I've heard it said that honesty is a prerequisite to true friendship. This may very well be true, but if you really want to hear the straight poop -- free of any of the excess filter or compassionate cushioning designed to protect your feelings that one of your friends might thoughtfully provide -- you can always count on your family to unsolicitedly deliver it. Such was the case about a week or so back when a member of my family -- who shall remain nameless -- came visiting. "So Alex," they asked, while I was busily attempting to wrangle our feisty 2 year old while still clutching our inordinately beefy five month old with my free arm, "Are you still regularly going to that gym of yours?" I knew instantly where this was going. "Why, no," I calmly responded, my brow starting to furrow in anticipation of their next comment. "Between my demanding work schedule and wanting to get home in time to see the kids before their respective bed times...," I explained, "I really don't have the time to go to the gym these days." "Oh, I see," they summarily observed. "That must explain that double-chin you're developing."
Ah, yes.....good times.
It's true that I let my membership to Crunch lapse some time ago (despite the clingy entreaties from said organization, who tenaciously stalked me by phone like an awkwardly jilted ex). Simply put, it was just getting way too expensive to belong to a gym I never had the time to go to. Moreover, I rationalized that my deficit in time spent on some inane treadmill was being compensated for by my time spent scrambling after my kids or rocking them to sleep or pushing those strollers around downtown Manhattan. That all said, after a full day over at the Job and an action-packed early evening trying to get the kids to sleep, there are fewer things the wife and I enjoy more than several drinks and -- hell, why not? -- how about some ice cream after dinner? Couple this with my changing metabolilsm (one of God's petty torments to the over-30's), and I'm not shedding the weight as effortlessly as I used to. This all leads to snappy comments from the near'n'dear about my evidently encroaching girth.
As if on cue, my wife recently unearthed a dog-eared paperback copy of "The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet" by the late Dr. Herman Tarnower from my Mom's basement. All the rage in the 70's, the Scarsdale Diet really found fame when its architect was slain by his assistant/former lover, Jean Harris (who shot him at close range). In any case, Peg and I are considering trying it (ummm...the dieting part, not the homicide part). While Peg's charmed by the 70's retro-kitsch (especially amused by its myriad suggestions to "drink plenty of diet soda"), I'm more interested it its grizzly affiliation with true crime (dieting is always more fun when you know there was was foul play involved). In any case, it does say that it can help one lose up to 20 pounds in 14 days. So, with nothing to lose, we're thinking about it.
It's not that I'm fixated. I don't consider my gradual widening a huge problem, but it seems like it's something I should act on sooner than later. Moreover, the ever-so-delicately noted "double-chin" problem is one I didn't really need my nameless relative to point out to me. I'd already noticed it in the mirror, giving my newly shorn face a resemblance to my own father's. A couple of months back, I ruminated here about making some drastic changes to my diet (specifically the swearing-off of my beloved beer). It seems the time may be nigh to put this theory into action. The Scarsdale plan not only involves an inordinately unsavory predominance of something called "protein bread," but also involves saying goodbye to ANY/ALL ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES. Oh dear.
Clearly, some tough times may lay ahead if I take up the challenge. Best case scenario, however, will involve a slimmer, healthier albeit invariably crankier self. Look out, world.