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I'll Start My Diet After Dessert

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Michelle Obama is right. I know it in my heart. We need to make healthier food choices. She's an inspiration. In fact Michelle, along with the approaching season of shorts and halter tops, is inspiring everyone I know to do just that. But I have a confession to make. I can't ever bring myself to start. There never seems to be a right time to start a diet.

I'm eating a piece of carrot cake as I write this. Apart of me is saying, "Who died and left her food police?" Another part is saying, "Come on, you know you've always wanted Michelle Obama arms. So just the fork down and back away from the table." I compromise. I tell myself I'll start my diet after dessert.

I confess. Book me, Dano. I am hereby charged with reckless eating. Take down my confession: I've grown (literally) accustomed to holiday feasting. Easter, Passover, Arbor Day. Any day can be a holiday. Is that so wrong?

Shouldn't that be considered a crime of passion or something. Can't I get off on lesser charges, like jaywalking? Why must everyone make a federal case of my ever growing waist?

And by the way, are you going to finish that meatball hero?

It all started on Halloween. When one-eyed pirates and fairy princesses call on you for treats. I'd much rather trick them.

My trick is answering the door with my mouthful. So what kid? I ate all the good candy and left you only the Sour Tarts and Waxed Lips. I had to. It was self-defense. A three-foot tall Spider-Man was stalking me. It was eat or have no more Hershey Special Darks left to be eaten!

Three Musketeers indulgences trickle over to pumpkin pie indulgences. And then...it's Thanksgiving. I love the spirit of the occasion. Giving thanks. Try it with me. I am thankful for butternut squash, cranberry sauce, and stuffed mushrooms. I am thankful for garlic mashed potatoes and baked ham. Didn't that feel great?! Gratitude is truly a virtue. And let me tell you, all that appreciating sure makes a gal hungry. There to answer the call of hunger is a fresh, out-of-the-oven Gingerbread Man looking at me with those big, blue M&M eyes, asking the question:

"Is there ever a good time to start a diet?"

Reindeer Cookie, wise beyond his years answers, "Not really. Just like there is never a perfect time to have a baby." Wow, reindeer cookie is deep. He must be a Buddhist. To keep him from talking, he gets eaten. Again, self-defense.

There has to be a good time to start eating right. And I am going to find it, by God. Well, it's definitely not December. Frolicking to and fro, from holiday party to holiday party. I haven't "partied" this much since weekends at the college dorm where I'd wake up in last night's clothes and eat cold pizza for breakfast. In December I eat food I don't eat all year round, Baccala, Calamari, Scungille (and the rest of the Sopranos), all battered and fried and threatening to raise your cholesterol if you don't give 'em respect.

But wait, this relentless food-frenzy doesn't end with the birth of baby Jesus. Just one short week later and there's another baby that wants his props, Baby New Year (yeah, he's a diaper-wearing hack, but we dig him nonetheless). The ball drops, people kiss each other and we eat and drink ourselves into oblivion, or at least into the next year.

I wake up feeling bloated and bulky, but still not guilty. It's New Year's Day and this holiday eats like a Sunday. Dinner starts at 1 p.m. with the antipasto shortly after breakfast and it ends at 8 p.m. with the mixed nuts, espresso, and ricotta cheesecake.

It hits me on January 2nd, I'm watching tv with some left-overs (honey-balls and a glazed ham), when a diet pill commercial comes on, then an ab machine commercial. I'm bombarded with hot, glistening, gorgeous bodies on the big screen while all I feel is flabby and gassy. I vow - I am never going to eat like this again. I am sick of myself. This is the year I am going to get cut, ripped, shredded, torn (and any other violently fit word you can think of). I fantasize about a new, amazing sex life. I write resolutions on a piece of paper while eating maple walnut ice cream out of the container.

February arrives. I dust off my treadmill and buy some fresh produce only to remember that it's Auntie Ann's birthday. Wouldn't want to offend her by not partaking of that Fudgie the Whale Carvel Cake I just bought her.

Before you know it, it's Valentines' Day -- a day where showing love means stuffing your significant other with raspberry mousse-filled truffles and chocolate roses wrapped in techno-colored tin foil. My butt becomes a tangible example of the effects of high fructose corn syrup.

I see little, pink paper cut-out Cupids in restaurants scotch-taped to the wall. I see gold heart-shaped boxes with red ribbon calling me "Hello, lover." Miniature stuffed teddy bears with pouty smiles gaze at me seductively. It is that time of year. And I am a sucker for romance. Guilty as charged. So sue me, give me a ticket; a moving food violation, whatever stupid thing you can think of. This is just how I roll. Why should I try to change myself to look like the chick in the Brazilian Fat Blasting Dance video? I'm not Brazilian and I'm not blasting anything. Call me a conscientious objector.

So there you have it, dear Michelle. That's my confession. Those are the facts that have led me to this moment right now.

Before you take me in... to that cold gymnasium in the suburbs... with three square meals of rice cakes each day.... please give me just one more week to say goodbye to all who are dear to me. Leave me here in my fat pants with the elastic waist. Leave me where I lay, with my box of assorted chocolates; each piece bitten slightly so that I can see inside.

Give me a week, my First Lady. Yes, that's it...a week!

I have stumbled upon the answer to Gingerbread Man's question. I do declare, the first monday of summer is a perfect time to start a diet.

Let's spread the good word, Michelle!

Joy Bauer's Holiday Health Tips
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