The last of the “Desperate Diets” and the wrap up to the series…
The Push Your Luck Diet
What is a good example of this diet? The Cheat Your Way Thin diet, The Volumetrics Diet
Why do we think we do this? We have great metabolisms and we’ve always been athletic/thin/in shape so why not eat right most of the time but then enjoy ourselves with structure the other times.
Why do we really do this? On the surface: Pride. Arrogance. Again, we think we’re better than everyone else. We can eat half of the universe and “get away” with it. We do this alcohol, as well. Not cool. Deep down: cry for help.
My life changed December 23, 1997. Ten days after diagnosis, my 64 year old mom—who did not look a day over 50—died of pancreatic cancer. At the time I was 7 months pregnant with my first child, newly married and dealing with death on that level for the first time. I did not do a good job. In fact, I did not do anything. I cried some and dealt with it on the surface a bit but for all intents and purposes, it was like it never happened. I had an active “bubbas” in my belly that needed my attention; we needed to find a home for our new family; and quite honestly, I did not have the emotional capacity back then to take the situation on the way that it truly deserved. There was too much pain: she was my world and now what? There was too much anger: she would never meet my children but she knew my sisters’ kids, what kind of crap was that? There were too many questions: what the heck am I doing having a baby and which end of them is up, again? I would love to tell you something dramatic happened and I had this major breakdown but nothing did. Nothing. Two weeks after she was gone, life resumed. I had to get the illegal squatter out of my body, we had to buy a home and I needed to go back to work/normal/life. And so it was.
A little over a year ago I put out via email the tale of my body; what I did to myself after competing and how it forever changed the way I looked and dieted. I tell the story, whenever I tell it (which is rare on a large scale level but frequent on a one to one basis), always starting from December 2004 because that is when the actual weight gain began. What I conveniently neglect to mention is what precipitated that weight gain. I would love for you to think that I was this healthy trainer, working a bajillion hours, who had a ton of clients, running a training department, juggling a household of toddlers and being wife of the month and actually I was…except I was not healthy and I definitely was not wife of the month. What I was was “pushing my luck”.
We have blessings and curses that come with our physiques. Blessings would include looking great, being in good health on the macro side of health (diabetes, blood pressure), having energy and the ability to physically live life to the fullest. At times, though, I wonder if the curses of this lifestyle sometimes outweigh the blessings because we rarely talk about our emotional state when our body fat is low, how it feeds our ability to strive for perfection or how we can hide some major junk going down with us behind a great looking body. I have said this before and I say it with full love, the only difference sometimes between a lean woman and a heavy woman is that the heavy woman’s body makes her more honest. She cannot hide that she has an issue with food…but the lean woman can. So there I was, leaner than lean and striving like a mofo. I dealt with my mom’s death ever so slowly by becoming the top trainer in my club at the time, the nutrition guru, the playdate mom, the barely functioning wife and the iciest heart moving in a warm body. The crash was inevitable but the pace was excruciatingly slow.
I had my second child in 2000 and kept about 8-10 extra pounds of pregnancy weight on already petite body until a client asked me to get her ready for stage. I had never heard of competing, knew nothing of the sport but thought that I cannot get someone ready for something I, myself, have never done. In the summer of 2002, I started “getting ready for show”. I had ZERO issues with food or body image at that time and had a “great, little athletic body”. My getting ready for stage was all about learning how to coach on the back-end; it was never about me being ‘competitor of the week’ (this is important to know because it is how I ended up being far more of a jackass than any of you could ever claim to be). I lifted hard for the first 4 months and in January 2003, I started dieting. It took me 8 weeks to lose 23 pounds and I swear I did not have that much to lose. I was lean…and I stayed that way for a long, long time.
At first I realized that if I stepped on the scale in the morning and then in the night and it read the same thing, that the next morning I would lose a pound. Then I realized I could eat a cheat meal and the sodium may mess with me but within 3 days, it would be back to normal. Then I realized that if I ate a whole pizza by myself, nothing happened. Yeah I would be bloated for a day or two, but then I would have the tightest lines, my abs formed a 16 pack and I would be a veiny mess. Not bad, I thought.
