No Resolutions, Please








The above was breakfast yesterday, nothing more. Sometimes it’s a snack. It’s pretty flexible.

And, yeah, it’s just a smoothie. Hardly unheard of. My son-in-law is a smoothie ninja, and I paid attention to him and his mighty Vitamix. My son tried it for a while, and a couple of months ago I noticed the jar of protein powder he’d bought for this purpose. I messed around and finally discovered that I liked it, mostly as a snack but again: Breakfast is breakfast.

So I end up taking a lot of my greens and fruit in liquid form. Some frozen berries, a banana, a couple of handfuls of baby spinach or kale: It works out to four servings of fruits and vegetables per smoothie, and a lot of days I have two. It’s maybe not the ideal way to get all the nutrients but it’s better than no way. The sugar is trace only and that’s from the fruit. Lots of fiber and protein and potassium and other good stuff.

I don’t eat this way, not normally, not in 58 years of eating. I don’t mind vegetables but they slip my mind. Drinking something green is weird this side of St. Patrick’s Day, but I manage.

I have questions about food, and health, and quality of life. This is mortality popping up again, although I don’t try to eat better in order to prolong my life. Part of this is just prophylaxis, trying to get an edge that keeps me out of the doctor’s office. Mostly I just like the way they taste.


This is the time of year. Of course. I try not to look, not at all the tricks and schemes offered up for that New Year’s resolution to finally lose weight, not at all the screeds from certain people about body shaming and avoiding diets, etc. I have nothing but sympathy for people who struggle, whose bodies seem to resist intentional shrinkage, whose relationship with food is, as with most of us, complicated and emotional.

Every once in a while over the past few years, I’ve been in a discussion about weight and battling the bulge, and someone, usually someone older and trying very, very hard to get that whole wisdom thing working, leans over and says something like, “You want to know the only way to lose weight?” Or something similar. It’s always similar.

And I listen, because I usually like this person. I don’t tend to hang out with people I don’t care for.

But while I’m listening, I’m also carrying on the true conversation in my head: Let’s see. Almost 10 years ago I weighed 272. A year later I weighed 175. A year later I weighed 168. Today I weigh – wait for it – 169. But do go ahead.

I’m not that snotty, not really. The idea that there’s one way to do anything, particularly something as complicated and individual as losing weight, just makes me a little snippy. I watch people fight this battle all the time. I have no help to offer.

I mean, I could tell people to do what I did, but who knows? Aside from that twisted period last year when I lost my appetite and a fair amount of weight that I really didn’t need to lose, I’ve been a pretty normal person in this regard. I eat junk. I gain weight. When it climbs a little too high for my taste, I crack back down. I’ve done this, again, for 10 years. The battle doesn’t really go away, although it gets easier.

And then there’s my son, who was put on a medication years ago that has the unfortunate side effect of increasing appetite. Or I think that’s it. People tend to gain weight on it, anyway, and he certainly did, and his lifestyle and other things seemed to seal his fate as an overweight person. There were too many other things to deal with; it wasn’t high on anybody’s priority list.

But he changed. He dropped certain foods and, as it turned out, a lot of pounds. He’s down about 35 so far. I don’t know what an ideal weight would be for a guy his size (he’s 6’3”), but he’s getting there quickly.

I had nothing to do with this, although I’ve offered advice from time to time. Only to him, though. I just can’t imagine that my experience has much relation to anyone else’s. My eating is better but is still disordered, if only because I pay too much attention to it, but that’s the price you pay for unleashing some of the crazier parts of your psyche for a good cause. I got pretty obsessive back in 2007, and I still think that was the only way I was going to pull that off, aware that I was probably not ever going to have a normal eating pattern.

Drinking green smoothies may not be all that normal. My affection for fried food, pizza, and any kind of ice cream seems normal but probably isn’t, given my tendencies. I can live with all of this, though, and living seems to be the point, but sure, tell me the only way to lose weight. I’ll listen. Just don’t ask me what I’m thinking.

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