**NOTE: Nancy Jo Perdue recently lost 70 pounds, four dress sizes and 6 inches around the waist. To find out about this amazing accomplishment, please search the Jokebox archives for the "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" article posted the week of May 9, 2012.
Chances are slim dieters will lose anything other than money if they go grocery shopping with empty stomachs. Such a practice can lead some people to fail in merely preparing to succeed.
I know because I use to be one of the some. In my case, the sum wasn't pretty. The total was approximately 170 pounds of surplus fat. While I recently dropped 70m i pounds and continue to lose – getting rid of almost of one-fourth of me has not been easy. Here is just one example of humiliation I've encountered during the battle of my bulge.
For years, I've been telling myself a major lie – that I would do whatever it takes to lose half of me. Whatever, no doubt, included being ridiculed from my companion at the time.
"From this day forth, I am going on a diet," I declared. "I pledge to never leave home without a grocery list and to never purchase items that are not on that list."
While I made these vows to myself, my roommate was eavesdropping. I know because he started laughing.
"That list trick never works if you shop when you're hungry," my slender pal exclaimed between chuckles and gasps for air. "For example, Santa Claus has a list and checks it twice. But, he's still fat."
Secretly, I felt proud because I thought I had a companion who loved me regardless of my shape and size. However, the stubborn streak in me made me even more determined to put my plan into place. Grabbing a pencil, I began drafting a shopping list on the back of the previous week's grocery store receipt. And, I tried to ignore my buddy's rude remark about St. Nick.
I was miffed. My mate knew he and I were no longer a match made in Heaven. I know because he started cleaning the kitchen. That's a task he never tackled unless he was trying to get back on my good side. Then, his kissing up became sappy.
"Why don't I cook you some bacon and eggs to eat before you go to the store?"
"No, that OK," I responded. "I'm starting a diet so I shouldn't eat fried bacon."
"I can poach the eggs and broil the bacon," he insisted. "You really should eat so you won't buy everything in the store because you're hungry."
"Part of being on a diet is having the discipline not to buy food you don't need," I contended. "Besides, one reason I'm going to the store is because we're out of bacon."
To demonstrate I had control, I read him my two-item list – vegetables and bacon. Just to be cordial, I queried if he had additions for my roster. But, he showed little concern for my compilation. Instead, he continued his sweet talk.
"I still think you should have something hot to eat before you go," he said. "It will only take a minute for me to serve you something."
I resisted the offer. "A bowl of cornflakes does not constitute a hot meal unless you left the milk out again."
"We're almost out of milk. Add that to your list," he demanded. "While you're at it, also write down chocolate milk."
"I'll get regular milk," I announced, making his addition to my list. "We really don't need chocolate milk. That's too tempting. It would be like eating liquid ice cream."
Before my roommate could comment, I picked up my car keys and headed out the door. An hour later, I returned home. I was delighted because I purchased fewer items than I usually buy. But, my companion still was not convinced my list plan was working. His desire was to prove the flaw in my system.
"What took you so long?" he asked.
With hesitation, I answered, "I forgot my list so I had to improvise."
Then, smugness surged into my chum as he began offering unsolicited quips.
"It looks like you bought everything in the store and then picked up a few items at another one."
I reacted as any sane woman would behave. I became defensive.
"I didn't buy beets, Brussels sprouts or balsamic vinegar."
"You don't like those things."
"I didn't buy dog food."
"We don't have a dog."
"See, I only bought half of everything in the store."
"Well, that's all you could fit in the trunk of your car."
I realized giving him the silent treatment would serve no useful purpose. So, I dismissed his criticism of my latest purchases. Wasting no time, I returned my focus to the heart of the matter – getting on with my diet and relieving my hunger pains.
"While I put everything away, why don't you fry some bacon and eggs," I requested. "That would taste so good with a large glass of milk."
"Is the bacon in the bag with the six cartons of cupcakes or in the small bag filled with jelly beans?"
He proved his point, which forced me to admit my defeat.
"Oh, man! I forgot to get bacon and milk."
** Author's Disclaimer: While this situation was true, some of the facts were changed to protect the comedy. For example, the former man in my life never made fun of Santa Claus – otherwise he would have been history a lot sooner! I also happen to like Brussels sprouts.