The day of my father’s seventy-fifth birthday, we settled on hard chairs in a middle-school classroom while the lively, lean program leader described the numbers game for every day of Week One: three meals; no snacks, potatoes, rice or grains. Nothing processed, no alcohol. No lattes.
This was drastic.
“You’re going to love plain yogurt,” she promised.
At that point, I couldn’t even look at my dad (aka Fodder).
Elpis’s description had prepared me, more or less, but could I really do it? No rice or potatoes?
I went gluten-free eight or nine years ago and without bread to fill in the gaps, I’d been hungry all the time. Obviously the same thing was going to happen again and I was not interested in being uncomfortable, listening to my stomach rumble, feeling starved and constantly thinking about food.
I wanted to lose weight without giving up anything: that was my aim.
Countering that goal was the cheque that had already cleared my bank account. I’m a long way from broke but I’m also not a spendthrift, which I like to think is the reason I’m a long way from broke, so blowing off those two hundred and fifty dollars was not an option.
As we left the meeting and returned to the car, I adjusted my tummy where my pants were digging in and finally ventured a glance at my dad.
“It’s only for a week,” I said. “I can do this for a week.”
He looked thoughtful, but “Right,” was all he said.
Starting the next morning, I stiffened my upper lip and learned to eat fruit. I cleaned celery, chopped broccoli and steamed kale. I peeled carrots, roasted beets and sliced peppers. And I drank water. Lordy did I drink water. Getting four cups in before lunch was a challenge but what made it easier was that if I started to feel like I wanted to eat something, I heard our fearless leader saying, “If you get hungry between meals, drink water.”
I was skeptical. Water, after all, is not very substantial and the stomach absorbs it fairly quickly. To my surprise, though, sipping a bit more H2O really did help control my urge to chow down more often, although it led directly to a bigger difficulty, another challenge to add to my daily list.