Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Diet

I am on a diet.

I gained 20 pounds in the five or so years before I retired, and packed on 20 more since. So I have dug a 40 pound hole I have to climb out of.
My motivation is simple: I want to be able to fit back into the tux I wore to Kris’ wedding 7 years ago by the time of Elisabeth’s in July.

I’ve been down this road before. In the mid-1980s I hit my all time high of 267 pounds. I fought my way to 175, regained 30 pounds over the ensuing years, lost that, and tacked on the 40 I am currently toting around.

My problem with dieting is I am either all in or all out. I can’t see a 5 pound gain and say “Oh gosh, I’d better get on that.” I have to wait until I’ve added the weight of an average sixth grader before I swing into action. Once I am on a diet, I am the very soul of virtue and usually see pretty fast results.

I love to eat. I have an eating disorder which I refer to as the Boa Constrictor Syndrome:
If I can get my mouth around it, I will eat it; If I can swallow it, I can digest it.

I prefer good food but in a pinch, any food will do.

I never get indigestion or gas (this is subject to dispute in my household). I can polish off a box of Cheezits before bed time and sleep like a baby.

I never leave food on my plate. I blame my mother for this whose mantra was “you better finish that there are children starving in Korea.” I feel that if I don’t clean my plate the population of the entire Asian sub-continent is endangered.

No doggy bags for me. Recently, we were dining in Cajun restaurant and I ordered a spicy rice and seafood dish. It came piled so high on my plate that snow was forming on the peak. As the waiter was clearing, he was stunned to see not a single, solitary grain of rice on my plate. He remarked that in all the years the dish had been on the menu, he had never seen anyone finish it. He called another waiter over to confirm this observation. “You should be embarrassed,” Kathie said. I wasn’t. I had a warm glow in my tummy as I pictured all of those contented Korean children.

I am also a serial eater. I eat constantly. This has been the source of my downfall since I am at home. If there is food around, I will find it. I’ll go for the good stuff first, and when I have gone through that I will get creative. I have no problem scooping peanut butter from the jar and eating it by the spoonful, or gnawing on a chunk of parmesan cheese from the rock-hard block.

Pretzels are a real weak spot. I can demolish a bag of pretzels in one sitting. One night I consumed three quarters of a one pound bag, and in a fit of self-loathing tossed the rest in the garbage. The next day, I was pleased to see Kathie hadn’t taken the trash out so I dug through the coffee grounds and potato peels, fetched the bag, and polished off the contents. I guess my self-loathing spell had passed.

I’ve stopped doing this sort of thing, at least for the duration of my diet. Basically, I’ve cut my portions and stopped noshing. In three weeks, I have lost 8 pounds.

To paraphrase Mark Twain’s remark about quitting smoking, dieting is easy, I’ve done it hundreds of times.

1 comment:

Mary Lois said...

I can relate to all about this except the losing weight part and the eating of parmesan cheese off the chunk (I do have to shave it off and eat the shavings--chalk it up to an unreasonable fear of losing teeth). Cutting back on food, trying interesting diet variations like low carb, high carb, or excluding bread, etc., nothing really helps me lose weight. I began gradually gaining and once I hit a certain point there I've stayed for 20 years. I call it "maintenance," add a trip to the gym four times a week and tell myself I'm losing fat, but getting into anything I wore 7 years ago ain't happening. I think you'll have better luck.