|Diet solution circa 1903|
When a person wants to do a better job controlling what they eat, diet advice often points to knowing what the triggers are that lead to bad eating. What makes a person eat so mindlessly that they could stuff a radial tire in their left cheek and blissfully gnaw on it as if it were a giant gummy bear? I wondered this about myself.
A big trigger for me is writer's block (which is sometimes all day long) and another big one for me are my two sons (a trigger that is mercifully confined to firing only in the late afternoon, thanks to compulsory education). But writer stress is a cake walk compared to kid stress. I actually do pretty well all day until they show up. But once they do, hide the tires.
Before this so-called spate of dieting started, I used to put my kids to bed and then stumble into the kitchen, blind with rage over the endless bedtime stall tactics like me having to sing them yet another lullaby (sheesh!), or read yet another story (are they kidding?). I would stand with both hands on the counter, like a wild animal about to rip the head off of a helpless prairie creature. I would pace. My husband would know well enough to stay in the living room in the shelter of ESPN. I would whip open the freezer and eyeball the contents of it like Jack Nicholson coming home in The Shining. What was I going to eat? What was going to calm me down? It was going to be something good, dammit. I deserved it. Because by God, I let them live another day!
Well. Now I am a different mother. I still have triggers, of course, because the boys have lived on day after day as I mentioned. But when a trigger strikes, I don't eat ice cream or pretzels or fruit bars or chocolate chips that are being saved for some day in the distant future when I'll bake cookies and eat half the dough anyway. No. My trigger solution has become carrots. Those little baby ones that you pay extra for in the grocery store because they are peeled and cut small and "ready to eat right out of the bag." I give up. I'll pay it. Because no way am I going to stand over the trash can and peel a whole bag of carrots. I can't tell you how many bags of carrots have gone to rot waiting to be peeled. I can hold out for months; the carrots always lose that stand-off.
Now when a trigger hits, I grab my ready-to-eat-right-out-of-the-bag baby carrots and throw them in my mouth like they are Quaaludes. I'll be honest, the crunching helps. Ice cream doesn't crunch. Crunching feels good when your child has told you that you are the meanest mother who has ever lived because you won't allow the child to play sumo wrestler by stuffing couch cushions down his pants and doing a Superfly Snuka off the coffee table. Crunch, crunch, crunch.
At this point, I've had so many carrots it's likely that I am on the verge of even being able to see through lead (thank you, Wiki: Powers and Abilities of Superman). But who cares. It's better than having to 'reduce my flesh' with obesity soap. Still, I might send off for that book of testimonials. Just in case. Because in all likelihood, I will let my children live another day.