Hydrox Is Back In My Life

Part of the allure of Hydrox is there’s nothing nutritional about it! No trans fats–where’s the fun in that?

hydrox_cookie.jpgAlmost bedtime, so I headed to the kitchen for a quick recon before going upstairs. As I opened the pantry door there they were. Helaine had brought home crack cocaine Hydrox cookies. As suspenders are to Larry King and Cherry ChapStick is to Katy Perry, Hydrox is to me.

Hello old friend. Where have you been these last 30 pounds?

While others can claim some sort of affection for Oreo, I was always a dedicated Hydrox guy. I loved its firmer white creamy filling and crisper cookies. As a kid I’d open Hydrox-after-Hydrox, combining the individual fillings until I had an immense, white, sugar high staring at me.

My love of Hydrox goes back as far as I can remember. I devoured them as a kid and stayed skinny. While a bachelor I’d often eat a full sleeve of Hydrox, chasing them down with Coca Cola… and not that sugar-free wussy crap I drink now. Life was oh very simple then. I could eat and drink until I ran out and never put on a pound.

hydrox-package.jpgAt some point while watching my weight and avoiding my Hydrox, Sunshine stopped making them. My business alone was what kept them going all those years–that’s certain. And then last week I saw an article in the Times. Hydrox was temporarily coming back. The next thing you know they’re back in the house. Most likely they jumped in the grocery cart while Helaine wasn’t looking.

I’d never seen it before, but there is now nutritional information on he back of the Hydrox package. Really? Why? Part of the allure of Hydrox is there’s nothing nutritional about it! No trans fats–where’s the fun in that?

I suspect when this package is empty there will be no more. Life can be cruel. I’m a big boy. I just don’t need to be bigger.

Down Eleven Pounds

If you invent the dietetic pretzel, you will be as rich as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet combined. I will kiss you on the lips.

My diet continues. So far, so good. I’m down 11 pounds. Yesterday I was down 12.

You shouldn’t look every day – right? How can you not?

When I last dieted, Dr. Steve looked at my blood numbers and said, “No more Atkins.”

Actually, he hinted at it. I picked up the hint. He said he was glad I did.

This diet is very different for me, in that I’m not being 100% strict. I have had cake. I have had pasta. Just less than I would have had before.

Mostly, I’ve made healthier choices… and avoided pretzels. I love pretzels. That’s the most difficult part.

If you invent the dietetic pretzel, you will be as rich as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet combined. I will kiss you on the lips.

Nowadays, instead of getting the “Chicken Caesar Wrap” at dinner, I’ll get the “Veggie Wrap.” No potatoes or fries, it’s grilled vegetables there too. Mayo is replaced by mustard. I’ve developed a taste for salmon. I’m losing weight a few hundred calories at a time.

My biggest change happens when I get home from work. There’s a whole lot less grazing, and (as I mentioned) no pretzels. I do eat a lot of fruit.

These are simple things. They are working.

I have dieting and weight theories. They aren’t based on ‘real’ science, but they make sense to me.

For instance, I don’t think I could go below 160 pounds and still be healthy. I have found 200 pounds is much too much weight. So, there’s a 40 pound range to ‘play’ in.

With that in mind, I’ve lost about a quarter of this ‘optional’ weight. I’d like to lose another 12-13 pounds, bring me into the mid-170s. As a grown-up, that seems to me to be my ideal weight.

Of course, the best part for me is seeing the results. It’s easy to see how much better my clothes fit. I’ll never become a swimsuit model.

When I was in my twenties, home cooking was Hydrox Cookies and Coca Cola. I had daily lunch at Burger King – Whopper, minus onions and mayonnaise, and a chocolate shake. I never put on an ounce.

Age is cruel. You metabolism changes and hair grows in all sorts of strange places.

Health aside, I’ve got too much invested in clothes to be heavy.


I don’t drink alcohol. So, I don’t know what a hangover is. However, I think I have experienced a pretty good simulation of one today.

My head is killing me in a very ‘special’ way I’m not used to feeling. This is one headache aspirin has not been able to tame.

It actually goes back yesterday’s poker game. What I didn’t mention in yesterday’s post was, the game was played with Helaine out of town. She and Steffie went to see Rick Springfield in concert (NYC last night, Jim Thorpe, PA tonight).

That doesn’t mean Helaine’s presence wasn’t here. She is the consummate host and incredibly organized. Her work was done before she drove off.

When the gang got here last night, the house was loaded with snacks perfect for poker. We had home baked chocolate chip cookies, home baked chocolate brownies, pretzels, chips and salsa.

My kitchen had become my own personal carbohydrate bulking station!

