The Struggler’s Guide to Dieting


I went to the grocery store recently, as I am often wont to do; my wife buys most of the groceries for our home, but her tastes tend toward earthy and healthful. When I look into the fridge all I see are grasses, weeds, sticks and roots. I’m a big man, with big needs; occasionally I need sustenance of a heartier and more indulgent nature.

Courtesy Google Images

Courtesy Google Images

I pulled into the store’s lot and parked, but lingered in my car for a couple of minutes: The Who’s Love Reign O’er Me (possibly the best song ever recorded) was playing, and my car’s air conditioning kept blissfully at bay the hell that awaited me outside (it was 110 F that day). As I idly scanned the parking lot and joined Roger Daltrey in a stunning impromptu duet,  I became aware of a most startling and disturbing trend: everyone I saw in the parking lot, either coming from or entering into the store, was – how shall I put this delicately – overweight. You know what? Forget delicacy; they were fat, obese, often morbidly so. It was a parade of cottage cheese come to life; of the Michelin Man, wigged and testing the limits of women’s capris.

I walked the to the store, determined to take my visual poll of American decadence inside. As I approached the doors, and before they thankfully swung open, I briefly saw myself in the glass and, to my horror, realized I was one of them. Inside the store was more of the same; I was one among an army of engorged zombies, fattened by feeding on the bodies of the dead (albeit those of cows, pigs and such, all dismembered and pre-packaged for convenience) and the myriad poor choices available aisle after aisle.

So, where were all the thin people? Perhaps we ate them, being the mindless fat zombies that we are. Maybe we sat on them and they sunk between the couch cushions along with the loose change that forcibly expelled from our pockets when we sat down on our giant bums. More likely still all the thin people were shopping at the Hippy Earthy Organic All Natural Stores my wife prefers, both to maintain their lithe physiques and to avoid being trampled at Unsafeway.

Me and the Mrs.  Courtesy Google Images

Me and the Mrs. Courtesy Google Images

Well, I want to look like the thin people; I just don’t want to eat like them. I am willing to concede that healthy looking people may be on to something, so I’m going to meet them partway. Herein lies the simple beauty of the Struggler’s Diet, which I unveil to you now, in its entirety and free of charge: I will continue to eat the way that pleases me (picture Jabba the Hutt, sans bikini clad, chained hottie) for most of the day, but for dinner I’ll eat a beer or a Gin and Tonic. If hunger meows at stomach’s door, I’ll shoo it away with some sliced green or red peppers, cucumbers or celery. At some point in the evening I’ll add a nice waddle around my neighborhood; if some of the more shady elements are out and about, it’ll turn into a full cardio workout, so I’ve got that going for me.

Sounds stupid, you say. You’re stupid. If you’re fat but are still somewhat mobile during the day, you’ll lose weight doing what I’ll do. My theory is that the evening, with its inherent tendency towards lethargy, is the wrong time to be eating, especially the bad (good) stuff. I work hard most days, actively and outdoors, so I’m confident that I’ll have burned off all of my Breakfast of Champions and most of my Lunch of Legions by the time dinner rolls around.

Not Mine(as far as you know). Courtesy Google Images

Not Mine(as far as you know). Courtesy Google Images

You’re a moron, you say. No argument there, but I do this every year after summer season ends and I’m done coaching basketball until November. It has worked to varying degrees every time, depending on my level of enthusiasm. With my son’s wedding looming just ahead (more on that later) and the highly reflective qualities of my local grocery store’s doors, I resolve to really stick to it this time. I offer you this image of someone’s gut as a “before” picture; I’ll post another picture of someone else’s gut as proof of my success come November.

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About Thestrugglershandbook

I'm a middle aged (if I live to be 100) guy, married, father of three, from Tucson, AZ. I'll write about almost anything. Though somewhat bent, what I write is always true(ish). It won't change your life, however. Unless that would preclude you from reading...
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13 Responses to The Struggler’s Guide to Dieting

  1. We all face these daily dilemmas with food and weight. Why die thin and miserable, never having enjoyed a good steak, egg and chips?

  2. misslisted says:

    you always make me smile.

  3. April K says:

    I’m a little nuts about food and weight management, so forgive me if this is a little long…

    Diets, as we know them in the good ole’ USA, are, by their very nature, temporary. They’re designed to fail in the end. People may take off some weight ‘dieting,’ but they put it right back on as soon as they revert back to their regular eating habits. If you’re a big man with big needs as you say, you’re not going to be happy very long with just a gin and tonic for dinner. After a while, you’re going to want a big ole’ steak…and some fries…and a half gallon of ice cream… You get the idea.

    I’ve found from making my own dietary adjustments that most people can’t handle drastic changes in the way they eat. As you’ve suggested, going from sheer decadence to ‘leaves and twigs’ will just make you miserable. Start by making just one small change. I started by cutting out soda. (I might have one every 3 to 6 months now.) Then I cut back on fruit juice. Instead of eating cookies and ice cream, I just pop a couple squares of dark chocolate to stop my sugar cravings. I replaced white rice with quinoa, and white pasta with garden vegetable pasta. Instead of having pasta 3 or 4 nights a week, it’s now 1 night a week or less. Instead of cramming my plate with veggies every night, I juice and drink them (much more bearable that way). On the occasion I do go out for fast food, I skip the fries. When I get ice cream (rare), I order the smallest size on the menu and usually end up splitting it with someone else. I’ve found some tasty, quick and healthy recipes that are much better than anything I could get at a restaurant. This way, I still eat what I want and it tastes great, but I’m keeping the weight off. As I continue making small changes, I find I don’t crave all that bad stuff. I see it and don’t want it. It’s not just about the taste anymore. Eating good food makes me feel good.

    A Paleo style of eating might be good for you; consider looking into it. Good luck!

    • I think that you actually have more self control than I do. You’re probably healthier than I am, too. (You, two hundred million other Americans and a few dead ones, too). You’re right, I will want a steak, so I’ll eat one – just not for dinner. Again, my plan is to eat whatever pleases me, just nothing bad after, say, 5-6pm. This way I can still eat decadently, but likely much better overall than I did before. So far it’s been easy enough, and it’s working.
      Your way is probably better, but unlikely to work for me. My lifestyle is fifty(ish) years in the making; skipping bad things altogether isn’t gonna happen. I’ll just cram ’em in during breakfast and lunch….
      Thanks for the visit. I will do the same!

  4. mybrightlife says:

    Hey Struggler, your diet plan sounds like a good one. After a couple more of those G&T’s you won’t even realise that you have missed dinner. Keep working it! (Where have all the thin people gone? Perhaps we ate them????/) – Hilerious!!! Good to hear from you.

  5. Chris Macy says:

    Ha! You crack me up! Love the diet plan – the G&T idea is brillian. How’s that workin’ for ya?

  6. Arizona girl says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for stopping by again, despite the fact that I’ve fallen off the face of the blog planet. How’s the diet going?

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