February 27, 2007

Pardon the post title, we’ve been making our way through Season 3 of Arrested Development lately and I have this need to randomly blurt quotes from the show. Musty old clap-trap, ha ha ha ha HAAAAA.

Thanks in part to your encouraging comments I called and made an appointment for the owner of a cleaning service to come by and “evaluate” our house tomorrow. I imagine I will clean up a bit before she arrives, because that makes a whole hell of a lot of sense, doesn’t it? Cleaning before the person comes by to see how much cleaning they’ll need to do? Anyway, she seemed very pleasant and professional on the phone and her business got very high marks on Angie’s List, so hopefully it will all work out nicely. Unless, of course, she enters our house and immediately screams, “My god, you people are animals! ANIMALS!”, then takes off running, her sensible heels clattering along the driveway and a wisp of dog hair blown along in her wake.


Here’s a short iMovie video of some random Riley clips we’ve taken over the last couple weeks (pardon the cross-post if you already saw this elsewhere). I cannot believe how big he’s getting. I mean, this was just, like, four months ago!

(Music: “Helicopters”, M. Ward.)


Hey, remember that diet I was on? Well, that whole thing sort of went to hell. There was birthday cake and some damn-the-diet restaurant outings and a whole weekend of we’re-on-vacation excuses and, ugh.

I realize that while it’s sometimes interesting or inspirational to hear about someone’s diet success, it’s beyond boring to hear about their failure, but I felt duty-bound to confess my lack of progress on this front (plus, this isn’t exactly the Bob Loblaw Law Blog, ha ha HAAAAAA!). Just in case anyone mistakenly thought I had dropped those extra fifteen pounds. Because: no. They are still there, the fifteen pounds. In fact, they may have invited some friends over, which, frankly, I thought was quite rude.

Dimpled asses: cute on toddlers, not so much on 33-year-old women.

So! What next. It seems I need something more structured than a general vague promise to eat better. I’m leaning towards Weight Watchers, since I like their sane eating plans and their obsessive little online tools, but do any of you have any recommendations for (non-crazy, ie forget juice fasting and the like) diet plans that worked for you?


89 Responses to “… even if it means me taking a chubby, I will suck it up”

  1. JennB on February 28th, 2007 7:47 am

    I have a great way for you to lose the weight, and also shamlessly plug The Employer! I work for a food magazine called EatingWell and we’ve just published a diet book. Not diet like “I can never have dessert or bread or red meat or chocolate again”, diet like: this is a lifestyle change, here’s how I can do it, it means only writing down my goals, writing down what I eat and if/when I exercise every day, and keeping track of things. It’s a mind-change rather than just denying yourself delicious carbohydrates.

    And our diet cookbook is FANTASTIC. the food is FOOD. Not rice cakes and non-fat yogurt. It tastes delicious!

    To learn more, go to http://www.eatingwell.com and click on the “diet” button

    It’s great. I think it works, because you’re not depriving yourself. Check it out!!

  2. Pam on February 28th, 2007 8:20 am

    Yet another vote for Weight Watchers! I lost 60 pounds over about a year using Weight Watchers Online and walking on a treadmill.

    Two things helped especially – I got my own treadmill, and I found that I can read while walking on it (apparently some unlucky folks get nauseous?). So I walked my way through half my local library’s trashy novel section. Having that treadmill right downstairs was the key, because if I had to plan a trip to the gym (at off-peak hours so that a treadmill was available to use), I would never have bothered.

  3. Christina on February 28th, 2007 9:54 am

    I cannot remember if I’ve commented before, or if I’m de-lurking… but either way, I love your site! You’re hilarious, and your son is so cute I kinda want to eat him!

    On to the weight loss jazz… I am totally with the ladies who are WW fans. I am the worst dieter on earth – I can rationalize any food, I will lie to myself and cheat and “forget” to work out and yada yada yada. And then, like magic, I gain 5 pounds! I wonder why.

