Thursday, January 10, 2008

This... Is... Unacceptable!

OK, look. I understand that being on a diet plan automatically means your food choices are limited... and often, less than appetizing. Like I said in my last post, so far I've been impressed with what NutriSystem has to offer, given that I wasn't expecting very much. Some of the meals are actually more than OK, in fact; I've even developed a taste for the "BBQ Soy Chips."

But not... let me repeat, NOT... the "Mashed Potatoes with Meat Loaf and Tomato Sauce."

I shoulda copped wise to what was about to happen the moment I read the box. For starters... since when are the mashed potatoes listed first for that particular combination... or whenever you're talking about a "meat and potatoes" dish? But, OK, this is diet food, and perhaps for some reason the mashed potatoes are supposed to be the main course. Whatever.

Then I opened the package. As you can see, the meat loaf was the larger portion. Good thing, too, since the "mashed potatoes" consisted of a grayish lump of... something, that resembled congealed petroleum.

Wait. "Gray" isn't even the right word. "Taupe" would be more appropriate, since there was a definite, uniform brownish tinge to the ostensibly edible pile of foodstuff before me. Photos don't do the freakish scene justice.

Adventurous (stupid) soul that I am, I nuked the dish per the instructions on the box... which sports a photo of regular-looking mashed potatoes, by the way. Even as I prayed microwave radiation would somehow restore normal coloring to the potatoes, I read the ingredients. Yes, those are supposed to be real mashed potatoes... well, potato flakes, but if those are good enough to serve your parents at Thanksgiving then surely they're OK here, too...

The microwave dinged. The potatoes were the same, of course, except now steam was coming off them. Great. A grayish-brown, steaming glob of God-knows-what. Yum.

Yeah, I tasted it. I was in this far, I had to go all the way. Incidentally, it was with similar logic I moved to California with a woman I barely knew 10 years ago. So, precedent would appear to indicate that logic is seldom a wise choice. But I tasted the damn "potatoes" anyway.

It was a small taste. About a tablespoon. For a split-second, I detected the faintest hint of potato-flavor... which was soon replaced by what I would imagine to be the taste of hot, wet, clammy, liquified cardboard.

Thirty seconds later, paper towel in hand, I was cleaning the remnants of that one, (thankfully) small bite off my kitchen floor. Soon after, I tossed the entire meal into the garbage -- maybe the meat loaf was OK, I'll never know -- along with another unopened box.

Good news -- I lived to tell the tale, so apparently the "potatoes" weren't poisonous.

More good news -- So far, that's the only item I haven't been able to tolerate.

And still more good news -- Ten days into the diet, I've lost seven pounds. That's a proportion I'm more than happy with.

I'm also happy to say I started actually exercising this week, and I've made a point of walking around the block for at least 45 minutes every day. So far, the sense of accomplishment has kept me going in this routine. I'm motivated. I have a goal, which I think is realistic -- drop 15 pounds before Sun 'N Fun, which is in late April (and one week before my next cancer check-up.) Even allowing for the inevitable slowdown in progress, that should still be attainable. More would be a welcome bonus.

But keep me the hell away from the "mashed potatoes." I'll take more soy chips.

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