I’m sitting at starbucks, cold brewed coffee at hand. The first time I’ve been to a coffee shop alone in probably three and a half months. It’s a treat and I’m going to use it to my fullest ability.

I have been off work since the end of March, and I somewhat naively assumed that when I left my stressful job and got to stay home every day with Zoe, that the stress pounds that have accumulated over the years would start to evaporate. This has not happened, and I am disgruntled. I also brought home a blackberry pie from a farm stand yesterday. Not because I’m disgruntled, but because it’s berry season in the northwest!

I hesitate to diet, because restriction sends your body the wrong signals: famine, stress, and weight retention. I’ve been reading the health books. From Eat to Live, by Joel Fuhrman, to The 10 Day Diet Detox by Mark Hyman, to Intuitive Eating, by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole, to The Thin Woman’s Brain by Dilia Suriel. They are are all part of the nearly $60 Billion dollar diet industry, and they all have a unique message to sell. While I might be able to find certain parts of one book that agree with specific passages of another book, mostly these books have opposing viewpoints.

The gems that I have taken from each book also do not necessarily coincide. Eating vegan, including all of the fruit I want, but limited grains, makes me feel great, except I miss ice cream and cheese and steak; Eating foods with a low glycemic index seems smart, bye bye fruit, but why does following this eating style make me feel like I’m drowning in olive oil? I intuitively agree with the premise that dieting causes the body to go into starvation mode and pack on the pounds when regular eating resumes, and also that restriction diets don’t work for that reason. And the idea in a few of these books that the processed foods that are so prevalent in our standard diet, cause food addiction that is very difficult to overcome.   I’ve come to a dead end with diet. Since going on a restriction diet will not benefit me in the long run, but neither will eating Ben and Jerry’s whenever I want. I will work on being mindful of what my body needs, I will eat more veg when I can’t tell what my body is craving, and I will work on the other part of the weight equation – exercise. And thankfully, I have a bit of a headstart.

Two weeks ago, after making a batch of blueberry scones with fruit from our garden, and eating three (of eight) with coffee over the Sunday paper, I felt over sugared and not just a little disgusted with myself. I got on the treadmill and ran/walked a mile and a half, and it felt so good and tiring, that I decided to go back to a program I’d done in the past – the Couch to 5K. It’s an app on my phone that has an eight week run/walk program that gradually increases the amount of time that you run, until you can do a 28 minute run in the eighth week.

I started this program in the past, but quit in the sixth week because of a foot injury. By week six, I was able to run for eight minutes, then walk for three minutes, then repeat for 30 minutes. I think it’s the right time to pick this program back up. I’ve done the first two weeks of the program, and I’ll start week three today or tomorrow. Here’s hoping my foot can handle the stress.

But right now, I’m sitting at Starbucks, sitting at the window in the sun, while the air conditioning and my iced coffee keep me decidedly comfortable.