I remember reading years ago that Jennifer Aniston had Zone meals delivered to her door … unlike the rest of us, who had to buy the book, then mash our own garbanzo beans to spoon into our yolkless hard boiled eggs every time we wanted a snack. Remember that diet? Every meal had to be 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat. You had to be an idiot savant in math to pack a lunch.
And let’s get real about the celebrities who who talk up the famous diets on TV. They make millions off these endorsements and are paid handsomely for every pound they lose. They’re able to monetize getting fat and losing weight. taking home anywhere between $500,000 and $3 million for their efforts.
According to Jo Piazza, author of Celebrity Inc.: How Famous People Make Money, on an average, celeb diet endorsers make roughly $33,000 a pound, and some make a lot more than that. Jessica Simpson’s deal with Weight Watchers was reportedly worth $3 million. If she had to lose 50 pounds, that’s $60,000 a pound. If she had to lose 30, that’s $100,000 a pound. I’d venture to guess even the Guinness Book of World Records guy who had to be buried in a piano box might have cut carbs with an incentive like that.
So while I acknowledge that even celebrities struggle with their size, I think the average consumer is much more inspired when one of their own wins the battle of the bulge … for free. That’s why I contacted Jenny Craig a month ago, to see if they might be willing to help an overweight blogger.
I decided to take a humorous approach to getting Jenny’s attention. I topped off my cover letter with a top 10 list:
10 Reasons Why Her Royal Thighness Needs to Partner With Jenny Craig
You know it’s time to diet, when you bust a hole in your Spanx.
Even the best shaper cannot change Thighness’s Law: What goes in one place must come out somewhere else. What good is the torso of a Victoria’s Secret “angel” if you have so much fat re-routed, you have boobs on your back?
With 235 pounds of pressure on my feet, they’ve become Flintstonian. Just try to find shoes wide enough to fit ― that aren’t scuba diving flippers.
Nothing says sexy like going to bed in lingerie and a CPAP mask.
I’m tired of shopping in stores that lump my size in with maternity.
I’d like an outfit made of cotton, silk, or any other fabric that won’t melt to my skin in a flash fire.
I turn a lot in my sleep … like a rotisserie chicken. I wake up several times a night because I’m strangling myself in my CPAP tubing. My life-saving apparatus is killing me.
When you’re middle-aged and fat in Florida, you already sweat like Pavarotti hitting a high note. How am I going to know when I’m going through “the change?” It already feels like I’m wearing a parka.
I’m a disappointment to the opposite sex. It appears that I have DD knockers, but when I take off my bra, it’s apparent that all I have is underarm fat that’s been tucked into my underwire.
At 51, nobody asks me when I’m due anymore. The secret’s out: I’m fat.
My letter then went on to tell my heartfelt story of why I need Jenny’s help desperately. More of that in another blog. What could I give back? Well, in just a year I’ve cultivated between 7,000 to 8,000 page views a month on my site, and I only blog once a week. Those numbers will increase if I blog more, and I’d commit to not only writing my weekly humor blog, but additional blogs once or twice a week about my lifestyle change. I’d Google. I’d Pinterest. I’d Tweet. I am what is known in the marketing world as an evangelist. If I love your product, I will tell anyone and everyone about it … unsolicited, for free!
I told Jenny that, according to Google Analytics, I have an audience of mostly women, 35 and up, and based on comments on my blog and Facebook, most of them are looking to make positive changes in their lives, too. Some are navigating motherhood, while others are discovering new dreams and dusting off old ones in the wake of children growing up and moving out. My readers clearly embrace imperfection. They’re old enough to laugh at themselves and situations that once made them cry.
I told Jenny I desperately need help. It’s more than not feeling comfortable in my own skin … feeling like there’s something on me that I can’t get off. I have honestly never felt worse in my entire life. Here’s my laundry list:
- I have sleep apnea and my sleep study showed that I wake up well over 150 times a night. And I’m afraid of dying in my sleep, which happens with people with this condition.
