The Wrong Direction

I wonder if my ex-girlfriend remembers her 25th birthday? Driving back from a nice dinner nine years ago, I drove over the L.I.E. and made a right turn onto the service road, against the flow of traffic. I realized my mistake instantly and pulled off a three lane u-turn that avoided any head-on collisions and left us safely on the grass as passing motorists beeped and swore. Certainly, my college friends never let me live down the night I drove back from Rockaway Beach and realized after I crossed a bridge that I'd been on the wrong side of the road. “I'm drunk and I know you're going the wrong way!” chortled one of my friends from the back seat. Thankfully it was around 3 AM and there were absolutely no other cars on the road. I suppose if there were other cars I might not have made that mistake, but driving in unfamiliar territory still isn't much of an excuse for a sober designated driver.

Life has its shades of gray, but there are plenty of times when it is clear that there is a right way and a wrong way to go. When I was training for a race this past Summer, I was ecstatic about dropping close to thirty pounds. I didn't go on a strict diet, but I did cut out any extraneous side dishes and snacks. I didn't need a bag of chips with every sandwich, and I certainly didn't need to stop for ice cream after lunch or a Frappuccino. I didn't expect my “diet” to last beyond the race, but in setting a short term achievable goal I did get below 200 pounds and felt great.

In college, one of my friends deemed me the “snackin'-est m****f****a” after catching me raiding the refrigerator for string cheese in the middle of the night on a camping trip. I have a hard time with self-control when it comes to snacks, and inevitably in the months since the race I have had Frappuccinos, have enjoyed ice cream, and have purchased chips along with my sandwiches. Even worse, for some reason, it seems like my mom starts buying ice cream every Autumn as well. I suspect it doesn't cost as much as it does during the Summer, and she will often buy something solely because it's on sale and she's saving money. I've never understood that logic since she could save more by not buying anything at all. So now temptation is as close as my freezer, and while I resisted the first half-gallon of vanilla, when she picked up cookies & cream I nearly finished it in four nights.

I started weighing myself every day back in July. I've read that it's not always a good practice since we fluctuate during the week, but I think the advice is psychological. As long as I stay within the same range of two or three pounds, I'm glad to be maintaining my weight. In the Summer, the loss was gradual, only 2-3 pounds a week, but the results were noticeable when I looked back at where I was. It's natural as Winter approaches to instinctively gain weight, but it's something to keep an eye on. Yesterday was particularly bad. First, my company offered free bagels and other breakfast treats as part of a morning presentation from potential stock photographers. Then, I enjoyed donuts and Twinkies people had brought in for my birthday. At lunch, I overdid things at an Italian restaurant. I always fill up on the awesome bread appetizers, so finishing the sausage parmesan would have been challenging had I not gotten a side of french fries as well. I don't know why I ordered fries; I simply noticed them on the menu and, as my mom always says, my eyes are bigger than my stomach. If I'm not careful though, they'll be neck and neck.

I felt like curling up and hibernating for the Winter. I was going to skip the gym, but I knew I had to use the bike at the very least. The gym is normally empty by the time I get down there, but there were a few girls so I was embarrassed to just be a lazy blob on a stationary bike. it was good motivation to force me to run on the treadmill, as disgusting as I felt, but three miles later I felt a little better. What was waiting for me when I got home? My mom made ravioli and more sausage. There was no escaping food yesterday, and the scale showed I was indeed heading in the wrong direction once more, edging closer to 200 though I was still below that dreaded mark.

The holiday season is a challenge for anyone. Today's my actual birthday, but the gluttony began a day early. Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner as well. There is no escape. With the colder weather, I'm going on fewer photo expeditions and my musical gigs are finished until March. Weight gain is inevitable. I don't even have the excuse of gaining weight for my Halloween role anymore. I feel the health benefits of running every day, and I don't get as many colds as I used to before I exercised and took vitamins regularly. I was sick once all year, and it was a minor inconvenience compared to some of the horrific sore throats, aches, and fevers that once plagued me. I'm heading in the right direction in that regard at least. Now all I need to do is figure out how to turn things around on the scale. Does anyone know a way for me to snack as much as I want and still lose weight? I guess it doesn't work that way...


Blogger SwanShadow said...

Happy birthday, MCF!

May you have yet many years of remaining both M and C, and enjoy much success at maintaining your F.

11/04/2006 2:02 PM  
Blogger Kev said...

Happy Birthday!!

You can snack all you want and still lose weight as long as the only snacks you have are celery and water!


--Kev, the guy who gains ten pounds after his doctor says to start losing... Sheesh!

11/04/2006 3:56 PM  
Blogger Lyndon said...

Happy Birthday MCF!!

I don't really think there is a way to snack and still lose weight :-(

It's one or the other. But if you have to snack, try to do it during the day when your active.

11/04/2006 7:14 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Happy Birthday MCF!!

11/04/2006 9:05 PM  
Blogger b13 said...

Hootia.... I keep hearing the commercials.

11/04/2006 10:29 PM  
Blogger TheWriteJerry said...

I gain weight whenever I just think of food...


I really have to get some willpower when it comes to eating.

But take heart - buddy - you just got older and you're still younger than me and you just had a snack and you're still thinner than me.

Use me as a benchmark and you'll feel great about yourself!

Happy birthday!

11/04/2006 10:42 PM  
Blogger MCF said...

Jerry, you've got a wife and 1.625 kids, so feel free to use me as a benchmark if you ever feel bad about being old and heavy. ;-)

B13, is that with or without the Blowfish?

Thanks for all the b-day wishes, everyone! You all rock!

11/05/2006 12:04 PM  
Blogger Darrell said...

Happy Birthday... and thanks for the links that defined Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'd noticed those words on the calendar and I'd wondered what they were. ;)

11/05/2006 7:03 PM  
Blogger Janet said...


I know it sounds cheesy, but there are healthier snacks out there that are good...at least in my opinion. String cheese is one of them. Raw vegetables is another. Pretzels are also good. Italian ice or frozen yogurt is a good alternative if you have a sweet tooth. Of course it's easy for me to say this bc I don't typically crave the sweets. I guess it's always easier when you're not walking a mile in someone else's shoes, right?

11/05/2006 11:43 PM  

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