There is a reason "diet" has the word "die" in it. It's because that's what diets make me want to do.
I have never been one to diet. I come from a family that can single-handedly close any buffet by throwing off the restaurant's ratio of cost to average food consumption. My dad won't even sit down to eat until he has at least four avalanche-at-the-ready plates of food before him. He always makes friends with the waiters, busboys, cooks and hosts at his frequented buffets, claiming he simply likes to be nice. Don't let him fool you. There is selfish intent behind my dad's affable jokes and generous tips. He's hoping the buffet won't kick him out, hoping that the front door of his favorite restaurants won't post a sketch of his face with the words "If Seen, Do Not Allow Entry."
I have followed in my father's footsteps. I take pride in my Mount Everest of egg salad, in how I can run circles around an extra-large serving of onion rings, in how I can pack down a plate of pad thai. I love food. But my physique is not a fan.
My youngest turned 18 months this week and forever ruined my excuse of carrying the "baby weight." She can say "pterodactyl"; these extra pounds are mine. About 20 extra pounds, to be exact. Alas, after dragging my feet for, well, 18 months, I have put myself on a diet.
These have been the hardest three days of my life.
And I've done stuff in my life. I've run marathons. I've climbed mountain ranges. I've pulled back-to-back all-nighters studying. I've pushed two babies out of my belly. (You couldn't have taken some of that extra fat with ya on the way out, kid?) But it's not the physical act of dieting that's hard; it's the mental aspect. Every single noodle in my son's macaroni and cheese looks like a frown. They all say, "Please eat me. Why don't you love me anymore?" And who am I to cause such pain? I try to tell the macaroni, "It's not you; it's me." But the frowny faces don't believe me.
Would that I could put a spoonful in my mouth and turn those macaroni frowns upside down! Perhaps "hero" would be too strong of a word to describe me, but "good Samaritan"? Absolutely. Look, if french fries want to high-five my molars, it's rude to say no. Yet here we are. This diet is ruining me. And I'm not even doing a good job; I've already cheated four out of the three days. (I'm just assuming tomorrow won't go so great, either.)
My problem isn't the daytime munchies. It's the nighttime, when everything is dark and I know that if I could just go to bed, everything would be OK. But instead, I raid the pantry for every last Swedish Fish and tell myself that if I drink a protein shake, too, it will all even out. The lies we tell!
Will I like the diet's end result? Probably. But I'm not at the end result. I'm here, at the beginning, hungry. If diet gurus want to increase their success rate, I would like to recommend adding a few things to the menu. No. 1 on that list: sleeping pills. I don't eat when I sleep, so this is basically a diet no-brainer. Sleeping Beauty slept for 100 years, and I bet she woke up looking svelte as ever. Also, rather than accompany your diet plan with a book, consider supplying handcuffs. It's hard to reorganize the contents of the refrigerator (into your belly) when you're handcuffed to the couch or, if you're a masochist, to the treadmill. Lastly, I've been told radioactive iodine can ruin your sense of taste. I'm no doctor, but I'm guessing that if you sold that stuff so dieters could put a few drops on their tongue, that would do the trick. Open wide!
Am I actually recommending these dieting techniques? No. Keep in mind that these ideas came from the mind of the same person who spoke to her son's bowl of Easy Mac. (Don't sue me.) But I do think that some type of mental exercises to combat the emotional cravings would be a nice addition to any diet plan. Until then, I guess slow and steady wins the race. Speaking of, do you have some tortoise soup you care to share? No? Tortoise cake? Tortoise fries? Tortoise pie?
Katiedid Langrock is author of the book "Stop Farting in the Pyramids," available at http://www.creators.com/books/stop-farting-in-the-pyramids. Like Katiedid Langrock on Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/katiedidhumor. To find out more about her and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.