Monday, January 02, 2006

Losing lard

Mother came home from Dr. Hayden's office with some packets of pills. He'd prescribed them to her and told her to give some to me. We both started at the same time, taking one pill a day. Each pill's effect lasted for 12 hours, so I always waited until later in the morning to take mine since I stayed up late at night in those days.

Within one month's time, I'd lost 24 pounds. I also earned A's on all my finals, saving me from flunking out of school my freshman year at the University of Idaho. I was euphoric, usually 12 hours a day. Mother lost enough pounds in a few weeks to swim in the lavender skirt-and-jacket ensemble she'd ordered from Sears for Mike's graduation from West Point.

It was 1966, the year of the diet pill. That same year, those wonderful pills that made women across our nation move so fast every day and lose so much weight so quickly and oh, so easily, were suddenly taken off the market. Mother and I enjoyed two batches of them before we were told that was all we'd be getting. Upon that news, I cut them in half just to make them last longer.

Later, we learned they were nothing other than legalized "Speed." They sure did work better than anything in helping us shed those extra pounds. I can recall days, while on the pills, when all I ate was one bowl of jello with no fruit or one slice of bologna, and I was fully satisfied.

I also remember how quickly my mind worked and how for the first time as a dumb freshman in college, I came alive during lecture hours and took notes fastidiously and efficiently----something I'd neglected to do for the first three quarters of college.
Somehow, up until then, I'd banked on osmosis to make me brilliant; little did I know about the true workings of biology. Maybe the Speed helped me figure out that attending class, notetaking and listening were necessary aids for osmotic efficiency.

I really craved and liked those daily pills and felt sad when I popped the last one sometime during the summer of 1966 as the nation learned that this miracle diet rage had helped women lose weight but was also quickly turning them into drug dependent crazies.

I thought about those magnificent days of losing all that weight while reading an article on the front page of today's Spokesman-Review newspaper. In the accompanying photo, a lady is standing inside her tent-like pants, which she somehow managed to slip into while weighing nearly 500 pounds. She now weighs 178 pounds, and she's planning to team up with a friend with Saturday sessions during January to talk to others about sensible weight loss and how it requires a complete change of lifestyle.

I thought her goal sounded pretty refreshing, considering the multitude of gimmicks that arise year after year in that ongoing quest we all follow in removing or keeping ourselves free of being called "lard asses" behind our backs. I've been there most of my life, and I've done the diets along with that one in 1966. I think it's taken me a lifetime to learn what that lady in the Spokesman has learned over the past couple of years.

Dieting for us overly-abundant souls never stops. It will always involve eating less and exercising more. In order for it to be successful, we must commit to a lifetime. We must also know ourselves well enough to know what works best for us. I firmly believe that a dieting strategy should be individualized to the person.

In my case, most people would tell me I'm crazy cuz "you don't eat any breakfast. People should always eat a good breakfast." I've been told that time and again.
Well, that morning meal doesn't work for me. If I eat a good breakfast, I eat all day. It triggers my desire to eat more and a little more and then maybe one more bite. Moreover, if I eat a good breakfast, I have nothing to look forward to as the day passes. If I eat a good breakfast, I'm sluggish and I don't care to go exercise. I'd rather sit on the couch because my tummy's full.

If I don't eat a good breakfast, however, and nibble on something light like a slice or two of cheese for lunch, I can enjoy my dinner and even my afternoon fix of two chocolate treasures with my coffee. My body actually feels like moving throughout the day because it's not feeling sluggish. And, when I've made it to 4 p.m. without eating a whole lot, I feel great.

Occasionally, there are times when I go to lunch with friends or maybe nibble a few extra goodies during the day. When those infractions to my regimen do occur, I must play "trade off." I have played so I must pay by exercising more rigorously or having just a bite or two for dinner. I've also learned to eat a lot less bread, fewer potatoes and less pasta----all of which I love. These strategies keep things pretty even in my system and allows me to venture off course occasionally without experiencing a dieting disaster.

That's what works for me. After nearly sixty years losing miserably on a variety of losing propositions, I've also finally learned that I must follow this personal regimen the rest of my life----not just for the three or four weeks of said diet. I've learned in my "modern maturity" that keeping off pounds does, indeed, make us look better, but, at this age, it also allows us a much better chance at living longer and more productively.

I do not believe that whatever works for me would work for many other people. Instead, I think the key to dieting is to know oneself and to know which dangling carrots provide us our individual psychological advantages to stay the course. In my case, if I've been good all day, I can be proud and I can enjoy my dinner. If I haven't, then I know I've got work to do tomorrow, and I'd better stick with it.

Nope, this losing stuff----when it comes to our personal lard----ain't ever easy, but it can make a positive difference in our lives. The key is to skip the gimmicks which involve no personal discipline, including the speed, and find the individual plan or lifestyle that works. Then, stick to it---for good.

I admire anyone who can do this because the battle of fat is ongoing. Victory and a permanent peace are never ever assured.


Word Tosser said...

I remember those pills.... I had the cleanest house you ever saw in your life. I washed the windows everyday, I went thru the house within 2 hour. Vacumn, washed, dried everything in sight. lol.. for two months. Then I too, was told no more.. then I became a WITCH with a B. Took me two days and a hiding family, to figure out what the deal was, and bring it back into check.
I agree with you on the breakfast. Just give me my cup of coffee and I am good to at least noon. Dr. says that is the reason behind my pear shape.. Don't know the you.. I think it is a matter of life style and finding the will power. And remembering it took 20 years to get here.. might take 10 to reverse it.

stebbijo said...

I remember that stuff too. My house was also really clean. That is what I remember the most - as a stay at home Mom. Gad - I cannot believe at our age we are talking about the legalized speed days.

MLove said...

Where's that Speed when we need it? I have a feeling a lot of housework got done in 1966. If only we could find a substitute for that Speed these days!