Weighty Matters


February 29, 2000

For all you leap babies out there: Happy Birthday. I know it's a rarity that you actually get to celebrate on the day, so hey, have a great one!

I've watched my weight go up and down over the course of my life. I actually used to think of myself as a chubby kid but I recently had a look at some pix of myself in those formative years. I wasn't. Chalk it up to self-image issues, I guess.

Before I was pregnant I was actually on the thin side. OK, never skinny. I've never been skinny, but I was thin.

Well, then the whole pregnancy thing happened, and I ate. I ate and ate and ate. I was hungry the entire time I was pregnant. Also, my adult-onset lactose intolerance was gone. Ben and Jerry were frequent visitors in our home. They brought their friend and mine, Cherry Garcia, and it was a party here. Every single night. Ice cream and chili dogs with lots of mustard and onions were my cuisine of choice. I knew where every hot dog vendor in the San Fernando Valley was, and would plan my weekend errands around visiting at least one of them.

I gained a whopping 40 pounds. That's a lot of extra weight on a 5 foot, 5 inch frame.

Baby came and I dropped 20 pounds pretty much immediately. But those last 20. Well, they decided they like it around here. I've said before that I'm a good cook. I like to cook. I like butter. I like fried things. I especially like fried carbohydrates. I would have to say that fried carbs are my favorite food group.

But a point comes where enough is enough.

So, because Sarah, Duchess of York, and I are like this (picture me standing here with my index and middle fingers crossed--I'm the pinkie on the far end), I've joined Weight Watchers.

There's a meeting at my office every Friday. It's at 12:00. Weigh-in starts at about 11:45. We all line up, taking our shoes off, excess sweaters, heavy jewelry, pagers, and anything else that might add one extra ounce, and step on the scale. It's the moment of truth. Was it worth skipping all those french fries? (Here's a hot tip: never wear jeans to weigh-ins. They add at least two pounds.)

I'm pleased to report that in the last five weeks I've lost seven pounds. Yeah me!

My goal is a pound a week so I'm a little ahead of schedule.

The thing with Weight Watchers -- for those of you who have absolutely no contact with the media -- is that you have a certain number of points per day that you can consume. Each food has a point value. You can't exceed your allotted number of points. If you do this you will lose weight. My friend Janet contends that she would use all her points for the week by Wednesday. Easy to do, I'm here to tell you.

The thing is, the whole system is pretty simple.

The other thing is, most of the food I like is not what you'd exactly consider to be low in points. OK, most of the food, except sushi. You can eat a ton of sushi for very few points. This is a good thing, but since I haven't won the lottery yet it's not really so fabulous.

Weight Watchers has these books that can help you with your point calculations. OK, there's also this slide-rule thingy that if you know the fat grams, calories, and fiber content of something, will help you figure out the points, but the book is the way to go.

One of the books is a "dining out" guide. It has Koo Koo Roo, pizza, and Krispy Kreme donuts, to name but a few of your dining out choices. FYI: one original glazed Krispy Kreme has 4 points.

So, in my daily quest to find things I like to eat that don't have too many points I have made some interesting finds. For example, 2 ounces of squirrel meat has 2 points. While this might be useful for my friend in Murfreesboro, there is a not a lot of squirrel in the meat section at Ralphs here in Los Angeles. Whale meat is also low in points. (See previous notation regarding squirrel availability -- same applies to whale meat at Ralphs.)

Most veggies have no points except the carbo ones--peas, carrots, and potatoes. And those have only 1 point. But then, how many of these extra 20 pounds can I blame on too many carrots?

While I boycott Mrs. Fields cookies for personal reasons, a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie has 7 points. Since that's nearly 1/3 of my daily allotment of points I would shy away from them even if I ate them.

Thing is, I've been really good about this whole thing. Until this week. Let's call it a little chink in the old dieting armor. Last night's trip to Fatburger for a chili cheese burger, side of steak fries with mayo (no ketchup) and a root beer probably put me over the edge. Just a guess, but I'm guessing it's a fair one.

I've tried not to be too cranky through this whole thing, and while for the most part I've been pretty conscientious but I'm ready for it to be over. I'm pretty well done with knowing that a 2 inch square of home made brownies without nuts is 4 points. An egg is 2 points. That 1 teaspoon of mayo is 1 point.

I'm tired of using a slide rule to prepare my meals.

Until next time...

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