Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing!"

There was an Alka-Seltzer commercial a long time ago (1972!): A guy in his pajamas sitting on the edge of his bed, clearly unhappy with himself for all he has eaten.  He groans, "I can't believe I ate the whole thing!"  Here's a link to that commercial on YouTube: Alka-Seltzer, 1972.  I know that man--and not just from the commercial.  I see him every day.  In the mirror.

I guess it's time to write about the Balrog of my life--my Voldemort--my Smaug: food.

We Dyer men have the metabolism of a rock.  We burn little, store much.  (A trait, biologists know, that enabled my simian ancestors to survive in lean times.)  My dad's many brothers (and my dad) had mighty, alpha-male sea lion bellies, inflated by years of meat and potatoes and pie and peanuts and beer and ... pie and pie and pie (oh, did my dad love pie!).  Even without the pie, we Dyers put on weight easily.  Our bodies can transform a single graham cracker into a rope of flesh encircling our waists.  A dear colleague of mine from Aurora, Mrs. Shirkey, once told me years ago: "What you eat in private shows up in public."  True with me--and quickly, too.

Throughout my school years, I ate with impunity.  I was very active, and testosterone was surging in torrents through my body, consuming everything in sight--including those parts of my brain that were supposed to be observing some sort of moral code.

But when I got to college, I began to notice that eating was having consequences.  I was not as active as I'd been before (though I was on the tennis team), and my body chemistry was changing again.  My waistline became a storage warehouse for unused calories.  My pants sizes, uh, changed.

My first few years of teaching I didn't have much of a weight problem--mostly because I had no money and couldn't afford food.  (I'm not kidding.)  Often, those first few years, I ate no breakfast or lunch (no money) and then ate a lean supper (no money)--never went to restaurants (no money), had virtually no dates (no money).  I looked at women with a variety of hungers in those days.

When I got married in 1969, my income soared (Joyce had a $2500 teaching assistantship at KSU, and that meant FOOD!).  Suddenly, I was eating more once again.  My body celebrated by storing virtually all of it, and my weight soared to over 190 lbs.  I didn't help matters by (a) smoking, (b) drinking beer, (c) not exercising--at all.

Once I topped 190 and was moving swiftly toward 200, I, in 1970-71, for the first time in my life, went on a diet.  I cut calories to 1000/day and in a matter of months was back to 150.  And feeling really, really, really virtuous and superior.

It didn't last.

Since 1970 it's been up and down and up again--mostly up, though rarely into the 190 range again (though I've been there--and was near there a month ago).  Exercise helps, I guess, though it alone is not sufficient.  If I eat what I want and burn 1000 calories a day exercising, I will put on weight--presumably indefinitely, eventually exploding like that guy Mr. Creosote in that Monty Python movie The Meaning of Life.  Here's a link to that supremely disgusting scene: Monty Python: Exploding Man!

And what foods do me in?  I don't eat dessert (except at Christmas and Thanksgiving), but it's bread products (bread, crackers, the like) that KILL.  I love them.  I desire them.  I am hot for them.  I have affairs with them.  If they're in the house, I eat them.  All.  I eat them all.  Granola is especially dangerous, especially good granola (though, for me, all granola is good).  I can eat mountain ranges of granola.  And have. 

Right now, for the past week or so, I've been "watching it"--i.e., keeping away from the granola, with one disastrous falling-off-the-wagon event last Friday night.

Saturday morning, I woke up, sat up, swung my legs over the side of the bed, slumped over in an archetypal posture of profound self-loathing, and grunted, "I can't believe I ate the whole thing!"

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