Body for Life

Today I encountered yet another diet book. I thought, after surviving the brutal hazing that was adolescent pseudo-bulimia, that I was done with diet books. I was done with diet books, as long as I was partial to two packs a day of Marlboro Lights 100s and fountains of Diet Coke. That method worked for so long that diets and their related books were back-shelved to the place in my mind that belonged to Adam Ant, MTV videos and Aquanet hairspray. Quaint, perhaps, but forgotten.

Then I had a couple of babies. Quit smoking. Rediscovered carrot cake and Havarti cheese. The smokes-and-Coke method never really did lead me down the slender path; it just sort of deposited me at the trailhead, where I cavorted as if any moment I would be the next Susan Sarandon, but meanwhile let's all just play along. Now that my only successful weight suppression method has been eighty-sixed, I'm back here, in the ugly place. The diet place.

I like to tell myself I don't care if I'm fat. I'm healthy, right? I can climb hiking trails, get through a Jazzercise workout, even touch my toes. I can shop for clothes in most places (although I do prefer Avenue Plus, where I browse the low end of the rack). I don't smoke anymore, I don't drink, I don't try to function on four hungover hours of sleep--so do I have to give myself such a hard time about the french fries with tartar sauce? Come on! Live a little!

Yet here I am, eyeballing that diet book like a secret lover. This one is Body for Life for Women, a title I felt immediately drawn to since "women" implies "fat and you just can't help it". In recent months I have scoured through South Beach, Sugar Busters! and The Zone, but by golly I'll bet this Body for Life will have just the ticket.

That would be the Fantasy Express ticket, of course. Because I don't really want to go on a diet. I want to read about diets, preferably over a triple-decker club sandwich and a Sobe Lean. I want to read that magic sentence that will instantly transform my metabolism into a rocketing furnace and sear away all fat from everywhere but my boobs. When I read these diet books, the excitement alone knocks off a couple of pounds.

It all looks so easy! Of course! If only I had realized years ago that all I had to do was control my portions, eat responsibly and maintain a rigorous exercise program, then imagine where I would be right now. Perhaps I would prefer carrot sticks. Perhaps I would be the kind of person who leaves a slice of chocolate cake half-eaten on her plate. Perhaps I would shop at the Bon and twirl around in scarves and skirts in delirium like the sale-maddened housewives on the commercials--but alas. We will never know.

I was fat; then I smoked; then I was fat again. Maybe there's a chapter in the new book that addresses my dilemma. It will be called: Body for Living a Little Too Much.

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