I’m a social eater.
Just as some people, when they go to a party, can’t resist drinking every cocktail they’re offered, I can’t make myself choke down the diet-saving Zone bar I optimistically stashed in my purse when a friendly hand is extending a gooey, warm, 5,000-calorie cheese Danish to me and gesturing towards an open dish of savory seafood dip and fancy crackers.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been trying to lose ten pounds. I’ve spent my adult life in a constant state of Diet, ranging from casual efforts to cut back on my late night snack habit to all-out desperate assaults, complete with gym memberships and cabbage soup regimens, on the sneaky flab molecules that have suddenly taken up residence on my inner thighs. Recently, those tenacious ten pounds have widened their circle of friends to include a few more and they’re all currently having an extended party around my waistline and upper arms.
Paul, my love, my sweet, devoted partner through thick and thin (and all variations in between), claims blindness when it comes to my jiggly bits. Bless him. He’s so earnest and convincing that I actually believe him. And, strangely, it’s that knowledge that one person in the world truly thinks I am beautiful which makes me want work hard to feel that way about myself.
So I diet on.
I do have a plan. It’s one that’s been endorsed by doctors and diet experts the world over and was just passed on to me in the condensed, four-word version by my friend and mentor Dr. Steve Frye, who has, himself, emerged victorious from the trenches of the Battle of the Bulges. Here it is:
Eat less. Move more.
It’s so crazy that it just…might…work!
Unfortunately, I’m facing some major pitfalls:
*Social eating. As I said, social eating or special occasion eating, as some call it, is a major problem for me. And by “special occasion”, I don’t just mean office Christmas parties and Thanksgiving dinners, but also such events as “JoAnn’s is having a sale!” or “Lost is on tonight!” It doesn’t take much for me to excuse a little overindulgence in the name of fun.
*Late night munchies. It never fails. I’m sitting on the couch, watching the latest episode of CSI before bed, when that Taco Bell commercial comes on. Ever suggestible when it comes to cravings, in mere seconds I am overwhelmed with desire, powerless before the burning need for a Grilled Stuffed Chicken Burrito with sour cream. One day I’ll meet the man who came up with the idea of the 24 hour drive thru window. And I will punch him in the nose.
*Morning comes too early. I believe I’ve mentioned before the gym membership card I have moldering away in my wallet. All my whining notwithstanding, I actually like going to the gym. Every time I manage to squeeze in a workout, I feel good, I sleep better, and I have more energy. The problem is that since my gym doesn’t have child care facilities, the only time I can manage to slip away for an hour on the elliptical trainer is five in the morning. I’ve forgotten how to get up at five in the morning. I can go to bed early. I can set my alarm. I can lay out my workout clothes. But as soon as my head hits the pillow, something goes awry, and the next thing I know it’s seven o’clock and time to fling the entire family out of bed and into our frantic morning routine.
*Sabotage. Sometimes I’m moving along really well, drinking lots of water, exercising and eating right, when suddenly some well-meaning friend happens by and unintentionally throws a monkey wrench into the works. A loaf of pumpkin bread. An invitation to go out for dessert. A chocolate basket. Small hurdles, perhaps, but any one of them might trip me up and send me careening off track. I think the main problem here is that I let little setbacks snowball into major surrenders. I must rid my vernacular of the phrase “In for a penny, in for a pound.” There are just too many pennies.
So, you see, I have my work cut out for me. There are a lot of obstacles between me and the svelte proportions to which I aspire. Fortunately, I also have one thing going for me. That same stubborn optimism that motivates me to stick a Zone bar in my purse on the way to the smorgasbord also keeps me ever hopeful, despite the setbacks. It enables me to get up when I’ve fallen (plummeted, plunged, pitched, crashed) off the wagon and to begin again.
Because, as any serial dieter knows, tomorrow is always a good time for a fresh start.