    I joined WW a little over a week ago, and I LOVE it. Love, love, love. I’m on the plan where you count points (which completely appeals to my nerdy “Let’s make lists!” side) and for some reason, I really love being able to look at my points for the day, deciding what can fit into those points, and feeling good about it. If I want to eat 3 slices of pizza and some beer for dinner, I can! I just have to fill up on veggies and other low-point foods during the day. Honestly, I don’t find it that hard or irritating to find out points for things – at least you know that if you stay within your points, you WILL lose weight. I have about 30 pounds to lose, and I lost 4 this week – by staying within my points, drinking lots of water, and using up all of my flex points (I went out to dinner three times, and each time ate the things I love to eat – just with slightly more control than usual – and never went over my flex points). I highly recommend the program. It’s the least restrictive of any diet I’ve seen… I mean, if I want fries, I want FRIES – not carrot sticks.

    So, that’s my two (or four) cents. Best of luck!

  4. Anne Glamore on February 28th, 2007 10:18 am

    Yep, you TOTALLY have to clean for the cleaning lady or she may think you live like a pig. Worse, she may take pre-cleaning photos and try to blackmail you.

  5. heather on February 28th, 2007 10:20 am

    self.com has the self challenge 2007 – it’s pretty much awesome. good luck!

  6. SJ on February 28th, 2007 10:41 am

    I am a firm believer in The South Beach Diet. I’ve been on it for a little over a year (off and on to boot) and I’ve lost about 90 pounds. I’m really close to my goal weight as we speak. I’ve also had luck in the past with Weight Watchers. Good luck with whatever you try!

    And I envy you and your house cleaning lady visit. Your most recent post about your house and your disgust with cleaning could have be written by me. I relate 100%. So good luck! And then send her my way :)

  7. emily on February 28th, 2007 10:57 am

    “Would anyone like a banger in the mouth? Oh, I’m sorry, here in the ‘colonies,’ you call it a sausage in the mouth.”

    “Actually, we just call it a sausage.”

  8. M.A. on February 28th, 2007 11:07 am

    L — while on medical leave I watched all three seasons of Arrested Development (waiting the appropriate amount of time post-surgery so as not to rip stitches laughing) and I just have to say that although it is probably unfair (and I think I may even be quoting you) I’ve decided that this — whether one finds this show gut bustingly funny — is my new barometer for friends. “HI — do you like Arrested Development? Never heard of it, you say…? Good God lookie here — there’s my husband double dipping his shrimp — must run! Lovely to meet you!” etc.) My GOD I could watch it over and over again (and, on painkillers, often did — and each time found something I missed). I still curse whomever/whatever decided this was not worth continuing… One of my favorite scenes (I believe you may be coming up on it): their flashback on an aborted attempt to do an intervention with Lucille 1. See Jason Bateman in background wearing puppet wig…. bwwwaaaahhhhaaaaaaaa. I’m going to watch them all again. Every. single. one.

  9. Trina on February 28th, 2007 11:15 am

    South Beach worked really well for me. I lost 30 pounds after baby. But, you really have to follow it. I have fallen off the wagon a few times and it is really easy to get back on. You don’t have the support group like WW but you don’t have to weigh yourself in front of people.

    I want to know more about the cleaning people. I am sure you will keep us posted, but if not, I want more info. I can’t keep up with the mess either.

    That video of Riley is super cute. My daughter turned 2 on Sunday and I almost started crying when I watched your video. It made me think of how quickly they grow up.

  10. M.A. on February 28th, 2007 11:16 am

    P.S. I’ve been very successful on WW twice — once lost 47 pounds and then again about 25. First 47 pound loss took me about 10 years to put back on, pluse said 25. Said 25 lb loss down to 7. I am quite sure I have put several leaders’ children (and their children) through Ivy League schools. Not knocking it — plan to go back — but here’s the thingie I’ve learned: (1) you have to FOLLOW THE PLAN; (2) you HAVE to write everything down; and (3) (my personal favorite) you pretty much have to do it FOREVER or (4) (if you have kids you want to go to Ivy League schools because trust me, I will help) become a LEADER. I don’t mean to be negative — I love it, too. I like the little pamphlets you write everything down in — boxes to check, slide rules, etc. But I just can’t get the “forever” part down. I feel firmly like there should be an END to a diet and that one can immediately resume dipping bread in balsamic vinagrette and olive oil whilst waiting for one’s Carbonara.

