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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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My Friend Jenny...

My Friend Jenny

While I wasnít looking some overly zealous calories sneaked up behind me and overcame my willpower. Why is it that modern women are expected to be skinny anyhow? Actually, Iíve never seen a woman with a beer belly, although I have seen a few that looked as if they spent a bit too much time grazing at the local food bar.

"NOT ME," I vowed. "Iíll never let myself get THAT out of shape!"

I said that right after emptying my bank account to spend a year of my life in the company of my new chum and best friend, Jenny Craig. Jenny and I were bosom buddies as long as I was spending money. I bought her overpriced, prepackaged frozen dinners, her mini granola breakfast bars, her tiny cans of soup, and her tasteless packages of snack food. 

She enthusiastically encouraged me to continue to lose weight and to take vitamin supplements, purchased from her, of course. I lived in dread of the day I could not swallow another guiltless chicken sandwich or consume another soy-laced ground beef patty without choking.

Actually, the food didnít seem THAT bad. I was so determined, and so fat, and so HUNGRY. I actually began to like broccoli without butter or cheese and to imagine that yogurt was even better than ice cream. Shows how desperate I was to be skinny, I guess. 

It was easy, TOO easy, to lose weight with Jenny and her diet plan. As long as I stayed on her diet, the pounds just melted away. I tried to forget about my bank account that was also melting away and just to think of the positive result of some day reaching my weight goal.

Itís a nutritionally balanced, totally controlled diet, and you donít really get THAT hungry. You only get hungry for greater variety, for sweet foods, for thick juicy steaks and restaurants. 

Why is it that the body craves the foods that are not good for us instead of those that are? And why are supermarkets so full of the wrong stuff instead of the right stuff? Just try to find rice cakes! And why, oh, why are all the commercials on TV for sizzling fast food that practically makes your stomach growl just looking at it?

The theory is that when you reach your goal weight, and bid Jenny farewell, you will have developed a new eating style based on healthy choices and proper portions. You will continue to choose tasteless, low calorie selections. Should you (heaven forbid) happen to gain a few pounds, you will come running back to Jenny for emergency counseling and a few weeks of recover with her overpriced, cardboard gourmet selections.

Thatís the theory. Unfortunately, it didnít work that way. Oh, it did for a while. I was so proud of myself, a mere wisp of my former self. I could get back in all my clothes again and zip the zippers. But how sick I was of lettuce with diet dressing and all the other fat-free selections. I continued to eat my daily servings of fruit, yogurt, and vegetables and to take my vitamins. Trouble is, I began to sneak a sweet dessert, or a bun with butter, or maybe a snack after dinner. Little by little I slipped back into my old fattening ways while I continued to think I was thin.

Then one day I could no long zip my jeans. Funny how all my garments suddenly seemed to shrink from just hanging in the closet. But the final embarrassment was when I realized that even my underwear was getting too small. 

So, do I learn to love my fat and accept myself the way I am, 20 pounds over my ideal weight? Or do I go on another diet and lose it - this time forever, of course - never to be gained back again. Do I continue to gain weight until I can no longer fit into the rest of my clothes and simply puff up and float away like the Goodyear blimp, or do I diet until I lose enough to be able to stand myself again? I get hungry just thinking about it.

"Jenny, old friend, have you abandoned me in my hour of need?" Of course not! She sends me cards all the time so I wonít forget her. I can visit her just as often as my checkbook wants to. I gotta think about this one. Either itís buy more clothes or buy Jennyís food. Iím afraid either one will be an investment of gigantic magnitude. I know there are other, less expensive alternatives - but Jenny makes it SO easy!

Get my food bags ready, Jenny! Open the door wide and warm up the digital scales! Iím on my way!

Copyright 2003 Sheila Moss


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