All things being unequal when it comes to dieting

December 30, 2018

It’s interesting that so much news coverage is given to salary inequity between genders and so little given to an equally tragic disparity — calorie inequity.

The other day, Don flicked a sprinkle off his doughnut and lost four pounds. A cheese shaving fell onto my salad and bumped me up to the last notch on my belt.

We live in a country where every kid who participates gets a trophy or certificate, so who do I talk to about getting my weight to drop off at the same sprinkle-flicking rate as a man? Point me to their desk. We need to get this rectified.

I feel so unoriginal heading into the new year with the most common of all resolutions, but here I go. Again.

At least I’m not going alone. Don and I have joined hands and are skipping off to diet land together, along with 38 percent of the population. (Prediction: He’ll drop a pants size from the skipping.)

Curious about the reasoning behind a man’s ability to lose weight faster than a woman’s, I did a big of Googling (burning .003 calories as I did) and learned men have a higher amount of lean muscle and can grow more muscle easier than women, which enables them to burn more fat. More lean muscle + higher metabolism = burns more fat.

The formula for women is far more complicated and involves differing calculations for certain age ranges that can include the three to five days per month when a woman has no choice but to consume chocolate.

But when consumed during those days, chocolate is classified as medicinal, thus complicating the caloric count beyond my mathematical abilities.

For women, the weight-loss formula is something akin to female hormones + monthly cycle + childbirth trauma + lifetime responsibility for finding lost items + stress/emotional eating (often prompted by men) = grossly unfair.

While men might start the diet race with a daunting lead, women can gain on them (pun not intended) if they stick with the plan long enough.

According to a study done by the British Journal of Nutrition, which put men and women on a variety of popular weight-loss programs (Atkins, Slim-Fast, Weight Watchers), the men lost twice as much as the women during the first two months, but by six months into the study, the weight loss had evened out,

with men only slightly in the lead.

There was no mention of sabotage in the study’s results. (I may have, once or twice, been accused of baking cookies when Don gets too far ahead.)

I was lucky enough to have spent the first half of my life on the skinny side, before Karma came calling with her buttercream icing and hot macadamia nut cookies and tugged me over to the dark side. I succumbed for a while, and then fought my way back. Succumbed again, then returned.

When it was just me and Celeste, it wasn’t so difficult to stay slim, as she was such a picky eater for years that cooking wasn’t fun. But Don loves my cooking and making meals for someone who greets each bite with such enthusiasm and praise has spawned an interest in cooking that didn’t previously exist.

I wish I could rewrite the rules for weight loss. For instance, it should be that if I refuse a second slice of pizza, the calories from the first big slice shouldn’t count.

Anything with green should count as a salad. Likewise, anything consumed at the same time as lettuce should count as a salad.

Drinking a glass of water in lieu of a Coke should erase at least half the calories in the meal.

As for our weight-loss strategy this time around, we’re keeping it simple. We’re giving up all carbs, sugar and happiness.

In the end, I’m still just a girl. Standing in front of a salad. Asking it to be a doughnut.

With zero-calorie sprinkles.

Karin Fuller can be reached via email at karlnful-ler@gmall.com.

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