As You Like It: Weighty Matters


Yesterday a lady in the supermarket snack aisle remarked: “Did you ever notice that they put the Oreos right next to the rice cakes?” Startled, I looked around and realized that she was right. Directly in front of the rice cakes was a cardboard display stacked with double stuff Oreos. “Yes, but we will prevail,” I said. “We will resist temptation and choose rice cakes!” She gave me a very sad smile.

Lately I’ve been thinking quite a bit about chocolate and pasta and bread because I’m trying to lose some weight. Trying is the operative word here. Up until a few years ago I never worried about pounds gained. I was spoiled. If I gained a few pounds I would stop eating snacks for a few days and I’d be fine. Plus, whenever I became upset or stressed I lost my appetite. I never understood when friends told me that in stressful situations they would eat to feel better. Now, unfortunately, I get it.

I’m not someone who gets on a scale every day; in fact, the only time I weigh myself is at the doctor’s office. But a couple of years ago my clothes were getting tighter and tighter. When I told my doctor, she showed me my chart. I saw that my weight numbers hadn’t changed for three years. So though it’s not pounds we’re talking about, the mass has definitely shifted. Despite all the gym time that I clocked weekly, my body had decided to spread itself out in dimensions it had never explored before. I had landed in the twilight zone of body fat.

My husband’s girth was also spreading, but he was renting an apartment on the shores of denial, thinking that if he nibbled one less potato chip his waistline would shrink. Every now and then he would get on the treadmill, but that burst of righteous exertion would inevitably peter out. But once my husband makes up his mind to do something, his follow-through is amazing.

A few weeks ago he told me that he needed some sort of formal program to follow, so I told him about the new online Weight Watchers program. For a guy who lives on the internet, this was a match made in heaven. So we spent an evening investigating how the program worked. Steve decided that he would give it a try for the introductory six months.

Once he handed over a credit card, he was welcomed into the world of points. He created a profile, typing in his height and weight, and was then told how many food points he was allowed per day and per week. If he stayed within his point parameters he would lose 2-3 pounds a week. If he racked up too many points on one day, he could eat less the next day to get back on track for the week. He could also enter any physical activities to remove points. Suddenly walking the dog took on a new luster!

It turned out to be a match made in dieter’s heaven. Steve could enter his meal points on his phone app (of course there’s an app) and keep track of all the pounds that were disappearing into thin air. (I wonder if they were actually transferring themselves to the app?) Everything about it appealed to his engineer’s sense of order: point counting, pound tracking, food scanning. And he was definitely losing weight and looking good.

When I mentioned Steve’s new love affair with Weight Watchers, two friends immediately yelled, “You’ve got to sabotage him!” I had no idea what they were talking about. They explained that since we were both trying to lose weight, I would be left in the dust, since men always lost weight easier than women. “He’ll be thin as a rake and you’ll still be struggling — force feed him French fries if you have to!” I had to laugh. I told them that I was thrilled to see my man looking so good and I was definitely going to keep encouraging him in his pursuit of thin. In fact, now when he orders something fattening in a restaurant I protest, “But the points, think of the points!”

I’m going to have to find my own way on this trail of tears because counting numbers is not my style. That means portion control — or in other words, learning to keep my mouth shut. I exercise, I eat healthy foods; the only thing left is to eat less of them. My problem is that on a sale of 1 to 10 when it comes to will power, I’m a minus 50. Put the bread basket in front of me, or a cheese plate, offer me some lasagna or open a bag of chips and my reason fails me. My hand moves on its own.

I’m pathetic. I keep wanting to bargain with the aging fairies — I’ll trade you one defective memory for a faster metabolism. Why does everything seem to descend at once? All these gifts of spreading waistlines, lost minds and energy, wandering focus. Couldn’t we be blessed with all this richness a little at a time? I suppose the weight issue is merely my way of trying to control just a bit of the aging process. And I’m failing miserably at that.

But there’s still hope. Yesterday I found my glasses. And rice cakes are beginning to taste good.

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avatar Posted by on Sep 19 2013. Filed under As You Like It, Featured Content, Opinion. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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