Back when Helaine and I started dating, I weighed about 12 pounds. I was rail thin while living off Hydrox Cookies and Coca Cola. Unfortunately, that train has left the station. You can’t go back… as I proved.

By the end of the night I was full and hyper, as all that sugar moved nicely into my bloodstream. I woke this morning to a pounding head.

After a few hours awake, I figured the only cure was to go back to sleep. Conveniently, I thought of this while prone on the sofa. By the time I was conscious again, the Sun had set.

The nap didn’t help. Here it is, around 9:30, and though I’m feeling as good as I have all day, I still feel like… well, it’s family blog, but you get the idea.

Tomorrow Helaine will return, and I’ll get back to healthy eating. Not a moment too soon. After all, not only was I not feeling well, I had no one to kvetch to!

The Trip Continues

Getting to Philadelphia was no problem. It was leaving that seemed to be the sticking point.

I had a long layover in Philadelphia – over an hour and a half. The Embraer Regional Jet to Atlanta was in on time. We boarded on time. And then the announcement.

The pilot came on from the cockpit to tell us thunderstorms around Atlanta were going hold us up. It would be an hour until he found out when we’d be!” And, since the gate was needed for another plane, he’d drive to a quiet spot for us to wait.

I’d like to tell you the passengers protested, or the wait was interminable or some other tragic story of passenger pain, but it wasn’t that bad. We left Philadelphia about an hour and a half late.

I actually found the plane, an ERJ170, reasonably comfortable. Just like the Dash-8 I took from New Haven to Philadelphia, this plane had plenty of legroom in narrow seats. The interior was spartan and somehow European. The interior actually reminded me of a Fokker-100.&#185

Is it just me or is it weird to be on an airplane designed and built in Brazil?

The trip to Atlanta was bumpy, but uneventful. Getting off in Atlanta was another story. The terminal looked like a mall on the weekend before Christmas. It was jammed – as busy as any airline terminal I had ever visited.

Helaine had found a great deal for a medium size car from Avis. That ended up being a Chevy Malibu. It is possible there is a car that has less style, but I doubt it. It looks like it was designed and built with absolutely no anticipation anyone would actually want to own one. They were right.

My hotel is the Hilton Garden Inn – Perimeter in one of the many exurbs that ring Atlanta. This is actually a fairly nice hotel and a good value. And, along with everything else, there’s free high speed Internet service (though not enough signal at the desk in this room to use it from there).

This evening (a late evening) I joined Mark and Annie, both of whom I worked with at Channel 8, for dinner. I left it up to them and we went to Ted’s… owned by Ted Turner and featuring Bison meat!

We all had Bison burgers, which were very good. I also had New England clam chowder (could have been warmer and larger, but it was very tasty). This being Atlanta, Coca Cola’s world headquarters, I broke down and had a Coke, which was served from the glass bottle.

Next stop was CNN, where Mark and Annie now work. This is interesting because there are familiar views in the CNN Center that I’ve seen for years.

Visiting CNN at night, there were no on-air types to be seen. Most of their nighttime programming is from New York or Los Angeles (Larry King).

Actually, that gave me more of an opportunity to look around. Their newsroom, directly behind the news set, may be the most photogenic TV space I’ve ever been in.

Busy day. I’m going to bed.

&#185 – The Fokker 100 is a small, though older, regional jet. USAir used to fly them to Buffalo. They were quite comfortable, except for the low ceilings. They were low enough that I once asked a flight attendant if her assignment in this particular model was penance for something she had done?

I’m a Loser

The diet’s over. Down 26 pounds at my minimum, but undoubtedly going back up. The immediate weight loss on Atkins/South Beach is rapid… as is the immediate regain. I understand that.

There are certain mistakes that I don’t want to make again. So, this afternoon while Helaine was standing nearby, I went to the refrigerator. She looked on and reminded me not to be foolish after I had worked so hard.

I came out of the ‘fridge, holding a Diet Pepsi – which was what I went in for.

My whole life, I have told anyone who would listen that diet drinks don’t taste anywhere near as good as the real, sugared, carbohydrate packed, thing. I still feel that way, though the bitter aftertaste of artificial sweetening has greatly diminished.

It has been my experience that the people who drink diet soda are, by and large, heftier than those swigging Coke or Pepsi. Now I’m one of those I reviled. A middle age loser, gulping a drink with no fat, protein, carbohydrates or calories, and certainly not tasting anywhere near as good as the real stuff. Looking at the label, there is little in this Diet Pepsi that wasn’t born in a laboratory.

It’s sad. Where did my ability to live on Hydrox Cookies and Coca Cola, without putting on a pound, go?

There’s Less of Me

I had made mention, about a month or so ago, that I was starting a diet. This is not the first time time I’ve dieted and it probably won’t be the last. Luckily for me, even when I don’t keep the weight off, the act of dieting is successful in the short term.

