diet

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For a girl who’s used to going into the dentist and walking out with nothing but a zippy new toothbrush and a pocketful of compliments on how pretty her teeth are, yesterday was rough.

I made a last minute appointment, even though I’d just had my teeth cleaned a little over a month ago, for some jaw pain. I figured it was stress-related and that I was clenching and grinding my teeth. I figured they would tell me to take some more ibuprofen, pop in a mouthguard, and send me on my way.

I did not figure they would put me on a liquid diet for a week and tell me to stick an elongated cotton ball, which, yes, looks totally like a tampon, between my front teeth a few times a day. I also did not figure they’d tell me to come back in a week, and, if I’m able to open my mouth at that point, get a retainer.

I didn’t think for a second they would tell me that temporomandibular disorders (TMD, or, as you might better know it, TMJ) could be really serious and cause me to have problems chewing my food in the future if we don’t fix it now.

We didn’t even talk about how pretty my teeth are.

So, I’ll probably be posting a bit about this at Fit Bottomed Girls later this week (like, Thursday, when my weekly column runs), but thought I’d write a little something here as well because, ummm, I’m not much of a smoothie maker, and, if I’m going to get through the next week without being a TOTAL jerk, I’m gonna need a lot of good smoothies and other liquid meals. And I really do mean liquid — even mashed potatoes are off the menu.

Suggestions? Recipes? Just want to virtually point and laugh at the girl behind the computer who’s talking like Alyssa Milano (come on, I’m not the only one who notices she doesn’t move her mouth when she talks, right?)? Have at it in the comments!

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It’s the same damn thing every time.

This summer, I was on a roll, baby. I was doing a fairly decent job of watching what I was eating, and I was tracking my calories in (using Calorie Counter on my phone). I was working out most days of the week, relying on the Insanity workouts and mixing in some running and swimming and classes at the gym. I felt fantastic. The numbers on the scale were going down, I had lots of energy, and I felt really proud. I could see the difference in my arms, in my abs, in my face. I remember thinking (the same way I think every time I start to lose weight) that I would never — NEVER — see certain numbers on the scale again. Why would I? This is clearly how I’m supposed to live.

And then, a couple of months ago, I stopped weighing myself daily. I don’t remember the exact reason why, but it’s always essentially the same thing, something along the lines of “had friends in town/went out for pizza/drank myself silly/overindulged at breakfast/went out to eat again/drank a bit of wine to unwind from the crazy weekend” and, after all that, I thought I’d give myself a couple of days to get back on track. “By Wednesday, or Thursday at the latest, I’ll have lost that weekend weight by eating right, stepping away from the chardonnay, and getting in a couple of extra workouts,” I undoubtedly told myself. But then there was pizza left in the fridge, and I was probably too lazy to cook on Monday, so I ate crappy again. “But it’s just one extra day. I can totally undo this damage,” I surely said.

And of course, I didn’t track my calories on those days, because, well, it would just be embarrassing to admit how many calories I was taking in. And besides, it was just a little bitty temporary detour. I was going to get back on track at any time. Any time. But I didn’t, so I continued not weighing myself (because, you know, if I don’t see the numbers, then they might not change!), and, when certain clothes got a little snug, I just wore different ones! Never mind the fact that my maxi dress no longer fell in a straight, fluid line from the band below my bust — if I stood just right and sucked in a little, you totally couldn’t tell. If I positioned my face in a certain way, the extra, I don’t know, faciness was completely hidden from view. Problem solved!

And then, there was the breaking point. This time, it was Thanksgiving, but in the past, it’s been birthdays, vacations, a picture in a bathing suit, etc. It became completely clear that I was on the brink of letting things get out of hand. I can tell you all day long about how I’ve never been “thin,” and how I’m big boned and have a lot of muscle, but the biggest bones and all the muscle in the world weren’t adding up to the numbers I saw when I finally stepped on the scale on Sunday. I was devastated, and furious. Furious that I let this happen and furious that I let a stupid number on a scale make such an impact on my attitude. A few (or a lot of) extra pounds doesn’t make me less of a good person, but you wouldn’t know that to talk to me right after weighing in.

So, I recommitted to eating well and working out hard. And joy of joys, the weight started melting off right away. As it always does, when I’ve been stuffing my face with cheese and booze like I’m the second coming of Henry VIII. The elation! The pride! It’s incredible! I feel so full of hope and optimism right now — will this be the time I (finally) reach my ideal weight? Will I figure out this moderation thing (because it is not a word in my vocabulary) and learn to keep that number low without feeling like I’m missing out on the fun things in life?

Or will I do the exact same thing I do every time, and work really hard to lose a few pounds, then throw it all away after a weekend of excess, and start the cycle all over and bury my concerns in pizza?

(You know, until I realize it’s time to start weighing in again.)

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Okay, you all, I’m on the wagon. Sort of. For a little while.

And it’s not going well.

For the record, I’m not going dry because I have a problem or anything. And it’s not that I’ve decided that a large glass of perfectly chilled Chardonnay is not delicious — quite the opposite. The reason is simple — I’m overweight.

