Diet approach: One city at a time

by Helena Rodriguez

Move over Atkins and Jennie Craig! My new City-By-City diet (copyright pending) is sure to take America (or at least eastern New Mexico and West Texas) by storm and make me millions of dollars (or make me fatter).

Life has taken me in a full circle, actually, more like a weird-shaped little triangle, from Portales to Hobbs and across the state line to Abilene, Texas, and back. And with each new stop, I’ve acquired more baggage, as in pounds, with the most notable gain between the time I two-stepped into Texas in 2000 and the almost two years of junk fooding since I’ve been back in P-Ville.

But alas, I’ve decided to leave behind this excess baggage once and for all. Jennie Craig charges per every pound you lose. With my unique City-By-City diet, I’ll charge per town that you lose. I’ll explain more later.

Before you start my City-By-City diet, you’ll need a personal trainer. I strongly recommend an obnoxious teenager, like the one who lives with me, eats all of my food and always asks to drive my car. Obnoxious teenagers make great personal trainers. Take them clothes shopping with you and they’ll say things like, “You’re going to buy that?” or “You look like a granny in that!” In laymen’s terms, “Lose some weight, Momma!”

Grandmas also make great personal trainers. I’ll never forget the time I overheard Grandma say to Mom, thinking I didn’t understand Spanish, but I understood enough, “La Elena esta muy gorda!” Grandma was saying I was fat. This sent me off to my room in tears, determined to lose weight. Of course I didn’t lose weight. But If I had hired Grandma as my personal trainer back then and had her say this every day, I would have lost weight long ago.

I started losing weight in July when I got up to a record 135 pounds. This may not sound like a lot, but when you’re short and compact like me, every 5 pounds gained looks like a little sack of sugar sticking out of your tummy and thighs. Before I had my daughter Laura, I weighed 99 pounds, so I’ve gained more than one-third of my ideal weight.

I’ve shed 13 pounds so far but it may not look like it because I’m still losing my “Portales weight.” I was excited after losing my first 10 pounds, only to be disappointed when I tried on an old suit and it still didn’t fit. That’s when I came up with this City-By-City diet.

I realized I was still losing my “Portales weight” and that this outfit was a “Level 2” or an “Abilene” outfit. I still had to get through my Abilene weight. So although it didn’t look like I was making progress, I was, one city, perhaps one state, at a time.

In about 5 more pounds, I’ll begin losing my “Abilene weight.” I hope it’s as much fun losing as it was gaining.
In Abilene, I quickly discovered Tex-Mex cuisine didn’t stack up to New Mexico’s hot chile. But low and behold, I discovered world famous Texas barbecue. As if that wasn’t incentive enough, my editor in Abilene assigned me to write restaurant reviews. Part of my job description as a restaurant critic was to eat desert, too.

After I lose my “Abilene weight,” I’ll tackle my “Hobbs weight.” Ah, the many mouth-watering “sizzlers” I had at Luna’s Drive-in and the heavy bowls of menudo at El Caballero.

After I lose my “Hobbs weight,” I’ll reach my goal of 100 pounds (Hey, I’m entitled to gain 1 pound). Then I’ll be back to my original Portales weight. Well maybe not my original Portales weight. That would be somewhere between 5 and 6 pounds when I was born at Roosevelt General. But I will be down to an “ideal” weight.

So how am I losing weight? It’s more a matter of will than self-control at this point in my life. I’ve tried to lose weigh before. It just wasn’t a priority. I’d get motivated for the wrong reasons and quit. Now my motivation is simple. I just want to lose weight to prove to myself I have the will power. Not to impress anyone. I feel like my life is finally on track. I’m working toward some of my biggest goals, so I figured I might as well lose weight, too.

No more Coke and popcorn bashes. Just eating healthy and exercising a couple of times a week. To my delight, I suddenly feel more focused now, too. That makes losing weight city by city a piece of cake — but without the cake, of course.

Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: