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  Ellen Davignon: Lives of Quiet Desperation

Hey.. Pssst.. You Wanna Feel My Collarbones?

September 1, 2003

There is a word that crops up in our lives with dismaying regularity, a word - the hearing of which or the seeing of it in print - that tends to evince one of three reactions in reader or listener.† One is a complete rejection of the word itself and all its implications, a† ďTHAT word again, ho-hum, turn the page, change the channel, put a sock in it, whatís for supper?Ē sort of thing.† The second is an attitude of mild interest, as in ďAnother THAT word, hmm, maybe I should try it, hmm, brown rice and mung bean sprouts, hmm, wonder how theyíd taste with a big spoonful of that good pork gravy from last night?Ē And then, the third reaction, which would be one of intense interest followed by ardent discussion of personal experience, and, if the THAT word is brand new, to immediate trial, followed as quickly by reports to all and sundry as to its efficacy or lack thereof.

The word, as you may well have deduced from the foregoing, is DIET.†

Webster says, among other things: 1. diet (di-et) n., a regimen of eating.† 2. diet (di-et) vi., a regimen of reduced eating that precedes a gain of several pounds.† Well, maybe he really didnít phrase the latter in quite that way.† After all, Noah Webster was a very busy man, writing dictionaries and spellers and travelling all over the those 13 states of America to promote copyright legislation, in addition to fathering two sons and six daughters, and never allowing grass to grow under his feet or any other portion of his anatomy, and he probably never had to do it.† Diet, I mean.† So chances are pretty good that he would not have even known about that last little bit in number 2.† Unless Mrs. W. tended to retain baby weight.† After eight babies, she might well have known all about number 2, and quite possibly discussed it with the father of said babies.† She may even have been the very first one to add the proviso.† Itís safe to say that we will, in all likelihood, never know.† But we can speculate.

Anyway, diverting as all that might be, I didnít really wish to discuss the Websterís eating regimen(s), I wanted to talk about mine.

Now, a quick peep back into my archives reveals that I have discussed diet with you no fewer than 22 times and possibly more.† Iím getting to be a rather senior sort of a lady and having been a roly-poly baby grown to a charmingly well-rounded teen and into a somewhat-less charming Big Mama, and in the course of achieving this age, the D word has tended to turn up with that unfortunate regularity I mention at the start.† And, just like finding nothing better to do with gossip but repeat it, once Ďdietí turns up, what in the world can one do but write about it, Iíd like to know?

†Well, I suppose one can apply it, the good Lord knows Iíve done that often enough, with a variety of results, but thatís not nearly as much fun as discussing it in all its disgusting detail.† And as you might have surmised, all of the preceding is a lead-up to my latest adventure in wild and wacky world of weight loss.

Several years ago, I joined TOPS, an weight loss support group, its title an acronym for Take Off Pounds Sensibly.† They proscribe just that, a sensible eating plan, and I did pretty well with it, dropping about 50 pounds over the first three years and then slowly, over the next five, regaining about half, a bit at a time.† Gain two, lose one, gain three, lose two, you know how it goes.† Or maybe you donít.† But trust me, thatís how it happens.† So one day, after logging up yet another couple of pounds, I went home and pulled out all the diet books Iíd accumulated over the years.† If sensible was not working for me,† Iíd† go the banana-steak-tofu smoothie fad-crash route and damn the consequences!

And it was all well and good.† Except that the first book I picked out of the pile was not the banana-steak thing.† Nor was it the Peanut Butter diet or the F-Plan Program.† It was the Carbohydrate Addictís Diet, by Drs. Rachel and Richard Heller.† Fad diet?† Perhaps.† Crash diet? No way.† Two pounds a week max and plateaus a-plenty but the low carbohydrate, high protein break-fast and lunch, and balanced, eat-whatever-within-an- hour supper has been working for me for over a year now and Iíve lost those 25 pounds without breaking a sweat.† Iíve still got miles to go before I can start adding a slice of toast to my breakfast of bacon and eggs but for the first time in my whole chubby life, my rotundity is becoming less and less of a factor.

Silly me, Iíd always thought that my boobs began right under that last chin.† Suddenly, Iíve got collar bones, for heavenís sake!†† And any day now, in the area where my hipbones vanished without so much as a whimper, some thirty years ago, I expect to see knobbies.† Because the Carbo-Addictís diet is user-friendly and effective.† Because it delivers without eliminating whipped cream from my life.† And because it really works, Iím looking better, feeling good, and walking tall, as if I have someplace important to be.†

Besides, in addition to that good advice from Rachel and Dick, Iíve added Curves to my life.†††

Curves.† You know, ďThis little light of mine, Iím gonna let it shineÖ.?Ē On TV?† Sure, you remember.† Well, just in case you donít, Iíll tell you.

Curves, a circuit-training program designed just for women and with 6000 franchises in North America, Spain, and the UK, came to Whitehorse in May of this year.† Under the watchful eyes of Linda Brennan and her daughter, Rebecca Foos, a membership of more than 260 steadily decreasing armfuls of good, pulchritudinous Yukon womanhood grunt and groan their way around a roomful of hydraulic resistance machines in quest of the elusive, well-toned body.† I donít know about the rest, but all of a once, that elusive dream has a whole lot more substance when I see a bit of definition in my upper arm and feel an unfamiliar tautness in that long muscle in the front of my thigh.† And I just know that wonderful things are happening to my latissimus dorsi, to say nothing of the abductors and gluteals as I sweat and strain on that *!(%#@ squat machine.

There are eight machines in all, each designed to exercise and strengthen a particular muscle group.† The workouts are the same for everyone but each can be intensified or reduced by using a faster or slower stroke/pace, as the individual feel is best for her.† Between the machines are jogging platforms and it is here that individualism makes itself evident.† I like to do a cool little one-two jog, my fists loosely clenched, just enough locomotion to keep my heart rate at the preferred 18 to 20 beat per ten-second count for a woman my age.† Some do jumping jacks.† Other add three or four dance steps.† Some just shift their hips from side to side in time to the music.† You do what feels right and good to you.

Itís a very personal business, the whole Curves thing.† Linda and Rebecca take pride and pleasure in each memberís progress, stroking or exhorting or bullying, as required.† ďI was going to call when you didnít make it in yesterday,Ē Rebecca says pleasantly.† Itís not a question but I stammer and blush as I try to come up with a plausible excuse.† After all, itís only one intense half-hour out of your day, three, but preferably more times a week, easy to fit in and so energizing and pleasurable that most make it a high priority.† As you might suppose, knowing that the Mother-Daughter team will be snapping the whip and demanding answers provides a bit of impetus as well.† And it must be working because as of last month, Curves Whitehorse members had lost an aggregate of 727 pounds and 1003 inches.† Incredibly shrinking armfuls, indeed!!

So, how about itÖyou want to feel my collar bones?† Weíll talk hips, later.

ď..This little light of mine, I gonna let it shineÖĒ†

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