After a winter of gluttony I am once again on a quest to shed pounds.
Over the years I’ve tried a variety of diets, including the cabbage soup (slurp soup until you’d rather die than be slim), the low fat (I fantasize about an extra marital affair with a bag of chips), the low carb (bacon, bacon, bacon but no bread to wrap around a BLT) and the sea food (see food but don’t eat it).
The only diet that really has worked for me at all is the one where I expend more calories through work and exercise than I ingest. I know this sounds like a crazy, crackpot idea but, believe it or not, it seems to work for me.
But it isn’t getting any easier.
According to the experts, as people age their metabolism slows down and the threshold for the minimum amount of calories needed to break even drops. A teenager and a 50-something like me could both ingest the same calories, with one losing weight and the other gaining.
It’s not fair, especially when you consider how much extra work is involved for the senior to do simple chores. A trip to the store, for example, can become a marathon of me rounding up my keys, wallet, glasses, shoes and hat – can’t forget the orange hat. Step one usually starts with me upstairs clutching my pocket to make sure my wallet is on board. Then I’ll head downstairs to put on my shoes and grab the keys. Once they are on, I’ll realize my glasses are upstairs and will have to retrace my steps, including taking off my shoes because it’s easier than denying that I have no idea how mud got in the house. Back upstairs, I’ll set down the keys while looking for and finding my glasses. About the time I have my shoes laced for the second time I’ll realize the keys are now upstairs.
No Stairmaster needed for me, thank you. The procedure can become even more complicated for chores like walking the dogs because leashes have to be found and treats pocketed. The dogs, for their part, have learned not to get excited too soon. They know the human dashes up and down the stairs several times before they’re asked out the door so they sit patiently and watch, their heads swinging back and forth like fans at a tennis match.
Besides calculating how many calories you can have, of course, one must also keep track and add up all the different tidbits that pass over the lips during the course of a day.
All of this counting of calories has got me to thinking about serving size. It’s the bad news on the label. You know what I mean if you’ve ever counted calories. You get a bag of Nachos, look at the label and think that eighty calories isn’t too bad for a pillow-sized bag. Then you remember – or in my case my spouse remembers – to check the label for serving size, and you find out that it’s eighty calories per serving. Reading on just a bit further you learn that a serving is considered a single chip.
Of course I always find things like this out after I’ve already eaten the contents.
I might need the Stairmaster after all.
But who sets the serving size? The government? Catholics? Scientists?
And, who says you can only have one serving?
My dear thin spouse answers one, but how can one serving fit all?
And if that’s one per food item, how many servings of different items is one allowed to ingest per meal?
Can I, for example, have just one serving each of gravy, potatoes, stuffing, bread, butter, cheese, chips, steak, beans, corn, lettuce, pie, cake and cookies and still be eating reasonably? Can I wash it down with one serving of wine, beer and Margaritas and still expect to lose weight?
Maybe I can find a book that will answer these questions. I think I’ll go to the store if I can just find my keys.