Apparently, my weight problem is a little more noticeable than I realized.
So it's last Sunday, and I'm at a restaurant with my two daughters (6 and 8-years old), my parents, my 85-year-old grandmother, two uncles and two aunts, when this friend of the family saunters up to our table, cracking jokes and shaking hands. I don't know him him, but he's best friends with one of my uncle's at the table, and I've heard his name many times.
My uncle introduces his friend to some of us around the table, and when the friend makes the connection that I'm the son of my uncle's sister, he looks at me and says, "I haven't seen you since you were their age," gesturing to my daughters. Then he glances at my parents, pivots back to me and adds, "But it looks like they've been feeding you well."
Really? And so it goes, in week 15 of "The Money Diet."
For those of who don't know by now, every week this year since January 1, I've been writing about my efforts to lose weight. My gimmick, which coincidentally has been the topic of several books, is that I've been tallying up what I'm saving by not eating junk food and fast food. My thinking was that I'd at least save money this way and hopefully lose weight at the same time. As it turns out, it's been working. I'm still eating regularly and snacking and sometimes having junk food and fast food -- but compared to what I used to do, I've curtailed the junk I eat in a big way and had lost 19.5 pounds at the time the "feeding you well" comment was made.
After my uncle's best friend, a man about 20 to 25 years older than me, remarked on my weight, I admit I was a little steamed. I tried to offer back a friendly enough smile -- I doubt seriously that he meant to insult me -- and there was so much conversation at the table, I doubt anyone else heard his comment. But it had stung anyway. I might have taken his crack as a compliment if I'd been a growing teenager, but with a mere sentence fragment, he both insulted and infantilized me. I mean, I'm 40 years old. My parents haven't been fixing meals for me since I was 18 -- well, 22, if we're going to include the summers I came home from college. My girth is my own doing.
A few seconds after my wan smile and nod, and after my uncle's friend turned to talk to someone else, I glanced down at my meal: a Diet Coke and a chicken wrap.
The wrap came with Ranch dressing, but I had asked if it could be replaced with anything lower in calories, so instead, it had honey-mustard in it. And I'd skipped the French fries. It's not like he'd come across me gorging on a plate of onion rings, cheesy fries and chocolate cake.
But apparently the first thing an almost-complete stranger could think to comment on, upon meeting me, was my weight. I won't lie. It pretty much ruined my day. Well, at least the next 10 minutes, and then I just thought about it periodically throughout the day. You'd probably think his remark might have motivated me to stick to the diet better this week, but I found myself scarfing down some uneaten Easter candy in the next day or two.
Then I stepped on the scale, fully expecting my weight to have gone up. Oddly enough, it had dropped half a pound. Now that motivated me, and for the next few days, I went back to doing what I've been doing -- not eating crap.
And, somehow this week, I've lost another pound and a half. Frankly, I'm a little stunned.
So here's where I am:
My weight when I began: 264
My weight last week: 244.5
My weight this week: 243
And here's what I figure I saved this week:
As usual, I didn't buy my favorite bags ("buy one, get one free" the sticker said) of pretzels, which I used to buy faithfully every week for years. Actual savings: $3.29
Did some grocery shopping, and while I knew I probably wasn't going to give in and buy a tub of ice cream, believe me, I seriously thought about it. Estimated savings: $5
Almost gave into temptation and bought a candy bar, but for whatever reason, stayed strong. Estimated savings: $1
Bought my daughters some ice cream at a local ice cream shoppe, after taking them to the playground. I resisted, bought nothing for myself and probably saved: $3
My total saved this week: $12.29
Total saved this year so far: $332.29
And I feel like I should say something quickly about exercising. I haven't been doing traditional exercises at the gym, which I really should do, but I went with my daughters four days in a row to a nearby park, which has a playground and a creek, where we climbed on the rocks, and they waded in the water. I guess the one nice thing about being overweight is that at this point, any exercise is probably helping me lose weight.
Geoff Williams is a frequent contributor to WalletPop. He is also the co-author of the book Living Well with Bad Credit.
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