Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Lead us not into temptation

A recent television report stated that every New Year’s Day, about 400 billion people make a resolution to lose weight and become more physically fit. The report went on to say that by the first day of February, all but 120 of those people will have broken that resolution.

Considering the fact that I have made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight every year for the past 35 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll probably never be one of those 120 people.

Neither will my husband.

Without exaggerating, if there were an Olympic medal for the world’s speed record for breaking a diet, my husband would win enough gold to fill Fort Knox.

Ten minutes into a diet and he becomes obsessed with food.

“Don’t they show anything on TV but food commercials?” he always complains, flipping through channel after channel of endless plugs for Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Dunkin’ Donuts. “Look at that! Another lousy food commercial!”

“But honey, that’s a commercial for bunion pads.”

“Yeah, and bunions remind me of corns, and corns remind me of corn chips, corn muffins and caramel corn!” he snaps.

For years, my husband and I lived under the misconception that because we were tempted by totally different foods, we’d be perfect candidates for the buddy-system way of dieting. I mean, my weakness is sweets while his is fried, fatty foods, so we figured it would be easy to steer each other away from temptation.

How naïve we were.

The first time I broiled a hamburger for him, he nearly needed CPR. “You call this a hamburger?” he asked, clearly aghast. “Where is the grease, the juice running onto the plate? If I wanted to eat hockey pucks, I’d become a goalie!”

His idea of the perfect burger would be one that if it were dropped into water, would create an oil slick to rival the one made by the Exxon Valdez.

He, however, is the only person I know who can open a bag of M&Ms and eat only three, then neatly fold the bag and set it aside for the next day. Hand me a bag of M&Ms and my name becomes “Hoover” as I suck down the entire contents in one shot. Still, I, unlike my husband, can eat only two or three potato chips and be completely satisfied.

So what usually ends up happening when we diet is we become so obsessed with each other’s food stashes, we end up throwing away our pride and lowering ourselves to bartering for food.

“I’ll do the dishes tonight if you give me four of your potato chips,” my husband will say.

“Dry the dishes and put them away and I’ll double it to eight chips,” I’ll answer.

“How about if I just swap you half of my Nestle’s Crunch bar for 10 of your chips?”

“It’s a deal!”

This week, gluttons for punishment that we are, my husband and I actually discussed starting yet another buddy-type diet in 2005.

“I’ll buy only the leanest cuts of meat and one of those George Foreman grills,” I said. “And I’ll make salads and brown rice to replace the French fries and mashed potatoes.”

“And we can have fresh fruits and unsweetened juices instead of sodas and candy,” he added.

We looked at each other and frowned. “I’m suddenly starving,” he said, leaping to his feet and grabbing his coat. “I’m going to Wendy’s.”

“Drop me off at the nearest bakery on your way,” I said, running after him.