Archive for Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Beal: With grandkids gone, it’s back to dieting

November 3, 2009

The house is quiet again.

The grandchildren, and their parents, left a week ago. The house was a flurry of activity during their visit, timed each year to coincide with our granddaughter’s birthday. We baked and stocked up on all manner of comestibles – pot roasts, meat loaf, cakes, cookies, etc. – that we don’t normally keep on hand. I manfully avoided temptation for the first day or two, mindful of the diet I’ve forced upon myself for several months now, but one can resist just so much. I succumbed for a day or two, and put back on a few of the pounds I so laboriously shed as summer waned into fall. But then they left, clearing out the excess goodies from the refrigerator and the pantry with their departure, and it was back to broiled meat and salads again for a few days.

Then the neighborhood hobgoblins – do you notice, too, that they seem to be fewer in number each year? – came and went Saturday with little effect other than to deplete most of the stocks of candy and other snacks we’d laid in on their behalf.

But now most all of that’s gone, as well, and I can get back to my sensible, if mundane, diet.

Although I appreciate the result, dieting has always been difficult for me. I like to eat too much. In fact, as I get older, I find that eating is one of the few pleasures I can still enjoy.

Of course it would be better if you could find a way to live your life without watching television. However much resolve you take away from the dinner table, it’s sure to be eroded by the constant barrage of mouth-watering commercials for restaurants, fast-food joints or food preparations.

If you think you might avoid the commercials and watch public television, think again. You’d better be prepared for a renaissance of interest in the cooking shows of Julia Child. Watching Julia prepare an omelet or brown the beef for boeuf bourguignon will set your mouth to watering and your stomach to rumbling, I guarantee.

It’s even more of a challenge if you like to eat out at all. Restaurants, as a rule, are not known for preparing low-calorie fare, and their portions are anything but modest.

The trick, of course, if you cannot completely control what you eat, is to at least exercise some discipline over how much you consume. Fat chance, to use an appropriate metaphor. Try eating one french fry. For that matter, try eating two, or three.

To give myself a little flexibility in my diet, I’ve also started exercising regularly, something my doctor and my wife have been after me to do for years. Now that I’ve retired I find I have time for that, and have made it a regular part of my routine most days. I walk – about 16 miles a week right now, although I hope to increase that amount as time goes on.

But the effects of exercise only go so far. How far do you suppose you’d have to go to walk off a bacon cheeseburger? Probably to Chicago.

Still, I persevere. I know it will be worth it in the long run. The vision of a new, slimmer me beckons, of no longer having to shop in the “big and tall” sections. Now, maybe if I eat just one or two bites of that cheesecake …

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