From Chicken Soup for the Dieter's Soul

A Skinny By-Product

I bought a talking refrigerator that said “Oink”

every time I opened the door. It made me hungry for pork chops.

Marie Mott

Dr. Choi is a wonderful doctor, but she says bad things. Two of her words punched me in the repository of my ill-conceived eating habits. “Cholesterol” and “pre-diabetes” aren’t exactly the reassuring words that I wanted to hear. They deflated my feeling of invincibility.

The day that she delivered the cholesterol message, she had another word that I wouldn’t vote for. She said “oatmeal.” I said “raisin bran.” She said “oatmeal.” I said “shredded wheat.” She said “oatmeal.” I said “Wheatina.” She said “oatmeal.” My grasping response to her final reiteration of the oatmeal decree was “but oatmeal has the consistency of snot.” With that said I went home with a variety pack of wallpaper paste, better known as oatmeal. I eventually settled on raisin, date and walnut and have since come to like it. That meant the end of an English muffin with a generous layer of butter, a mountain of peanut butter and a pool of grape jelly. Breakfast was to be a new experience.

Had I not seen an almost instant weight loss, I would have returned to my gooey culinary wonderland. The day that Dr. Choi delivered the devastating cholesterol message, I weighed in at 228 pounds. A few months later my six-foot frame was carrying a mere 210 pounds. Surprisingly, I hadn’t been hungry. The only change in my eating habits was my breakfast. Who would have thought that an English muffin with a few upgrades would weigh eighteen pounds?

This past February “pre-diabetes” was Dr. Choi’s word for the day. I would have preferred “psoriasis” or even “pneumonia.” As before she had a one-track mind and insisted on repeating pre-diabetes until it became part of my vocabulary. She set me up with a hospital lecture on the subject. I decided that I didn’t know enough about this ailment to tamper with my diet until after the lecture. This stalling action gave me another three weeks of butter pecan ice cream floating knee-deep in maple syrup and one last apple pie—every piece topped with succulent vanilla ice cream.

On the first of March I held a funeral service for raw sugar and stocked up on my choice of sugar substitutes. I weighed myself on the day that sugar died, 208 lbs. The only other dietary change was switching from white bread to dark bread. Today is August 27 and I’ve weighed a mere 180 pounds for over a month. I didn’t change the quantity that I eat; I only changed what I eat, and I’m not hungry.

My wife, Linda, jokingly referred to me as her “Chubby Hubby” until my ribs made a reappearance following a thirty-year absence. My cholesterol is under control, but the jury is still out on my pre-diabetic condition. Should that condition need further attention, I’ll deal with my almost-daily potato chip and dry-roasted peanut habit. I realize that addressing health issues after the fact isn’t the best way to eat. For now, however, I’m content to lose weight on the lousy diagnosis installment plan. Giving up one special food at a time is easier than trying to do them all at the same time. While my method is not approved by the American Medical Association, it seems to work better for me than any other technique that I’ve tried.

I’ve lost forty-eight pounds with simple changes that have nothing to do with starvation or fasting. This technique might not work for everyone, but it did wonders for me because I am, and always have been, a light eater. My problem was that since I discovered Snicker bars and high-octane Coke and Pepsi, I relied on multiple vitamins to balance my diet. One disease modification at a time, I’m getting back on track and becoming the healthy man that God intended me to be. A note of caution to stockholders in either Pringles or Planters corporations: your profit margins might be affected by this visit.

Ed VanDeMark

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