- I have PCOD (polycystic ovarian disease), which already is linked to a high risk for diabetes. I am playing roulette with my life.
- Fat increases estrogen, which is causing me to get growths in my uterus that are hemorrhaging. I’ve had two D&Cs in four years and when it’s “that time of the month,” I literally cannot leave the house, because I bleed through two tampons, pads and my pants in half an hour.
- I’ve had two knee surgeries, including ACL reconstruction, and my bad knee isn’t going to hold up very much longer at my weight.
- Both knees hurt … even my good one.
- I’m tired all the time.
- I’m finding myself out of breath doing simple things.
- My lower back hurts from all the weight I’m carrying. It is most uncomfortable in a reclining position. I can’t sleep, and I usually end up waking up in the middle of the night and going to sleep in the living room in a recliner, so I can be more upright and have lumbar support. In this position, I can breathe better and my back hurts less. But this is NOT doing wonders for my marriage.
- In the last year and a half, I’ve gone from a size 10 to a size 3X, and nothing fits me. I can’t afford to keep buying new clothes, so I go to work every day, feeling frumpy and like anything BUT a winner.
- I’m really scared of dying. Did I say that already? My mother died of cancer when I was 10. Something has been missing from my life ALL my life, and I desperately don’t want my daughter to experience this gaping lack of presence and nurturing … or the sadness of not having a mom during all of the high and low points of her life.
It’s been a month now, and I’d like to say I’ve heard back from Jenny, but in actuality, I’ve heard bubkas. And I can’t wait for her anymore. Ultimately, I realize, it all comes down to me, anyway … MY resolve … MY willpower … MY willingness to put my health before a Fig Newton. Ultimately, we all have to save ourselves.
So two and a half weeks ago, I put myself on a healthy eating plan. I was in my more-handsome-than-George-Clooney doctor’s office, complaining of lower back pain comparable to labor. He lifted up my stomach and said, “Do you feel it now?” And when the pressure of my weight was off my back, no, I didn’t. He didn’t berate me. I do that well enough myself. Feeling like a failure is one of the things that drives me to eat. But I’ll tell you what he did offer. He offered me an eating plan that he made up himself, that is easy enough for a monkey to follow. He based it on the science of metabolism, but dumbed it down for the masses. In two weeks, I’ve lost 11 pounds. I’m never hungry. I have no cravings. And I feel good that I’m taking back control of my life. I told my doctor he should write a diet book. He laughed and said it’s so easy, all he’d really be able to write is a pamphlet!
I am simultaneously trying to break a 45-year addiction to diet soda, which just may be worse than giving up crystal meth. Because while chips and dip are NOT calling my name, #E3 in the beverage machine at work taunts me every time I pass it on my way to the ladies room: “Parriiiiiii … you know you want me … come get my artificially flavored, brain-tumor-causing cancer in a can. Your liver hasn’t bathed in my chemical goodness in days.” In the recent year, my habit has come to exceed three cans and 2 20-ounce bottles a day… that’s more than a six-pack.
In the weeks to come, I’ll be writing my usual humor blog once a week, but adding lifestyle posts, where I talk about the journey to changing my life. I hope you will join me, whatever your size, in exchanging ideas, recipes and your own stories, even when you’re NOT feeling on top of the world. I’ve decided to do this publicly, because I need help. And I want to offer the same to anyone out there who needs support, too.
What I’ve discovered in my one year of blogging is an amazingly supportive community of writing colleagues and readers, all eager to share in life’s experiences … the good, the bad and the ugly. And that’s what these posts will be about. I’ll always try to write with humor, because that’s who I am. But I sometimes feel like I’ve boxed myself in with a humor blog … that I have so much more say. I hope you’ll join me in this journey, even if yours doesn’t include weight loss. Because these posts will be about so much more than that.
It’s about the finding the best version of yourself.