Tag Archives: dieting

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Read Little House on the Prairie

That Laura Ingalls Wilder. She knew a thing or two about surviving tough times.

She slept in a covered wagon and ate dinner by campfire. She lived in a bungalow dug into the banks of a creek and swept the sod floor using twigs. She spent a long winter stranded on the prairie with no supplies, grinding wheat in a coffee mill to help feed her family.

And then there’s me. I’m desperately avoiding running to the fridge to gorge myself on leftovers.

When I find myself in times of trouble, I just can’t let it be. I think and overthink and think some more, and then, because it’s comfortable and it’s never let me down, I put food in my mouth hole and I feel momentarily better. That is…until I step on the scale in the morning.

The weight came on surprisingly quick. It didn’t take much to undo years of clean eating and daily walks. First, I was having fun trying all the new restaurants in San Jose and getting to know my coworkers. Then I was too busy to go to the gym. Then I was exhausted from my long commute and attempting the work/family hustle. Next thing I knew, the snacks were calling my name at 10pm. The number on the scale kept climbing. And as it did, my mood and self-confidence plummeted.

And now I’m here, 20 lbs later, reading Little House on the Prairie.

IMG_5893I’m usually pretty decent at self-motivation. Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve overcome a few obstacles in my past, and when I did, I thought of myself as Laura Ingalls Wilder: strong as a stout French horse and full of pluck. And that’s why, when my own motivational tools fail me, I pick up a dog-eared copy of the classic and remind myself what real grit looks like. It’s a pioneer family with the balls to go it alone, to make up their own rules, to battle the elements and the lawlessness and the wild.

So yeah, maybe they can help me with my 17-day diet.

Those who’ve read this blog from its early days know I’ve attempted the holiday diet before in the past and failed miserably. But with the help of Little House on the Prairie, I will persevere and at least try and make it through without tacking another 10 lbs onto my increasingly doughy frame.

Potential pitfall: some of the best parts of the Little House books are the descriptions of delish down-home Americana meals. Pies and turkeys and sage stuffing and warm bread with butter. Pickled preserves and tasty peaches and whipped cream and…

yeah, I just walked to the fridge.

Goddammit! Can anyone recommend a classic, feel-good motivational children’s book series about a skinny bitch who thinks of food as pure utility and survives on raw kale and coconut oil?

Attempt Number 5,637 at Losing Those Last Five Pounds

those last five pounds
Is this girl happy about her weight? Upset? So much conflicting body language. At least her underwear is cute.

Ugh. Weight loss. Could there be a less appealing topic? I’m avoiding sweets, I’m eating healthy, I’m exercising, blah blah blabbity blah.

I’ve had five pounds to lose for the better part of a year and I’ve only made marginal, half-assed attempts at doing so. Mostly because it was no big deal. Who cares if I have an extra five pounds on me? I’m gonna put a baby in there soon anyway, so may as well enjoy myself!

Yeah, well, the baby thing ain’t happening, so perhaps the weight loss thing needs to now.

I know being five pounds lighter is not going to fill the baby-sized hole in my heart. But it doesn’t hurt to start feeling better about yourself—even if it’s in the most superficial way possible. My hope is that feeling a little more fabulous in my clothes will boost my self-esteem a smidge. And then doing a little bit more activity will bring on the happy hormones. And then all of a sudden perhaps, maybe, the cloud will begin to lift a little.

There have been some bright spots in an otherwise dark time. My son is being adorable. My husband is being his awesome, supportive self. But I still feel myself slipping out of conversations and drifting off into a place of self-pity and remorse. It’s going to take some time. It’s going to be a bit until I’m fully present. I don’t really feel like talking or thinking about this stuff anymore. So I’m relishing in those bright spots and waiting for time to pass. In the meantime, I could use a nice distraction.

And if anything can distract you from unhappiness, it’s adding a whole other thing to be unhappy about to your life. (At least, a whole other thing that has nothing to do with grief—except perhaps the loss of gorging yourself on your favorite foods. Goodbye, night cheese! Sniff, sniff.)

