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Diet Is A Four-Letter Word

I panicked the day I discovered the only thing that fit me without cutting off my circulation was my shoes.

"Why are you eating your cereal standing next to your chair?" my husband asked during breakfast. "Sit down. You're making the kids nervous."

"I can't."

He looked confused.

"I am wearing my relaxed fit jeans which means I have to either stand or lean without bending my legs, and take no more than two shallow breaths every ten seconds."

"Then why don't you go to the store and get some in a bigger size?"

"What do you mean? This is my size," I looked at him as if he suggested I drive to the nearest television station and broadcast my weight over the five o'clock news.

Instead of getting new jeans I decided to go the bookstore and buy " The Joy of Dieting". I read how much fun and empowering weight control can be and how much better I will look and feel after eating nothing substantial for the rest of my life. Then I tossed the book in the back of my closet along with my exercise videos and All Natural Ingredients cookbook.

"I don't know why you are worried," my husband said. "You look fine."

"Sure, if I lived in pre-Renaissance France," I said. "But I want to look good by today's standards."

I decided to keep my weight loss program simple so I went to the grocery store and bought a six pack of diet chocolate shakes. The first few days went great since meal preparation consisted of opening a can and inserting a straw. For variety I poured it into a Styrofoam cup and pretended to be eating at a fast food restaurant. Unfortunately, by the end of the week my teeth were bored and my body was yearning for something substantial. I began to fantasize about marinating a steak in the chocolate shake drink and tossing it on the grill while dancing around the flames waving a picture of Tommy LaSorta.

I went back to the bookstore and picked out a few diet books with amazing proclamations in big letters on the cover. First I tried the "Diet of the Stars" since it promised me a "lighter, brighter future" in just 30 days. It recommended eating foods in a certain order so my enzymes wouldn't get confused and make my body turn everything into fat. For the first ten days I could only eat fruit. It started with strawberry day, followed by prune day, and grape day (which I looked forward to because, according to the author, I could have Champagne). I liked strawberries so I knew I was off to a good start. I was hungrier on the second day so I ate a double helping of prunes.

"What's wrong, Mommy?" my children asked as I ran down the hall clutching my stomach.

"I'm organizing my enzymes," I cried.

On day three I was still recovering from day two and couldn't manage to drag myself out of the bathroom long enough to pull the cork out of the Champagne bottle.

I decided to try the next book: The Custom Cuisine Diet. I went on a strict food management plan with different menus I could sample and intermingle. For breakfast I combined the Gourmet, Money Saver, and International menu and ate half a hardboiled egg marinated in chicken bouillon. On the third day I noticed what the diet offered in variety, it lacked in fiber. I felt like a huge, bloated balloon.

Then my neighbor gave me the recipe for the Cabbage Soup diet. She promised I would see spectacular results if I ate nothing but the soup for a week. The first few days went great since I loved cabbage and was grateful for any diet that included fiber. On the third day I decided to sass it up by adding spices. I quickly progressed to noodles and potatoes, then worked my way up to adding a whole corned beef.

By the end of the month I still didn't have the body of my dreams.

"I am a diet failure," I said.

"Why don't you just eat balanced meals and join the local gym?" my husband said. "Exercise is great for toning muscles."

"What?" I cried, pointing an accusing finger at him. "Are you insinuating I'm FAT?"

Suddenly it was clear to me why I had failed. After all, how am I supposed to raise my confidence and self-esteem levels high enough to achieve success -- if he's going to walk around saying things like THAT?

By Debbie Farmer!

Debbie Farmer is a syndicated family humor columnist, freelance writer, and Lifetime Weight Watcher's member. You can read more of her columns or subscribe to her monthly e-mail column at her website: or you can contact her at: