Monday, August 01, 2005

out of mouth, out of mind



Monday is my weekly weigh-in day, and I'm sure all of you have spent most of the day hitting "Refresh" again and again as you wait for the update. To end the suspense: the losing streak continues. Through 10 weeks, I'm down 27 pounds. Rarely in my life does something go better than expected, especially something so contingent on my own actions.

Sometime during the Great Weight Gain of 2003, I became sufficiently corpulent that I had grown beyond the most generous hole on the belt I wear most days. So I bought a new one. Now, I'm off the smallest hole of that belt. I looked around for my old belt in vain. And then I realized it was in the Box Of Resignation in which I had packed a bunch of clothes that no longer fit. And, lo, they fit now, so it's like a world of new-but-familiar wardrobe choices awaits. So, now: do I box up the larger clothes that I've shrunk out of, or do I show some confidence and get rid of them?

Anyway, following a theme from comments on yesterday's post, I wouldn't claim to have learned much about the craft of weight loss from the experience of this downward journey. However, there is one not-necessarily-obvious thing about this diet that I do think I have done right. And that is: I've tried to be militant about avoiding having "just a taste" or "low-calorie" versions of the foods that I know are the most problematic for me. Namely, before all this started, I would have enormous cravings for (milk) chocolate. I don't know if I felt like I had to have something chocolate every day, like some friends I could mention, but chocolate certainly found its way into my gullet with high regularity. Back when this diet started and I was full of abstemious resolve, I kept myself away from chocolate. And, now, when my resolve is not nearly as strong as it was, I don't actually miss it. Meanwhile, if I had been messing around with those fat-free chocolate snacks, I suspect it quite likely I would have graduated up to full-blown-full-fat chocolate consumption by now. I've never believed the saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I'm even more sure it doesn't apply to the stomach. Absence makes you forget.

Quick postscript on chocolate and fatness: It wasn't until graduate school that I learned there were all these dog owners out there who believed adamantly that you shouldn't give chocolate to a dog. I mean, I have friends who react as strongly when they see their dog about to snag a morsel of chocolate as you might expect a new parent to react if they saw their toddler about to snag a morsel of rat poison. I don't know the evidence from veternary science, so I'm not saying these friends are wrong in being so mightily concerned. But: back on the farm we had a dachschund that was the victim of my mother's pathological need to feed. From whenever it was, early on, that my mother figured out that it liked chocolate, that dachschund had chocolate every day of its life. "And she loved it!" my mother would chime in here. It was, by a ways actually, the fattest dachschund I have ever seen. The weight problem caused some serious issues for its doggie quality of life when it got old. If the chocolate ever caused any problems for that dog beyond helping it toward being so fat, I never saw it. 'Cause it did get old, dying at an age certainly in line with the average for its breed.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

JF: I am quite happy that you are maintainting your diet. However, I do need to remind you that weight is not the most important benefit. Health is. You can be as thin as a rail and be less healthy. You also need to remember that genetics has an important role to play in what your body turns into.

What the hell? I'd go to the local ice cream store and and have a large chocolate marshmallow banana malt!

jeremy said...

Anon 7:50pm: I appreciate your concern, but my nutrition is SO MUCH better now than it was before I embarked on this diet. Meanwhile, I wasn't sure what you were trying to say w/r/t genetics.

Rhymes With Scrabble said...

It's the caffeine in chocolate that's dangerous for dogs, I believe, and I'm a bit surprised that your mother's dog didn't have any problems--maybe she was giving it sufficiently small amounts at a time.

I myself have a Box of Resignation on the top shelf of my closet--I don't think I'm ready to open it yet, but on the other hand, I did wear a pair of pants today that hasn't fit me in over a year. I have similar issues about what to do with all my now ridiculously large pants (I was trying a pair on yesterday and realized that not only would belting it be pointless if even possible, but that I could pull the waistband out far enough that I could practically look down a pant leg to the floor).

I was a little disappointed today because I lost 2.2 pounds to last week's 3.5, but I realize that a) WW doesn't even want me to be losing more than 2 pounds a week (you rebel), and b) I only got to do cardio twice last week what with conference presentations and the frantic studying. So I think this demonstrates pretty well the importance of maintaining my exercise regime together with the diet--which I'm following in a similar manner, I think; I have almost completely eliminated my great love, cheese, because it's easier than trying to eat low-fat cheese that still costs way more points than I want to spend.

Anyway, congratulations on the continued loss (and the continued performance as a weight loss inspiration).

