For me, dieting till the pounds actually come off is a little like a toddler holding his breath till he gets his way. Eventually, he just faints and starts breathing again. By the same token, I can only diet so long before my body just takes over and I find myself gobbling down some chocolate, or ice cream, or a big greasy hamburger. There's no stopping it.
To compound the problem, I work at home where the fridge is right there a few steps away and those tortilla chips in the pantry are calling my name.
I'd like to think there's some sinister reason why I can't seem to lose like I did when I was 20 years younger. But, truth be told, I just don't have the willpower anymore. I could swear my body has decided it likes those extra 15 pounds and doesn't want to give them up.
I rarely eat bread, potatoes or pasta. I drink only diet soda or sugar-free lemonade, even when I'm not actively dieting. Those concessions I made years ago and they used to keep the pounds in check. Not any more. Now, even working out doesn't seem to help.
When I exercise I can hear those pounds taunting me. "You don't really think we're going away do you?" And then my joints chime in, "Ouch, that hurts. What are you trying to do, jump start a hip replacement?"
When I'm tempted to snack, I opt for coffee instead, patting myself on the back. But, next thing I know my stomach joins the chorus. "Get that black coffee out of here. You know I feel better when you give me latte with cream."
It also doesn't help that John is retired now and home all the time. When I'm concentrating on a column or, heaven forbid, trying to work on my novel, he's there tempting me like Satan himself.
"Hey, you deserve a break. Let's go to Brewster's for a café mocha." Or, "Oh look, the mailman brought some new Arby's coupons. How about we grab a hot roast beef and onion rings? Sound good?" By then I'm already out the door.
Before the onion rings have time to give me bad breath, I'm on a major guilt trip. So I plan ahead and thaw some chicken breasts for dinner. John can grill them and I'll slice them on a salad. Sounds healthy, right?
But then my mother calls, "I feel like pizza tonight. You drive and I'll pay, OK?" Now who can resist that? The chicken will keep till tomorrow, and it would be downright rude to disappoint my mother, right?
And so it goes. Telling myself I'm dieting, but never quite making it happen. What I really need is some sort or overwhelming motivation. Usually all it takes is an upcoming event, something for which I need to look good. I go into my closet and try on everything that might possibly be appropriate only to find my dresses are all too tight. That does the trick, usually.
But lately, I'm more likely to just order another café mocha and pout. So now I know I have to call in the heavy artillery — shopping for a new dress.
When everything else fails, I make myself try on dresses in my usual size and find they are so tight I can't breathe or won't even zip up. That usually provides all the motivation I need — usually.
So now, I really am going to diet. I am. A month from now, I'll be a new woman. You'll see.
(Sure could use a café mocha right now.)