The Season in Review

Sixty-five days.
Two hundred meals.
One hundred and fifty thousand calories.

All gone in a heartbeat, vanishing quicker than a piping hot order of fries placed within eighteen inches of my mouth.

One solstice.
One Treats Day.
Four major holidays.

Blink, blink, blink. I have no idea where the time goes. All I do know is that each new day is shorter than the previous. In fact, I predict by the end of 2010, the earth will rotate about its axis once every ninety-two minutes. The only silver lining in this shrinking cloud is there won’t be enough time to overeat anymore.

Actually, let’s make that two silver linings: in the future, The Season will only last four days. I’ll be old much, much sooner, but at least I’ll be thin.

The Last Two Months

If you’ve kept up with me since October, you’ll know that by that month’s end I was feeling like I’d hit a major plateau. With the upcoming The Season upon me, I decided back then to just “give up” and shift to maintenance mode. It worked for a while, until I fell off the maintenance wagon and started losing weight again. (I can’t do anything right, can I?)

My goal was to stay at or below 207. (I’ve recently (and wrongly) reported the panic number as 206. However, the actual quote from my November 3, 2008 post was, “It’s time to dig in my heels, watch myself, and if I show up here on January 5, 2009 and Iā€™m still 207, it’ll be a Christmas Miracle.”)

The Christmas Miracle seemed like it would become The Christmas Reality. One week ago, with three of the four holidays behind us, I found myself at 203.5. I was in utter, jaw-dropping disbelief. Is it true? Can this even be possible? Should I go buy lottery tickets before my lucky streak runs out?

The Last Weak

Then on Monday morning, after triumphantly reporting my The Season success, there was a knock on my front door. I answered it.

“Hello, my name is Murphy. I was wondering if I could come in and show you my Law book?”
“No thank you,” I replied.
“Really, I think you should read this,” objected Murphy.
“Why should I?” I asked.
“Because it’s going to affect you greatly very soon now,” Murphy warned.

I ordered Chinese for lunch. My fortune cookie said, “All Your Hard Work is About To Unravel Before Your Very Eyes. (Your lucky number is the square root of negative one.)” Pfffft! What do fortune cookies know anyway?

Well, one full pizza, two dinner parties, several heavy beers, and many bottles of red wine later, it was time to step on the scale again. I was six days out from the previous weigh-in. How bad could it be? I looked back at the week’s entries on The Daily Plate. I was now averaging about 3,000 calories a day, up from the usual 1,800 to 2,000 range. But given the fact that my BMR allows 2,500 per day, I couldn’t have been overeating by much more than 500 calories each day. Traditional Calorie Theory said I should have gained only about one pound in this amount of time. I stepped on the scale.

Insert cartoon ‘ayayayayay’ sound here.

The scale read 210.5. That’s right. In six days I went up seven pounds. SEVEN pounds. The only thing that would explain it is I went and saw the movie Seven Pounds. It must have rubbed off on me. There could be no other explanation.

I wondered if my Daily Plate tracking was off. It’s possible. They are, after all, just estimates. But this didn’t make any sense either, for Traditional Calorie Theory predicts a 6,500 calorie-per-day consumption rate for this kind of gain. Sure, the beer was good. But I know for a fact I wasn’t drinking forty-three bottles of it a day.

I stepped off the scale feeling sick. It was failure. It was embarrassment. It was awful. I vowed to not wait until Monday to resume the diet. This was too much. Check out the chart:

But then I thought back to my plan. “If I show up here on January 5, 2009 and Iā€™m still 207, it’ll be a Christmas Miracle.” Okay, so I hit 210.5. That’s only up 3.5 pounds. In fact, on weigh-in day I was back down to 209.5, for a gain of just 2.5.

The Big Picture

So I thought back on the entire program. This isn’t a gain of 7.0, or 2.5. It’s a loss, for Pete’s sake. So what if it was a smaller loss than last week? The Big Picture shows it’s unconditionally a loss. The evidence is incontrovertible:

It’s even better when I compare this 65 day period to the exact same calendar period in 2007:

And it’s TONS better than 2006, which is quite typical of nearly all the years between 1990 and then:

Day 161
Starting Weight 224.0
Current Weight 209.5
Change from Last Week +6.0
Lost So Far 14.5
Pounds To Go 10.5

So who cares! I haven’t started a January this low in five years. (And even back then it was going up and not down.) So I’m filing this The Season under “S” for “success.” Right in front of all the prior years filed under “S” for “sucked.” I’ll meet you back here in one week and we’ll see where things really are.

16 Responses to “The Season in Review”

Ms Turtle said
January 5, 2009 at 5:45 am

Putting those graphs side-by-side (or on top of each other, or whatever you call it) really brings the point home! The overall trend is DOWN, despite the mini-trend of up that occurs regularly during the holidays.

