It's a new year, and for some this means a new you because January is the time of year when many of us try to shed those awful pounds we inherited from our holiday parties filled with cakes, cookies and eggnog. I, like many others, have fought those weight wars. For me, it started when I was quite young
The best I can recall is that my fourth-grade teacher decided to put me on a diet — there is no other explanation for it. I don't remember any of my siblings eating sensible meals. Why was I singled out? My fourth-grade class was constantly being weighed for some weird experiment.
I don't know if it came from a school board dictate or my maniacal homeroom teacher, but it meant I had to lose weight because children my age apparently needed to do so. However, my clothes fit fine. I could bend and touch my toes. Heck, I could even see my toes without bending. All I know is that one day I brought a note home from school, and I became the guinea pig for my class. My mom didn't know what to do, but if the school nurse sent home a suggested diet plan for your 10-year-old, you'd better adhere. So, off to the store we went, buying anything on the shelves that most kids wouldn't eat. There were these tasteless Melba toast slices that I was told to eat instead of bread. To make the dry toast go down smoother, I was given Metrecal, a chocolate-flavored, premixed solution that tasted like melted, watered-down chocolate. It wasn't meant to quench your thirst, only to frustrate the 10-year-old who had to drink it.
Every day at lunchtime, I would go home because I didn't want be seen in the lunchroom eating this stuff. My friends always asked where I was going, and I told them that I needed to let the dog out for a walk. But I didn't have a pet waiting at home —I had Metrecal. The pounds were pouring off me. The only reason this diet worked is because I was starved. My mom was so proud of me. I think I lost 5 pounds because that's all the weight my body had to give up.
When this diet test ended, I was back to regular food, but the most ironic thing happened in our class. Our next homework assignment was to make rock candy. Isn't that the worst thing for a kid to eat? Fresh off my diet, the first thing that I was allowed to eat was 5 pounds of sugar. If the diet didn't kill me, the homework assignment nearly did.