Now What?

Now that the holidays1 are behind us, it’s time to start seriously thinking about getting back on the wagon. For those of you just tuning in, here’s a quick recap:

Back in August of 2008, terrified of rising blood sugar readings, I decided to cut way down on the high glycemic foods and more or less quit eating like a pig all the time. I also re-launched, posting five days a week, and keeping the world highly informed of the number I saw between my big toes every morning. The primary goal was to get back to Onederland, that magical place where one’s weight begins with a one 2.

Two hundred and fifteen days later, I hit 199.5 for the first time in a long time. After three days in a row below 200, I made a tentative pass at calling it official. Mostly because I didn’t want to just reach Onederland, I wanted to stay there.

And I did. For a while. Actually, for more than a while. With the exception of just peeking over the 200 mark on two or three days, I stayed squarely in Onederland for six straight months, even going as low as 193.5.

I was astounded. It wasn’t just the fact that I’d lost thirty pounds. Hell, I’ve lost thirty pounds at least sixty-seven times over the last couple decades. It’s the fact that I kept this whole thing up for more than a year. A year! Imagine that! I blogged about it regularly. I entered everything I ate into The Daily Plate for well over a year, without missing a single day: holidays and vacation included. And not once did I feel like I was dieting at all.

I had apparently achieved that mythical and oh-so-unattainable “lifestyle change” that so many of us nod our heads in vigorous agreement over yet so few of us can actually pull off. I was as amazed as anyone, and that’s saying a lot. Then I made a minor tactical error: I didn’t drop dead right then and there. Because, knowing me, that would have been the only guarantee of not screwing it up.

Nope, my heart kept beating, my brain kept functioning3, and my body suddenly realized that the Cheez-It reserves stored in my liver had reached dangerously low levels. It freaked out, over-compensated to the tune of forty-six pounds of the wonderful orange crackers, and now, six months later, I have to utter the most dreaded words that any dieter ever utters in all their uttering utterances: “I gained it all back.”

I repeat: I gained it all back.

At first, I just went up to 205, which was my “absolute, do not go above this weight at all” mark. That soon turned into 210, where I said, “Okay, I mean it: this is the mark I won’t go above.” At 215, I said, “Never mind. I meant this mark. This is my high water mark.” Then 220. Then 225.

Then today, just 286 days past my lowest low point, I’m up thirty-five pounds. (Or a gain of nearly a pound a week.) All that work. All that blogging. All that time wasted. All for nothing.

So, welcome to Day One #99. That’s not an exaggerated or whimsical number. It’s really my 99th Day One, according to my massive spreadsheet where I count the number of times “Day One” has appeared in the “Notes” column. I’d love to say I’m all fired up about this and that I’m ready to get right back on the wagon and that I’m taking you all with me on a trip to Magical Inspiration Land where everyone’s a pony and they all eat rainbows and poop butterflies.

But let’s face it, I’ve already tried this 98 times. I’ve lost thousands of pounds. I’ve gained it all back. Every time. This has been going on for twenty straight years. At what point to I just wake up and realize this is who I am. I’m not going to go on any “lifestyle change” that will grow my hair back, or change my eye color, or sprout a third arm. There are obviously physiological forces at work here far beyond my control. Food is brought to my mouth by muscle contractions. Muscles are controlled by neural impulses. Impulses are sent by the brain. The brain is primarily made up of oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen atoms. These atoms are simply obeying the laws of physics. I suddenly don’t feel like I have any say in the matter any more.

[Insert clichΓ© record-scratching sound effect here.]

Whoops! Sorry about that! I forgot I’m supposed to keep this light-hearted and humorous. After all, that’s why the twelve of you keep coming back month after month, isn’t it?

Well, here’s the good news. I’m still me and that means that 98 prior failures isn’t going to deter me from trying it just one more time. As much as I realize that’s the clinical definition of insanity, I just can’t not try it one more time. It’s what the atoms want me to do again.

So here we go. Wish me luck! I’ll let you now how things go 286 days from now.


1 Oh you know, the usual holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Boxing Day, New Years Eve, New Years Day, the Day After New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, my birthday, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, Presidents Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Bunsen Burner Day, Easter, and the ever-popular Weekend After Easter Where All the Remaining Candy Needs to be “Put Away” Day.

2 In pounds, that is. I wasn’t looking to get back to 199 kilograms or even 199 stone.

3 Arguable, yes.

20 Responses to “Now What?”

tuscanystone said
April 13, 2010 at 5:14 am

Hey Charlie

I think you should blog about your weight and keep accountable to us. Seems that is what worked last time? So why dont you go back to your weigh in days/blogs once a week and lets get this show on the road!

I’m convinced its a lifetime battle for us inclined to love our food and put on weight. The lifestyle change is the fact that you keep an eye on it ALL the time, rather than let it go. Perhaps we all need to just accept that? Isn’t acceptance half way to cure?

