“So how’s the diet going?” you ask. Well, I’ve been thinking about it a lot. And for those who follow this blog regularly, you know when I get to thinking that’s when things get weird. This time is no different. So, let’s begin.
I have decided that dieting is like a good marriage gone bad. Now, stick with me here and I will explain…although you must consider the source—me—and the fact that I’ve been on my first diet ever and I’ve had a good marriage for 47 years. Hence, I am no authority on dieting or bad marriages. But I’ve been to the movies, watched some TV, read a few books and I know a few folks who have divorced. That makes me a qualified observer on the two subjects at hand and I have discovered that the double-D process of dieting and divorce have much in common.
One begins a diet with utmost optimism, hope and energy, not to mention solid commitment. At first, one sticks to the diet like gorilla glue. You follow every day’s menu, you read and abide by the rules and oath you swore to regarding what you put in your body, plus you make frequent trips to the mirror and the scale to observe any early stage of success that may occur.
The initial stages of marriage are similar. At first you stick to your spouse like gorilla glue. When you are not forced to be separated by work you spend every moment spouse-side. You do everything together and follow the menu happily, especially dessert once you learn the 50 shades of jello. You also make frequent trips to the mirror to observe your appearance, making sure you look your best and are ready for any opportunity that may enhance the mission.
Moving on, now we’re a few weeks into the diet; maybe a few years into the marriage. The routine is getting too routine. The menu has become a little boring. There’s no excitement left in what was originally adventurous recipes and concoctions of exotic ingredients. Other, new temptations that come within range begin to look interesting, enticing and downright teasing But you remain disciplined because you know you need to stay loyal; you can’t give up….you’ve got too much invested and all the hunger and unfulfilled cravings cannot be in vain. You must carry on for the sake of all that you’ve given up.
Time, hunger and desire march on. It’s at about this time that you begin having trouble remembering exactly what week it was that you began this ridiculous trek and how much longer you can continue on. You haven’t had the success you anticipated and all those weeks of dedication were for what?—a few flirtatious flings with a belt notch you were never able to tolerate before. In fact the tighter belt is…is…well, it’s getting downright restrictive dammit. You’re tired of being held in and forced to continue passing up a McDonald’s mocha frappe or a Dairy Queen dipped in chocolate or a slug of that chocolate cake the guy at the next table is eating. Yeah, the fat guy with the big lippy smile, but does he care? He looks happy…free! And what are you as you sip your plant-based protein powder smoothie that taste like rancid sawdust?
The marriage, meanwhile, has reached a numbing stage. It’s become a big shot of Novocane leaving you feeling nothing physical except pressure. Meanwhile, you look over and the fat guy at the next table is now sucking away at a pile of babybacks gooey with barbecue sauce as the Jennifers Lawrence, Lopez, Aniston and Love-Hewitt laugh at his every joke while sensuously hand feeding him warm rolls drooling with butter. You want what he’s having. But you can’t. Tonight is poached chicken with quinoa and brussels sprouts boiled in olive oil. Events that you shared with your spouse, the ones that used to be intensified with curious new novelties and abandoned exploration, have turned traditional and now celebrated like commemorative government holidays with laborious shopping trips to the mall. You don’t even watch Survivor together anymore.
The diet, by now, has become a forbidden topic. You no longer want to talk about it (or blog about it, for that matter). You are just hanging on by your nail-bitten fingertips while those pants you wore two years ago and have fantasized getting back into are now once again folded and shoved in the bottom drawer where fantasies that don’t fit go to fade away.
And then, with absolutely no shame or embarrassment, you slowly begin to cheat. Ah, yes, there are other offerings that call out to you like Sirens on the rocks. First it’s little innocent things: an Oreo cookie someone left exposed in the rip-top package…then maybe you spoon a pint of the new core Ben and Jerry’s that someone put in the freezer and now you sense it beckoning for someone—anyone—to sample its innovative mixture of caramel sin and fat-laden cream. You begin to hoard things, safely hiding them in the closet upstairs in the event your spouse comes home unexpectedly. And after a while, you almost wish she would, maybe even catching you with a Dunkin’ Donut Apple ‘n Spice clenched half-way between your teeth as she cries “that’s it” and packs a carry-on for the next flight home to mother. It’s over.
So there you have it…my observations on dieting and marriages gone bad. There are questions yet to be answered, of course: will you marry again? …will you be fat again? Time will tell I suppose. In any case, if you must know, I have modified my diet a bit. I have adopted an ongoing commitment to boycotting certain foods and attempting to eat a lot less than I used to. I take it one day at a time and I am still sticking to my goal of being able to rest my chin on throat and see between my feet. I’m not there yet, but my toes are coming into view. And, oh yeah, my wife? That’s a given. True, Rosemarie continues watching Survivor without me, but we both remain committed to surviving together…regardless of how big my belly is.