Those of you who see me at the Authors Fair in Madison this coming weekend may take note that, yes, I have lost a substantial amount of weight—24 pounds in six weeks by the last count (my weigh-ins are on Friday mornings, and it is a Wednesday as I write this). In fact, you should take note of the weight loss, damn it, because this is one of the harder things I have done this millennium.
I am not using this occasion to cite obesity statistics (which are appalling, granted) or to wax self-righteous about this accomplishment. I flat-out have to lose weight, what with a heart condition and the bone structure of an eleven-year-old girl (don’t believe me? Then check out my wrist size next time we meet). Heart medicine has put on weight that only dieting and exercise can take off, and when I woke from unsettling dreams to see that my identity had been stolen by a dumpy, 75-year-old Irishman, I decided it was time to transform.
Here is how I've done it, but first a caveat. This is not a pleasant journey, and if you have another way, please choose it, with my blessings. Choose it FOR YOURSELF, if you feel you need it. In return for those blessings (which I give you gladly, no matter if you keep this part of the bargain), I ask only that you not share with me your far easier, sleeker and sexier method of weight loss. The world is filled with internet experts, and my version, though painful, has goddamned worked for me this far.
Here's my schedule:
7 am: Slimfast
12 noon: Slimfast
2-5 pm: Blind, craving-fueled rage at all around me—students, friends, family, the cosmos—telling myself the uncomfortable truth that it is not real hunger, it's just having been spoiled by too much to eat.
5-6 pm: Supper with reasonable, rest-of-the-world portions. Not the Amurrikan ones where you can't see the news from over the tumulus of carbohydrates on your plate. All the while wishing you could eat until your spouse says, "That's it, honey. The town is entirely out of food."
8-10 pm: Go to sleep. The earlier the better, to stop thinking about it.
I bought this plan on the long term. Reached fifty years old without a concept of portion size or calories. Now I know that "portion size" = "leaving the table hungry". And whatever you like has too much calories. So I have to stop putting so much of what I like into my mouth.
I believe I'll reach my target weight, which is still ten pounds away. And then maybe I can shed some of my housecat mentality, which is basically yearning for the next meal and the next nap. Yes, it's distracted me from my best work, but I figure my worst work may come after a fatal heart attack, so I'll put up with this until I'm ten pounds lighter. Then see if I can eat something I like once in a while, and weigh every Friday to derail the Fat Irish Express back to the weight I was at when this whole irritating business started. I do believe this is a craving, like when I quit smoking, different only in the fact that, with the diet, I'm giving up some of what's good for me because it's too much. It's a space that can be filled with other things.
Like compliments on how good I look. So tell me that. Even if you don't mean it.