When I first started my Eat and Run Diet back in May, I took a vow -- that I would never make myself do anything that I was not prepared to do every day for the rest of my life.
No crash diets or mountaineering expeditions for me.
"My final rule," I wrote, "is not to deny myself any food or put myself on any exercise regimen that I can't realistically sustain. The last thing I want to do is lose 40 pounds, brag about it on this blog, then land on the cover of People magazine like poor Kirstie Alley. Would I lose more weight a lot faster if I spent six hours a day at the gym and went cold turkey on carbs? Probably. Am I likely to do that every day for the rest of my life? You gotta be kidding me."
Three months since making that promise, I've found that exercise is the easy part. When I'm not in the gym running on the treadmill or working out with my trainer, I'm walking (not cabbing it) to business meetings in the city or walking three miles around Centerport Harbor near my house in Long Island. The other night, my daughter, Caroline, and I walked half an hour in the 80-degree heat from our apartment in The Village to an Italian restaurant on the Lower East Side and back home again.
I'm also eating better and more moderately -- smaller portions, fewer carbs, more fruits and vegetables. I've also been able to stay away from sugar and sweets thanks to apples, nuts, fruit bars and Splenda.
When I step on the scale in the morning, I see proof positive that I've shed 20 pounds in the last three months. At 182, I can see the 170s just over the horizon. And, thanks to the strength training I've been doing at the gym, my body is better toned than it was in college.
So, what's the problem? In a word, patience. While my goal is still to slim down to 155 (the upper range of the BMI for a 5'6" woman like me) by the end of 2010, I'd love to get to my destination a whole lot sooner. And that's why, even though I'm planning to continue the diet and exercise regimen that got me this far, it's tempting to cheat and do something radical -- just this once -- to catapult me to my goal right now.
1. A 30-day escape to Canyon Ranch. I've been to that wonderful health resort many times in the past (with and without my daughters), and I've always come back rejuvenated. I'm sure that a month of monastic seclusion with nothing but small portions of healthy food and large doses of fitness classes would melt those final 25 pounds like butter.
2. A three-week Master Cleanse. While the idea of living on nothing but water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper scares the crap out of me, I've got to admit that my friends and colleagues who've gone in for a cleanse or two look pretty good. After all, I forced myself to go on a three-week roadshow to take my company public. Could a 21-day cleanse really be much worse?
3. The New York City marathon. I've heard that marathon runners can eat all the carbs they want and still lose weight. While I struggled to run a mile around the track in high school, I've read about 70-old-year nuns who run 26 miles without breaking a sweat. What's my excuse?
Realistically, though, I can't picture myself doing any of these things. While I love Canyon Ranch, I can't abandon my kids, my boyfriend or my business for a month until I get my groove back. As for the Master Cleanse, I can barely survive a one-day fast on Yom Kippur. Three weeks of starvation? Thanks but no thanks. Running the marathon? While I can hike five miles without breaking a sweat, the truth is that those 70-year-old nuns could outrun me any day of the week.
So, despite the temptation of doing whatever it takes to get thin fast, I think I'm going to stick with the Eat and Run Diet for now. It may be slow and steady, but I feel confident that it's going to get me where I want to go and keep me there for many years to come.