I Promise You Won't Learn A Thing From This Blog

The official blog for author Ashley Chappell. Check back every week for a few laughs at my expense or, if you know the love-hate process that is writing, commiseration.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dietary Tactics: From Electroshock to Chloroform

Time for a show of hands. How many of you began this year with a resolution that sounded something like this?
"This year, seriously, for real, I'm GOING to get in shape and eat better. I mean it. For real this time."
Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about. Each year this resolution gets just a little bit longer with the addition of more emphatics, as if throwing in another "for real" and "seriously" makes it a more concrete vow.

So far this year I'm not doing too badly (it may be because I upped the ante with this resolution and even threw in a "no backsies" this year). I've been a pillar of strength, a maven of whole foods, and calorie counter extraordinaire... Provided that I am exposed to no temptation whatsoever, that is. Temptation - delicious chocolates on someone's desk, the smell of pizza baking, suddenly remembering that box of cookie mix in the cabinet... Well, that's where it all falls apart.

You see, my ability to resist junk food can be represented as an inverse function of my proximity to junk food. I'd even place a pretty big bet involving limbs and other appendages on the notion that this is true for the majority of the dieting population. No amount of Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine, or protein smoothies in our shopping cart can protect us from the fact that the checkout line is secretly a candy bar ambush waiting to happen.

And you know exactly what I mean on this one - how many times have we finally grabbed that Butterfinger and thrown it on the belt in a hasty rush of embarrassment JUST before the last item was scanned? And that look on the cashier's face as they hand it to you after scanning, asking "Would you like to keep this in your purse?" Which is, of course, a question that is very difficult to answer with a mouth full of Butterfinger.

Another terrible danger for me is the BOGO sale. BOGOS just provide me with the opportunity to justify buying multiples of something that I try to make a once weekly treat in this way: "Well, I'm going to buy at least 4 per month, anyway, right? So it only makes sense for me to go ahead and buy 4 and reduce 50% of the cost, right?"

Right. This logic recently led to the following scenario: Freschetta Brick Oven pizzas are our weekly Date Night treat and tradition. Following the above logic, in week 1 I buy 4 Brick Ovens on a rare BOGO sale at Publix and by week 2 I was down 4 Brick Ovens and SOL on the pizza front by the next Date night.
Pizza Heart
Nothing says love like a pizza heart
Now, armed with the full knowledge of my weaknesses, it's beginning to look like drastic measures are in order. Conventional methods of dieting (ie, simply not eating crap) don't appear to be enough by a long shot. So to augment my dieting regime I'm going to institute a series of new tactics in the fight against temptation.

1.      Time-locking Freezer. This one is aimed primarily at my pizza fixation. From now on, all Freschetta Brick Ovens and other frozen temptations will go directly into a freezer that can only be accessed once per week. In the event of a violent craving and break-down of self control, any attempts to bypass the locking mechanism will result in a moderate to severe electrical shock.
2.      Convenience Store Blinders. This applies to grocery store checkouts as well. The blinders must be put on immediately prior to entering any establishment that likes to keep enticing junk food displays in the periphery of the checkout counter or, in extreme cases, on the counter itself. It works for racehorses, and I’m at least smarter than your average mare. Right?
3.      The Dieter’s Select Menu. Petition local restaurants to maintain a menu for dieters. This menu will steer them directly to only the healthiest selections by describing non-healthy foods in terms of nutritional and chemical content rather than the mouth-watering adjectives that tend to talk us out of the Garden Salad and into the ¾ lb Cowboy Burger with two slices of melted cheese, crispy golden fried onions, and delectable special sauce. On the Dieter’s Select Menu, that burger just became a Cowboy Slab of Fatty Low-grade Cow Meat with Arteriosclerosis and Possible Heart Failure.

And in the event that all of these ideas fail...

4.      Big Scary Enforcers. Hire a team of ex-paramilitary soldiers of fortune to act as full-time body guards. And since no one wants to appear pretentious enough to carry around an entourage of body guards, this mission will have to be undercover and black ops. You’ll never see them until you go to take that bite of cheesecake, or start putting that money in the vending machine... and when you wake up, just consider the headache leftover from the chloroform a good tradeoff for the fatty calories from which they just saved you.


  1. Too funny! In January I posted 5 new years resolutions that never work. I even tell you why! :D

    My diets never work, my gym membership goes wasted, giving up beer is never going to happen, but I did quit smoking 13 years ago!

  2. I'll have to go and check that one out! I think I must be entirely immune to NY's resolutions - and I won't even bother lying to myself about giving up beer :-)

  3. I haven't made any resolutions to eat better (I already exercise), but I probably should now. An editing client sent me a basket of goodies as a thank you and they are too good to keep out of reach.

  4. My husband and I signed up for a couples class so that we could motivate each other to work out. We've been making small changes to our diet. I gave up sugar in my coffee. I love black coffee now.

  5. This is really funny - thanks for the laugh! Now I'm craving cheesecake!

  6. Move over, cheesecake! 'Tis the season for King Cake! Admission time - I'm enjoying a piece right now :-)


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