Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Looking for the perfect weight loss program?

A friend of mine was a little heavy, not fat mind you, but just a few pounds more than she should have been carrying on her five foot four inch frame. The men who liked her used the word ‘ample’ to describe her figure, while a few of the women referred to her as ‘chunky.’ Dieting was a frequent topic of discussion when she was in the break room. These discussions were usually instigated by the ones who ate like a bird and had never carried an extra pound in their life.

Tired of the subtle hints and the sidelong glances from some of her coworkers, she searched and found the perfect weight loss program. It came in a box that looked remarkably like the ones containing a game called Monopoly. I could not see what the cards and pads had to do with losing weight, so she explained it to me. The most interesting item was a little cardboard envelope shaped like the ones they use to serve fries in at the fast food places. This was called the ‘point container,’ and you were supposed to keep it nearby—in a shirt pocket or in the top of a purse—where is would serve as a reminder.

Leaving off an extra helping of potatoes earned you a point that went into the ‘point container.’ A large slice of chocolate cake was worth two points. The goal was to try to accumulate 35 points in any given week. Now here is the good part and I can whip up an appetite just thinking about it. You could redeem the points by trading twelve of them for a banana split or nine for a small T-bone steak.

“I don’t think this is going to help,” I told her as gently as I could. “Here is what I do to control my weight,” I began, but I had only reached the middle of the second sentence when she interrupted.

“What do you know about dieting?" she demanded. "You have never carried an extra ounce in your life! I have talked to Bill about this and he thinks it will work.”

At that time, Bill weighed around 300 pounds, and none of it was in the right places. I tried again, explaining that she should talk to someone who was thin, and see what they were eating and the size of the portions.

“Look, you idiot!” she screamed at me. “Bill has been on a hundred diets during his lifetime. Why should I talk to someone who has never had any weight problems?”

There is a strange logic in her way of thinking. If I figure it out—and I am still working on this—I am going to use it in a novel.

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