Why was this ever so hard?

I’ve been counting calorie for 20 days now, and I really have no idea why I didn’t just do this before. I made losing weight so much harder on myself than it had to be.

First, a disclaimer. I wouldn’t be writing this right now if it weren’t for one southern wizard, and if I don’t give him his due credit he will be simply insufferable. He told me about counting calories weeks or months before my stubborn self finally accepted it. I owe this beginning success to him.

I have always struggled with losing weight, with dieting. Denying myself the foods I love: pasta, ice cream, candy, cake, chocolate, has always been the hard part for me. I am addicted to food, and I can hardly watch my favorite shows without having something to snack on. I never considered that yes, I could eat popcorn, and yes, I could eat pasta, and still lose weight. What I firmly believed was that I had to eat celery, salad, rice, fish, beans, and basically nothing else. I had resigned myself to only consuming the most tasteless organic health food I could find. I tried to convince myself to accept never being able to eat macaroni and cheese or chocolate ice cream ever again.

I also convinced myself that I would never lose weight if I didn’t work out 30-60 minutes every single day. So naturally, when I failed to maintain that kind of exercise regime I would trip into a pit of self-hate and despair at my weakness.

Meanwhile, one smug bastard known colloquially as Alabama Gandalf, continued to remind me of his own mentor’s success at calorie counting. He described to me how she would eat Reeses Peanut Butter Cups for breakfast, and she had lost over 160 pounds (having started very near the same weight I am now). She and her husband didn’t exercise at all really until they had lost a fair amount of weight and began hiking.

So here it was, in front of my face, the proof in the pudding, that you can eat foods you enjoy, not exercise, and still lose weight. And yet I wouldn’t believe it. I stubbornly refused. I continued to torture myself with various fad diets.

And then it came to pass that my father told me of a guy he worked with who lost 100 pounds by eating kale soup for every meal. So I cooked up a batch of kale soup and I went about a week eating nothing but that, shitting green sludge, and feeling awful, before I finally asked myself “wtf am I doing?”

Around the same time that asshole wizard showed me a picture of a pizza he was eating for dinner. A whole pizza. Not a personal sized pizza, not a little toaster-oven sized 2-bite pizza. A legit pizza, for 810 calories, that he was eating for dinner. It made me a little angry actually. He was eating pizza and losing weight and I couldn’t even manage to choke down any more kale soup.

It was a breaking point for me. And for the past 20 days I have been counting calories. I started at 312 pounds (though I started logging my weight in the Myfitnesspal app at 308 pounds) and as of this morning I am 301.6 pounds. I’ve lost about 11 pounds in less than a month of calorie counting.

And I’ve got over once or twice. I went over last night. I went over the day last week that I was having a really really bad day and got 2 Reeces from the vending machine. It’s made me feel that the occasional failure is okay, that it doesn’t mean I am starting over, that it doesn’t mean I have failed.  I’ve eaten pizza, pasta, hot dogs, ice cream, candy, hot cocoa, jell-o, bread, sugary cereal, all while still losing weight.

But it’s made me think. I stood in the grocery store for several minutes staring at the nutrition label on a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. It says Calories: 260 (in box) but what some people don’t notice is the column right next to that that says 410 calories (prep) and also that there is 3 servings in a box.

Now I don’t know about anyone else, but I can eat an entire box. If I tried to just eat a 3rd… I’d go insane. But if I eat that entire box, thats 410 x 3 = 1,230 calories. That is almost my entire day’s worth of calories. So I could eat that entire box, but I wouldn’t be eating anything else all day.  So it really makes you think, it makes you choose better foods. Instead I got regular pasta and some tomato based sauce to put on it. I also got whole wheat tortillas and stuff to make quesadillas. I stand and look at the vending machine and see one snickers bar is like 230 calories and tell myself “I could eat that one snickers and not be satisfied for very long, or I could have an entire pint of Halo Top ice cream tonight for the same amount of calories…”

I haven’t gotten anything from the vending machine in these past 20 days except for that one bad day. But I recorded those into my app and it made me eat just a bit less later in the day. I still went over, but not as much as I would have if I hadn’t been keeping track.

It’s easy. It’s, dare I say, even a little fun, and it’s working.


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