And before anyone starts in with any, “Oh, but you look great!” BS, let me say this — I don’t look different. I don’t feel different. But suddenly, the number on the scale are … well, they’re numbers I’ve never seen before, and they’re numbers I don’t plan to see again. Jared has gained some weight as well (although, of course, he doesn’t look any different, and he’s already lost most of it just by thinking about it), so we’re both watching what we eat. And the eating is hard, but for some reason, this no drinking business? NOT FUN.

The thing is, before I made a grand announcement that I was on the wagon, I hadn’t had a drink in about a week. No biggie, I was just being cautious about calories and hadn’t wanted one. But seriously, the minute this wagon business spewed from my mouth, I wanted a glass of wine. Everyone on TV was pouring big, beautiful glasses of wine, or drinking big, beautiful vodka drinks. And I wanted one. But I resisted.

Well, for a couple of days.

Then, a friend called and asked if I wanted to meet her for a glass of wine at a wine bar nearby. I hadn’t seen her in a long time, so I said I would — but I kept it to just one glass. Good, right?

But then, back on the wagon I went. For a day.

Then, I went to a baby shower, and when I walked in, they handed me a mimosa. And I can’t be rude, you know, so I had a couple. Or several. Or a pitcher. Whatever.

The point of the story is this: I’m trying and it sucks and my birthday is this weekend (YAY — 25 yet again!) so I’m making a real effort to not finish up that bottle of Toasted Head in my fridge before that. I can do this. Want to get on board with me? Bring some cushions, and maybe some air freshener. This wagon is musty and uncomfortable.

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Watch out, y’all — I’m on a diet. Again.

I’m realizing something — it’s not so much the eating less on a diet that gets me (although, I went to bed last night at 10:30 because I was starting to feel munchy and I knew if I stayed up I’d want to snack). It’s the fact that, in order to stay low in calories and still feel full, I need to plan ahead a bit more. Not that raw fruits and veggies aren’t great, but when that’s most of what I’m eating, I don’t feel like I’m getting meals, you know?

Backing up — I’m on Day 4 of the Keep it Around 1000 Calories Kristen, You Fat Ass diet. It’s not because I think I’m fat, so I don’t want anyone to leave any of those, “Oooh, you’re fine! Why are you doing that?” comments. But, New York and the photoshoot are in, like, two weeks (ohmygodohmygodohmygod), and I’d like to be a fit version of me. And since a lot of my workouts are off limits due to the shoulder, I really need to cut back on my eating for the moment.

So, at the grocery store, I made major efforts to buy fruits and veggies that I would DO something with. I got lots of peppers and mixed them in with some tempeh and left the rest to mix in with the giant bag of fresh green beans I bought. I never make fresh green beans, and I don’t know why — I love them. So, that’s dinner tonight, and I’m super excited. Excited because I planned it. Gah. Not excited like I would be if we’d ordered a pizza that would be delivered in 30 minutes or less — that excitement would be a little different, I assure you.

Anyway, if you have a fabulous low-cal meal you love, I would love to hear about it. So I can go to the grocery store and plan to make it. And because I will look fabulous — don’t you worry, Internet. I will.

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So, I’ve finally acknowledged the fact that the shorts that looked so cute on me at this time last year are requiring some extra effort to button. Mostly I’d been ignoring this fact by just not wearing anything that caused such discomfort, but, it’s time to face the big, fat, ugly music.

The thing is, I know I can lose it, and I know what it takes to lose it (have you met my good friend Steamed Broccoli?). I just have to actually do it. Not just think about it, or bitch about it, or read books about it, but do it. And, I got an email from my friend Kyle the other day saying she was dieting, and I thought, “You know what? So am I. Well, so will I, because I’m not giving up on the fabulous dinner I’ve already planned, and that dessert on the counter isn’t going to eat itself. And I’ll write about it so other people jump on the bandwagon with us and keep us accountable.” That’s where you all come in.

And so, starting today, I am going to be hot and sexy. I am going to eat so many fruits and vegetables that it will make you want to puke. I will politely decline offers of ice cream without ripping my husband’s head off because he’s really just being nice and forgot that I’m not eating goddamn ice cream anymore. And I will not drink wine I will not drink too much wine I will not drink wine everyday, but when there’s a special occasion I will because it would be rude and not fun if I didn’t, and I hate to be rude or not fun.

I would like be very self righteous and tell you how I’m embarking on a new lifestyle, and how this is a life choice — never again will I succumb to the evils of cream-based soups and apple pie, but I won’t. A little part of me (probably the skinny bitch inside who’s squished to death by my big ass) truly believes I’ll make a permanent change, and I would love to believe whole-heartedly that, from this day forward, I will always reach for an apple or strawberries when I feel hungry, and I’ll no longer be tempted to chop up a pile of cheese and shove it in my mouth with a box or six of crackers. But, I know, at some point, I’m probably going to let my guard down again and start eating whatever yummy things cross my path, because I really do enjoy it.

And don’t worry, I’ll always workout hard, and I feel very confident I won’t ever let it get totally out of control, because I don’t like feeling self-conscious. I much prefer feeling really, really sexy. But, for the moment, I’m convincing myself that baby carrots are much tastier without any fat-laden dip, and that I don’t need pizza to survive. Wait, do I? Oh, God, I’m hungry. Somebody throw me a stupid apple already.

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