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magazine coverWith only an occasional “lost weekend,” I seem to be doing quite well managing my diet addiction. It isn’t easy, however, with so many temptations looming in obvious places like supermarkets, the doctor’s office and even my own coffee table.

Just the other day, the innocent activity of reading the newspaper turned into a knuckle-biting session. This headline jumped out at me, “Blue Bell’s sales swell…” Geez, even Blue Bell has swelling problems.

Swelling started my addiction in the first place, and swelling to my Jan. 3 weight on Dec. 23 this past holiday started forcing me out of the closet.

The viciousness of the cycle one experiences as a diet-story junkie is the worst part. The more I bought and read diet stories, the more I ate and the more I swelled!

My sordid plunge began at the local grocery store library (hint: it’s located right by the checkout area). I became adept at perusing this rack of literature by cutting my eyes toward it while appearing to look forward.

I dropped into the seamier side of the habit when I learned to toss an Enquirer or Star into my shopping cart, and under the loose-leaf lettuce, at fiber-optic speed.

Even if another customer saw me, the speed of the transaction and the intellectual, sweet expression I wore on my face, turned aside any suspicions. I made certain there was no way I looked like an Enquirer person.

Yes, the life of a junkie is a life of deception.

This January’s rack of goodies made my mouth water. With ankles swollen, boa constrictor jeans cutting off all chances of blood actually returning to my heart after pumping into my lower regions, I panted over the offerings.

Enquirer was featuring Whitney Houston’s loss of 600 pounds while learning to yodel, or something like that. The details blur.

Ladies Home Journal’s cover had a picture of Dolly Parton; and a story teaser on the front cooed, “Lose the pounds you’ve just gained” (by carrying around Dolly’s…money?).

Prevention enticed, “Lose your belly.” Even for a junkie, this statement seemed a bit far out since bellies are so expensive these days. Besides, what guarantee could one have on Prevention’splan to prevent other body parts from becoming lost? It was a chilling thought.

My moment of revelation arrived Jan. 5 at the checkout line in Winn-Dixie.

Feeling light headed from oxygen deprivation—those tight jeans, you know—my eyes rapidly scanned the grocery library. Suddenly, I spotted the ultimate trash diet story on the cover of the lowest form of journalism in the history of mankind—a black and white tabloid: Weekly World News.

No one but a fellow diet-story junkie can understand the inner struggle I experienced that day in the store.

Breaking out in withdrawal sweats, my eyes read and reread the cover bait: “Spirit of 18th century whale communicates ancient diet secrets to housewife through her coffee grounds.”

“No! No!” my mind screamed at me, my hand trembling an inch away from the despicable cover. I began to repeat over and over, “I am…I am a diet-story junkie!” Strength began to fill me and somehow, my will reigned.

Telling you life has been much easier since this dreadful episode would not be truthful.

I give a lot of credit to courageous publications like Woman’s World, which ran a story, it seems, just for me: WHY MEN PREFER FAT WOMEN (and the “prefer” was underscored!).

Stories like that make me know I AM GOING TO MAKE IT!

Incidentally, since I dried out, I’ve lost eight pounds.


—The Collegian, Fort Worth, Texas, January 26, 1994—