we try on. We are inspired by biggest loser and the women on the cover of those stay at home mom magazines who "lost half their body weight--you can too!"

We are not those people. At least, I am not.

I am a real person.

I live in a city with quick, amazing Indian food down the street. My favorite college pizza place is on my commute home. Starbucks is something that happens as an office escape, less as a mornin pick me up.

I work 40+ hours a week. I won't exaggerate and say I work anymore than 50 on a normal week, my heart goes out to those who do. But I am busy. I have two nights a week that are blocked out for non negotiable extra curriculars. Both of them happen right after work and usually involve quick, fat food.

I can't drive to my gym because this city sucks with parking, so just getting to and from the gym takes about 30 minutes in total. When it rains, how fun does that sound?

I pansy out easily on the gym. When my gym buddy cancels, I cancel on myself.

I have a boyfriend who only outweighs me by 10 pounds and can eat just about as much fat as he'd like and never gain a pound...and I like to cook for him/me/us.

But then a strange thing happened. The economy crashed and my boyfriend and I had a long conversation about the economy. We talked about how Americans, for how concerned we are about money, are very uneducated about money and money matters. We are too polite to talk about it, study it, learn it.

The same is true for food. We are very sensitve about what we eat, how we look, and our weight. Let's talk about it. Let's get real. If you are that concerned about it, then you should be studying.

So I bought a book called Volumetrics. I like to eat. I like to eat a lot. And I just wanted to see if while Chadd was researching the economy and money management, if I could research food, consumption, etc.

So began the great experiement. I'm in the throws of my third week, 4 pounds down, never hungry, and only truly tempted and denied once.

The bottom line: I still love and eat chocolate.