When I was growing up… even in mid-adulthood, I seemed impervious to weight gain. For much of my early thirties, I lived on Hydrox Cookies and Coca Cola and gained not an ounce.

I thought I was bulletproof.

Helaine found the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach. Even then, while we were dating, I stayed slim. I quit smoking cigarettes in 1984, again, without weight gain.

It wasn’t until Steffie started eating solid food, and I would finish what was on her plate, that I started to expand. It wasn’t rapid but it was steady. When I bought clothes I would notice the size going up. I remember one salesman at a men’s store where I shopped commenting on my added heft.

Note to clothing salesmen: If you want to sell more, don’t tell me I’m heavier than I was.

Finally, probably five years ago, with my suits getting tight and my cheeks getting chubby (my mother had commented to Helaine I was getting a ‘fat face.’), I decided to do something. I had never dieted and was sure I had no will power. I had heard about Atkins, but knew little.

The more I read, the more enticing it became. That became especially true when I read Dr. Atkins write, you can eat many foods to your heart’s content… as long as your carbohydrate intake is under control.

I cut the sugar from my coffee. There was no more bread or pasta. We referred to chicken wings as the breakfast of champions. My weight went up the first day and then dropped. Within two weeks I was down nearly ten pounds and it didn’t take long to go from 200 to 175.

People always remark that when you get off this diet, the weight goes back on. Duh! Of course. It doesn’t immunize you from self destructive behavior.

Over these past few years I have gone up (never over that first plateau at 200 pounds) and down (never quite as low as 175).

It is better to be thinner than heavier – not just for health, but also because I have so much invested in my weight with suits and shirts. You can’t go out and buy a new wardrobe every time you change.

This time, again, I started near 200 pounds. I’m just a bit over 180 now and doing fine. This time, I am doing the diet a little differently, using some of the strategies and foods from the South Beach Diet. At the same time, I am eating less fat. There have been no chicken wings for breakfast this time.

There are times when I crave sweets, or stay hungry when I know I would be eating if not weighing myself every morning. Helaine is incredibly helpful, baking low carb cookies (using almond flour) and making a Ricotta cheese concoction that I eat every day.

And then there are those fudge bars from Klondike. Three net carbs is what the package says. I’d eat them off the diet!

We are going on vacation in the beginning of July, and I’d like to try and stick to the diet until then. After vacation I’ll have to figure out how to put myself in some sort of maintenance mode. That’s never worked in the past, but I have to make it work now.

Hopefully, by July I’ll be around 170. It’s been a very long time since I was anywhere near that. I’d like to be close to 175 and definitely below 180 through the rest of 2004. It won’t be easy once pretzels and cake return to my diet.

Gimme Three Steps

We went out to dinner tonight to Tre Scalini on Wooster Street in New Haven with our next door neighbors (the ones we speak to). The food was unreal and the dessert better. My only complaint was that the coffee came with milk and not cream. Call me crazy, but it makes a huge difference in coffee.

What made dinner even more rewarding was the fact that I’ve been on the Atkins Diet for the last 5 or 6 weeks. I am a big fan of Atkins because it is very easy for me to follow and it works. Though I’m prone to high cholesterol, it has never spiked while on this diet. In fact, the only time I took a blood test while doing Atkins, the bad stuff was lower.

The problem for me is that once I’ve achieved my goal, I go back to being stupid with food. People often say, after Atkins you put the weight back on. Duh! It doesn’t immunize you if you start doing what got you too heavy in the first place.

In the three or four times I’ve been on Atkins in earnest, this is the first time I’ve taken a day off (aka – cheated). I will go back on tomorrow and probably be shedding pounds again by Monday.

I had nine pounds to go before tonight. I’m sure I’m a little farther from my goal now. Actually, once I get down to 175 lbs, I might continue. The diet isn’t that tough, and like every other American, I’m obsessed with my weight.

I only weight myself when I’m dieting. And, I have found there are certain standard conditions I can weigh myself under, and actually know where I stand. For instance, there’s the weigh-in on my way into the bathroom first thing after I wake up. Then there’s the weight after my shower, but before my clothes. I don’t weigh myself often before bed, but I know the relationship between that and where I’ll be in the morning.

I guess this is much too much detail to possess about my own weight.

When Helaine first met me, I was just under 160, never gained weight, and lived on Coca Cola and Hydrox cookies. When I was living in West Palm Beach in the late 60s/early 70s, I had a Whooper minus onions and mayonnaise, chocolate shake and fries EVERY day. No weight change.

Now, I put on pounds by looking at food.

Oh – I almost forgot. This entry is named “Gimme Three Steps” because Tre Scalini means three steps in Italian.