I recently discovered a new comfort food: scorched English muffins with grape jelly smeared on them. (They’re always scorched because my decrepit little toaster oven has gone haywire and the timer no longer works.) I spent most of my Thanksgiving break lounging on the couch, watching Benson, and eating a charred English muffin from time to time. It was heavenly.
A few weeks ago, I attempted to go on the Atkins Diet, but I ran out of food … and I didn’t have enough money to buy more Atkins-friendly groceries.
So I’m trying to lose weight the “regular” way: power-walking at the park, cutting back on soda, drinking more water, and avoiding food that tastes good.
Still, I wish I could continue with Atkins. I lost 70 pounds that way in 2003.
The Atkins Diet is easy if:
1.) You have an unlimited amount of money.
2.) You’re the only human being on Earth.
I’ve found that it’s nearly impossible to stick with the Atkins Diet during social gatherings. If you say you’re on the Atkins Diet (or any diet, for that matter) people immediately start to squirm and twitch. Maybe it’s because they think you’re miserable and they feel sorry for you. Maybe they’re worried about your health and well-being. Perhaps they can’t enjoy their own food while you’re sitting in their presence, “depriving” yourself.
Whatever the reason, if you arrive at a birthday party and tell people you’re on the Atkins Diet, they will inevitably pin you to the floor and cram handfuls of cake and ice cream down your throat. It’s just a law of nature.
It doesn’t matter if you say, “Hey, don’t feel bad for me. I’m fine. My body is in ketosis right now. My appetite is pretty much non-existent. Just go ahead and enjoy your food and don’t worry about me, OK?”
They won’t listen. They will force you to eat what they’re eating.
Before my doctor absconded to Mexico without warning, he told me that exercise is the most important part of an effective weight-loss program. While your dietary choices are obviously crucial, your exercise regimen is the real key to getting rid of fat. (Marcia, please correct me if I’m wrong. You know more about these things than I do.) I’ve made it a point to start walking at the track a few times a week. In fact, I need to finish typing this post so I can get up early in the morning and take a good, long walk.
Still, my relationship with food is what got me into this situation to begin with. Especially fast food.
In the back of my mind, there’s a hazy memory of a family road trip. I was about three years old. It was late at night, but I was wide awake. Boredom gnawed at my mind as I sat in the back seat, watching illuminated billboards float by in the darkness. (We were traveling from Central Florida to Northwest Georgia. It was a horrendously long ride, especially for a child.) My heart skipped with delight when my dad veered off the interstate and stopped at McDonald’s. I got a Happy Meal. The hamburger and fries were delicious. There was also a plastic pencil sharpener in the shape of Grimace, one the McDonald’s characters.
The feeling of boredom and restlessness gave way to euphoria as I ate my hamburger and played with my new trinket. In my little toddler mind, there was almost no difference between the Happy Meal and … say, Christmas morning.
That’s where it all started, I think.
I’m a grown man now and I’m responsible for my own actions, including my eating habits. But I’ve always found myself reaching for fast food whenever I feel anxious and uneasy — and I always feel a little bit anxious and uneasy.
I’m not going to draw anything else for the rest of the year. I want to spend the whole month of December relaxing, praying, reflecting on 2013, and taking stock of myself. (And eating burnt English muffins. And watching Benson. You know, I drew a picture of Robert Guillaume the other night and sent it to him on Twitter. It actually looked more like O.J. Simpson, but Mr. Guillaume seemed flattered. And that’s all that really matters.)
Anyway, I will write more later. It’s late. I need to sleep.
In the meantime, here are some “healthy” foods that I plan to start eating on a regular basis. If you would like to suggest some more, feel free to post a comment below.
* Broccoli with melted cheese
* Grilled chicken from KFC (by the bucketload)
* Canned corn
* The aforementioned English muffins
* Banana chips
* Baked potato chips
* Raisin bagels