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On Dieting

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Well, I don't know how this happened but it seems that I've gotten slightly fat. My pants won't button. Bras cut off my circulation. Even my socks are tight. Could it have been the five pounds of toffee candy my mother sent from the Hershey's catalog? More likely, the daily handful of chocolate chips stolen from the open bag stored in my freezer was the culprit. Whatever the cause, I needed to do something drastic, and fast.

When I was young, I could lose weight by avoiding ice cream for two consecutive weekends. It worked.

At this age, however, I require a substantial, professional diet plan.

I researched several diet plans, bought a calorie counter guide and a tiny food scale. I went to the library and perused the diet books. I taped a Recommended Foods list to my refrigerator. I tucked the calorie counter booklet into my purse for handy access. Beginning a diet is an encouraging moment. There is so much to do. It's almost exciting.

Two weeks of study and comparative analyses, and I'm finally ready to begin the actual dieting part of the plan.

But first, I christened the diet plan by eating all the ice cream in the freezer.

Then, I stood before the mirror, and had a stern discussion with myself. "Look at that," I chastised. "You should be ashamed of yourself." I sucked in my stomach and turned. My profile was worse than I expected. "Oh, you have lots of work to do."

On the first day, I was excellent. I looked up the caloric content of everything I ate. I paid attention to quantity. I didn't cheat.

On day two, I lined up Nestle chocolate chips on the counter in the shape of a slice of bread which was my one selected carbohydrate for the day.

On the third day, I called the phone number listed on the last page of the diet book. I wanted to report a misprint. "The diet describes a single serving of pasta to be no larger than a tennis ball," I said. "That can't be right. I eat that much while stirring in the marinara sauce."

The diet professional sounded kind, patient and thin. She said: "An average person should eat quantities of food no larger than their own fist."

"What if you're small boned?" I challenged, but she had vaporized. I stood at the counter nibbling a Graham cracker. Everyone knows if you eat standing up it doesn't count.

Day four. I'm so hungry I could eat cardboard. But first, I'll have to check the calorie counter guide book to see if it's a carbohydrate.