Hubs and I have been married for 16 years. Over that time, he habitually tells everyone he meets that he’s learned a lot about women in those years. Apparently, his first two wives weren’t what he calls girly-girls, so he came into our relationship with only a rudimentary understanding of the term “high maintenance.”
Hubs has learned how many different shades of black there are for boots, why every bed requires a minimum of six throw pillows, and how a woman can be on a diet for 15 years and never lose an ounce. He can cut back on late-night chip dip and knock off a quick eight pounds, while I’m down the hall charting the pros and cons of various weight-loss options and why they never work. Admittedly, I have a dieting attention span of approximately three hours. And I’ve been on virtually every recognized diet on the planet (including a few that came with a warning label, “Do Not Do For More Than Three Days, or You Will Die.” What the hell, I was young).
Whenever he looks confused about yet another failed attempt to divest myself of the same 10 pounds I’ve been battling since 1974, I explain to him, again, how the entire premise of dieting is just wrong. Diets work like budgets, Both are about deprivation. The first thing budget experts tell you to do is write down everything you like to spend money on. Then they get out their fat red markers and cross off all the “unnecessary things” you can’t buy anymore. We’ve just reach our first crossroads.
I told our first fiscal planner, “If I could resist these things, I wouldn’t buy them. In that case, I wouldn’t need your advice. But since I can’t resist them, there’s no point in telling me that I can’t buy them because I’m going to anyway, and now I’m a loser, but with fabulous boots.” (Hubs points our here that we’re on our third accountant.)
Diet experts, similarly, tell you to write down all your favorite foods, and then tell you that you can never eat them again. Ever. Yeah, no. If I liked broccoli, I’d eat broccoli, in which case, I wouldn’t need you and your stupid food diary. Since I hate broccoli and I love chocolate, here we are, back at Deprivation Gulch. Hubs claims that after 16 years, this makes a weird sort of sense to him. He’s learning.
Meanwhile, the poor guy has vicariously lived through a multitude of failed programs with an admirable lack of judgment. There was Weight Watchers. All that planning, counting, and cooking food I wasn’t going to eat, quickly devolving into a drive-by lobbing of their annoying Point Counter into the soccer field on my way to DQ for an Oreo Lava Blizzard. He quietly sat through a short trial of Nutrisystem. Foil-wrapped space shuttle food. Tried it once and gave the nonrefundable supply to Paco, my Chihuahua, who will eat anything. Except that. Moving forward to Medifast. Hungry, all the time. And consequently bitchy. All. The. Time. And of course we tried low carb. By day three, I would have tossed Paco under a bus in a NY minute for a bagel. Not my best moment.
Finally, I ended up at Jenny Craig. No cooking, counting, meetings, or public weigh-ins. Simply pick out my favorite Jenny foods and poof, a month-long supply right to our door, all pre-packaged, actually edible, and ready to eat. Perfect. Hubs thought the portions looked a tad scant, and I almost lost him over the shipping and handling (14 boxes of frozen food, overnight express, from eight states away…ouch), but I promised that this time, I’d stay on it until the food was gone. Deal.
The UPS truck pulled up, and we watched while box after box was unloaded and set on the porch. It quickly became obvious that Jenny was going to take up every square inch of our kitchen fridge and freezer. Hubs was trying to be supportive, but he finally turned to me and stated flatly, “If I find one of those frozen boxes in my beer fridge, Jenny dies.” Fair enough.
I lost 13 pounds over the next three months. Then I quit eating Jenny food, and gained it back in six weeks. Well, crap.
It was clear that programmed dieting was not for me, so Hubs suggested just making small, daily changes, on the premise that they would eventually add up and coax recalcitrant scale numbers to budge downward. That could work.
Since my biggest struggle is giving up desserts, I started shopping for smaller portions of my favorites. But Sara Lee doesn’t sell one cookie or one slice of cake. This often meant buying the smallest size available, eating enough to satisfy the original lust, and then throwing the rest away so I don’t pork it all down in one evening just because “it’s there.”
Then one night, a sweet attack sent me scurrying to the local bakery for one of those “individual size” German chocolate cakes (for 2+ individuals, but only if you share. Bahahahaha). I gently warmed it up, ate what I wanted, and tossed the rest. As I walked away, I looked at Hubs, proudly, and said “I’ve so got this down.”
Until I got up the next morning.
He came into the kitchen while I was bent over, face in the garbage and butt in the air, and said, “I know I’m going to be sorry I asked, but what are you doing??” I thought about lying and saying I was taking out the trash, but we’ve been married too long. What the hell. “I’m looking to see if my cake touched anything skeevy in here. If not, grab a fork, because we’re getting it out of here.” “Oh, for God’s sake,” he replied, “Get your coat and we’ll go buy you a new piece. And today, this diet sh** ends. Just eat the damn cake.”
He so gets me.