Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Gotta Get Out More

There are countless words describing my childhood; "athletic" is not one.

But when the merry tinkling of the ice cream truck drifted across hot summer afternoons on Rensellor Avenue, I would sprint and leap like a gold medalist on springs. Catching sight of my 150-pound, four-foot-tall frame barreling down the sidewalk, quarter in hand, hell-bent for chocolate coated ice cream was a jaw-dropping spectacle. If I stretched out my arms, I would have achieved liftoff.

Over time, I learned to temper my outward exuberance for treats, figuring if no one saw me eat, they wouldn't notice I was fat. Mind you, I didn't actually stop eating loads of sugar; I just didn't barrel full-steam down the street to get them like some out-of-control locomotive. Instead I opted for more discreet methods such as shaving small slivers from cake instead of taking a slice (making it less apparent to the untrained eye that I had eaten some), or hiding chocolate in my clothes (always a special treat for mom on laundry day - especially if she didn't inspect my pockets first).

If a tree falls in the woods, yes, it does make a sound. So too, if a pound cake is consumed stealthily, it retains its calories. Concealing food does nothing to disguise the results; a 44-inch waist being a reliable indicator of surplus caloric consumption - even if no one observes it.

Please forgive my youthful transgressions, as I was then addled from a non-ending influence of high fructose corn syrup and have come to see the error of my ways, opting now for skim milk (called "the blue stuff" by professional dieters), high fiber breads ("cardboard") and fat free cheeses ("rubber").

Fast forward: My wife went to visit family this week, leaving me to fend for myself. No one will mistake me for a chef, but I do OK. Insert in microwave. Hit start. Peel cardboard. Consume. I won't write any cookbooks; but I don't starve either.

Being lonely, I wanted a "fun food;" you know, something special, a rare treat. Yet years of discipline have left their toll and I begrudgingly opted for salad.

While resigning myself to the doldrums of leafy greenery, I noticed a bottle of full-calorie, creamy white, ranch dressing - the real stuff, not that gelatinous fat-free goop mislabeling itself as "tasty."

With bold abandon, I measured one full tablespoon and poured it right on top of my salad; plain as day. In full view - and I didn't care! What a thrill seeker am I! And then, I ate it - in daylight - just like that!

At that moment I realized I really have to get out more.

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