Learning to Eat vs. Learning to Diet
I was 13-years old the first time someone
announced they thought I was "chubby."
What a laugh. What they thought was chubby,
I thought was a voluptuous Goddess. I'd always
thought of myself as pretty much perfect
(no self image problem there, that's for
sure). But if someone else thought differently,
then hey, maybe I should pay attention.
I decided to try a "diet." Naturally
I turned to the wisdom of the popular press
and soon discovered the latest diet craze
"The Atkins Diet," (yes,
the very same Atkins Diet that is popular
today). This diet appealed to me because
it was 1) simple to follow (limited food
choices), and 2) allowed foods I liked.
Here's the diet: All you want of fat laden
meats, eggs, cheese, butter, oils, anything
fat is okay, but no breads (whole grain
or otherwise), grains, rice, beans and little
if any vegetables or fruits. Sounded sensible
enough to me (I was 13, remember).
This was my chance to eat fried burgers
all day and I truly loved hamburgers
will be easy," I thought to myself
with a smug smile. I fried up a couple nice
plump burger patties for my dinner, hold
the bun. I can recall the scene like it
was yesterday: The grease filled pan, the
greasy smell in the air. Yummy! Then I sat
down to my plate of charred, greasy cattle
flesh and poured ketchup all over it (a
primary food group for me). No problem,
I could eat like this forever.
Enough of This --
By the third day of hamburger patties I
was pretty sick of that, but I couldn't think
of anything else I could eat. And I was
starving. All I could think about was toast.
I decided to call it quits. I don't know
if I lost weight. I don't remember.
How anyone could expect to stay on a diet
for any length of time was beyond me. Besides,
what difference would it make if I just
went straight back to my usual eating habits?
It seemed like an idiotic way to suffer
for ultimately nothing. I decided dieting
was stupid and never bothered to try another
fad diet again.
Mono-Food Days: The
My next eating weirdness was the apple
machine in high school. I received an allowance
of $6 bucks a week. This money was to be
spent for my extras like movies, candy,
whatever, but also included any clothes
I might want other than those I got for
birthdays, Christmas and the new school
year. I quickly learned how to stretch my
I was given lunch money, and discovered
the joy of the 10-cent apple. We had an
apple machine in the school with big, beautiful,
crisp red delicious apples. This became
my lunch, and I could keep the 25 cent profit
(this was when 50 cents bought a movie.)
Since I was hardly eating any lunch I'd
be starving when I'd get home from school.
I'd scout about the kitchen finding whatever
I could get away with and spirit my goods
to my room where I'd eat straight through
I'd eat entire bags of potato chips and
get in trouble for it, "I don't know
why I bother buying chips, you just eat
them all." I'd eat potato chips with
ketchup (remember, I loved ketchup), fresh
tomatoes from the garden and then I'd be
in trouble for having the salt shaker in
my room. Notice any pattern? Salt seemed
heavily featured. Maybe what I really could
have used was a big glass of water or a
more substantial lunch?
Fasting > Feasting
What about fasting to lose
This made sense. Just don't eat
anything. Of course you'd lose weight. I
decided to fast for a week which turned
out to be about four days. The first day
was the worst, then the hunger went away
and the next few days were fine. I was a
little light headed but since I didn't do
any kind of physical activity, it was tolerable.
Then came the fourth day. Suddenly back
came my hunger with a vengeance, and it
was not to be denied. So okay. Fast over.
What did I do? Did I follow the advice
to get back to eating slowly? Perhaps a
little broth the first day, then some tiny
bites the next and the next until after
several days you could get back to eating
a full sized portion? No, not Gusto Girl.
I ate everything in sight. Stuffed it in,
until I was sick, and this was the first
time I'd overeaten to the extent that death
would have been a welcome relief. I had
cramps and stomach pains I could never have
imagined. That was the last time I tried
Recapping My Dieting
So, let's recap. One three-day diet, and
one four-day fast. My dieting history so
far was working out to be a joke. Meanwhile
I'd go back to my usual eating habits. The
mono-food style of eating stayed with me
because it required the least of my attention.
From that day forward I tended to eat the
same foods, as most people do, on a regular
basis. For an entire year I had a cheeseburger
and fries at the company cafeteria, every
day, without fail. I liked the taste (still
liked those burgers). My weight stayed between
130 - 135 lbs., which for my height was
Another year I ate a bagel and yogurt every
day for lunch. Every day, day after day,
until I couldn't face bagels for a very
long time. There has been a Chunky Soup
phase, every day for lunch in my office.
I use the pop top cans and eat it cold, straight
out of the can -- Hey, maybe I could make
commercials like that guy who eats Subway
everyday? I should call them.