So here it is January, and like many other red-blooded, fat-middled Americans, who gorged ourselves all the way from the Thanksgiving turkey to the New Year's black-eyed peas, I am, once again, giving serious thought to going on a diet.
Notice that I said "giving serious thought" to it, as opposed to actual dieting. There's a difference.
It is entirely possible for one to think seriously about dieting (and to feel smugly superior to lesser beings who apparently give it no thought at all) while continuing all the while with surprisingly little guilt to eat like a pregnant sow.
Yes, I speak from personal experience. I have found it to be the best of both worlds, having one's cake, so to speak, and eating it, too. It is similar to when I feel the urge to cook; I pull out all my cookbooks and give serious thought to finding an easy recipe, until finally, the urge to cook slowly passes and I put away my cookbooks and go out to eat.
It's like when you think about a friend on her birthday, but forget to send her a card; you say it's the thought that counts. It helps, of course, if you also think seriously about sending her a gift. Belated, but expensive. And if you think seriously about it long enough, that urge, too, shall pass.
I highly recommend it. The only catch is that while one is thinking seriously about dieting - also known as the "eat now, because tomorrow you get nothing but lettuce" mentality - one runs the risk of getting seriously fat. Not to mention, when eating in public, embarrassing oneself to no end.
Yes, I speak from personal experience on that, too. For months now - since the morning after Thanksgiving, when I single-handedly consumed for breakfast half of a pumpkin pie, then two hours later polished off the other half for lunch - I've been thinking seriously about going on a diet.
My plan was to get through the holidays, then empty the cupboards, the fridge, the garage and my purse of anything remotely worth eating and at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, start the year cold turkey.
I was dead serious about that plan. I did not, however, plan on driving past the Krispy Kreme Donut factory. Or receiving, as a belated Christmas gift from my sister (who had thought seriously for weeks about mailing it) a whole box of Godiva chocolates.
And I certainly did not plan this morning - after stepping on the scales, screaming like a stuck pig and swearing loudly to myself and God and all my neighbors that I absolutely, positively had to get serious about a diet - to find my daughter's candy stash.
First, let me say for the record that I tried my best to raise my children right. When they were little, sugar was not as it was in my childhood, one of the four basic food groups. I honestly believed I could teach them to just say no to chocolate - one of an ill-fated fleet of parental illusions that crashed and burned in the war.
My daughter, who recently graduated from college and is, in most things, intelligent and wise, never leaves home without candy.
Two weeks ago when we packed up like the Joad family and drove to Yosemite for Christmas, she took enough junk to keep Santa and his elves buzzed for a year.
Naturally, I ate my share. So did her brothers and her new sister-in-law. It's a family tradition.
But this morning (when I was finally unpacking because I had no more clean underwear) imagine my dismay to discover - oh my! - we had not eaten it all! Now here I sit, all alone, hip-deep, so to speak, in a big old nasty, sticky, sugary pile of Nerds, Runts, Air Heads, pistachios, turkey jerky and chocolate-covered pretzels.
And I am giving serious thought to starting a diet - tomorrow.
What's a mother to do?