Monday, June 6, 2016

Liver and the Pursuit of Thinness


          I have ingested liver and enough steel-cut oatmeal and rice cakes to choke an elephant. I consumed a grilled cheese sandwich once where both the “diet butter” and the “diet cheddar” refused to melt.
I have wrapped myself in Saran Wrap, tried an electrode belt around my waist, and I bought a Thigh Master from Suzanne Somers. 
          I have done The Grapefruit Diet, the Hard Boiled Egg Diet, and the Cabbage Soup Diet. If the plan had a number in its title, I waded through all of them – 3-Day, 7-Day, 14-Day Diet, etc.  I did Adkins and South Beach, Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig.  
          All of this in the pursuit of thinness.
I started this odyssey in the late seventies after I packed on thirty pounds of “baby weight” after birthing my three kids.  My family doctor suggested I try a 1000-calorie diet, handed me a mimeographed sheet listing a handful of boring foods, and sent me home with a prescription for some fat, black pills that the FDA has since banned.  I took the pills for three months and lost all my weight along with my ability to sleep and blink.
In my obsession to be thin and healthy, I was killing myself.  
I grew up eating starches and sweets.  My taste buds preferred fried versus fresh or broiled, and any vegetable on my plate had to be disguised in a cream of mushroom cheese sauce. My side dishes were either tortillas or slices of white bread. Salads were considered a garnish.
I didn’t need a doctor or a celebrity to tell me why I was overweight.  I didn’t need a plan or a pill or a product. I needed common sense and motivation.  I needed to change my diet, my mind set, and my life style, but I needed to do it right. I needed support, encouragement, and accountability.  I needed guidance.
Over the years, I have joined, quit, and rejoined Weight Watchers so many times I have lost count.   
Back in 1974, the plan required I eat liver once a week. It was considered “good for you.” In the 90’s, WWs introduced the Fit and Fiber plan. I gained on that plan because it gave me license to overeat high calorie foods, but at least I was regular.   
I have outlasted all the celebrity WWs who have rolled off the wagon over the years: the Duchess of York, Jennifer Hudson, and Charles Barkley. I have stuck with Points, Pro Points, Points Plus, and now the Smart Points. I have eaten my share of Smart Ones.
And I am still a returning member.

I love WWs because it changes with the times.  Gone is the liver; fruits and vegetables are the new must-eats. WWs uses the latest science in weight loss, control, and maintenance, but it also takes into account a dieter’s psychological needs. I need a nonjudgmental support system, especially if I plan to kick this pesky fried liver and onion habit.  

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