Food Cravings Weigh Down Recurring Effort To Lose Weight
Yes, I’m dieting again. As a result of this, I’m having trouble concentrating on anything other than what I am currently not eating. That’s bad when you’re in the news business, because invariably you wind up forgetting to cover a four-alarm fire because you’re day dreaming about melted cheese.
I’m not what you’d call a chronic dieter – it’s just something I get into my head every six or seven years. It usually happens when I’m grappling over whether to make the jump to the next waist size, a conflict brought about by the red indentations I find around my torso each evening. You can only convince yourself that they’re being caused by a debilitating skin rash for only so long.
I’ve found that one’s motivation for dieting changes depending on your station in life. When I was in high school during the early ’80s, for instance, it was to look good in parachute pants; that one never really worked out.
A few years ago, I changed my eating habits when I was diagnosed with high cholesterol. I made a pledge to completely cut fat out of my diet; this lasted for about a month or so, at which time I was waylaid by a deep-dish sausage pizza. Since then, whenever somebody asks me about my cholesterol, I simply cry, “It’s genetic!” and waddle off to the nearest sub shop.
This time I’m watching my caloric intake because my wife is concerned about me dropping dead and leaving her and our two young children without my meager but handy salary. I haven’t come up with a good rebuttal to that one yet, but I’m working on it.
It’s not that I don’t want to be a healthy eater. It’s just that something always seems to get in my way; for instance, my dieting rule that free food does not count. (“If the company’s paying, I’m eating,” I’ve been known to mumble through a mouth full of free Buffalo wings.)
In fact, the only time I really dropped a significant amount of weight was about 10 years ago, when I got desperate and started replacing meals with Slim-Fast shakes. I didn’t make the decision lightly; I doubt I would have done it at all if my plan to replace meals with McDonald’s shakes hadn’t turned out so disastrously.
The saddest part of a Slim-Fast diet is trying to make the shake last for more than a minute and a half. It’s pathetic, really; there’s nothing worse than sitting reading the paper, taking baby sips of a French vanilla health shake and pretending that you’re not actually so hungry you would trample a Brownie troop to get to a half-eaten bag of pork rinds.
For several months I felt like there were crickets living in my stomach cavity, but in the end I wound up losing about 25 pounds. Unfortunately, I gained it all back immediately upon eating one cheese ball, but that’s neither here nor there. The fact remains that for a brief, shining moment, my pants fit.
So for the last day and a half, I’ve been back on the Slim-Fast. The flavor’s different this time – artificial strawberries ‘n’ cream, mmm! – but the goal is the same.