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Last year over Labor Day, I went to Washington to visit my sisters and to celebrate JRs 25th anniversary of her 25th birthday. My brother and I had a great time and I want to go back. (Don’t tell my sisters – it’s a surprise). It is a different life-style out there. The only person I saw smoking was my brother and I saw bikes everywhere. It inspired me to come back home and do something about my weight and lack of physical activity.

Yeah, that lasted about a week. Before long I was smoking again. I quit (again) in December. Leslie bet me a bottle of Raspberri Absolut that I couldn’t quit for six months – because I love Raspberri Absolut and she knows me very well. It worked – for seven months. Then I bought a pack of cigarettes. Because I am a glutton for punishment. The thing is, I didn’t really feel much better after I stopped smoking (again). It was hard as hell to breathe and I couldn’t handle more than 5 minutes on my exercise bike. Everyone knows that 5 minutes is not enough to make a difference, so why bother? (for new readers, insert sarcasm here)

Somewhere in my head I made the connection that since smoking has probably already killed me, I might as well smoke. Um … what? After giving smoking another chance to improve my life – I quit for the 283rd time.

I went to the doctor to get a refill of my blood pressure medication. In that conversation I mentioned that I was tired all the time – I mean severely tired as in going to bed at 7 or 7:30 for a week straight. It was also right after I got back from Cancun where I spent 4 days lying on the beach and drinking Mai Tais all day. Then we spent the evenings drinking Mai Tais. Man, that was a fun trip! Is it too late to make a long story short?

The doctor sent me to a cardiologist. He is probably a great doctor but his bedside manner sucks. He is Asian and has an accent that made it sometimes difficult to understand him, especially since he talked kind of fast and mumbled. He told me I am obese three separate times in one conversation. Yeah, I caught that particular word. Hey, doctor, I get it. I’m a smart woman. I KNOW I’M FAT. So all I could think of was Ken Jeong in The Hangover saying to me, “You too fat. Take a fuckin walk, fatty” and I nearly laughed in his face. I got a stress test and everything is cool heart-wise. He also wanted me to do a sleep study to find out if I have sleep apnea (because I had been so tired after the trip).

I don’t have sleep apnea. I don’t need a medical degree to know that. What I have is a giant fat ass. The regular doctor also put me on cholesterol medication. I stopped taking that because it gave me unpleasant side effects.

What to do? I sometimes think that doctors just make us sicker. If I’m on cholesterol meds, why eat right? If I’m taking blood pressure meds, why exercise? But the biggest underlying problem is my weight. I decided that if I can take off … um … several pounds (ahem) … then I might not have hypertension and high cholesterol because my numbers on both are borderline.

Remember when I found a (popular, advertised and very expensive) diet and lost 40 lbs but then I got stuck and so those wonderful people put me on a “Plateau breaker” that consisted of parsley (I shit you not), a grapefruit and water for 3 days? The only nice thing I will say about that diet plan (the plan, not the plateau buster – because that was not only ridiculous, it was dangerous and I quit at that point) is that it taught me that I don’t hate vegetables and that turkey burgers are actually pretty tasty.

Then MMB mentioned doing a sugar fast and committing to 30 minutes of exercise a day for 30 days. Hmm. Her sugar fast, coupled with the doctor telling me (in my head, of course) to “take a fuckin walk, fatty”, plus quitting smoking (again) all clicked together in my head and I decided to do something. I got online and started researching diets.

That’s when I found The Mayo Clinic Diet, which is less a diet and more like a lifestyle change. Basically, the plan uses a food pyramid. Fruits and veggies at the base, then carbs, then protein and dairy, then fats and way up at the top, sweets. Plus exercise, lots of exercise. The book says if you follow the pyramid, then the calories will take care of themselves. Over the last week, I’ve found that to be true. I still track my food on another diet site, but I haven’t been counting calories before I eat. I just eat what I want and try to hit 4 or more servings of vegetables, 3 or more of fruits, 4 carbs, 3 protein/dairy and 3 fat. I’m not big on sweets, so that isn’t really a problem.

The exercise has been a little slower to catch fire, but I found I can do 15 minutes on my bike if I have a good book to read. I also have a strength training dvd that I have been using as well. I will never run a marathon (who would want to??) and I doubt I would ever be able to run a 5K, but I bet if I keep going, I could probably walk a 5K – at a reasonable speed.

After just one week of no junk food, no soda, and eating my veggies, I feel so much better. I sleep better, I’m not as irritable (although I’m a Capricorn, that never really goes away) and my clothes fit better. Official weigh-in is tomorrow but I’m not worried about losing pounds because that will follow automatically if I continue to eat healthy food and move around a little more. Yay.