So, a bunch of us around the Ling household decided enough was too much and went on a diet.
I hate diets. Always have. I hate denying myself anything that I love, and that's pretty much all a diet is, at least to me. "If you enjoy it, spit it out." Almost nothing I regularly put down my aptly named pie-hole is on any common sense diet. I was on the Jabba the Hutt Food Plan - "Two Years to a Crane-Assisted Potty Break and Heart Attack".
As a result, I'd trained myself to rationalize my weight, whatever it might be.
"Well, I'm not a victim of Madison Avenue's idea of a perfect body," I'd say.
"Whatever your weight is, if you're comfortable with yourself, that's the important thing," I'd say.
"Just more of me to love," I'd say.
"Bite me arse, so I'm fat. You're ugly and stupid. I can lose weight," I'd say.
I'd say anything to avoid the reality of it, which was that I was "overweight", inching belt-buckle-hole by belt-buckle-hole towards "obese", and not happy about it. I hated how my clothes fit, I hated having to patronize shops like "Mr. Short 'n Fat", and I hated trying on my summer clothes after a winter in the cedar chest (them, not me) and discovering that cedar fumes have magical shrinking powers. And yeah, even at 50, with 26 years of marriage under my belt (as if anything would fit under my belt)!, I hated the fact that women's eyes slid past me and settled on more attractive men.
None of that, of course, was enough to overcome my love of Coca-Cola, and pizza, and french fries, and (God, this is a painful list to type) Farmer's Market Hungarian Garlic Sausages (for the hungary man), and hash browns and toast with my Bacon-and-egg McMuffins with two large orange juices and and and ...
... and I knew I was killing myself.
I put off going to the doctor because I knew he'd do a blood test and not only would my cholesterol levels be sky-high (a source of decreasing concern to the cardio community, given the most recent research - still a concern, but now outweighed(!) by other factors), but my blood sugar levels would be off the charts. I was the poster boy for incipient adult-onset diabetes.
I don't know what finally made me say "Enough is enough." It wasn't how I looked - I had more than enough rationalizations on hand for that. It wasn't how I felt, really - sure, I was puffing and my face would go red when I tied my shoes, but by and large I was feeling okay. It wasn't how my clothes fit - I love shopping.
Maybe it was all those things, plus my older brother being diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Whatever. I finally said "I guess I can try."
But then what? I wanted a diet that was reasonably easy to manage, had at least a few foods I could choke down, and would purge the damn sugar out of my system. After weeks of research, talking to some pretty smart people, and examining food list after food list, and consulting with the other two people in my household who wanted to shed some weight, I settled on the South Beach diet. It's essentially a modified Atkin's Diet, with less emphasis on low carbs and more on recognizing the difference between good carbs and bad ones.
I weighed in two weeks ago, at the start of the rigorous Phase One of the diet. People who know me are invariably shocked when I tell them what I weighed - I carry weight well. I tipped the scales (almost squashed them, actually) at 248 pounds. That's two-four-eight. Two pounds away from an eighth of a ton. The two women who joined me weighed in as well, and for good measure, they took good measures. Hips, tummies, thighs, whatnots. I did not measure anything.
Last night, after two weeks of the South Bitch plan (as we've named it), I weighed in again. 232 pounds. Two-Three-Two. 16 pounds in two weeks. The women lost 11 and 12 pounds respectively, and each carved two inches off her tummy and about that off each thigh as well. No word on the whatnots.
(I am well aware, by the way, that the first two weeks of any weight loss program yield results out of proportion to what happens in the weeks following. I expect to settle into losing somewhere around 2 - 3 pounds a week.)
The point of this is not to brag. Pretty much anybody could have done this, and many have. The point, I guess, is to say that it was not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. We had to come up with a new recipe for ketchup (which I love, and which is essentially like pouring sugar over whatever you're eating). I had to give up Coke, which hurt (you are advised to sell whatever shares you have in Coca-Cola before the full impact of my quitting is felt). But for a strict regimen, it wasn't so awful, and today - after two weeks - we get back a lot of the stuff we had to abandon in that initial purge.
No french fries, no orange juice, no refined flour products or potatoes or other foods that spit up their sugars into my bloodstream. I'm going to have to find my inner sweetness. It's there, waiting, virtually untapped.
But I can do this. By summer's end, I expect I'll be pretty close to what I should weigh. And when I get there, I intend to celebrate ... with a nice, tall rye and ... Diet Pepsi.
*sigh* No, it won't be the same.
But then ... neither will I.