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Revolutionary New Diet

26 Sep

Sometimes I get a little exercise. For example, if a child shoves a small plastic bead up her nose I may get a call from my wife, let’s refer to her as Cynthia for our purposes here. In fact, while we’re referring, let’s refer to that child as Iris. When I have the good fortune to work, I will occasionally work from the studio space above our unconnected garage. If I have to bop out in the evening for a spot of the work, I have my phone for any sort of in home related calamities.

My new calorie counting app with the built-in pedometer had me at about 800 steps one day that I was working from home. As a teacher, Cynthia’s pedometer (yes, we’re a two ped family- or TPF) will often be eight to ten thousand steps. If they built a pedometer for nerves or nervometer, I’m sure that would also be high – fueled by junior high kids’ words and gangly hormone laced actions.

On the day of the 800 steps, Cynthia called me from the house and asked me to come in immediately. Apparently, Iris had shoved a plastic bead up her nose. I needed to spring into concerned parent action. I looked down at my pedometer. If she was at the furthest point away in the house this could move me up to 872 steps, depending on how I paced myself. Upon entering the house there was good news – it sounded like voices were coming from upstairs. This trip should get me the 72 steps I’m looking for.

I went into our bedroom to find Cynthia trying to coax three-year old Iris onto here lap to help her.

“I looked online and it says to hold a finger over one nostril and blow out of the one with the obstruction,” Cynthia said serious and concerned.

Google has become a bit like the calculator, taking some basic adding and subtracting skills away from society. It was difficult for me not to point out the ridiculousness of getting that instruction from the Internet. In her defense, I think we all go to the Google to see what the worst case scenario might be.

In this instance, I needed to convince Iris to let one of us pinch her nostril while she blew out of the other. She was not easily persuaded. She weighed the option of growing old with that colored plastic bead in her nose. Maybe it would become the next craze, more highly lauded and personal than the tattoo. The inhaled nostril bead would be so inwardly cool that nobody would know you had it. Nostril Bead Shover Artists would pop up (discreetly) everywhere. Every person seeking to be truly unique would have a bead professionally shoved up their nose. I would be so proud that our little Iris had started this cultural juggernaut.

Finally, she let me show her how she could pinch her nostril. I pinched her nostril and she blew and laughed and a snot drenched pink bead was ejected from her small child skull. My work here was done. But so were my steps, as it was now time to get the kids in bed.

As you can see, more than patient looker-atter of words, stringer of sentences in the brain, I could not rely on my steps to work as a sole weight reduction plan. My revolutionary new diet plan could not be solely based on the movement of my body. Like all good diets, it needed to be balanced. I needed to explore my relationship with food. The relationship was uncommonly symbiotic. I ate food and food let me do so. I struck upon my revolutionary new diet plan eating dinner at a restaurant with the family.

I decided to only order a salad at this particular dinner. The food came and the three kids ate. Cynthia ate and I had my salad. By the time the kids were done eating, two out of the three plates were still half full. So, in the way that pre-kids I would have found a little disturbing, I moved in hooveresque and ate any remnants that I found to my liking. By the end of the meal my salad was negated and became only a symbol, a figurehead of the kingdom of health, where I wanted to live.

Later that night, I had a chance to give this some thought as Iris had not placed a bead in her nose and I had a few spare moments. The idea came to me in a flash. I had it. I would only eat the kids’ left over food. I would never order my own meals at restaurants. I would never eat my own meals at home. There were always enough scraps. The beautiful part of the idea is that many times the kids leave the healthy food untouched. That would be a challenge. After all, I’m trying to reduce my weight because I often leave the healthy food untouched. But, I will try. I’ve never heard of a diet plan like this.

The trick would be traveling for work. Would I need to eat at restaurants where families frequented? It may seem odd hovering around a family waiting to ask if I can have the food their kids don’t eat. In most cases, there may be a vulture parent in attendance. I’ve been there. Vulture parents are praying to the heavens that little Jimmy will overlook that warm chocolate chip cookie and may even suggest to Jimmy that he might be full. All in the name of scoring that cookie. The vulture parent paid for it any way, so stop being so judgmental.

The new diet plan would need to be used only when eating with my own children. That seems like the most sensible route to take. I think it’s also important to have a plate at the table with the family. There doesn’t need to be any pretense of food on the plate, since food will be coming from the kids’ plates, but it’s a good way to be included in the whole dinner process.

With my new diet of pizza crusts and bread crusts, unfinished second glasses of milk, untouched salads and vegetables and very little opportunities for cookies and cake, things are looking up. I just can’t quite bring myself to complete the work on Hoyt’s poorly eaten corn on the cob. And with none of the kids drinking beer or wine, I’m not tempted by that. Lila is 10 and it doesn’t seem so outlandish that she might be able to have a sip of a glass of wine occasionally. There would be no pressure for her to finish it, after all, she’s only 10.

Now I just sit patiently (and occasionally pace to get my step count up) while I wait to hear from Dr. Oz, or any other topical TV physician, to invite me on their nationally broadcast program to share my innovative new diet. The second I get the call I’ll be out the door like a bead out of a nose.

Sadly yours,

Jason Spafford


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