Sunday, March 22, 2009
Hey Elzer Family, You Just Lost 100 Pounds! What Are You Going to Do Next?
When you’re big, every destination becomes a matter of food.
You tell me “we’re going to Temple,” my brain will eventually start a conversation that only I can hear.
“Wonder what they’ll serve after services? I hope there is gonna be a good rugalah.”
When you’re in the dieting “zone,” this inner voice can become a very important early warning system. It’s like Robby the Robot shouting, “Danger, Danger Will Robinson!”
Last week when we started thinking about how the family would celebrate losing our first 100 pounds, we kicked around a few ideas but Disneyland seemed to be the consensus favorite.
Now I have to admit, Disneyland and dieting do not go hand-in-hand. Unless, of course you are on the Magic Kingdom weight loss plan where you gorge on every imaginable piece of crap known to man and are fine if you gain 5 pounds in a day.
Talk about flirting with disaster.
My little inner voice completely failed me on this one.
For a few moments on Friday, it looked like we were a pound shy of our victory lap. And I was serious about not doing anything celebratory until the scale showed a triple digit loss.
We needed to lose 10 pounds this week to hit the Magic 100.
On Friday morning I showed up at the doctor’s office and really wasn’t feeling like I had made any substantive progress since last Friday's weigh in. When I stepped on the scale, I was very happy with the results. I lost 3 pounds putting the pressure on Amy and the Kids to bring home the remaining 7.
And when they all weighed in, together they lost only 6.
99 Pounds was great, but it wasn’t good enough to get Goofy.
Then Amy decided she really had to go to the restroom. And when she came back, she got back on the scale and faster than you can say Hakuna Matata, there was a healthy round of hugs and high fives erupting in the room.
Sure most people go to Disneyland for the rides and the joy of watching their kids charging into the breach of fun. But I am not sure that truly sane people choose the park as a destination to celebrate their weight loss.
I mean let’s be honest. Is the Happiest Place on Earth really all that happy when you and your kids can’t have that irresistible corndog, caramel apple or a heaping bag of kettle corn?
Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, Temptationland!
Now forget that it took 3 hours to get to Anaheim in rush hour traffic Friday.
Ignore that by the time I pulled into the Mickey & Friends parking lot at 6:30, I was hungry enough to eat Walt Disney’s cryogenically frozen head.
I wasn’t sure how we were going to get thru the night without a non-scheduled pre-cheat. As I heard the chirp of my car alarm and started to walk towards the parking garage escalator, I had a bad feeling in the pit of stomach and it wasn’t hunger pain.
Fifteen minutes later, Lucas and I stepped off the tram in Downtown Disney and we were immediately overcome by the smell of freshly popped caramel corn.
All that bubbly brown sugar and butter. Gawwwwd. The smell was everywhere.
Lucas looked at me and his big eyes bulging out of his little head told me all I needed to know.
His mouth was wide open, his hands were on his cheeks and he stood frozen for a moment.
If someone took a snap shot of the two of us at that precise time, it would have looked like a weird combination of Macaulay Culkin on the Home Alone poster mixed with the agony of the man in the famous Edvard Munch painting, The Scream.
As we passed the Kettle Corn cart, I was convinced that this was turning out to be a pretty stupid idea, a thought that was only further reinforced as we passed a family on a bench chowing down on two pizzas.
Since we arrived in separate cars, Amy got to the park first.
She was about 30 minutes ahead of us and immediately headed straight to Napa Rose, an upscale restaurant at the Grand Californian Hotel. It turned out to be one place where we could get a decent, healthy meal.
The idea was to eat a meal that was on our diet plan before heading into the park. While I may have raised an eyebrow over some of the choices, everyone ordered great. The kids and Amy had steak. Our friend Michael Spellman had fish. I had salad and an Ahi tuna appetizer.
A little more than an hour later, we walked out of Napa Rose ready to tackle the park.
Resolve is everything in a situation like this.
But it was almost like destiny when we walked thru the entrance and strolled up to the fruit cart on Main Street and found loads of dill pickles and packages of these freeze dried/dehydrated apples called Apple Crisps.
Come on! Pickles and Apple Treats. Who else in the world would crave these things with the exception of maybe a pregnant woman or perhaps someone who was incredibly stoned?
But you know me and pickles… And the Apple Crisps have become an Elzer Family staple.
Suddenly all my fears started to ease. Seeing this cart loaded with the family favorites was just what I needed to feel like everything was going to be OK. We were safe.
It’s not that we didn’t want the ice cream, cotton candy, turkey legs, pizza or the trip to the Emporium Candy Store, cuz we did.
It would be a lie to say we were all under control.
I am sure I wasn’t the only one who noticed every food cart and restaurant in the park because when you diet, the food deprivation triggers a bad version of tunnel vision where you hone in on the churro cart like a sixth sense.
But by Midnight, we had accomplished what we were never able to achieve before – a healthy trip to the Magic Kingdom.
And beyond the 100 pounds of weight loss, that was a milestone worth celebrating.
But the weekend didn’t stop there.
Fresh off conquering Disneyland, I decided to see how much true food torture I could endure so last night I had the boys over poker. I brought in pizza, chicken, tri tip and a bunch of killer desserts and the poker crew brought over their own arsenal of beer and chips and salsa, etc.
And at midnight, as I packed up the remnants of the garden of good and evil, and sent the pizza, chips and desserts out of the house with the departing guests, I was filled with enormous pride and satisfaction that I hadn’t strayed – not one bite – off the plan.
Now why would I willingly set myself up and surround myself with chocolate covered oreos and cheesecake and all the things I love to eat?
I guess I figured if I could get thru Disneyland and really test my boundaries with the poker game, I could get thru just about everything.
As obsessed as I am with food, I suspect I will always have eating issues, but I was really OK not eating all the crap I would normally eat the last few days. And that was an important hurdle to overcome and acknowledge.
I will never be a runner, but I often hear of this mythic runner’s high that allows you to keep running forever.
Right now, I guess I’m experiencing the dieter’s high and I am interested to see how far it will take me and how much power it will give me as I tackle the biggest obstacle in my path – this week’s wine dinner that I can not resist.
Steve Elzer, 2009
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