2018-03-09 / Commentary

Dieting, dishes, and Dan Marino


There’s a great paradox on television these days.

Most mornings my channels are filled with celebrities like Marie Osmond or Dan Marino telling me how easy it is to lose weight. Then, in the evenings, every restaurant/ pizza joint is inadvertently showing me how easy it is to gain it all back.

Of course, the answer is just to turn off the darn television, but that’s never going to happen. Besides, even when I’m not near a flat screen, my radio is pounding some “health dare challenge” in my ears as I pass Bojangle’s, Zaxby’s, and Maurice Bessinger’s. It’s kind of hard to think about dieting when the smell of fried chicken and biscuits is permeating every inch of a starving body.

The obvious juxtaposition of this dieting saturation in the midst of endless supreme pizzas on my TV screen and fried food dominating my commute isn’t exactly what’s bothering me though. It’s the promises associated with exercise and weight loss, particularly that these things give you more energy, put you in a better mood, and—the absolute kicker—you don’t feel hungry all the time.

Well, recently I’ve started dieting again, and I exercise in the morning because if I don’t, life will get in the way, and I won’t have the time or the opportunity.

As a consequence, I start the day exhausted. I go to bed exhausted, and in between I spend my time popping Advil to combat my sore joints and muscles and fantasizing about diving into a giant bowl of Mayfield cookie dough ice cream. None of which makes me the most pleasant person in the world.

Maybe it’s because I’ve already gone through this successfully, and I know how hard it is.

After I didn’t recognize myself in a picture from a college visit with my oldest daughter a couple of years ago, I decided it was time to finally get serious about my belly.

I’d always exercised, but until I saw myself in that picture, I used a jog here and exercise tape there and a few sit-ups every now and then to justify an entire pizza or a carton of Mayfield. Obviously, I realized all the exercise in the world was no match for pepperoni, sausage, mushroom, and cookie dough.

So, I got serious and added starving myself to my daily routine.

I did end up losing a bunch of weight, and I did become a much more productive person. Some might call that “energy,” but honestly, I did all the dishes I could get my hands on, washed and folded mountains of clothing, and any other chore that presented itself at my home just to keep my mind off food.

Eventually, after I’d lost about 40 pounds, I allowed myself to eat normal again. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long at all for “normal” to devolve into all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets and giant ice cream cones. As a consequence, half the weight I’d lost in a year, came roaring back in less than a Christmas season.

So, before I reach college trip photo levels again, I’m back at it.

That’s something Marie and Dan fail to mention in their happy-go-lucky weight loss ads; it’s so much easier to put the weight back on than it is to keep it off...another indication of God’s sense of humor.

My wife will be happy to get more help around the house again, but please don’t mistake that for energy. Marie and Dan may be ready to hit the stage or a football field again, but I’m just trying to avoid thoughts of a giant supreme pizza.

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