We will always know it as the September 10th diet, but we stuck to it despite—or because of—how life changed the next day.
By September 2001, I was fatter than I had ever been (no numbers, please!). I wore G's discarded jeans every day because they were the only pants that fit. I had attempted to lose weight a few times, but I always caved at the slightest temptation.
But by September 2001, G. was ready to join me in losing weight. He found this book, 32 Days to a 32 Inch Waist, and said this was the diet to try. I said I didn't want a 32-inch waist, but since I needed some shared willpower, I went along.
We gave ourselves one more weekend to indulge in pizza, bagels and cocktails. We would start the program on Monday.
This book must have been written in the 70s because it allowed "ice milk," frozen, white stuff sold as diet ice cream back then. There's a reason ice milk disappeared from the grocer's freezer. It was nasty.
On Monday, September 10, I fixed my breakfast while G. still slept. Breakfast is 100 calories of cereal. The book suggests Frosted Mini-Wheats. One hundred calories of Frosted Mini-Wheats is THREE mini cereal biscuits. THREE.
I laughed hysterically at the sad little cereal biscuits in the tiny dish. I woke G. up to show him breakfast. He laughed too and we got through the first day.Tuesday, September 11
On the second day, a sunny, dry Tuesday morning, two planes hit the World Trade Centers. I saw the two flaming towers when I emerged from the subway at West 4th. I walked the rest of the way to work stunned.
At the office, no one knew what to do. I sat at my desk, then I listened to the radio in the conference room and then went back to my desk again. Eventually, I walked across the Manhattan Bridge home to Brooklyn with thousands of others.
One of the first things I said to G. when I got home was "are we still on the diet?" He said he was wondering the same thing. In those two sentences, we acknowledged that the world had changed and nothing would be the same. But without ever articulating why, we decided to stay on the diet.
We spent three days watching the news ceaselessly, eating our allowance of Frosted Mini-Wheats for breakfast and the graham cracker-and-peanut-butter snack. We lost weight and kept it off mostly, but I never got that fat or complacent again.
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