Dieting isn’t a team sport, but it could’ve been if Mom wasn’t such a party-pooper… or in this case, a diet-dumper. “Awe, c’mon Mom. It’s your kind of diet. Listen; it says right here no exercise is necessary to lose five pounds in five days.” We all knew that exercise was a four-letter word to my mother. We didn’t even mention weight loss programs boasting a plan that included the e word. “I’ll be your partner; Dad can partner with Anne. I bet we can beat ‘em. Not only that, but we’ve chosen your favorite: peanut butter covered in chocolate! How ‘bout it; are ya in, Mom?”
“Uh, you go ahead, Honey.” Mom never looked up from the morning newspaper, spread across her lap. Alas, I knew the tone; we were on our own. Well, never mind, Dad’s enthusiasm made up for our missing dieter.
After distributing the individual boxes included in the Family Plan, Dad unfolded the instructions that he found on top of the 15 wrapped meal-in-a-bar goodies. “Okay, girls, here we go. This morning we can have one of these delicious, chocolate-covered peanut butter bars and one cup of black coffee. There’s no snack this morning and for lunch, uh, it’s another bar and half a cup of skim milk.” Dad had the biggest, toothy smile on his face as he glanced up from reading the instructions. “Don’t forget to drink your water –eight glasses of 8-ounces each by bedtime.” Did Dad notice our smiles turn down as he handed each of us a regular coffee mug, instead of our lovely, pint-sized cups? “Only one cup this morning, girls.” Guess he did.
“Daddy, I don’t think Europeans can drink their coffee black. I mean, Anne’s been drinking her coffee with cream and sugar since it was in her baby bottle, ya know.” Diet bar halfway to his mouth, Daddy moved his gaze to Anne. Brow narrowing ever-so slightly, eyes squinting as he considered the dilemma.
“Okie-dokie, well, she’s a guest so let’s make an exception, shall we?” Exception made, back to breakfast. We all sipped our coffee, rather than chugging it and nibbled the bar, instead of woofing it down. Who were we kidding? Eating slowly didn’t make us feel less hungry when we pushed away from the breakfast counter.
For five days, all of our proteins and fats were provided by the meal-in-a-bar, which was consumed three times a day. With the excitement similar to unwrapping Christmas surprises, my father began each morning by reading off the real-food bits allowed that day.
Day 2 was much the same as Day 1, with the exception of one raw carrot at dinner, which we cut into several small sticks, and half a cup of juice for a snack. By the end of Day 2, Anne complained of a little tummy-ache, but we both thought it was likely just hunger. My stomach made so much noise that Mom laughed just to look at me.
Day 3 ended with a minor crisis. Anne’s tummy-ache had increased and her poor mid-section ballooned like a mini-blimp. The addition of half an apple for mid-morning snack and a cup of tossed salad for supper, had quieted my growling tummy; but it was clear, Anne needed to drop out. She’d already gained two pounds. And Dad? The old cliché happy as a clam springs to mind. He meticulously weighed and measured every teensy bit of real food the instructions allowed, punctuating each bite with mmmmh’s or slurps.
On Day 4 dear, old Dad startled me from daydreaming about what I planned to eat on Day 6, when chocolate-covered peanut butter bars were only a memory. “How ya doin’, Punkin? Ready for breakfast?” I nodded and Dad poured the coffee, followed by the day’s instructions. Just one more day, I told myself, while listening to Dad’s mmmmhhing over his peanut butter bar.
Day 5 dawned and I leaped from bed to join Dad for this final day of meal-in-a-bar dining. The weigh-in would not be until the next morning so the winner would be declared tomorrow. Funnily enough, for the first time, Dad wasn’t whistling or humming as he set up the coffeemaker. I, on the other hand, sang and danced around the kitchen.
Final results in pounds: Dad, -7; me, -3 ½; Anne, +3… and Mom, -2. Yes, Mom; she discovered it’s no fun to eat alone.
Conclusion: Enjoying the journey may result in a more positive finish than merely enduring the discipline.
A true story
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