  11. M.A. on February 28th, 2007 11:24 am

    P.P.S Don’t you hate comment hoggers?

    But I just had to add this: nevermind Arrested D. — I’ll just watch the Riley video over and over again (finally buffered all the way). LOVE the little slide-and smile when he’s in his chair eating. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

  12. Quiana on February 28th, 2007 11:27 am

    Stroller Strides. It’s what all the cool mommies are doing. My friend lost a huge ammount of weight.

  13. kaitlyn on February 28th, 2007 11:40 am

    Holy comments. Anyway, I’ll join the bandwagon and say Weight Watchers. I started about a month ago to loose the stragglers of my baby pounds, and I’ve already lost over six pounds. It’s also nice to track your success every week because you leave the place feeling like “Yay for me!!”
    Good luck

  14. fat bridesmaid on February 28th, 2007 11:55 am

    I’ve done tons of diets but the only one that works for me is South Beach. I have a severe sugar/carb addiction so eating healthy stuff is a big struggle for me. So far South Beach has been terrific – I’ve lost 6lbs in less than three weeks and I feel AWESOME. I’ve never done WW because I don’t like the idea of going to meetings (or have time for them).

    Good luck!

  15. Amy M. on February 28th, 2007 12:09 pm

    Hope the cleaning service works out for you!

    And good luck with the weight. I don’t believe in diets, never been on one. I second the skip the snack aisle in the supermarket suggestion. If I don’t buy it, I’m too lazy to go out for it. That doesn’t stop the vending machine at work, though. :)

    I’m actually lighter than before I get pregnant (my son’s around 13 m.o.) & I credit running with my black lab 3-6 miles 5x a week. And I live in Wisconsin. So I get to run in the snow, unless it’s below 0. Yippee. That dog is a maniac when he’s not exercised, so it benefits everyone, including my toddler who doesn’t get run down by an 85-pound lurching ball of fur.

  16. AmyW on February 28th, 2007 12:27 pm

    Maybe look into the carb addict’s diet—it could be right for you!

    My mother-in-law has lost a lot of weight. I haven’t asked her of course, but up-wards of 30lbs!

    Best of luck.

  17. angela on February 28th, 2007 12:32 pm

    I cut out ALL fast food from my diet (this was a while ago) and I lost 30 pounds. I weighed 160 at the time, down to 130.

  18. AmyW on February 28th, 2007 12:34 pm

    To clarify, my MIL lost the weight with the carb addict’s diet. She said it’s really easy to follow and compatible with her lifestyle.

  19. Jen on February 28th, 2007 2:00 pm

    What do you need a cleaning lady for when you’ve got a Roomba and a baby with a Swiffer? All you need to do now is attach a duster to Dog and Cat’s tails and you’ll practically be able to start your own cleaning company!

  20. a. on February 28th, 2007 2:10 pm

    I inexplicably gained approximately 50lbs over the past year and a half
    (if you call having: a tyrannical boss, 11 hour work days, and a 2 week long cruise thrown in there inexplicable)
    Reached max capacity and an aversion to cameras and finally just went for it.
    Found an integrative medicine center and started with hypno therapy, regular therapy, a nutritionalist and a nurse practitioner. Then for christmas I got an in-home trainer from my husband. I have great insurance that pays for most all of the integrative medicine stuff so I know this is not an option for everyone (like I said, I was at my wits end and just COULDN’T stick to any regimen, so I called in the big guns)
    so in lieu of all that, here are my key takeaways:
    -working out isn’t ever going to be fun for me, but I know my body needs it and I feel better afterwards so I make it be about giving the dog exercise for a 20-30 min jog/walk 3 days a week.
    -made a goal of running a 10k with my husband
    -was told not to eat a few things that my body was reacting badly to so we customized a diet for my chemistry…bottom line is only 3 servings of carbs a day (whole wheat, a piece of fruit, etc) and no sugar. hard at first, but easy after trying straight up southbeach diet.
    -roll the film foward, every time I go to put the handful of m&ms in my mouth (I HAVE SMALL HANDS!) I force myself to roll the film foward to what life is like without those m&ms, the truth: not that bad! life is OK with out them. how about just one if I’m really jonesing.
    -everyone says this and I’ve never been able to do it, but now I do: A FOOD DIARY. I have one that looks like a notebook and I update it during tedius meetings. Knowing that I have to record “1 french fry, catsup” makes you think twice about reallly needing it.
    -ok, i have to admit, hypno therapy works really well too, just went to a couple of sessions and I have them recorded and on my ipod now so I can transcend in peace at home (and worry daily that my husband will find them and play them as a HYSTERICAL form of entertainment at one of our parties)