I think I’m going to get out my graph paper ASAP! What a great tool :).

Tom Rooney said
January 5, 2009 at 6:01 am

“Losing weight is just like life with all its ups and downs.” As a matter of fact it is life with holiday parties, times of stress, calls from individuals you haven’t talked to in years, pizzas, beers, mortgage payments, doctor visits, etc. and this is trying to eat an exercise in a regular way. Charlie, you’re starting out great. You know that there is some work to do and recognizing your goals is the first place to start. Happy start to your new year.

Helen said
January 5, 2009 at 7:35 am

Funny telling as usual Charlie. You do know that some of that is definitely sodium from the Chinese/pizza and slowed metabolism from the alcohol, don’t you? I love how you’ve kept those charts – they are motivating!

Meg said
January 5, 2009 at 8:42 am

I give you a big super “S” for Success. I think you did an awesome job. Love all the charts and analysis!

ThickChick said
January 5, 2009 at 9:01 am

OMG, you’re a hoot. Thanks for stopping by my blog today!! Will keep tabs on you throughout your journey to ONEderland.


Tammy said
January 5, 2009 at 9:24 am

I am so glad that I have found somebody who is just as anal as I am about tracking their weight.

It IS a loss. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, 5 lbs one way or the other isn’t that big of a deal, as long as the trend continues in the right direction.

Crabby McSlacker said
January 5, 2009 at 9:49 am

I’m too lazy to track calories and make graphs anymore, but there’s something about taking the longer view that really helps when it comes to the sucky periods. Makes it much less demoralizing.

If it’s any consolation, visiting various weight loss blogs, it seems there is a LOT of “whoops” going around this post-holiday week–for those brave enough to even post.

Quix said
January 5, 2009 at 11:29 am

I bet you have a HUGE loss next week just by getting back to eating and exercising normally (whatever that means for you). I gained FIVE lbs when I went on a 5 day cruise and splurged a bunch, but lost them within the next week without really trying.

Kyddryn said
January 5, 2009 at 11:42 am

I have a very simple goal – over five years, I want to lose one-hundred pounds. That averages twenty pounds a year, a reasonable goal.

I told myself, quite sternly, that if I didn’t at least lose a reasonable chunk of the fifty-acre ass in five years, I was going to have some kind of weight-loss surgery – anathema for me…not for anyone else, I don’t have any judgement about others having the surgery, but I figure I didn’t get fat surgically, so I don’t want to get fit that way. Also, with my luck I’d have every complication in the book and invent a few new ones for sport.

In ’08 (year one) I got rid of twenty-three pounds (it would have been twenty-five, but I finally succumbed to the traditional family holiday Lindt Ball orgy)(groan). I’m hoping to do better this year.

Congrats to you, sir, on the downward trend! Keep up the good work – it’s heartening to read about someone going about weight-loss in a reasonable fashion, and wonderful to know that you don’t hide the ups and downs of it all.

Shade and Sweetwater,

Biz said
January 5, 2009 at 12:19 pm

I totally think its a success Charlie! I hadn’t weighed myself in six weeks, but bit the bullet – I only gained 4 pounds.

This time I think I am just going to take it ONE day at a time. And then be bikini ready by June! šŸ˜€

runjess said
January 5, 2009 at 1:00 pm

It’s just bloating from the Chinese food!

Tuscanystone said
January 5, 2009 at 2:06 pm

I agree, it’s water retention from sodium and alcohol. Next week will be a better gauge, me thinks!

I’m waiting till next week to weigh anyhow!! hehe!!

Tusc šŸ˜‰

LisaNewton said
January 5, 2009 at 4:13 pm

You’re doing great. As Crabby said the holidays have been hard on a lot of people. Starting off lower than you have in 5 years is a plus.

Just think how low it will be next year at this time…………….:)

Anne (happy fun pants) said
January 5, 2009 at 9:12 pm


First of all, when I grow up I want to be just like you. You know, funny and sporting a beard.

But also, I want to be able to track my loss over three years and see that what I’m doing is making changes for life – and really FOR my life.

Keep at it. You’re doing great.

But also? Was 7 pounds good? The movie, not your water weight…

Katrina said
January 6, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Don’t get discouraged. Weight gain can be from water, have you eaten a lot of salty food lately? Period, that always kills me, I don’t weigh myself that week!

And I think it is fabulous you have been on track for more than a year. It is freaking amazing! Go you!

Charlie said
January 6, 2009 at 8:18 pm

For Katrina and the others that have suggested the salt thing: yes, I have gone way overboard on the salt. That’s one thing I’m going to try to get some real control over soon!