The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

January 7, 2014

The problem with dieting is good food always seems to get in the way

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 — I looked up the word “diet” in the dictionary the other day.

To my surprise, “torture” was not one of the words used to describe it. Instead, diet was described in two main ways: as the foods we eat and a special course of food to help lose weight.

The examples of the useage of the word went like this: “I’m going on a diet” and “It’s difficult to diet.”

That pretty much sums me up in a nutshell.

I’ve gone on numerous diets in the past and, for the most part, have been successful. I considered myself skinny growing up but at some point in my life, likely when I was sleeping, the fat genie cursed me with a bigger tummy and an uncontrollable urge to stuff my face 24 hours a day.

Even when I’m sleeping, it appears. There’s no other way to explain how I’ve gained the weight I have.

When I was in my early 20s, I was able to exercise and eat a specific diet almost every day to lose weight. I’d go to a middle-school track and walk around it eight times, which totals two miles. I’d then have a tuna sub from Subway at least five days a week.

Yes, I invented the Jared diet long before he rode that plan to success. If I had only thought of walking into a Subway with a big pair of my jeans and telling the manager what I had accomplished. ... Sigh.

Many years after that diet, the rigors of driving to and from sporting events and writing stories began to pack the pounds again. So I decided to try Nutrisystems.

I made that decision on Sept. 10, 2001.

I visited a nutritionist, bought a ton of food and went home early in the morning set on beating the bulge yet again. Then I got a call around 9 a.m. about the attack on the towers at the World Trade Center.

That was a rough day, to say the least. But I was proud of the fact that despite a newsroom full of pizza that was bought for the reporters who were covering their own angles on the horrific day, I was able to say no to eating a slice.

Believe me, on that day, I could have eaten every piece.

But with the willpower still in hand, I was able to lose weight again and keep it off for several more years.

Then, back in the late 2000s, I regressed into old habits and gained weight again. I had made a move to Columbus, Ga., to work at a newspaper there and fell into some inconsistent trends. Like eating at Denny’s three times a week at 3 a.m. or scarfing down doughnuts and every other fattening food along the way.

One day, I made a trip to Charlotte to see a friend of mine and noticed how incredibly thirsty I was. That also created an urge to stop at every other rest stop and fast-food joint to empty what I had consumed. Then I would consume more. Rinse and repeat.

At the advice of my friend, I went to see a doctor. He told me as soon as he introduced himself that I had type 2 diabetes.

Another kick in the pants to get in shape. And I did that and kept the weight off for another long stretch.

Now, here we are again.

I’ve realized that part of my problem in trying to lose weight is I’m older. I’ve read stories about how getting rid of the pounds is tougher as you age.

It also doesn’t help that food tastes better than ever. And there’s so much of it to enjoy, too.

As much as I kidded in last week’s column about making resolutions to lose weight, this is the first time I’ve really taken the task to heart. I’ve seen countless commercials about losing the weight, trying this diet and that diet and everything else you can imagine under the sun.

But I’ve come to the realization that in order to make it happen, I’ve got to do the simple things like count the calories, exercise and watch when I eat.

Dieting has to be the toughest thing next to giving birth. And since we men don’t have to endure such an event, I can safely say dieting is the most difficult thing I’ll ever do.

Again.

But what about all that leftover candy and sweets from Christmas? It would be such a waste to throw it out. To me, that’d be like rolling down the window and emptying my wallet.

Then again, maybe not, since my wallet doesn’t currently have any money in it.

But it will be a difficult task, all kidding aside. So I’ve got to find a new way to approach the problem and tackle it head-on.

It’ll help that I have learned to swim and want to get in the water every day. The exercise will no doubt do me some good, especially if the instructors tie a chicken leg to a pole and walk along the side of the pool as I’m paddling frantically trying to catch it.

It may also help to learn things such as how beaver butts emit goo used in vanilla-flavored foods. Or how Polydimethylsiloaxane, or PDMS, is used in a lot of fast foods. It’s also used in Silly Putty, dry-cleaning solutions and head-lice treatment.

Then again, if I want to eat smart and go with Jell-O as a dessert, there is the fun fact that gelatin consists of the collagen extracted from an animal’s skin and bones.

Yummy.

So I guess there’s no easy way to lose weight, and I’m sure I’ll find it harder than ever before to accomplish my goals. But if I stick to it, maybe I can turn the tide this time.

Besides, if I can eat a hot dog without getting gross over its contents, I can do anything.

Except, of course, give birth.

To submit story ideas, contact Jason O. Boyd at (704) 982-2121 ext. 21 or email at jason@stanly newspress.com.

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