    lengthy and potentially totally unhelpful….just know what you’re going through, have battled all my life and it always USED to be just 15lbs, and now it’s 50lbs! instead of giving up and saying “sure size 16 jeans, that’s cool” I stopped. Make it be about you, it’s OK to be about you. It’s not selfish to only put the best fuel in your body, it’s what it wants.

    OH and go read: The Omnivour’s Dilemma, very interesting book about americans & food.

    ok, I’ll stop now. good day.

  21. Dawn on February 28th, 2007 2:55 pm

    You could START with the 3rd phase of the South Beach Diet – that phase gives you carbs, so you don’t go completely crazy, like I did on phase 1 (you lose weight fast on Phase 1, but it’s just water weight, plus then you’re all cuckoopants from lack of carbs, so I say skip straight to Phase 3).

    The reason I mention South Beach is because I’m doing the Lifestyle Change thing, too, and the upshot of it all is more veggies/salads with meals, more whole grains (Far East makes some yummy whole grain sides), and smaller portions of lean meat. So basically: South Beach, Phase 3. I also count calories from time to time, to stay on track, at Fitday.com, which is free. Now that I’m in the swing of things, it’s getting easier and easier – if I remember to thaw something, I can have dinner prepped, cooked, and on the table in about 30 minutes. Just buy frozen veggies and dump part of a bag into a bowl as a side dish.

    You also have to get out and move your butt some, too, as much as I hate to do it. I’m hitting the gym a few mornings a week (with some coworkers, so they NOTICE if I’m not there), and taking the baby for a 3-mile jog about 4X a week in the afternoons. I started the exercise thing this week full-on, and have already lost about 3 pounds since combining it with the healthy/smaller portions, woo! I also eat off smaller plates at dinner time, which helps psychologically.

    Whatever you do, DON’T skip meals. You need at LEAST 1200 calories a day; if you go below this, your metabolism slows down, and then you’re doubly fucked, which is how I started to put the weight ON in the first place. It’s best to try to spread your meals throughout the day; and I promise, after about two weeks of eating like this, you should feel pretty satisfied and never STARVING or anything. Good luck!

  22. robyn on February 28th, 2007 3:01 pm

    I think it should be clarified that at WW, you don’t weigh in front of the crowd. Nobody sees your weight or knows whether you lost or gained except for you and the lady reading the numbers. In fact, at ours – they have 3 scales set up so several people can weigh at a time – and most often, I don’t even know what my weight is until I sit down and look at my membership book. I was totally paranoid about weighing in front of everyone – so I was pleasantly surprised when I finally sucked it up and went.

  23. T-Mom on February 28th, 2007 3:51 pm

    The Zone worked great fro me. I only read an intro-book (‘Week in the Zone?) and took the main points and applied them. It’s basically portion control based on balance.
    I hated Zone food (too processes, too much Splenda) but it was easy to keep track of.
    I lost over fifty pounds oner a year: slow and steady.

  24. Gena on February 28th, 2007 5:43 pm

    Wow, Riley is so adorable. Just wait until he is 21 and out of the house and you’re watching these movies – the tears will flow, believe me.

    As for the diet, I am always successful with the low-fat thing. I had to have my gallbladder removed a few years ago and I couldn’t eat ANY fat. I lost about 20 pounds in a month. Obviously the pain that occurred after eating anything with fat in it was a great motivator, but still…. Now, I just use the stress diet. I have a lot of stress, I don’t eat.

    Good luck on the housekeeper. I had one when my first two were babies and we had the house on the market. I LOVED her. She would even change my sheets for me. How great is that?

