There's always a silent war going on in my storage areas as yesterday's hobbies battle for space. The watercolor stuff seems to be winning by sheer mass since film cameras and lenses gave way to tiny digitals. Those quilting and knitting needles can be vicious, though, and the jewelry tools fight dirty. My autobiography was stuck on a blank screen. Which hobby to choose?
Well, hell. Of course.
Move over, Richard Simmons, Atkins and South Beach, I am the world's greatest diet expert. Seriously. I claim this title since I've been on a diet of one kind or another since day two of my life, and certainly every Monday and every January 1.
There have been years I've looked good (with pictures to prove it) and years you'd think I'd swallowed Rosanne. My closets aren't organized by season or color, but by size, and I swear loudly at the smallest sizes every time I open the door. I know, that's unfair. It's not their fault I'm half potato-dumpling Lithuanian and half American pie. Still, damn those jeans and damn these genes!
Middle-age doesn't mean the years bracketed by youth and retirement -- it refers to the age when your body envies the Earth's equator so much it expands your middle to match.
Before my estrogen factory, the slut, ran off with my metabolism to South America, it was a piece of cake (ha) to drop 20 pounds. Just a little effort and a switch to all veggies and there I was, shopping in the petite department again.
Well, those were the good old days! I've apparently starved my poor self so rigidly and so often that it's convinced I am in the midst of a biblical famine, and by God (ha), it's not giving up one ounce, no matter what I do.
I'm the poster child for good eating, by the way. Veggies are at the bottom of my pyramid and top of my list, and my grocery cart and pantry would pass Oprah's inspection. I allow myself one fast food hamburger A YEAR. I eat pizza ONLY on Halloween night. Cake and ice cream -- ONLY at family birthday parties. Everything I buy is fat-free or "light", and I can tell you correct portion size and calorie content of every food.
(I'll hedge on that fat-free stuff. In France, I ate real butter, only because I didn't know the French phrasing for the "solid yellow vegetable oil that's too hard to spread and tastes like shit." No wonder I love France. )
I've been slimmed by Slim-Fast, watched by Weight Watchers, and become lean with Lean Cuisine. Hoodia worked for a week, Dexatrim trimmed my butt but did weird things to my eyes, and Jenny and I haven't spoken in years. When it comes to diet programs, I own the copyright on "Been There, Done That."
Yes, Yes, I exercise. I've sweated to the oldies with Richard Simmons, although my mom taught me it's not polite to sweat. I also spiraled into a three-week depression when I realized I'm just too uncoordinated (those Lithuanian genes again) to follow those maniacs on aerobics videos. Besides, those women are aliens from another planet, I know they are. NO HUMAN looks and moves like that.
Hypnosis works, if you can find a hypnotherapist whose voice doesn't give you the creepy crawlies. I like this program and this program. Serious weight loss starts as a mind game, and hypnosis can give you the edge.
Anyway, here are my axioms after a lifetime in the fat bank, making deposits and withdrawals:
- You have to stay on a diet longer than 2 days in a row.
- Food counts, even if no one is watching you eat it.
- Serving size matters. A big bag of potato chips is not one serving.
- Neither is a pint of ice cream.
- Or half a pie or cake. (One-ninth, 2.3 oz, is a serving size of cake. Isn't that hilarious? Who are they kidding? "Please, cut just one-ninth for me." hahahaha)
- A plateful of pasta will FEED A FAMILY. Your portion is 1 cup, which isn't worth even cooking, let alone eating.
- After a few years, you will get used to the taste of diet soda and artificial sweetner.
- Stay home, alone, on Thanksgiving with a Lean Cuisine turkey dinner. It's the only way.
- Yes, you can go to fast food places. You can have coffee at McDonald's, a salad at most places, fat free dressing, please, but the Colonel is dead to you.
- I'm asking my legislator to have those "pizzas" by Lean Cuisine outlawed as false advertising and fraudulent food. They aren't pizza. I don't know what they are, but they aren't pizza.
- Just watching exercise videos doesn't work. You have to actually get OFF your ass and DO the moves.
- Tai Chi will wreak your knees. Those old Asians who demonstrate it have artificial joints. Trust me.
- You also have to listen to the hypnosis tapes -- just reading about them and organizing them in the drawer next to your bed won't float you away in a weight-loss trance.
- After a certain age, your choice becomes a thin, healthier body or an accordion-pleated face. You choose.