LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — It’s Week Three of my Back to School diet and I just finished a bowl of shredded wheat for breakfast. How hungry am I right now? Pretty darn hungry. But I can look into my empty bowl and see that victory is coming.
This effort to lose weight is to get rid of 10 solid pounds that crept on me over the summer. Even though I’d been telling myself I was mostly eating vegetables, it turns out they were accompanied by a lot of meat and cheese and bread. For a while, I rode with it, enjoying myself so much. I ordered dessert at restaurants. I baked zucchini bread and spread the still-warm slices with butter. I ate pasta with fresh tomatoes and Parmesan. I made ribs and slathered them in sauce.
It was, I’ll admit, a very good time. But when my stepdaughter Gabrielle went back to school, I realized it was time to also get back to reality. For the first time in months, I stepped on the scale and realized, no, I hadn’t gotten away with my indulgence. And when I tried to put on a pair of jeans, they bluntly confirmed it.
So, for the past three weeks, it’s been cucumber slices and salt for my snack, a big biscuit of shredded wheat for breakfast and a sandwich (no mayo, lots of lettuce, a little meat) for lunch. At night, I let loose a little, but I don’t have seconds. And I don’t sneak chocolate chips for dessert either though I really, really want to.
At first, it was painful. I opened the fridge door and just stared at the extra-sharp cheddar we’ve got in the cheese drawer. How delicious would that taste melted over some Triscuits or in a grilled-cheese sandwich fried up in butter? For a while, even the buttermilk looked good to me and I imagine tilting up that bottle to my lips and taking a tangy swig. At every minute, my stomach grumbled unhappily at me, and all I could think of was what I wasn’t allowed to have anymore.