  25. fendel on February 28th, 2007 6:31 pm

    Low-carb. When I stick to it, I invariably lose weight, as much as 30 lb. My problem is that I am a little food-obsessed and low on willpower, so usually I slide down the slippery slope at some point into eating carby junk and start regaining. But when I stick to it, my health is better in every measurable way. My blood pressure goes down. My fasting blood sugar went from prediabetic to normal after a few months on low-carb. My cholesterol improved (good cholesterol went up, bad went down). People think it’s unhealthy — they’re wrong and I have the numbers to prove it.

    I seriously believe in it, but at the moment I’m having an affair with Haagen-Dazs…

    Personally, if I have to diet, I’d rather be able to eat steak and butter and skip the potato than vice versa. :)

  26. JMH on February 28th, 2007 6:53 pm

    “They are still there, the fifteen pounds. In fact, they may have invited some friends over, which, frankly, I thought was quite rude. ”

    So that is what happened to my butt…their friends invaded…HOW RUDE :)
    Well, I don’t know what to tell you about your “butt friends” but I GAINED some on Weight Watchers. Too many options for me and I know that if I eat a little of a favorite food (pizza, chocolate, etc) I CAN”T STOP. So, what helped me the most in the past was lots o’ exercise and try not to snack at night (no food after dinner)

    Good luck!

  27. amanda on February 28th, 2007 8:02 pm

    I am a huge proponent of snacking and no sugar. However I think different things work for different people. Parenting a little one makes rigid dieting tough. Maybe try to slowly eliminate some things, ie sugar, and see if that starts taming those hated fifteen. Boring and uninspired, I know. Sorry. Good luck.

  28. Eviedee on February 28th, 2007 9:05 pm

    I lost 30 pounds within 6 months by doing Krav Maga. (http://www.kravmagaetc.com/) I really enjoy the workout, I am learning some cool self defense techniques and I am building tons of muscle. Losing weight by building muscle is great because you can still eat quite a bit and weight loss tends to be more permanent. I was sick for an entire month in December, ate whatever I wanted, did not exercise and I only gained back 2 pounds. Good luck to you whatever you may decide!

  29. Jessie on March 1st, 2007 7:09 am

    I don’t know why, probably because Riley looks like he’s at a really fun age, but that video just made my ovaries scream “I want one!”. Weird, huh? Seriously, it was audible to others in the room (if, in fact, there had been others in the room).

    As for dieting, the only thing that has made any really difference for me is writing down everything I eat along with the calories of each item and stopping eating around 1500 calories. I do this for about a month (and am completely obsessed with the whole process for that whole month) and I usually lose quite a bit. I’ve done this twice and it has worked. Then, if my weight starts creeping up I do this again for a few days. It works better if I plan out everything I eat ahead of time. It’s kind of time consuming, but it works.

  30. erin on March 1st, 2007 7:47 am

    From my experience, WW works well while you are on it, but as soon as you go off, the weight packs back on. And who wants to be on WW for the rest of enternity? My recommendation: Sign up for a 10K, then go to runnersworld’s website and pick a beginner training program. The deadline will motivate you to stick with the training and running melts the weight off. And when I’m training for something I tend to eat more healthily by default. Plus, it’s easier to keep the weight off because you build muscle and increase your metabolism at the same time.

  31. Jenny on March 1st, 2007 7:53 am

    I lost all my baby weight, and then some, by just counting calories. Like really writing them down on a little tablet of paper and tallying them up. Since when I started I weighed about 160, I tried to keep it under 1500 calories, when I dropped to 140 I kept it to 1300 or less calories, etc. I also started making little changes one by one. Bought fat free cheese instead of the real thing, fat free beans, whole wheat tortillas instead of flour (love me some burritos). I also bought the weight watchers meals since they were usually about 350 calories or less, but they left me too hungry. I felt more satisfied buying the healthier versions of my good ol’ comfort food. Also, I finally cut out sugar. No sweets, but I did buy the sugar free cookies, by Pillsbury I think? Quite yummy. Total success story, I was smaller than I had ever been. I looked good . . . in clothes. Unfortuantely dieting can’t rid a person of the middle belly extra skin stretchmarked flab.

