Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Going big on a big birthday

I am hurtling toward a rather big birthday and really don't want to hit it this...big.

I have a number in my head that is my ideal weight -- confirmed by my GP who reads it off a little chart she pulls out of her pocket every time I go in for a physical -- and I am determined to reach it though have been a varying number of pounds off the mark for a number of years. Never in the good direction either, no one is worrying that I'm wasting away I assure you.

I don't actually know my weight -- I'm gearing up to step on the scale, and my doctor is forbidden from telling me where I am. We have a kind of semaphore, she says either "well, you are not yet over the very top of the range" or "well, there's nothing really to worry about" which means of course "you can afford to lose a few pounds, Fatso."

I tried hard to reach my number on my last big birthday and got within spitting distance before falling into the poutine, so to speak. This time I've dabbled with Weight Watchers' new program which allows endless eating of fruit, all of which are zero. I love bananas. And may be the exception that proves the rule but lost nary an ounce so reverted to the old Points program which worked in the past. But I am a rebel at heart, and over- or under-achieve my Points allotment pretty much every day resulting in no loss of poundage whatesoever.

In desperation I've just tried the Master Cleanse, encouraged by a story by Jeffrey Steingarten, the brilliant food writer in Vogue (talk about your thankless jobs!) He tried the Master Cleanse and lasted eight days. I merely want to re-set my appetite so that I can actually do a good job of a proper diet and not feel quite so deprived and resentful of all those burger-eaters in the world.

The Master Cleanse is the lemonade fast -- drink six to 12 glasses of water with two tablespoons of lemon juice, two of maple syrup and cayenne. I have come to realize the cayenne is the key -- it knocks out hunger like nobody's business.

Because I am a cheater at heart, a rebel especially in matters of diet (very inefficient I must say) I have added a few of my own embellishments -- Perrier with lime for example. A tiny, infinitesimally small amount of red wine (my heart you see). Coffee. The headache just isn't worth it, and this is a weight loss thing not a cleanse thing, I could not care less about the cleanliness of my house never mind bowels or liver or whatever else is supposed to be made sparkly-fresh by this regime. Jeffrey lost weight, I intend to. Not even by this cleanse, but by using it as a kind of jump-starter.

You may be grasping why I'm not so great at actual dieting.

So far I can tell you that the Master Cleanse is remarkably satisfying. I am not hungry, or no moreso than usual. I am not bored, as Jeffrey was, because I tend to be a habit-oriented eater anyway -- I have eaten the same thing every day for years at a time. I have as much energy as I usually do.

A friend does this cleanse once a year for a month at a time, and always in the summer months and now I know why -- while there are no other ill-effects, I am freezing all the time despite the blasting radiators in my elderly apartment. The term "burning calories" may be more accurate than you think, and lemonade doesn't provide much fuel. I would think all this fat would be a great fire-starter but no. So, I compensate by having hot showers.

So far so good. The birthday is in sight and maybe so is the goal. I'll know more when I've gathered the courage to actually step on the scale.

My doctor recently intimated that I'm in range at least. No worrying "well you're not at the high end" but rather "a lot of women your age would like to weigh what you do."

I'm not sure that's entirely reassuring. But I'll take what I can get.

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