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the weight loss! That is such an accomplishment -- and an inspiration to the rest of us. Get rid of the fat pants; that will give you closure, since the fat's never coming back! If that sounds too ambitious, consider this: having tenure means you're able, nay, *entitled* to buy new pants whenever you need to. Alternatively, don't buy new ones even if you need them -- you can yell from the window of a top floor of a building (a la David Letterman), "I'm Jeremy Freese, and I'm not wearing pants!"

Corrie said...

In terms of what to do with your fat clothes: members of my family who lose weight like to torment me by offering me their fat clothes and then saying "oh - sorry - I guess they're too small for you". I'm hoping they get some really satisfying schadenfreude out of this, because it makes me feel like poo. Anyway, the point of me telling you this was not to wallow in self-pity but to suggest that you could box them up and give them to somebody fatter than you and make them feel bad, if there was someone you wanted to make feel bad.

A+ said...

Corrie, nooooooo!

That's just awful. As a person too fat for many people's clothes, I can say that there aren't many people who I want to feel that bad.

Anonymous said...

"Out of sight, out of mind?" I talk to my old high school friend at least once or twice a week. My friend here thinks nonstop about her children who live far away, always scheming about how they can see each other. Out of sight out of mind -- must be a male thing.

Anonymous said...

I can honestly say that when my mom started losing weight, she would give me her clothes. I was always thrilled as, a.) she has good taste, and b.) she buys expensive clothes that I would never let myself buy. Now, she gives me jeans that are too long, or are too small in the waist for her, as I have gradually caught up in weight loss, and have a different body shape than her.

I think sometimes, too, that others may see us as being smaller than we think we are. That may lead to some well-intentioned soul giving us clothes they think will fit which end up too small.

But then there are the a$$-hats who do it on purpose (a sister of mine did this to me)... This is why I give everything I can no longer wear to goodwill. It's out of my house. This means, since I am fairly frugal, I will not have the "luxury" of gaining that weight back, as that would mean I have to buy new clothes. It's all psychological.

Beside, Jeremy, do you really want to move another box?
-jnsys

dorotha said...

just wear clothes that don't fit properly. that's what i do. i don't think i have ever owned a pair of pants that wasn't at least slightly too big or too small.

i mean, if you can't find the right belt, there's always rope and safety pins. you could fashion yourself some nice suspenders all DIY-style, you hipster!

Anonymous said...

I vote to get rid of the clothes, but keep a box of retired shirts you deem deserving of most-favored-shirt status. ~jlp

nina said...

You're downsizing in all ways. Get rid of old clothes! People keep way too much clutter. If you stick with the policy of not tossing things you may one day use, next thing you know you'll wind up shelves packed with plastic containers and boxes of old shampoo bottles under your bed. Toss it all out and move on! Just the old friends in distant places -- they should stay.

Anonymous said...

Too bad you're not in Cambridge right now. So many charities to give clothes to — and, alas, people who need them. You are leaving the land of milk and honey.

Anonymous said...

Wisconsin and Massachusetts are pretty close on poverty rates, and both are below the national average:
http://www.nemw.org/poverty.htm

Anonymous said...

Think individuals (averages!). If there are any needy, donate the clothes (and take your tax deduction while you're at it — win/win).

jeremy said...

RWS: Congratulations! You are doing wonderfully! And, of course, I presume you are kicking ethnomethodological ass and taking conversation analytic names on your prelim today.

Anon 10:10: The comparison of Wisconsin and Massachusetts poverty rates is a little misleading because, while Madison certainly has poverty, there are many more poor people living within 25 miles of Cambridge than 25 miles of Madison.

Anon 11:15: As for the tax deduction point, I don't itemize, or at least haven't yet. (I'm not a homeowner and the vast majority of my occupational expenses have been subject to reimbursement of one form or another, so the standard deduction looks pretty good for somebody in my position.)

Anonymous said...

Donate your clothes. Get new one's at Filene's Basement (or good used stuff at Keezer's). Feel good.

Anonymous said...

Filene's is closing down, so get there soon or not at all...

Anonymous said...

Attention Anon 8:08 PM:
Filene's WILL be a Macy's soon. B U T Filene's Basement is not connected with Filene's (hasn't been for some years). It will remain. So you can all come and still join in the bargain hunting.

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected. It appears that Filene's Basement is separate and will remain. Good news -- the Basement's the only interesting and useful part of that Filene's/Macy's area, in my view.