Mama Meets the Dietician
I Cried Uncle in November. I was searching for a reliable method of losing a Fatsuit. I’d had it. Trying to starve myself does not work in the long run. South Beach diet worked a few years ago, but there are 2 problems with trying it again now: 1) I didn’t keep the weight off long-term, and 2) those were BC (Before Children) days. It is twice as hard now as it was then to avoid carbohydrates entirely when my children seem to live for them. I’d also tried P90X (Lean Schedule) a year ago, and 6 weeks in, we all went on vacation and then got sick and then my entire workout schedule went haywire, never to return. When I tried to get back into the schedule, I was too far behind on various house chores to carve out an hour 6 days per week.
And then I tried just doing nothing, and haha! That was hilarious.
I made the scary, humbling call to my GP and asked if the office had a dietician they would recommend. They did, in fact. I gave her a call, and eventually we talked. I bared my soul and she responded with warmth and assurance and humor. Whew, sweet relief! She told me that “diets don’t work in the long run” and so I eagerly awaited our first meeting, in which I envisioned some sort of magic pill plan, albeit slow-working.
Did I mention I called her in November? So, by the time I met her in person, it was T minus 1 week to Thanksgiving. You can do the rest of the math in regard to to-do’s, eating and stress. Oh, and did I mention my dietician also holds a counseling degree? Yep. Let’s just say, in counseling terms, I “presented” pretty frenzied on my first appointment.
Yes, she is warm and assuring and funny. But I didn’t expect all the questions.
“How many hours of sleep do you get per night? How much water do you drink? How many times per day do you eat? How many times per day do you have a BM? How many servings of calcium and protein do you get a day? How many times a week do you exercise? For how many minutes? What kind of exercise do you get? Do you take a vitamin? What kind? ”
Lady. No more. I get questions from my lovely children all day long. Make it stop.
My head spun. I got defensive. “Um, we NEVER eat McDonald’s? I buy almost all organic! I buy expensive vitamins from Whole Foods? I subscribe to Nutrition Action, it’s a magazine all about eating healthy!!”
Her response? “Congratulations. Are your vitamins pharmaceutical-grade? I read Nutrition Action too.”
I had fancied myself a novice nutrition expert, but come to find out I was not. I spent several minutes being defensive and arguing with her until finally my eyes started to well up and my little inner voice said,”WHAT ARE YOU DOING?? YOU CAME HERE BECAUSE YOU WERE LOST AND NOW YOU ARE NOT LISTENING TO THE ADVICE OF THE PROFESSIONAL WHO CAN HELP YOU.” Meanwhile she kept talking and giving me advice.
And with teary eyes I looked at the dietician and said,”Oh my God. I thought I had everything figured out. Now I realize I’m failing at everything!!”
She softened and went into Mega Counseling Mode. She started asking me questions and following up with, “So what would happen if you did this?” and “Why do you think you do that?” I must have answered something correctly because she shouted, “Dingdingding!!” and rang….a little hidden bell? W…T…H??? Somewhere in her piles of paper she hides a bell, the kind you ring at a store for service. The woman clearly has too much power, I thought.
I wish I could fast forward already and tell you, “Ahh, dear readers [ha ha! are there plural readers?], but that was then and this is now and I am so thin now that no one recognizes me!” Nope. I even gained some holiday weight. But–not too much. Which means I’m not that far outside of my dietician’s goal for me over the holidays: gain no weight. Because, as she said, most Americans gain 8-10 pounds between Halloween and New Year’s. She reasoned that if I didn’t gain that weight, it was as good as losing it. See? She’s actually pretty nice.
I might listen to classic rock in her waiting room before my appointments (nothing like freakin’ Pink Floyd to make me feel depressed enough that not even the thought of a cupcake could perk me up), and she may write “McD” on her prescription pad for me….okay, I do need to explain that one. She writes notes on a note pad that looks a lot like a Rx pad. She was giving me ideas for things to eat on the go if I get stuck outside the house and need to eat one of my six small meals and she advised “McD snack wrap or apple salad; Taco Bell 7 Layer Bean Burrito”…..I digress. Even though in some ways she may not be exactly what I expected, I am learning a ton and she is reassuring and inspiring. Now I eat within an hour of waking up each morning, and my goal is 30 min. of exercise 5 days per week. I have a plan consisting of 6 small meals per day to prevent my body from thinking it’s starving, and to improve my metabolism. I have guidelines for what serving sizes are (1/4 of a bagel?!), and how many servings of each food group I need. I now make time to eat and exercise as part of my daily routine, and I don’t eat like a wolf when I sit down for a meal because I’ve just eaten 2-3 hours ago and I’m no longer starving. I recognize that treats are just that–treats–not things I “need” or eat so quickly I don’t even enjoy them. I recognize the difference in how I feel when I eat well and exercise and when I don’t. I forgive myself when I fail, and I get back on that bike and start over again (and that bike wonders when I’ll lose the fatsuit so it can function more easily without risking flat tires).
I’ll get there. 🙂
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