There was the grapefruit diet. The cabbage diet. There’s the Atkins diet, which is the one where I think you can eat all the bacon you want, you just can’t eat bread. There’s the South Beach diet, which I think is some modified version of Atkins, but I get them all confused. There’s Weight Watchers (which I consider to be the perennially most successful) and Jenny Craig. There is the all-protein diet, the all-carb diet, and the none of the above diet.
Dieting is not something I do on a regular basis, but I do it on occasion. The impetus is that when I last went to the doctor, I weighed 126 pounds. This isn’t bad in itself, although it’s dangerously close to 130, which I consider the Rubicon. The problem is that it’s six pounds more than I weighed six months ago, so I’m going in the wrong direction. Time to put on the brakes.
So here is my personal diet plan: pay attention. That’s it, pretty much in a nutshell. I don’t deny myself anything I really love. Say, ice cream, or butter. If I do, I’ll fail. But I won’t eat it very often, and I won’t eat much of it.
Mostly I pay attention to calories. Of course, the experts say there is some danger in relying solely on calorie counting. You can’t count a 1oo plus can of Coke as the same as 100 calories of fruit. But I’m not in any danger of that. Partly because I don’t drink soft drinks. But I love fruits and vegetables. I hardly ever eat any non-fruit sugar. So to an extent, I’m already halfway there.
I have to laugh at myself. I once went on a diet many years ago and here’s what I would eat every weekday for lunch: a small number of saltine crackers, a boiled egg, a small can of green beans, and a small can of mushrooms. Let’s not talk about the amount of sodium in canned food. But green beans have like two calories and mushrooms have zero. Then of course, on weekends, I would consume an entire cow. Okay, I’m just kidding. But I was miserable. Plus I had to gag to get the green beans down–they are my least favorite vegetable.
This week was challenging. I went out to eat twice. First my boss came into town and we went to lunch at a Japanese restaurant. (Note: no one will ever get fat eating Japanese food.) I had the vegetable tempura. Yes, it’s fried, but remember what I said about not denying yourself certain things.
The next day I went to the Go Pink! luncheon (honoring local survivors of breast cancer). It was at a Country Club, where clearly, people don’t go for the food. As a bonus, I almost got run over by an eighty-ish guy on a golf cart. I expected rubber chicken. What I got was fried chicken and some sort of dried-out over-cooked pork (which might have been turkey). Run of the mill salad. I don’t eat lettuce, although I did put some on my plate to avoid looking weird while I ate cucumbers and red onion in ranch dressing. My favorite was the broccoli casserole, which had these tiny little cubelets of a yellow cheese-like product in it, which resisted melting. It was very good if you closed your eyes. Also, I ate a roll. And a pink cupcake, artfully displayed as a centerpiece on the tables. But I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. It was otherwise very sweet and humbling.
The rest of the week, I ate things like hummus and pita chips. Brie and pita chips. White grapes and saltines spread with butter. (My favorite snack since childhood.) And oatmeal. And milk, always milk, just less of it.
But I have to tell you, it’s working. Proving that Fakename’s diet plan works: pay attention. If you do, you will order a smaller steak and eat more of the broccoli casserole, mystery cheese-like ingredient included.