  32. Maureen on March 1st, 2007 9:55 am

    I admire people who can be successful on Weight Watchers, because it does work. It backfired with me, because the counting of points made me obsessed by food. That is all I thought about, how to get as much food for as few points. Also I got into this weird weekly eating cycle of being off program after weigh in, then the 3 days before my meeting, eating very minimally. Certainly not WW’s fault, my own failings.

    I tried South Beach on the recommendation of a friend, and I swear it felt like magic after WW. No counting, plenty of food, and I still lost weight. More importantly, I felt like a million bucks, no blood sugar crashes. I also felt much more even keeled, emotionally. Funny, I didn’t want to try the diet because the name really put me off, but as far as a doable lifestyle, it is a winner for me.

  33. Alexandra on March 1st, 2007 10:14 am

    I also was in a similar position to you … 33 years old; tried exercising like a madman and eating whatever I wanted … didn’t work. Tried eating really well and not exercising … didn’t work. Tried both together … only worked because I also went to Weight Watchers and the threat of public humiliation of weighing in each week. I went from 168 on 6/1/2005 to 143 on 8/24/2005. Since then I have been trapped in the same 5lb. weight range … now I have added more weight training than cardio and I am still waiting for it to work … WW really did work for me though. I have willpower when I get direction! GOOD LUCK!

  34. Niki on March 1st, 2007 12:13 pm

    I think all these posts show that different things work for different people… Have you struggled with your weight for years, or is this a first-time gain that sort of got away from you? Do you like to think through your meals or have them sort of pulled together for you? Do you want to have a mental conception of the physiological processes involved, or just be told which things are good for which purposes?

    My best friend has struggled with her weight for years. I’ve watched her have some success with WW, but never huge success, and never anything that sticks. I, on the other hand, didn’t struggle with my weight as a teenager or in my early 20s. In my late 20s I started putting on weight, and when my friend suggested we do a diet together, I decided to suck it up and do a “diet.” We used the Schwarzbein Principle (I think that’s what it’s called; we always called it the Schwarzenegger dieat). The book could use some editing, but I found it transformational because it answered many questions I’d had about the way the body breaks down carbs, fats, and proteins, and had suggestions for how to eat in a way that optimized the body’s use of food.

    I usually refer to this as a “moderate carb” diet. she was a diabetes doctor who observed that the old high-carb diet for diabetes wasn’t working well for her patients, and set out to devise something new. Anyhoo, I’ve always avoided no-carb situations because she points out that if your carb level gets too low, you can start to feel depressed. What you do is gauge your activity level, and then limit your carb intake based on how much your body will be able to use.

    Other than that, you eat lots of veggies (and fiber, in general, because it helps your metabolism fire up, if I’m remembering correctly) and avoid processed foods as much as possible, especially refined flour and sugar.

    Personally, I have found that I can only get my body to begin burning fat when I a) stop my sugar intake, b) stop my caffeine intake (both a and b mess with your body’s natural cues as to what it needs), c) increased raw vegetable consumption, and d) exercised first thing in the morning to get my metabolism going.

    I lost 30 pounds this way; my friend lost maybe 15, but it was always a much bigger struggle for her. We have different relationships with food, and we have different experience with weight gain and weight loss. All I can do is suggest that when you do find a weight loss program, you look at how it will help you change your eating habits post-diet.

    Hm, I should add in one more: e) this was easiest when I was sharing the food burden with my roommate (aforementioned best friend). We each only had to devise 3 dinners apiece, instead of 6 (7th day was eating out). We checked in with each other, and encouraged and commiserated with each other. Again, this might be something you will find helpful, or it might be irrelevant for your case.

  35. laura on March 1st, 2007 1:25 pm

    Sorry to hear that your diet is no longer. I’m so right there with you.

    I’m deeply jealous of your cleaning person acquisition. If I have to thanklessly vacuum one more time this week, I may go off the deep end.

  36. fellowmom on March 1st, 2007 4:48 pm

    Not trying to make you feel guilty, Sundry! Though I will admit that I kind of pressured my mom to switch from Merry Maids to a sole proprietor. I don’t know why, but I suspected you’d already read N&D.

    One WW clarification–I eat core foods, but tracked points at first, because I was used to the flexplan and had, shall we say, a portion issue.

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