So byebye, five pounds. Byebye, baby dreams. And byebye, night cheese. I’ll miss you guys. I won’t, however, miss not fitting in my jeans.

I’m Taking Diet Pills and Don’t You Judge Me

Alright, so it turns out I need a little assistance in the motivation/weight-loss department. (Also in the happiness department, but one thing at a time, Olive Gal. One thing at a time.) I don’t know whatever possessed me to click on one of those Facebook sponsored posts on my news feed the other day, but I did, and I turned up this terribly written obvious piece of marketing that tried to play itself off like it was an article in Cosmopolitan. Long story short, it still did its job, which was to sell me on these miracle diet pills that help you burn fat and say no to that third helping of manicotti.

Now wait a minute, step off the brakes. Yes, you probably just rolled your eyes so hard you did a backflip (thank you, husband, for contributing that awesome metaphor). I know it’s easy to judge people who do stupid things. But try not to this time because I saw it on Dr. Oz, so that must mean it works.

garcinia cambogia

I was lured in because the pill says it helps with the holy trifecta of problematic areas for me: energy, serotonin levels, and appetite. You already know I can’t get off my ass. And any good Italian will tell you: a gaze into our stomachs is like staring down into the black abyss of the lower depths of the ocean. Food is too good.

So I caved. But before anyone judges me, I did look into this stuff and am not ingesting legal speed or any other type of carcinogen. The pill is basically the extract of an Indian fruit rind and that’s IT. I’ve only taken it for less than a day, so I can’t tell you if it works. I CAN tell you that it makes me pee like a grandpa with a swollen prostate.

Y’all ever hear of Garcinia Cambogia? Am I poisoning my body or throwing $30 down the toilet on placebos?

I’m the Idiot Trying to Diet During the Holidays

I am trying to lose weight during the holiday season. This may just be the stupidest idea anyone’s ever had in the history of ideas, and I’m not THAT prone to hyperbole (only one in every five or six statements). I am THAT prone to sarcasm, however, so take from that what you will.

My reason for wanting to lose weight is so I can indulge myself in Christmas festivities and only gain back what I lost. I also want to return home to my East Coast family all heeeeeeey, check me out, I haven’t let myself go yet! A nice theory, except I won’t be home until December 23. Between now and then I will have attended four Christmas parties and a children’s birthday party (where you know there’ll be cake, which usually isn’t a big deal for me as I’m not into cake, but now I can’t have it so my brain is all CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE). Also these parties sort of fall under the category of “indulge myself in Christmas festivities” so I’m trapped by my own failed logic.

My workplace is of no help. Every damn day there’s a spread. (Italians are suckers for a spread.) Cookies and marshmallows and chocolates and crackers and cheese and bread and olives all laid out just so over a festive Christmas tablecloth. Why’d you have to put down a tablecloth, office? Now you know I can’t resist that shit! When it’s on a regular surface, I might be able to walk by. But on a red-and-green plaid tablecloth THAT IS ALSO SPARKLY?! You’re killing me!


I mean, seriously. How do you say no to this?
I mean, seriously. How do you say no to this?

There is now less than a week until Christmas, but I just can’t quit you, diet. I know that at this point it’s a lost cause and I just should happily NOM NOM NOM my way through the holidays, eyes glazed, tummy happy, but there’s just one problem: clothes. I have exactly three sweaters that are holdovers from 2006 when I still lived in cold weather climates, and they are all small and unforgiving of holiday belly bulge. I’ve also got exactly two pairs of pants that fit me that aren’t leggings. It’s cold as shit back east, so I need to rinse, recycle, and reuse those puppies until (fingers crossed) new holiday clothes magically appear under the tree? If not, then sorry to everyone who must suffer the same three ill-fitting outfits over and over every time I come home to visit for Christmas.

You know what, though? Olives and cheese trump comfort or fashion. So apologies, dear family, for the not-so-discreet loosening of the buttons that will inevitably take place during Christmas dinner. It’s either that or I wear my stretchy pants.