I’m getting fat. Not the oh-my-god kind of fat, but the oh-crap-it’s-been-a-long-winter kind of fat. I just noticed this two weeks ago when the wife and I pulled out some summer clothes for the warmer weather and I ended up spending much of the time trying to convince her that somebody had snuck into the house and shrunk my shorts over the winter.
When I went into social isolation back in mid-March, I still was able to camouflage my body type behind bulky sweaters. Polo shirts and Bermuda shorts were still weeks away, and my winter weight hadn’t yet worn out its welcome. Unfortunately, however, sheltering in place can no longer save me from my summer wardrobe, or from my wife’s determination to make those clothes fit again.
I have the same problem, I guess, that many baby boomers do. We jump-started our seasonal binge mode with leftover Halloween candy, stuffed ourselves tighter than a turkey over Thanksgiving, grazed the holiday parties for potluck appetizers, noshed and gorged ourselves through Christmas and New Year’s dinners, and plopped out the other end making a firm resolution to buckle down and lose some weight.
I read in Forbes magazine that studies show that fewer than 25% of us stay committed to our New Year’s resolutions for more than 30 days, and that only the most fanatical 8% actually accomplish them. So, the good news is I’m no fanatic.
After my recent summer clothing betrayal, my wife vowed that we would both lose 10 pounds before July 4 or die trying. (I didn’t like the way she smiled when she said that.) I’ve pretty much stayed the same weight for much of my adult life, at least within the same 8- to 10-pound range, so about normal, I’m thinking. My wife is the same way. Again, normal, right? Then why does she periodically morph into the Draconian Diet Monster and start throwing out my ice cream, banning potatoes and pasta, and making me drink breakfast smoothies with things like almond milk, avocado, kale (by the handful), and ground flax and Chia Pet seeds?
I’ve been forced to participate in the Paleo, Atkins and Cabbage Soup diets; I’ve been compelled to eat only raw vegetables, only blanched vegetables or just pureed vegetables; I’ve had all the meat I could eat, and no meat at all; I’ve been told to eat every hour and – just once – not at all for seven days (water, clear broth and Jello only) during a cleansing ritual that still gives me nightmares. And throughout it all I still put on 8 to 10 pounds every winter and lose it all every summer, like some kind of triglyceridal tidal flow that seasonally aligns my metabolism.
Sorry to rant like this but lack of food lowers my blood sugar and makes me cranky. Her theory for this new diet is that we should always be just a little bit hungry. We should wake up hungry, leave the table hungry, go to bed hungry – like some kind of Dickensian street urchin. If you’re always hungry, she reasons, you’re losing weight. So I have to lie to her. I eat until I’m full and then tell her that I’m still hungry for a third plate of food, but that I’m going to stop myself – because I’m committed to this diet.
Anyway, this COVID-19 thing hasn’t helped matters any, as my constant sheltering in place has given birth to what I’m starting to call my coronavirus baby. With time to cook my favorite meals and desserts and snack on the leftovers, I’ve added to my seasonal weight gain and have thrown my whole metabolic clock out of whack. And, unfortunately, I’ve given my wife the ammunition she needs to enforce this new diet plan.
So it looks like it’s time to start social distancing from my refrigerator, and adjusting myself to the “new normal” of food rationing that’s being enforced at our house until I either lose 10 pounds or find a way to rig the electronic scale.
And if I survive this ordeal, and the pandemic, I might be able to fit into that new Speedo this summer, and strut along the beach with my wife in tow, showing off my newly restored body. That ought to teach her to put me on a diet.
(David Moore lives in Concord.)