Saturday, October 3, 2009

Denial she is a river in Egypt

posted Thu, 02 Sep 2004

I lasted 13 hours before I fell off the Atkins wagon (or bandwagon). Yes, I succumbed to the hype. There are those last stubborn ten pounds that refuse to leave gracefully, not unlike the dinner guests who stay and stay, despite the fact that you have washed all the dishes and cleaned the kitchen, put on your pajamas and are no longer bothering to cover your mouth when you yawn.

Extra pounds can’t take the hint. I tried to shame them, showing them another woman my height but 20 pounds lighter.

Not that I’m sensitive about my weight or anything, but I still remember the trauma of reading the story “Class Factotum The Fat Cow” when I was in third grade.

The pounds responded truculently, saying, “Yeah, and she wears a size five shoe and you wear a nine. Of COURSE she weighs 20 pounds less than you do.”

They shut up when I grabbed two handfuls of extra pounds on my belly and shook them. “I can do the same to my butt and thighs, so don’t mess with me,” I threatened.

They still didn’t leave. It was time for the gloves to come off and for me to play mean. I decided to try Atkins. Everyone I know who has done it has lost weight. Lots of weight. It was my turn.

I went to the Atkins website and printed the instructions for the induction phase. I could eat as much unprocessed meat, poultry, fish and butter and as many eggs as I wanted. Daily, I could have up to four ounces of hard cheese, three cups of lettuce, mushrooms, mache, or some other highly undesirable vegetables. No diet soda, no coffee, nothing not on the first list.

I had two pieces of sausage and some cheese for breakfast. And a diet Coke. Come on. No carbs in diet Coke. How bad can it be? It’s that or chocolate to get caffeine into my body.

I usually have one piece of sausage and a cup of yogurt. I gotta admit that I didn’t get hungry as quickly with the Atkins breakfast – but it was also 400 calories more than I usually ingest for that meal.

At lunch, I had a chicken breast.

By supper, I was starving, despite the little snack of liver sausage I had mid afternoon. (Incidentally, liver sausage is not so good straight. It needs to be on homemade Swedish rye bread.) I had a hamburger – no ketchup – and then, still starving, fried two eggs in butter. And ate them.

At 7:30, I felt a little weird. I’d had some dizzy spells at the gym – perhaps I had just stood too quickly – but the odd feeling did not go away even after I stopped all that ridiculous exercise.

So I caved. I ate three plums. A carb binge. Me, down in the gutter with the other carb junkies, plum stains on my clothes, juice on my face. Disgusting.

I tried to get back on the straight and narrow this morning, even though I haven’t lost a single pound since I started this madness. I had sausage and cheese for breakfast again – but ate my lunch – a hamburger – at 9:30.

I broke again at lunch – went to Kroger for cottage cheese, which is verboten on Atkins. But it’s on the South Beach induction plan, I told myself. Yes, I am changing horses mid-stream. (Why would anyone do that, I wonder? Literally change horses midstream? Why not wait until you are on shore at least? What is the etymology of that phrase?)

So now I am on South Beach, which bans pretty much anything made with flour and/or sugar for the first two weeks. That seems so much more reasonable than Atkins. Of course, at this point, anything seems more reasonable than Atkins. I don’t like meat that much – the idea of eating nothing but for two weeks was making me gag.

The plan is this: I stay on the diet for two weeks, then go to the cooking school in Italy with my sister. Go off the diet while I am in Italy, then crawl back on when I return. Genius, no?

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