Not the cutesy “I’ve gained 2 pounds” kind of fat. More like the “I’m on the express train to Muumuutown, and these rails are greased with movie theater butter” kind of fat.
I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised…it happens right around this time every year. You see, since losing 35 pounds on Weight Watchers almost 4 years ago, I’ve pretty much kept most of it off, and I still follow the Weight Watchers Points system fairly regularly. I just tend to have some trouble at the end of summer and around the holidays.
I’m pretty sure I know how it starts around the holidays – I get busy, my evenings start to get crowded with events, I stay up too late to actually wake up and go to the gym (or the events take the place of evening gym time), it’s too cold to run outside, and then there are all the delicious treats floating around. Before I know it, I’ve packed on 5 pounds and another 5 pounds are just a few Hershey Kiss cookies away. People gain weight around the holidays; it’s a pretty universal truth. I get it and I can deal with it. That’s clearly what New Year’s resolutions are for.
The summer slump is a little bit different. The weather is great, so running outside isn’t a problem. It’s light out in the mornings, making it easier to get up and go to the gym before work. It is reasonably expected that I will have to appear in swim-wear multiple times during this season, so that’s a good reason to keep up the diet/exercise vigilance, right? Yep! – for the first part of summer, at least. I’d say around mid-July/early August I start to get a little lax in my routine. Suddenly fall doesn’t seem so far away, and I feel like I need to maximize summer enjoyment. I find myself (as my roommate will attest to) setting my alarm for early morning workouts, hitting snooze, and then ultimately sleeping until it’s time to get up for work, rationalizing that I can exercise after work. Except that I don’t always do, because summer enjoyment means meeting friends for drinks, going out to dinner and watching lots of really bad reality TV. Then the careless, non-point-counting eating starts and before you know it, I’ve arrived here – up about 10 pounds from where I’d really like to be and with summer’s last hurraliday staring me in the face.
The week before Labor Day is a pretty symbolic time for me. It marks the horrible realization that in a few weeks I’ll have to switch back from flowy summer skirts and dresses into actual pants with buttons on them. It also means that in order to fit into all those pants that have been cast aside for the last 3 months, I’ll have to get serious about diet and exercise.
But not yet. For reasons that defy normal logic, I just can’t get back on track until Labor Day is over. It’s a little gift of personal freedom on my part – letting myself off the hook until Labor Day 2010 is in the books. In the meantime, if I don’t work out as much, if I use real butter on my toast instead of spray butter, if I eat every single treat that someone brings into the office – I’m forgiving myself. I find it easier to get back on track after I give myself a break from being so mindfully aware of everything I put in my mouth and every calorie I burn. It’s counterintuitive, of course. Yes, I will get back on track after Labor Day and getting back on track means I’ll try to lose about 10 pounds. And yes, giving myself a break from eating on plan and exercising means I’ll probably have set myself back even further…but this is what I do. I recognize this as a pattern, and I am ok with it.
So, what do you have to look forward to when I get back on track?
- Starting Tuesday, September 6, daily (hopefully) updates about eating on plan with WeightWatchers
- Weekly progress on my weight loss
- Tips and tricks in my weight loss arsenal
- And lots more!
If there’s anyone that would like to be a diet buddy, I’m all for it. I need motivation and encouragement!