Phantom Dieting

If you’ve been on a weight loss program for awhile and you aren’t losing weight, you might be what I like to call, Phantom Dieting. 

Phantom Dieting is when you think you are following your program, but once you start asking yourself the right questions, you realize that maybe…eh, not so much. 

The inner dialogue goes something like this:

Me: GAH!! Why am I not losing weight? It’s been weeks since I’ve seen any real weight loss!

Inner Me: Well, are you still tracking your food everyday?

Me: Um…I tracked for half a day last Wednesday. 

Inner Me: So that would be a “no”. 

Me: Yeah. That’s a no.  

Inner Me: Are you still getting in a good sweaty workout most days?

Me: I got a little sweaty when I was putting the wet clothes from the washing machine into the dryer last night. Does that count?

Inner Me: Uh…no. 

Me: I guess I’ve been slacking on my workouts lately. So no, I haven’t been good and sweaty for several days. 

Inner Me: Are you staying away from grazing and/or nibbling on junk food? Are you filling up on fruits and vegetables and lean protein?

Me: Sh*t. 

Inner Me: Okay well, see here’s the problem – you keep telling yourself that you’re following your program, but your actions say something different. What you are doing looks like nothing like following your plan. You, my dear, are Phantom Dieting. 

Me: So I guess I need to start doing what works for me: tracking my food every day, getting sweaty most days, and staying far far away from the junk food. Basically I need to, you know, follow my plan. 

Inner Me: Good observation there, Sherlock.


By the way, this may or may not be an actual conversation that took place in my head. *ahem* 

So if your weight loss has stalled or isn’t moving in the direction you would like, you might need to have a hard conversation with yourself. Feel free to use the above as a template. I don’t mind sharing. 

Since I know I’m not terribly original or unique, I know someone else out there has done some Phantom Dieting of their own. How did you get yourself back on track or what was it that made you realize you were off the rails? 

And yes, I am tracking everything today and making sure everything I put in my mouth is beneficial to my body. Time to get things moving again. 

A call to action

I have spent the last 10 years gaining weight, dieting, bingeing, restricting, rebelling, and yelling about my weight. I have read many books, gone to meetings, met with “councilors”, listened to CDs, worked out with DVDs, perused magazine articles and surfed the net for weight loss sites until there wasn’t a shred of wax left on my board. I have learned a lot through all of this and I don’t regret anything I learned from any of it. In fact, I am glad I had all those experiences because now I have a great wealth of knowledge concerning healthy living. I have all this knowledge stored in my head and yet I keep looking for more because it is so much easier to think, talk, and write about getting healthy than it is to actually do it. Alicia over at The Grumpy Chair Dieter got me started thinking – I don’t need anymore information, I don’t need another *plan*, I don’t need one more single thing to lead me down the road of health. I don’t know EVERYTHING there is to know about the subject, but I think I know enough to get moving. What I need is to jump in feet first and just do the thing that I know to do – get healthy. I know how to start running now; I know what foods to eat, and what foods to eat in moderation. I know how much sleep I need and I know when I need to get off my duff and move. I know why I binge and I know to be kind to myself when I do go crazy on the cookies. I’ve been in this body long enough to know what it needs and what it doesn’t. I’ve finally filtered through all the crap so that I can see when some tidbit of info has merit and when it is just a bunch of hooey. I am learning to trust myself to do the right thing, learning to see that I’m not a bumbling buffoon – I am actually a smart and capable woman who is starting to get her groove on, and finds that she likes it! I think this call to action was actually answered a few days ago, but I am just now realizing that yes, this is the way to go for me. I used to think that all my past attempts were just wasted time, but I realize that no experience is wasted if we can learn from it, so I’m taking what I have learned and I’m putting wheels on it and I’m cruising! I trust myself to bring out the best in myself, and whatever that looks like, I’m sure it will be okay.


Yesterday I did another 15 minutes on the treadmill – I think I’m on a hot streak!  I really wanted to go faster and longer, but more than that, I really don’t want to go ALL OUT!! and then fizzle after a few days like I have in the past. So I forced myself to do only 15 minutes and go sorta slow.  After the treadmill, my newfound inertia led me to clean my kitchen and pick up a little around the house.  So I guess it’s true what they say, “a body in motion” and all.  I have heard that exercise gives you more energy, which to me seems kind of backward.  Exerting energy gives you more energy? Huh?  Anyway, I’m not going to question it, I’m just going to accept it for what it is.  I’m so tired of being tired all the time, so I hope working out will help.  That is the main reason I want to get fit – I need more energy.  I probably won’t get any treadmill time today but I figure all that trick or treating that I my kids will be doing tonight will give me plenty of walking time!  And speaking of Halloween, I’m strangely calm about it.  Usually I freak out about the flood of candy that spills onto my living room floor about 8 pm.  Typically I am on a diet at this time of year and have to battle the angel and devil on my shoulders – the angel telling me to be a “good girl” and not partake of the creamy milk chocolatey goodness, but then the devil usually wins out and I dive head first into my kids trick or treat bags.  This year, though, I’m not dieting and so I’m not freaking out.  I’ll probably pick the M&M’s out of my son’s bag (he doesn’t like M&M’s – he’s a freak of nature), and I’ll eat a couple and be done with it.  At least that’s what I’m hoping will happen…we’ll see.

Hobby, Passion, Obsession

This has been a hellish week.  Everyone in my family has been sick with a stomach virus and I am tired.  After being extremely nauseated for a couple of days and eating very little, I saw that I lost 4 pounds, and I thought, “wow, if I just continue to not eat, then I could lose more weight” – sick, isn’t it?  Of course I knew that it was just water weight and would come right back when my appetite came back, but still… so I ate as little as possible for the next two days and guess what?  I didn’t lose any more weight.  Two things are going here: 1) I am disturbed that I wanted to even take one step down that road of not eating to lose weight, because eating is one of the things that brings me great pleasure, and 2) my body knew better than I what it needed, and when I tried to make it do something different, it rebelled against my stupidity.  My appetite came back with a vengeance last night and I ate way too much, but now I feel like the pendulum is swinging a little more slowly today.  I am positive that I have gained back those 4 pounds, but I didn’t weigh myself today, I just didn’t want to. 

  This is the thought that has been banging around in my brain lately – “I am so sick of thinking about my weight and everything related to it.”  I think about my weight CONSTANTLY.  Every time I see myself in the mirror, every time I want to go shopping, every time I see someone I know, I think about how I need to lose weight.  Obsessing about my weight is my hobby, it’s my passion.  It’s the thing that consumes my thoughts for about 80% of the day.  Why? Why does this have to be the thing that guides me?  Why can’t I be as concerned with the real tragedies in the world, like Darfur, or AIDS, or any one of a million serious problems in the world? Why do I wrap myself up in my own petty concerns? You want to know the irony to this?  The only time I’m not thinking about my weight: when I’m eating. WTF?  When I’m eating, I’m oblivious to everything going on around me.  So what do I do about my weight obsession?  Nothing.  I don’t exercise, I don’t meditate, I don’t do anything but read more diet books.  I intend to do something, yet I can’t seem to ever do anything. WHY IS MY BRAIN FUNCTIONING LIKE THIS???  Can anyone tell me if this is normal thinking or am I really kinda crazy like I think I am?  I feel like I have covered this before in this blog, but it keeps coming up for me.  Any insight would be really appreciated because I don’t know what the hell is going on.