Fortunately, I had worn a one-size-fits-all delusion for years. In my head, I was wearing a daisy-bedecked bikini on a lithe eighteen-year-old body. In reality, those innocent daisies had overgrown into a size 26 polyester jungle with booty-wide begonias and forty-year-old droopy stems. It was time to thin the garden or the only way I’d get some attention at the beach would be to shave crop circles in my leg hair.
After reading all the best advice and most sensible strategies on losing weight, I promptly ignored it and set off with a course of don’t-try-this-at-home techniques like not drinking enough water and dehydrating myself to the point of dizziness and light-headedness. This condition had an odd side effect: with diminished brain cells, all hip-hop videos and AM radio talk shows suddenly made perfect sense. That scared me straight into rehydration and the South Beach diet, a very popular eating plan which seemed like the perfect way to lose weight with the foods I knew and loved. After all, it had the word “South” right in the title; biscuits, gravy, fried chicken and cole slaw couldn’t be far behind. To my dismay, there was nothing deep fried in this diet, not even the pickles. (Ever had a deep-fried dill pickle? It makes the angels weep and reach for ketchup.)
I stuck with South Beach and its foreign concepts of asparagus and salmon until I snapped on Day Six while nibbling a carrot stick and regained consciousness in the lobby of McDonald’s threatening to rip the nuggets off Grimace while the SWAT team lobbed French fries and apple pies at my head. (The charges were dropped fifteen minutes later after I ate all the evidence-- the manager said it was the cleanest he had ever seen that floor.)
After skipping a friend’s suggestion of the Cabbage Soup Diet (because I have some standards and a sense of smell) I formed a truce with broccoli, spinach and grilled chicken. I also pulled out my walking shoes and started hoofing it around the downtown historic loop.By the time I dropped twenty pounds, I’d done more laps than Paris Hilton during a weekend in Vegas. To mark that first goal, I bought myself a thong. True, it had enough fabric and elastic in it to launch a cow over a castle’s siege wall, but it was my reward and also motivation. Forget about wearing clean underwear in case you’re in an accident; wearing XXL wedgie undies will make you the safest driver on the road, because you’re praying that no EMT will ever have to see it.
When forty pounds came off, people said, “Hey, looking good!” At sixty pounds, a grocery clerk asked me, “Are you sick?” (Maybe she spotted the thong.) After seventy pounds, my neighbors didn’t recognize me as I walked down the street. At eighty, my mother-in-law said, “Have you lost a few pounds?” I did touch that golden 100-lb. mark ever so briefly, and while my daisy days may be long gone, at least I can step out to the pool in some respectable carnations, as long as I remember to trim the ground cover.