About a dozen years ago, Randa and I decided to try the Adkins Diet. She did the research; I did the complaining.
As you may know, the initial phase of the Adkins Diet limits you to something like ten grams of carbohydrates a day. That’s like half of one Oreo with no filling in the middle. No bread, no sugar, all the celery you want. Through careful strategy, incredible self-control and decades of sacrifice, I’d managed to limit my celery intake to about four stalks a year. Bread and sugar were staples in my regimen of food intake. Giving them both up cold turkey made me want to break things, destroy other people’s property and hurl acid at works of art and beauty. Mind you, I didn’t actually do any of those things but I did get more surly than usual. Not that anyone could tell but I could feel the rage building in me.
Those feelings subsided after a couple of weeks. We learned to substitute stewed cauliflower for mashed potatoes and carrots for anything else that seemed tempting. We tried the Adkins brand waffle mix but didn’t care much for the taste of cardboard flavored breakfast treats. By the end of the third month, we’d each lost ten or fifteen pounds. By the end of six months, we’d lost the dog and most of our friends. It’s not always fun being around people who are that determined to lose weight.
These days, I’m more inclined to the Buddy Hackett diet.
Buddy was a popular comedian in the 60’s and 70’s. At one point, he weighed over three hundred pounds. Over a period of two years or so, he dropped nearly half of that weight. He did it without surgery and without giving up any of the foods he loved. “I knew I was eating way too much,” the comic explained, “Way too much.” He went on to say that he hated dieting. “I knew I couldn’t stay with anything that made me give up all the stuff I loved to eat.”
So how did he do it? Simple: “I just started eating half as much. I’d still eat steak, still eat potatoes. Just half as much.” He also started to exercise. “Nothing strenuous,” he grinned, “just walking and stuff like that.”
With a lot of things, a bit of moderation will get us where we need and want to be. Self-control and temperance, so to speak. Works well with cheeseburgers, fine wines and chocolate. But if it’s an area where we can’t manage the moderation part, abstinence is the better choice. That’s why Oreos aren’t on my version of the Buddy Hackett diet…