Saturday, April 30, 2011

Night of the oranges

My dear husband E cuts a fine figure, but his parents constantly struggle with food and weight issues.  It's a battle they've been waging for as long as I've known them.  Amazingly, E's mom lost 60 pounds when she joined Weight Watchers many years ago.  She even became a Weight Watchers instructor, so now she helps other people learn how to make healthy choices. 

But maintaining one's figure is a battle that never ends.  When the Atkins Diet was all the rage five or six years ago, Mom decided to give it a try.  E's father was conscripted to try the new diet, as well.  Since E's brother was still living at home but NOT participating in the diet, some non-Atkins-approved food remained in the house, but it was segregated to one cabinet for consumption only by E's brother

The first few weeks of Atkins, everyone says, are the hardest.  You are allowed absolutely no carbohydrates. No chips, crackers, cookies, or cake.  No pasta, no bread, no potatoes.  No fruits.  No beans!  Even some vegetables, like carrots, are forbidden. 

It was hell.  Mom longed for a cookie.  With dead eyes, Dad gobbled eggs and bacon by the plateload.  Yet, despite their considerable suffering, Mom lost only two pounds, and Dad almost nothing.

One day, Mom discovered that Dad's giant squirt bottle of hot sauce, with which he doused every meal, was not, as he had repeatedly assured her, Atkins-compatible.  Reading the label, she found that it was loaded with sugar, salt, and other Atkins evils.  Mom confronted Dad, who denied lying about the contents of the sauce.  To help him avoid temptation, Mom threw the hot sauce out. 

A few nights later, Mom awoke at 3 AM.  She turned over and found herself alone in the bed.  Where was Dad?  She got up and went downstairs, where a faint light glowed from the kitchen.

She entered the kitchen to find her husband devouring oranges, which he had stolen out of the cabinet reserved for E's brother.  Dad had eaten six and was working on another.  There were peels everywhere.

Dad looked up from his nocturnal scavenging to see Mom standing there, mad as a wet hen.  He froze.  Still clutching his orange, he offered a guilty smile.

That was the end of Atkins.  The next day, they went back to Weight Watchers, which is much more sensible anyway.  Within moderation, you can eat anything -- the food guide even includes calorie counts for squirrel, armadillo, and opossum.

So Dad got his squirt bottle back, and they never spoke of the oranges again.

1 comment:

Hans Pols said...

I am getting all hungry reading this. But not for oranges!

I like the pictures!