Dawn Reader

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

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fat Chance

In ninth grade (for a book report) I read (sort of) a YA biography of Martin Luther by Harry Emerson Fosdick.  (My friends laughed at that last name.  Can't blame them.)  In it I read about the Diet of Worms--and I just couldn't figure that one out.  I thought only birds had that diet?  Why would Martin Luther ... ?

A lifelong dieter myself, the Diet of Worms is just about the only one I haven't tried.  I say "lifelong," but it's really only been since late adolescence (college) that my Dyer weight genes have kicked in, and I've been battling not just my appetite but countless generations of Dyer genetic history. (My dad, his brothers, my brothers--all with the capacity to "grow.") Yes, I know it's one of the reasons that Dyers survived the savannah (we stored calories well for the lean times), but I don't live on the savannah (or in Savannah), so it's not all that beneficial a trait--except, of course, for the men's department at Kohl's, etc. where I have to go now and then to get some "new" (i.e., bigger) garments.

I've been as high as 200.  That happened the year I married (1969)--and started eating regularly.  Next thing I knew, I looked like a Macy's Parade balloon version of my younger self.  Eventually I got it all off.  Back down in the 150s.  Which is where I belong--but have all too rarely been.

The very first piece of writing I ever sold was to the Chicago Tribune, 10 April 1979.  I was 34, and all my other (several) publications had been in teachers' magazines--meaning: no $$.  Joyce and I had moved to Lake Forest, IL, the previous fall; both of us were teaching at Lake Forest College--though we would stay only a year.  I had ballooned that winter but had started jogging and "watching it" and was slowly making my way back down again.  The piece I sold the Tribune was about weight loss.  I got $50 for it and thought I was on the boat to Stockholm.  (Not quite.)

I wouldn't call myself a "yo-yo dieter."  I don't zoom up, zoom down.  It takes several years, usually, before things become intolerable--then several months of assiduous dieting to get back into the clothes I want to wear.  I lost a lot of weight several years ago and have spent the subsequent time regaining it.  It took a while because, you see, I'm not really a binge eater--I don't drink alcohol--I've tried to control my cholesterol, etc.  I exercise regularly.

But exercise alone doesn't do it for me.  If I eat what I want and exercise an hour a day, I will put weight on indefinitely.  Remember Mr. Creosote in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life?  (Here's a link to an ... explosive scene: Link)  He's surely my genetic relative.

I also know--veteran dieter that I am--that I can't adopt a diet that's radically different from what I usually eat (no worm diets for me!).  I've tried them--and I re-inflate more quickly that way.  So I have a simple but difficult formula: no seconds, no desserts, no snacks.  That's it.  I eat my usual sensible food (we very rarely eat beef--lots of chicken and fish and veggies and fruit, whole-grain homemade bread)--just less of it--and nothing between meals.

The problem: getting started.  In the last few years I've "started" quite a few times.  Made it several days.  Then ... you know.  Popcorn smelled so good at the movies--had to have some (extra large barrel).

But two and a half weeks ago I started again--and am still going.  That's encouraging.  Usually, if I make it beyond three or four days, I'm good to go.  This morning's reading ... I'm down nine pounds.  But I will not tell you my initial weight.  It wasn't as bad as my first-year-of-marriage heft--but close, I fear, all too close.

My goal: Have it all off by the time we head to Stratford, Ont., in mid-August for our annual play-going orgy.  (Eleven plays in six days!)  That would be nice.

Then, I'm certain, I will keep it off for the rest of my life.

Fat chance.

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