I dunno, but I’m with you on the yo-yo thing. So, onwards and upwards (or downwards on the scale) my friend πŸ™‚

Tusc πŸ˜‰

Heather said
April 13, 2010 at 6:16 am

It’s tough, but you can do it. After all, like most of us, you’ve done it before. You know what you need to do. You can just call all those other times practice rounds.

MB said
April 13, 2010 at 8:26 am

I’m sure the 99th time is the charm. Good Luck!

Tami said
April 13, 2010 at 8:34 am

In the immortal words of Jason Nesmith, “Never give up! Never surrender!”

If it’s true what they say about the journey being the important part, you’re doing it correctly. Besides, just think where you’d be if there hadn’t been a 2nd Day One? Or an 89th Day One?


Biz said
April 13, 2010 at 10:10 am

Oh Charlie – so sorry to have read this post!! Those damn Cheez-Itz!!!

I’ll be rooting for you Charlie!

TexasDeb said
April 13, 2010 at 10:55 am

I’m no doctor nor do I play one on TV but….how about a change of focus? Along the lines of not keeping track of your hourly weight fluctuations and rather concentrating on increasing your general level of overall fitness?

It is my understanding that keeping track of your measurements (IE waist size, etc.) is better for you than simply focusing on the number of pounds. A thinner version of you could be less healthy than a Charlie with more muscle mass (and I’m not talking about between your ears either Mr.This is Who I Am).

I prescribe you visit with Miz Fit about this. Stat!

Jenn@slim-shoppin said
April 13, 2010 at 12:45 pm

As your sister and someone who has also been in the same boat MANY times, all I can say is, “At least you come back!” It’s the people who NEVER try again who get to 600-700 pounds, did you ever think of that? So, it’s not all bad!

And as the words I have uttered so many times “I’m back on!”

Loquin said
April 13, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Dear Charlie,


I don’t usually resort to out-dated slang, but once again you’ve eloquently illustrated a problem that I’m having and you are living my greatest fear. In a truly selfish way I want you to get back on the wagon because if you can then I can.

The thing is, you did have they much vaunted lifestyle change. Just because eventually it changed back doesn’t discount the great success you had before. It’s certainly frustrating to regress, especially regressing all the way back to the start. But you know that you’re capable of success.

Pubsgal said
April 13, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Delurking to say hello; may 99 be your magic number!

Comment #19 of Shelly’s in response to your Fitbloggin’ write-up made me realize how like writing the “lifestyle change” process has been for me:

“…you keep putting it off until you FORCE yourself to do it, thinking you will end up with total trash, but then, you start, and before you know it, you have some pretty decent stuff done.”

However, I really think the only thing that’s kept me on the straight-and-narrow-enough (i.e., maintaining a slender toehold in Onederland) has been the big stick of diabetes. Were I not having to manage it, I probably would have regained; but were my “switch” fully engaged, I’d have reached goal by now. Oh well.

Erin at The Healthy Apron said
April 13, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Wow Charlie,
So truly frustrating….just bc I am a dietitian, doesn’t mean I don’t know what it’s like to be in your position. Yes, I have always been in Onederland, but I have also struggled with a 30 pound weight-loss in the past.

My BEST professional advice? LEARN to eat healthy and stop thinking of weight-loss as a “diet.” The truth is, Cheez-its CAN be apart of your life…just not binging amounts of them. When you allow ALL foods into your life (without the guilt), suddenly those Cheez-its aren’t taunting you 24/7.

Wish you the best of luck!!

Charlie said
April 13, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Hey, I think I have a reply to everybody. Here we go:

@Tusc: Yes, I’m going to try that: just get back to the blogging thing for a while and see what happens.

@Heather: Hmmm . . . I suppose after 98 practice rounds I might be an expert. Of course, that means I’ve had 98 practice rounds of gaining it all back, so I’m an expert at that too.

@MB: Here’s hopin’

@Tami: Ten points to whatever Hogwarts house you’re in for the Galaxy Quest reference. Did you ever consider that maybe you’re the plucky comic relief?

@Biz: Sorry you’re sorry you read the post. Maybe next time you’ll be more careful.

@Deb: Mmm…maybe, but the thing is, I love the daily scale thing. I really do. I’ve never let it work against me and it’s just easier to see progress than waiting two months to lose a half inch or similar.

@Jenn: Can I borrow your T-shirt?

@Loquin: You took the time to go out of your way to thank me for prior inspiration on your own trip. How can I let you down again? πŸ™‚

@Pubsgal: If you look back at what started that last round of success for me was the diabetes thing. My blood sugar levels scared me, and that was enough to flip the switch. Then, as humans are wont to do, I became complacent. I should watch out for that next time.

