Tag Archives: dieting

Crazy Diets

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.

Dietary Habits…Or Not

It’s dawned on me for a while that I possibly have the worst eating habits of anyone on the planet.  I know all the things you are supposed to do.  Here are a few (not an exhaustive list):

Eat several small meals a day.  Never skip breakfast.  Eat foods that are healthy for you, including several servings of fruits and vegetables.  Even if you’re a vegetarian, eat protein in some form.  Ignore the food scares.  Carrots will not give you cancer, and eggs won’t kill you either.  And what the hell is that thing about the food pyramid or whatever it is now?  Has anybody ever paid any attention to that?

Okay.  Here is Fakename’s food rule.  Only eat when you’re hungry.  I’ve used this rule for umpty gazillion years and the result is that it has kept me relatively thin my whole life. I never eat because it’s “time”.  I never eat anything just because it’s good for me. And when a system works for you, it’s hard, if not impossible, to give it up.  Even if it’s wrong.

My system is not foolproof.

There are many days when I’m not hungry at all, and have to force myself to eat something.  But I’ve become accustomed to that and often cruise the grocery aisles hoping for a spark of inspiration.

Lucky for me, I actually like those foods that are good for you.  I’m not a Cheetos addict, in other words.  So on those days when I’m “not hungry”, it’s not at all uncommon for me to eat a piece of chicken and some fruit.

And then there are days where I all of a sudden become ravenous.  I think it’s sort of the same phenomenon dieters experience.  They can be good only so long, then they are ready to eat the doorknobs and the neighbor’s dog.

I had one of those days yesterday.  One of my employees brought me lunch that he had cooked himself, so I had to eat it, right?  Not that you had to twist my arm.  This lunch was a classic Southern combo:  a breaded fried pork chop (a thin one, thankfully); White Acre peas (aka “field peas”), and yellow rice.  A note about White Acre peas.  Normally they are food for animals, like cows.  Somewhere along the line, someone discovered they taste really good.  The only difference between us and cows, is that we don’t eat the leaves too.

He flavored them with some sort of pig parts that had small bones.  Probably was the feet, but I was afraid to ask.  He told me later that he also cooked them with okra, but since he didn’t know whether or not I liked okra, he picked it all out.  Too bad.  I love okra.

A couple of weeks ago, another employee gave me a small container of butterbeans, flavored with ham (you know, actual ham, added later, not nearly as fun).  She told me that that morning, as she was putting them in the container, her boyfriend said,  I thought you were going to take her some beans.  This is not enough to keep a bird alive.  She said, you don’t understand.  Fakename IS a bird.

So I had them for lunch, along with (count them) two chicken wings.  I said to the employee, Go back and tell Keith that I had trouble finishing all those beans.

Back to yesterday’s lunch.  It was very salty, and I have to tell you, you almost cannot get too salty for me. I love salt,  Evil Substance that it is.  But this was definitely on the fringe.  As a result, later that afternoon, I had an insatiable craving for something acidic.  I had some grapefruit in our little work refrigerator, and before I knew it, I had eaten the entire jar (according to the jar, it was 1 pound, 4 ounces).

I ate a few Godiva chocolate pearls after that.  Then as I was leaving, a customer gave an entire pizza to the cashier, so I had a slice of pepperoni pizza, cold.  Of course I only ate the topping, not the crust.  But on the way to my car, I was like, What is wrong with me?  I feel like a blimp!

So here is the problem:  I am going through a weight-gaining period.  And I don’t like it.  It isn’t out of control yet, but it means I’m going to have to start paying attention to food.  What I eat, and when I eat it.  I am so annoyed!