Food Cravings Weigh Down Recurring Effort To Lose Weight

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.

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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.

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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.