“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
― George Orwell
Six months ago I set out a goal for myself to write a diet book that answers a simple question: how can people lose weight and keep it off if they aren’t some superhuman freak or turn into some cultish food and exercise junkie? Is there a way to lose weight for us less-than-perfect people?
I think there is because I am one of them. Since going on Atkins a decade ago I NEVER gained back all the weight. I came within 30 pounds of it once, but ratcheted it back down. There have been a lot of false starts, a lot of failures, and a lot of good intentions that the road to Hell is typically paved with – and yet I’m still a lower weight.
This isn’t supposed to happen. ‘Good’ dieters lose weight. ‘Bad’ dieters don’t. I mess this up by being a ‘bad’ dieter who happens to have a helluva lot of fun being bad, then loses the weight with a little work, then gains it back, then loses it again. On and on with an erratic regularity.
Despite my failures, I still keep myself out of the ‘morbidly obese’ category and dance around the line between overweight and obese. Not the ideal, nor the dramatic weight loss of your typical diet advertised with some string bean standing in their XXXL pants pulling the waist out to demonstrate how much they’ve shrunk. (I HAVE done this myself – it’s fun.)
On my third rewrite of the book, I am trying to add two things I found missing from the two previous iterations:
Oh – it’s easy for me to write volumes – it is it worth anything? As I was writing, I was trying to tackle in my writing the much desired trick of drinking and losing weight. I had come to the conclusion almost 3 years ago that I (at least) couldn’t.
But sometimes it is said a conclusion is the point where you got tired of thinking. Conclusions are not always the right conclusions – so I let myself drink.
And didn’t lose weight. As I predicted – I gained. I’m not a big fan of ‘willpower’, but you need some control to lose weight – and that control goes out the window with the consumption of booze – at least for me.
So now, for example, when I explore writing on alcohol and the need to stop drinking for my book, I will be able to write about it first-hand, because I now need myself to stop a beloved habit I very much enjoy in order to lose weight. Now it won’t be an abstraction – someone else’s pain always is – but it will be real for me again.
I also talk about trying new foods – but can I walk the walk myself? To this end I’ve been cycling in new low carb friendly foods I haven’t explored in a while: shiritaki noodles and more cream cheese, for example, and cycling out other things that were perfectly acceptable and I was quite comfortable eating – Greek yogurt, for example.
If I write from a perspective of my own comfortable routines, I will lack the insight I need to write the book I want to write. It’s easy to tell other people to change, but to earn the right to do that I need to be the change I espouse to others.
And if I can’t get to my target weight of 185 following my own advice, then I had better have a damn good reason why that has a value for others.
So at this point I am starting again, being 210.4 at this morning’s weigh in. There was wine last night, and what I ate is bit of a blur. It has been a heck of a lot of fun, but I’ve got 25 pounds to lose to prove to myself that I have a book and a plan worthy of your time.
I want to write a diet book actually worth reading.