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Before you diet, look at the date

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By Carolyn Ten Broeck

I learned a long time ago that any day God sees fit to let you crawl out of bed in the morning is a good time to resolve to make changes in your life.
That’s why I’v never put too much stock in New Year’s resolutions. I’ve resolved in March to lose weight. I’ve resolved in July to exercise more. I’ve resolved in September to be a gentler spirit.
But somehow Jan. 1 always signals the advent of a clean slate, a time to start  (or finish) something.
This year, I purposely targeted Jan. 3 as my new beginning (had a lot of good food at the New Year’s Eve party and I wasn’t going to let it pass me by).
Now you must understand, never in my life have I been waif-like. Shoot, I’m a rawboned mountain gal, and I make no apologies for it. And if you think I’m big, you should see the rest of the clan.
Back in 2007, after catching a glimpse of the Michelin Man in my bathroom mirror, I decided to get healthy–eat right, exercise and sleep more.
It worked. In six months, I lost 35 pounds and was feeling great. Then Tom moved to Florida, we got married and before you can say Pillsbury Doughboy, I had gained all the weight back PLUS a few pounds more.
With a closet full of wonderful clothes I could no longer wear, I vowed to shed some of those pounds-again. I am not a dieter. I don’t do veggies but I can control portions, exercise and eat a sliver of cake instead of the entire thing.
Armed with yogurt and a Lean Cuisine, I entered the office Jan. 3 with a new resolve and a plan of action.
I sat down ready to sample the creamy goodness of the yogurt when something caught my eye.
“Best if used before November 2010.”
Oh, it’s only two months past the date, I thought, and besides what is yogurt anyway? A variation of bad milk.
So I ate  it. No problem.
Around 1, I popped my Lean Cuisine-Cheese Ravioli-in the microwave and while it cooked the required five minutes, I began reading the nutritional information, list of ingredients and wait, what was that on the end?
“Best Before Jan2009.”
January 2009? I’m eating a frozen meal that’s two years old? How can that be. Oh, my goodness, I bought this back in 2008 when I was still in the maintenance phase of my last weight loss foray.
My coworkers were aghast that I was going to proceed with consuming it.
“Shall I move your computer into the bathroom?” Chris asked me.
“Look, it just says it’s Best Before January 2009. It doesn’t mean I can’t eat it,” I reasoned. “It just won’t be its best.”
And so I did.
And here I am, 10 days later having suffered no ill effects.
Well, maybe. I am eight pounds lighter, and whether it was coughing up five pounds of lung butter or the out-of-date food that did it, is anyone’s guess. I’ll just take it anyway I can get it.