I went to Farmers Market this morning with my friend JD and her daughter Emily, who is 20. They told me they are on a diet, together, for support.
They told me they are allowing themselves a restricted amount of calories daily, which they will tabulate loosely, but no junk food, and no eating between meals, except healthful things like produce, and dessert just once a week.
They said one aspect of the togetherness thing is that if one goes off the diet, they have to tell, and then the other gets to go off, for the same amount, or thereabouts, and then they start over.
I had to think about it but I knew right away something was wrong with this strategy. Then I realized what.
"That's no good," I said. "It should be that if one of you goes off, you have to tell, but then the other one gets denied that amount of food or calories. So say Emily has a second dessert this week. She has to report it, and the consequence is that J. gets no dessert. Emily ate yours. Or if J. eats Doritos or donuts in the afternoon at work, Emily gets kale for breakfast, and has to run three miles. Something like that."
Probably there are lots of good ideas that stun listeners into silence. That happened here.
"What is wrong with you?," J. said.
"Hmm," I said. I had to think. "Catholic school, I guess. But let's say, what is different about me, shall we?"
You have to admit, this Catholic way, if that's what it is, would work much better. But some people don't react well to guilt, or even the idea of it. At the Market, I bought a bag of lettuce. They bought a burrito.
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