Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Skinny on Weight Loss and Diets

Aunt Inez and friend, 1925

Dropping a few pounds is tough, even for skinny girls.

Recently I discovered, to my dismay, that fifteen pounds found their way onto my normally thin frame. In terms of weight gain, I couldn't believe I put on over ten percent of my body weight.

Anyone who has lost a substantial amount of weight, like my BFF who has taken off nearly one hundred pounds, can tell you it is no easy task. However, I had no idea just how hard it was to shed even a few pounds of unwanted weight.

Since April of this year I've been trying a variety of ways to get rid of the baggage: cutting out sweets, ice cream and desserts; eating two rather than three meals; eliminating the sugar from my one cup of coffee in the morning. This didn't solve the issue.

So, I tried eating mostly salads. What could be better for me than a hearty, healthy diet of vegetables?

Well, I may be healthier, but I still have those extra pounds of muffin top blubber. Gasp! I haven't carried this much weight since I was in Flight Attendant Training and there was a free buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

My classmates and me right before graduation.

Three days before we were to graduate when we were called in for a weight check, the impossible numbers on the scale told me the bad news: If I didn't lose three pounds in the next two days, I would fail to complete the course.

Naturally, that was unacceptable after six weeks of intense training and studying. Besides, it had been my life's ambition to fly the friendly skies.

I literally starved myself while walking practically non-stop during every free minute during those two days. Someone suggested I take a laxative, which I did, and try spitting rather than swallowing. These methods, although crude, seemed to do the trick and I barely squeezed past the guidelines of weight restrictions.

These four decades later, I discovered the real key to taking off a couple of pounds. If you've struggled with this at all, you know that those last few pounds are the toughest to lose.

I began scrutinizing every little thing that passed between my lips, from a glass of juice, to a fast-food meal. Everything has more calories than you can imagine. I reduced my caloric intake in the most obvious ways:
  • Eating only from a plate
  • Carefully measuring the portions
  • Limiting condiments
  • Drinking lots of water
  • Writing down everything I ate
I was shocked to find out that the Ranch dressing that I loved to glop on my healthy salad had one hundred and thirty calories per two tablespoons! (130 calories per two TBSP). That may not seem like a lot unless you drown your salad in it like I do.
The beauty of a salad is the low caloric count on the greens. Looking at the bag of prepared Iceberg salad mix, I discovered that one and a half cups of greens were only about fifteen calories! (1.5 cups of lettuce mix equals 15 calories). A huge salad of three cups was only thirty calories until I added half a cup of Ranch dressing which added about six hundred calories.

With 6 TBSP of low fat ranch dressing 240 calories plus salad (without ham) 30 calories.

My solution was switching to Fat Free Italian dressing which is only fifteen calories per two tablespoons. (15 calories per 2 TBSP) and cutting out all the added olives, ham, turkey, boiled eggs and extras I was putting on it. "I only had a SALAD!" I used to say...Slowly, over the past two weeks I've taken off two, then three, now five pounds. HOORAY!

With 6 TBSP of fat free Italian dressing 45 calories plus salad 30 calories.


  1. I have been trying to lose about 10 pounds. I have been eating salads too, but I can't leave off the ranch dressing, although I don't drown it like I used to. I also leave out the bacon bits, boiled eggs and olives. I am also eating smaller portions and getting more exercise. I flunked out last night! The Chinese buffet was just too much for me!

  2. Oh, Sheila, I just came back from vacation and put those five pounds back on while I was away. So far, two have dropped but it's back to salads again...Look at the calories on the Ranch dressing. It's sad that it tastes so good.

  3. Don't laugh. (Ok, you can laugh) Doctor's orders were for me to lose 10 pounds. I thought nothing to it. But as of this writing all 10 of those pounds are still with me, and that was six months ago (maybe more). I did all the things you mention, cutting out as much sugar as possible, etc. I hate to go read the Dressing container.

    Off for dessert. :) And good luck to you.

    1. I'm laughing with you, Mike. When I got on the scale for a routine physical I couldn't believe the number. I'm surprised it didn't say, "One person at a time, please." I'm working on taking off the last of the vacation splurge after having eating an entire Key Lime Pie during the week. Arggh. The pain.
      It's tough to lose even a few pounds. I know you are doing what you can to follow the doctor's orders. (ha ha ha)

  4. Thanks for being so honestly humorous about this universal issue.
    I am substituting a green smoothie for lunch~ I'm feeling better and have shed a couple pounds.
    The salad dressing info is a great reminder to check those labels.
    Proud of you~ Hugs, Maria

    1. Hey there, Maria. Green smoothie sounds delicious! Shedding those few unwanted pounds really does feel great! Proud of you for your discipline. I put the weight back on during vacation and am now struggling to drop it off. :(