Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Knots, rings, points

Here is a tip that I think I saw on LifeHacker that is now saving me at least an hour of time a day.  I listen to my iPod a lot at work, and I also use the “go ahead and hate me for having an iPod” white headphones when I am writing in the morning on my laptop.  I went a long time hating earbud headphones, and always liked those vertical in-ear things that Sony championed, but they became harder to find and fell apart more often and I eventually gave up and started using the white ones because I have 79 pairs of them sitting around the house.

Anyway, I always have to take off and put back on the headphones constantly, and when I do, I can never tell which one is left and right without spending 17 seconds looking for the little L or R.  So here’s the trick: tie a knot in the right cord, right up by the earbud.  Then you always know which one is the right side.  And that saves me 17 seconds times the 200 or 300 times I have to take them on and off every day.

I went to get my wedding ring resized the other day.  I realized it has been two years since I started the weight loss journey, two years since I ate at McDonald’s on a daily basis and consumed a regular Coke per hour.   I’ve been at my goal weight, more or less, for a year and a half, and my wedding ring was way too big.  I bought some crap online that looks like caulk that you put inside a ring to keep it from slipping, and that sort of kept it on my finger, but I needed it permanently fixed.  But there’s a fear there, that I will pay to get it done and then immediately fall off the wagon and gain 50 pounds.  As everyone has told me, maybe getting it resized will then force me to stay on track.  And maybe if I buy a treadmill, it won’t become a thousand-dollar place for me to hang my clothes and stack my half-read magazines after like three days of using it, right?

Our rings have some kind of manufacturer’s guarantee that they will resize them for free for their lifetime, but I would have to go back to the place in New York where I bought them, or maybe FedEx them back, and that seemed like too much of a hassle, so I finally just broke down and went to a store in the Stanford mall on my lunch break and dropped it off there and paid them to resize it.

(Side note, I was driving to that mail and had a horrible sense of deja vu as I sat on El Camino or whatever that main drag is with all of the palm trees.  Then I realized that I drove down that strip in 1996 when I was in the Bay Area for the first time and wanted to see the Stanford campus late at night.)

My ring size went from an 8 3/4 to a 7 1/2.  The Asian lady that helped me was astounded that I lost so much weight and kept asking me questions, like “did you have the surgery, the thing where they suck it out?” and could not believe that I just stopped eating shitty food and got off my ass.  I’m still surprised when people interrogate me about this and wonder how a person could lose 60 pounds without going on some crazy Oprah-endorsed diet where you only eat food with two or less vowels in their name on odd days or whatever else.  I mean, one one hand, it’s simple math. Your body needs X calories to run; when you eat five Double Down sandwiches and a box of Krispy Kreme donuts and consume X * 257 calories a day, you gain weight.  So don’t do that.

In reality, I know it’s dickish for me to say that, because when I was overweight, pretty much everyone said “well just eat less and exercise” and it drove me nuts.  Because I would eat less for like two days and then freak out and eat way more, and not know why.  And a component of it is knowing what to eat or how to eat to get through the day without legitimate hunger: balancing meals with more protein and less carbs, avoiding foods that are all fat and carbs, spacing out meals, eating enough fiber, knowing what foods fill you up and what ones are just junk and make you want more.  There are a lot of little tricks and things I learned at Weight Watchers, and they vary from person to person, and it’s a learning process to figure that stuff out.

But there’s definitely a psychological factor, and there are a lot of things that kept me shoveling the food that were all in my head, and those demons are hard to defeat.  I ate a lot out of boredom.  Like, I would get frustrated that I couldn’t write (that’s another fifty posts of neurosis) and I didn’t want to just sit and watch TV and it wasn’t like I was training for the Olympics or anything, so I would eat.  And then I would feel worse, and I would try to write, and it wouldn’t work, and I would get just one more handful of potato chips.  And I have some truly addictive traits, and I know I am addicted to sugar.  There are some foods, some candies that I cannot eat just a small amount of.  Like I can’t buy a one pound bag of Reeses Pieces and eat just 16 of them and leave the rest for next week.  There’s something addictive about the sugar at a base level, and this whole tactile thing about the crunch of the candy, the way it feels when you chew it, that when I eat just a few, I immediately think about eating more, and I cannot stop.  The advent of the 100-calorie pack and the small serving, as opposed to the jumbo serving value pack, that helped me.  But when I go to a movie, unless I remember to sneak in the 100-calorie pack of something to eat, I will go for that giant $16, two-pound bag of Skittles, because they don’t sell the small size.  And that’s problematic, and saying “just eat less” doesn’t solve it.

My target weight was 175, but I pushed myself down to 170 before I officially said I was at goal weight and began the month of maintenance before they actually declared me at goal.  And I kept losing after that, and I think my lowest weight was at like 163, but I stabilized around 167 by the time we got to SF in 2008.  And now I am hovering right at 170, and for safety’s sake, I wouldn’t mind being a hair below that.  I’m at a new job with few lunch options and a Taco Bell dangerously close by, so I feel a need to really revamp things.  I have not been going to meetings in over a year now, and have not been counting points, and I wonder if I should start again.  Maybe.

I don’t have my ring on, and it’s really weird to not have it.  I keep feeling to see if it’s there and have a minor freakout after I wash my hands, thinking I lost it in the sink.  I get it back Monday, but it is weird to not have it all weekend.