Merlene Davis: I am determined not to look like the Penguin

Herald-Leader columnistMay 3, 2014 

I have plateaued.

For about seven weeks I have eaten fruits, vegetables and lean meats just like the Weight Watchers leader told me to. I dropped the point-counting thing because I had failed so miserably last year with that method.

Instead, I'm doing the "Simply Filling" thing, hoping that by surrounding myself with permissible foods, I won't have to think about every morsel I put in my mouth.

But I have plateaued.

I joined Weight Watchers in early March during a half-price special and immediately introduced myself to the attendants at the gym I joined last year because they had no idea who I was.

(For some reason, the only free treadmills are the ones between two skinny women who seem to be running for their lives. I will talk with the manager about that.)

Part of my inspiration for this new weight-loss kick is my sister who is no longer carrying the equivalent of a first-grader around on aging joints any more. The other part is a desire to pass a full-length mirror while naked and not scream.

That mirror will never reflect Beyoncé when I walk by, but surely I could look less like Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, aka the Penguin, Batman's enemy.

With that type of inspiration, you'd think I'd be sailing to paradise. And I was in the beginning, boasting of two weeks when I lost five pounds each. Then the numbers slowly decreased. One week was only .6 pounds.

I had reached "a period or state of little or no growth or decline," according to the dictionary. I had plateaued.

I have reached this point several times in my life and each time I've tossed in the towel. If my fatty tissues are that attached to me, far be it for me to abandon them.

The leader said folks who reach a plateau should add more activity to our exercise routine and we should monitor our food intake because we are probably lying to ourselves about the amounts we are really consuming.

I don't think the rumbling I felt was guilt rolling through me. It could have been an earthquake.

I realized the fat wouldn't dissolve magically. I had to make it disappear.

But then I read something that was either sent by angels or the devil.

A recent University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine study found that even if exercise and caloric intake are equal, black women tend to lose less weight than white women.

Of the 106 severely obese women tested, 39 of whom were black and 66 white, black women lost seven pounds less than white women. It seems we black women have a lower resting metabolic rate. We use less energy. We have to work harder or eat fewer calories to get the same results, the study said.

Well, that's not fair. Who came up with that design?

In another article, one exercise expert suggested black women build up to working out five to seven times a week for 50 minutes doing Zumba or lunges or squats or walking briskly.

If that's correct, I'm always going to look like the Penguin.

In the same article, a nutritionist advised eating a smarter, more balanced diet to lose weight. Allowing 10 calories per day for each pound of body weight, the nutritionist said, should help a person lose weight, even without exercise. Probably, but not as quickly as the mirror demands.

It is all my big sister's fault.

So, now I will try to keep up with the two skinny women on the treadmills and I will try to convince my husband of the benefits of asparagus and veggie burgers.

I cannot allow this plateau to defeat me, especially when I have about four months more on my half-price, weight-loss special. I don't want to lose money and gain weight.

Besides, the Penguin just isn't very attractive.

Merlene Davis: (859) 231-3218. Email: Twitter: @reportmerle. Blog:

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