I’m on a diet. I don’t want to be on a diet, and I don’t need to lose any weight. (Okay, my doctor wants me to lose five pounds, but I want him to shave his beard and he doesn’t listen to me so why should I listen to him?) My wife joined one of those weight-loss competitions where they pick teams and see which team can lose the most weight. Everybody drinks seven gallons of water and puts sandbags in their underwear before they weigh-in the first time. Everyone loses eighty-seven pounds the first week and gains weight after that. If I was running it, I would tell everyone to weigh in at 6am and not let them weigh in until 7:00 so I could watch them do the pee-pee dance for an hour. (NOTE: My wife wants everyone to know I’m joking. She didn’t drink any more water than normal before she weighed in, and nobody put sandbags in their underwear—sweatpants just make it look that way sometimes. ANOTHER NOTE: My wife wants everyone to know I’m joking again. She certainly didn’t see anyone who looked like they had sandbags in their underwear, and if I mention sandbags one more time, I’ll be living in the garage until the weight-loss competition is over–boy, she gets grumpy when she’s on a diet.)
My wife asked me to join her team. I offered to be the water boy and stand on the sidelines eating caramel corn and Twinkies while cheering the team to victory, but she said by the end of the competition that position would probably be filled. So I’m not on the team, but I’m still on the diet. We eat together, and I can hardly eat steak and potatoes with pie and ice cream for dessert while she munches on a salad—not if I want to stay out of the garage anyway. I think my wife looks good and doesn’t need to lose weight, but since before we were married she’s always thought she needed to: “lose a few pounds.” She’s done The Atkinson’s Diet, The South Beach Diet, The Hard-boiled Egg Diet, The Grapefruit Diet and The Mediterranean Diet. She always loses the “few pounds,” but they always come back.
I’ve never had a problem losing weight. I believe it goes back to when I wrestled in high school and we had to make weight. When I worked at the sheriff’s office I won a weight-loss competition by losing twenty-seven pounds in two months. It figured out to be about fifteen per cent of my body weight. I always use the same Don’t-Eat-So-Much Diet. I don’t eat so much and I magically lose weight–as soon as I figure out how it works I’m writing a book.
My problem isn’t losing the weight; it’s keeping it off. My body has a certain weight it seems to like, and that’s where I always end up. Trying to maintain a steady weight below what my body wants is a constant fight. I can keep losing weight without much problem, but eventually people start asking me how long I have to live.
So I’m munching salads and eating healthy with my wife and not eating desserts. At night we take the dog for long walks to get exercise. I support her in her quest to “lose a few pounds.” Except for times like this when she just left to go shopping. She should be gone long enough for me to run to the Dairy Queen and have some ice cream. I might even stop and grab a bag of chips on the way back. But first I need to go out in the garage and make up a bed, just in case she comes back early.