@Erin: To be honest, that’s exactly what I did last time. (Believe me, I’m the last person in the world to fall for the whole ‘diet’ thing.) I lost 30 pounds eating Cheez-Its. I really did. And pizza. And cookie dough. And burgers—you all saw the burger review posts, right? The thing was that none of those ever ended up being more than a basic 2,000 calorie a day thing for me. It was the head-nodding “moderation” thing, but it was the most natural thing in the world. But when the switch goes off, it goes off and our brains unfortunately neglect to consult us about the change. That said, I really will try again and I’ll keep at it, and I’ll succeed, and then I’ll fail again. And I don’t say this solely to create a self-fulfilling prophecy, but because I’m a tried and true realist.

Now, where’d I put those Cheez-Its?

Charlie said
April 13, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Holy crap, I think that’s my longest comment ever.

Mel | Dietriffic said
April 14, 2010 at 11:59 pm

“All that work. All that blogging. All that time wasted. All for nothing.”

I don’t agree, Charlie. As Henry Ford once said, β€œFailure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

Go for it!

Helen said
April 15, 2010 at 10:37 am

Crap! I can’t believe I didn’t get my update that you’ve posted and now totally missed the “Charlie replies to me personally gravy train!”


Oh well, I’m going to say I told you so. Because I did. Not about the Cheez-Its but about the blogging regularly again.

In fact, I may have been your most persistent nagger of late, eh?

Welcome back.

Now I have to figure out why I didn’t get my update.

    Charlie said
    April 15, 2010 at 11:01 am

    I was wondering where you were, Miss I Check Every Day To See If He Finally Posted Again. πŸ™‚

    We’ll see how the blogging goes. I’ll try to do it, but I’ll also try to be a bit less elaborate than I used to, because my main concern is that every word typed here is a word that doesn’t make it into the book.

Quix said
April 15, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Welcome back! Echoing the other bloggers saying that it matters not that you regained, but that you’re back at it again. Looking forward to seeing you more often… πŸ™‚

I am facing right now that I am 10 lbs heavier than last year this time, when I gave myself an upper limit of 5 to fluctuate between. I haven’t completely fallen off the healthy living wagon as I’ve gotten really, really into running and done 2 half marathons and tons of races, but all that running? It makes you EAT. Rivaling that kid that always wins the eating contests. Usually mostly healthy stuff but I won’t lie – there was a lot of junk too.

So I’ve had to dial down the exercise from an 11 to about a 7 and cut the calories. And I’m seeing success. I hope you get back in your groove and see good results soon!

Cynthia said
April 19, 2010 at 8:37 pm

It’s not all for nothing. Trust me, as a habitual regainer, each time, I think I learn a little more. And while I’ve regained again, the last few times I have never gotten up to my high weight. I’ve stayed at least 20 pounds below that or more. Now the trick is to take it down another level and then maintain that. Maybe by the time I die, I’ll be thin, LOL!

I do think the blogging and accountability help, I’m back doing it… and I probably only have a handful of readers left. But it’s a journey for us, so don’t worry about that. I never even look at my blog stats anymore.

I’m finding that if I indulge one day, I need to really cut things back the next. I may not lose, but I can maintain, even when I’ve eaten badly all week, like this past week.

I’m kind of with Quix… I tried doing tons of exercise, but it makes me ravenous too. So I’m going with moderate activity (well, not so much lately, but that’s the goal) and toning the calories back (or, well, that’s the goal). LOL!

Happy Fun Pants said
April 23, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Hey there, stranger!

First, thanks for commenting on my all but dying blog. I started posting less and less there and instead concentrated my efforts on my other blog (that I think is linked when my name appears, but in case it’s not, it’s at ). It’s where my focus is – less on dating and being funny and more on the serious mental sh!t that I HAVE to figure out or I’m destined to keep yo-yoing in my weight.

Anyway, I admit. I stopped reading when you started writing about writing…mostly because I don’t know ANYTHING about writing. I’m an engineer and can’t even imagine writing a book let alone one that other people would actually want to read… let alone a book that people would PAY to read. For instance, THAT last sentence was a run on sentence, right? I don’t know how to make it better. See how I suck at this? Now go read my blog.

But seriously, I saw your comment, decided to hop over here and see what you were up to.

And I was sad to see you up 35 pounds. NOT because your weight matters to me (I think you’re fabulous the way you are), but because I have been there…and I’ve felt the discouragement of starting again yet another time.

On a side note, I listen to a podcast where the host is famous for saying something like “Every relationship you are in will fail, until one doesn’t.”

I think the same is true for our journey. We all gain it back, until we don’t.

Here’s to hoping that this is the last time we see ourselves the same weight – and yes, I mean we – both you AND me.

I’ll resubscribe again…just may not comment on the book writing posts. πŸ™‚

So basically, I’m happy to be back. πŸ™‚

    Charlie said
    April 26, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Wow, that was quite the essay. Welcome back, Miss Pants!

    Although I find it odd you left when I started talking about writing solely because you don’t know anything about writing. To me, that’s a great reason to stay!

Naptime said
May 5, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Good luck!