I stepped off stage for the last time October 2003, the lightest I had ever been post college and I then entered into a very dark 365 days of pushing my luck: My job became more demanding. My feelings that I stuffed so deep into my socks that I wore one shoe size bigger because of it started to leak out all over the place. Staying lean started to take a toll on my cycle, my mind and eventually my marriage because there was cardio to be done and lifting had to happen because I needed to “pay penance” for all the tomfoolery that I was doing. And boy was I doing some tomfoolery. At no point did I think that what I was doing would have a lasting effect on my body. By the time 2004 came around, I was an Equal junky (18 to 30 packs/day—remember, it wasn’t “bad” for you back then and most of it was in my 4-6 medium size Dunkin’D’s teas that I had daily because I never ate), in full panic attacks, training 40-50 FLOOR hours per week on top of hours of cardio, a full blown egomaniac (let’s just own it now) and crying for help louder than any woman I know. I would eat all kinds of crap, “work it off” and start all over again once I got the scale back to normal. The crazier life got, the more I ate dysfunctionally always careful not to mess with the number on the scale. I went through all the stages of pseudo dieting, fake show dates, “major events” that I needed to ‘lose 5 pounds for’ and then thought that what I needed was “a structured plan”. I need to be “on an official diet”. If I just had structure then I will follow it and I will stop all this nonsense. Wrong. It made me more manic. And it made me push the limits even more because at this point I was infallible…invincible…a math whiz with the scale…champion of carb games…master trainer…and a Holy. Hot. Mess.
So I had an idea…
I “allowed” myself to gain weight. Not a ton (about 10-15 pounds)…but just enough to get me back to a “normal weight” and stop playing the games because I was not enamored with being lean as much as I was with being able to control the outcome of what was going on with my body-hence my greatest folly. This was my first official personal cry for help to myself. I ignored it. Six months later, the rest is history.
You ask me constantly ‘how are you in my head’, ‘how do you know what you know’, ‘it’s like you read minds’, ‘I can’t get away with anything’ and so on. Well, now you know why. You cannot bull crap a bull crapper. Plain and simple. I am cutting this short here for 2 reasons: what happened next emotionally (most of you know what happened physically) is another series for another time and this post could get so long that it qualifies for a Pulitzer Prize in drama and that would completely miss the point of this post and this series.
My biggest wish is that you will look at what you do, why you do it and what is the emotion that drives it. When you talk to me you have to know that I am listening for what you say, how you say it, what words you choose, what you are avoiding, what you are trying to convince me of, what you are trying to convince you of and so on. You need to see that pride is just a defense and excessive drivenness just an excuse; the scale is pimp who plays us like a fiddle on a good day, emotionally abuses us on a bad one. Every diet game we play is one step closer to melt down and I am telling you, nothing is worse than trying to come back from being so high and falling so low. The diets that I picked were funny at first because that is stage one; stage two is believing your own hype; and stage three is beginning of Armageddon.
Talk to someone. Whether it is a stranger in a subway (make sure he/she is clothed), your best friend, someone who does what I do or even me—it does not matter, just talk. You do not need a couch to lie on, I never went to therapy. You need a listening ear and someone who can point you to your craziness because then you can do something about it but it takes you owning it first. My husband could not help me because he had *no idea*. I never talked about my emotions, we were 2 ships passing in the night because we set up our schedule in such a way that one of us was always with the kids so when he came in, I went out, and I was not in a place to admit that this was bad. Honestly, if my body did not give out, I am not sure what would have stopped the madness. Scary.
I love you, ladies. If I can keep any of you from walking in my shoes, then I have done my job. The next series is cooking in my head now, not sure when I’ll spit it out. Keep your eyes peeled for the emails. Woop woop!