Sneaking Cheetos

I’m on a diet. OK, so it’s purely psychological – more like a sympathy diet.

The truth is I’m about the only person that lies about his weight; at least the only person that ads pounds just to make myself seem heavier. And I have to. They ask for my weight when I go to the doctor. I tell them 140. But then they check and move the weights back. They ask when I get on small planes. I tell them 180. This time they know I’m lying almost immediately as they look head to toe at my scrawny frame. Can you blame me though? I’m worried about the woman ahead of me whose 6’8” and claims to be 100 pounds. I’m not about to crash because she can’t tell the truth. And so I lie just to keep us both alive.

I really weigh about 130 lbs and not an ounce more. And I’m still ashamed. After all, a man should have muscle, he should have fat and he should never weigh less than 150 lbs. 130 lbs. is still regarded as a boy – a fact I can attest to considering I still have to occasionally shop in the “young mens” section of Sears. This is particularly embarrassing when the only color sport coat I’ve ever been able to find is navy blue and my size in pants only come in denim. And God forbid if I miss breakfast or dinner one day for I’ll lose 5 lbs the next. I guess it’s the metabolism.

I don’t even eat well. I don’t really eat poorly either, though. In the morning it’s a bowl of Lucky Charms or Fruit Loops (thank you Elena and Gracie for teaching me the value of sugar cereal at 5am) and a bagel. For dinner it’s a meat and vegetable. No lunch – most of the time I get caught up in the day and forget. At night I’ll rummage the fridge for whatever is available. Tonight as I write this journal all I can think of is the Elena Blueberry Pie Ice Cream in the freezer that beckons, the serving-size remainder of Cheetos at the bottom of the bread box or the McDonalds commercial I’ve seen now three times on TV. And this is where I get into trouble.

Brooke is also on a diet. And because she is on a diet, so am I. With her doing the shopping, junk food is sparse and I fear that this is my last pint of ice cream and last handful of Cheetos I will see in a long time. So I ration it to make it last longer. I’ll only have 10 spoonfuls of ice cream and a half of a handful of Cheetos tonight as I write. McDonalds still beckons – I think they understand the weakness of the male mind after 10 pm. But as I fill my cheeks I can hear the subtle moan of the treadmill upstairs. She’s burning calories while I pack them on one level below. But then again, it’s always been this way.

I watch Brooke eat and wonder. She eats fruit, vegetables, cottage cheese and shakes. I eat Cheetos, bagels and sugar cereal. She works out twice a day, running up to 2 miles. I think I may have worked out last November, once. I distinctly remember being bored after running a half a mile and stopping to fiddle with the television that had a bit of static. I never came back. To tell you the truth, I think I even left the MP3 player dangling from the treadmill. Still, she has the determination, the will and training. I’m just a distracted wimp when it comes to exercise. Yet, if I skip this last handful of Cheetos I have no doubt I’ll lose another 3 lbs that I need to keep my dignity the next time I go to the doctor.

And so tonight I’ll eat my Cheetos in the darkness. I’ll even hide the bag at the bottom of the garbage can just so she’ll think I’m fighting alongside her. But in truth she’s a lot better than I am and I know it. I have no excuses for cheating, at least with the exception of the ice cream. I eat a half a pint each night of Elena’s ice cream to make the world better. $.50 of every pint goes to The Cure Starts Now. After all, the best way to fight cancer is with a little obesity. Maybe tonight I’ll even have two.

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