A Visit from Satan
I don’t consider myself a health nut, but I do try to maintain a reasonable life style in this regard. I eat a decent amount of fruits and vegetables, and when I play golf I often eschew the motorized golf cart in favor of walking.
A good weight for me is about 185, not because some chart in a doctor’s office tells me so, but because it’s a weight at which I simply feel right. My body tells me so. To be honest, I’m generally on the losing side of this eternal struggle against Satan. It seems like I haven’t seen the good side of 185 since the last ice age, but if running causes more jiggling and wobbling than forward motion, I know I have a problem.
Winter is the worst season when it comes to keeping my weight under control for two reasons. First, I get less exercise than in the summer, but far worse, winter coincides with the fiscal eating season. Starting with Halloween, it picks up over Thanksgiving, peaks during the Christmas and New Year holidays, and then, only after Valentine’s Day does it release its hold. Since retirement I haven’t had to contend with that staple of corporate gluttony, the United Way Bake Sale, but it’s still little wonder that during the winter, I can creep up over 200 pounds with relative ease. “It’s okay,” I tell myself. “Come March, I’ll put things back in order!”
But I entered this February on the plus side of 215, and was feeling every ounce of it. It’s not the most I’ve ever weighed, but it’s close enough. Guilt gave way to panic; it was time for action, as in (eww) diet and exercise. Exercise was going to be difficult. I hadn’t been on a golf course since the middle of November. My clubs had been very naughty and I’d given them a “time out.” I’d picked up some of the slack by taking a two-mile walk from time to time, but not only is this less than the over four mile walk that golf entails, it’s just not as enjoyable. Perhaps more important, if I’m golfing, I’m not eating, except for an energy bar half way through the round.
This brings us to the other half of “diet and exercise,” diet. I looked at what I considered to be the two probable culprits, wine and snacks. Wine was surprisingly easy. I dutifully cut back to about half my prior wine consumption, though a bout with a cold did see the addition of some Chateau de NyQuil to my wine cellar.
Snacks were the bigger problem. I’ve found that though Triscuits may look healthy, they don’t add much to a diet except calories. The same can be said of cheese, and oh I do love peanut butter Ritz Bits. Yum! Then there’s Pringles, the ultimate junk food. At only 150 calories per serving, they should be safe, but six servings per container? Really?
Shopping for food is indeed a challenge. Occasionally I run the grocery store gauntlet, making it to the cash register with only healthy foods, but then what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a rack full of candy, with Three Musketeers! The checkout clerk prepares to bag that last purchase, but I intercept it and stick it in my pocket. It won’t last all the way home.
But somehow this time I’d discipline myself. I’d simply pass on junk food until I’d reached the promised land of 200, and then just be sensible about things. Sure enough, 215 pounds quickly became 212, then 210. I’d be back in business by March!
So it was that one fine Saturday, I was innocently sitting at my computer contemplating my next Facebook Scrabble move when, “ding dong!” It was my doorbell. I answered. It was Satan. Through the years I’ve come to recognize the devil when I see her. Make no mistake, Satan is female, looks to be about nine or ten years old, and wears a green sash with a number on it.
“Would you like to buy some Girl Scout Cookies?”