Many people struggle with their weight, resulting in hundreds of weight loss programs clamoring to assist you in shedding those unwanted pounds. As a person who has struggled most of his adult life, I’ve tried many of them with some success, but mostly failure. Jenny Craig (worked well for me), Nutra System (too much sodium), Weight Watchers (too much work), Scarsdale (not enough variety), Cabbage (yes, cabbage every day)—I’ve done them all.
Quite frankly, I really like to eat, but who doesn’t? If, like me, you struggle with your weight, somehow you think if nobody sees you eat the snack, it doesn’t count. After working hard all week to lose a pound or two, it doesn’t seem fair that one evening of debauchery blows the whole thing. Unfortunately, a full week of eating badly does more damage than a full week of dieting does good.
Understand, I didn’t just wake up one morning and say, wow, I gained a lot of weight. No, I worked very hard at it. It’s certainly easier to not exercise than it is to exercise. If I had a nickel for every time I worked out at a gym, I’d have almost a dollar by now. Walking is the simplest form of exercise, but when I check the steps on my Fit Bit, it displays, “Are you kidding me?”
In 2015, I lost more than 40 pounds on Jenny Craig. I stuck to the meal plan, ate more salad than a rabbit, and went down almost six pant sizes. I had more energy than I had in years and was getting compliments from friends, family and coworkers. Then everything went to my head and I started getting complacent. Instead of continuing to lose the weight and staying the course, I started to drift, turning to comfort food and empty calories. Before I knew it, I had slowly gained back 20 of those pounds and have been finding it more and more difficult to get back on track.
To complicate things, I work in a very large office and sometimes you can’t walk 50 feet without running into a tray of leftover muffins from a meeting, or a candy dish on someone’s desk. If that’s not enough temptation, it seems like there is a birthday cake every other day. Everyone has their Kryptonite and mine is junk food and eating late at night. I’ll usually snag a few cookies, or anything I can get my hands on before I go to bed, which, of course, is the worst thing you can do. Although we try to avoid snack food in my house, we “strugglers” have a credo—if the packaging hasn’t been opened yet, we won’t open it. But as soon as someone breaks the seal, all bets are off.
After my wife gave birth to our first son, we both went on the Scarsdale diet and generally ate healthier. We lost a lot of weight together and at the age of 33, I was back down to my high school weight. But when she got pregnant with our second child, I fell so far off the wagon, it was a little difficult to tell who was expecting. I haven’t recovered in more than 25 years. There have been periods of weight loss, but nothing I could sustain.
Recently, my youngest son and his girlfriend have been dieting and losing weight. It’s a cooperative effort as they measure their portions, religiously make their lunches every night and go to the gym together. Quite frankly, they make me sick. But the results have been outstanding and they look fantastic. Hopefully, they are on their way to healthy eating.
Is it too late for me? Can a guy in his early sixties learn to survive on just four tablespoons of Halo Top ice cream for a precious 90 calorie snack? The old me would sometimes eat more than that before I even scooped it into the dish. Why, oh why, does bad food taste so good?
Hey, is that an open box of Devil Dogs? After all, if no one sees me, it doesn’t count, right?
Paul DiSclafani, a Massapequa resident, is a 2018 Press Club of Long Island award winning columnist and an Anton Media Group contributor since 2016.