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Dean's List: Imagine 4 1/2 lbs. of butter

Monday, February 27, 2012
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My new eating regimen is not a diet, I’ve been assured. It’s simply a way to eat sensibly that will result in a natural loss of weight.

What’s unspoken in these little homilies is that obviously I have not been eating healthfully and, just as obvious, I’ve put on some pounds.

This comes as no surprise to me. During the past year I’ve quit smoking and I’ve gotten married. They’re not related events except that both are known for causing weight gain. When the two events collide, you can resign yourself to shopping for bigger pants.

And there was that cruise we took where they stuff you like a goose whose liver is coveted by the foie gras maker.

So we’ve agreed to alter our habits by eating more healthfully and, in my case, returning to the exercise regimen I’d abandoned for reasons I can’t now remember.

We eat a lot of fruit and vegetables nowadays and very little fat. We’re following the plan of a well-known weight loss program in which foods are assigned points and you keep track of your daily intake by totaling up the points. If you stay within your allotted points, you lose weight.

“You don’t have to be hungry,” my personal trainer — let’s call her Beverly — said the other day. “You just have to eat the right things.”

The right things are apples, oranges, salads, celery and lettuce — because veggies and fruits carry no points. No cookies, of course, or fatty foods like sausages. You can have pasta and potatoes, but there are points to be tallied if you do.

After all this was explained to me, I think my first question was: “A Scotch on the rocks — how many points?”

Despite the answer, I signed on. I have accepted the underlying premise of the program. If you eat sensibly, you’ll live longer. (It will certainly seem longer, I grouse to myself.)

On a brighter note, after a week or two of eating sensibly and exercising, I had dropped 4 1⁄2 pounds.

What helps, Beverly said, is if you can visualize the weight you’re losing.

“Picture four pounds of butter and then two more sticks of butter.”

“Does it have to be butter?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said patiently, “because we know what a pound of butter looks like. What would you like it to be?”

“Peanut butter.”

Well, wouldn’t you know, peanut butter won’t work in visualizing weight loss because who knows what 4 1⁄2 pounds of peanut butter looks like.

“Okay, so we’ll use butter,” I said agreeably and then closed my eyes to do my visualization.

“Wait, what happens if now I want to eat the butter?”

My personal trainer said some bad words, and we decided mutually that visualization is not a tool that will be useful to me.

Nevertheless, I’m keen on this regimen because the weight is dropping steadily and I’m assured it will become my way of life.

There are temptations to stray, of course, but I’m fortunate in having a personal trainer who is both supportive and compassionate.

The other day, I had the TV tuned to one of those food shows where this guy travels around the country and samples the native cuisine. In this segment, he’s in Georgia and a chef is demonstrating how to make Southern-style fried chicken.

“God, that looks so good,” I said.

“You can have fried chicken,” Beverly said.

“Yeah, right,” I said, “but then I can’t eat anything else all day.”

“All week actually,” she said and then laughed evilly.

Irv Dean is the Gazette’s city editor. Reach him by email to dean@dailygazette.com.

 
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