Resolve to skip that diet drink and pick up a leash

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Resolve to skip that diet drink and pick up a leash

USA Today, 1/3/2006

E-mail Craig Wilson at cwilson@usatoday.com

I ate just about everything over the holidays.

There I was, standing in front of my mom’s refrigerator, pouring yet another glass of eggnog with one hand while the other was roaming a tin of treats that came from Sharon, a neighbor who knows her way around a cookie sheet.

At one point, I dug into a bag of holiday goodies that I thought tasted odd. That didn’t stop me from having a second one, though, until I realized I was munching from Maggie’s Christmas gift — fancy dog treats in a variety of shapes, including a fire hydrant. They weren’t that bad. Honest.

I’m not alone, of course. My colleague Jayne admits she has been shoveling in cookies and candy as fast as she can hunt them down. She made her confession while fumbling around in a box of chocolates that appeared on the counter near her desk. She then moved on to a bag of Italian cookies. She highly recommended the ones “with the little jelly centers.”

But then again, what’s the harm, really, in eating anything you want during this brief period we call the holidays? I’ve always believed in the “enjoy it while it’s here” philosophy.

And now we’re home free.

It’s the first week in January, eggnog is nowhere to be found, and Sharon’s cookies are long gone. The box of chocolates next to Jayne’s desk has disappeared, too. (Thanks mostly to Jayne.)

Years ago, I wrote that the only New Year’s resolution anyone needed to make was to get a dog. A dog will get you out of bed in the morning, get you on a walk you otherwise wouldn’t take, and the pounds will drop off. (That and eating his treats.)

Patti Lawson, a trial attorney in Charleston, W.Va., understands this. Her book, The Dog Diet: A Memoir, will be out in April, and it outlines how a dog can help you drop pounds. It worked for her when a puppy named Sadie entered her life.

One of her tips: “When it comes to snacking, if your dog likes it, it’s probably not good for you.”

I already have Maggie and know all too well that having a dog will keep you active whether you want to be or not.

So I come with another diet tip this January.

At the beginning of last year, when I decided to take a break from drinking alcohol, I thought the pounds would just fall off. By February, I’d be everyone’s Valentine. But by March, nothing had happened. In fact, I’d gained weight. How cruel the world can be. No wine but no new waistline, either.

Then I analyzed my new eating/drinking habits, just as diet gurus advise. I had replaced my daily wine with Diet Coke. Gallons of it. And what I realized was it made me hungry all the time. So I dropped it, too. Lost 14 pounds by Memorial Day.

This finding is not the result of a long-term study on my part, though I recall researchers may have come up with a similar conclusion. But then again, no one seems to be paying attention to science these days.

All I know is I stopped drinking Diet Coke, and I lost weight.

Give it a try. And you don’t have to get out of bed early for it to work, either.

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