Most people I know gain weight over the winter. Just like polar bears, they eat for warmth and hide their weight under a layer of fur or, in this case, velour tracksuits. But I’m different (so what else is new?). I tend to gain all my weight during the summer when we travel, and go to lots of barbecues and picnics, and drink ginormous, high-calorie slushy drinks to cool off.

By the time Labor Day arrives, I usually look like I’m about to go into labor.

It’s not even a good look for a polar bear, much less a 53-year-old suburbanite with a velour allergy.

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Anyway, once we get into the Fall, I know I have a limited time to get back down to my fighting weight before the Halloween candy shows up at the drug store and I lose my ever-lovin’, chocolate that melts-in-my-mouth-but-not-in-my-hands, mind.

Of course, I’ve been down this diet road before and tried everything that’s ever been promoted on late night TV.

Fortunately, I have lots of friends who experience the same thing, so at least there’s comfort in numbers. I have one friend who’s been trying to lose the same ten pounds for ten years. She thinks that sensible eating is the key to weight loss... for other people. She’s tried every new diet known to woman. She’s done Atkins and South Beach. She’s eaten only beets for one week and only lima beans for the next. Actually, I think that one was called the Disgusting Vegetables Diet. She’s taken these mystery herbal pills that she ordered online that have since been banned in this country after two dozen people grew something like an extra earlobe from taking them. She owns a Thigh Blaster, a Butt Buster, and this stuff that looks like cellophane that she wraps around her thighs with this special cream underneath that’s supposed to melt away the cellulite. Not only didn’t it melt the fat, it actually increased the hair growth on her upper thighs. So now, each summer, she has to diet as well as have her legs waxed hourly. Whenever autumn rolls around and I tell her I need to lose weight, she tries to recruit me into her Fad Diet Cult. However, I’d rather eat live bugs than subject myself to a season of lima beans and hairy thighs, so I politely decline.

Deciding I might need some help, I consulted with my doctor to see what she would recommend.

“Are you familiar with this new ‘Caveman diet’” she asked me.

“Is that the one where your husband hits you over the head with a club when you reach for a cookie?” I replied.

“No. It’s the one where you eat like a caveman.”

“What, so only Sabertooth tiger meat for a month?”

“No,” she sighed. “You eat like a caveman would have. Cavemen didn’t farm, they hunted and gathered, so you wouldn’t eat any grains or legumes. Mostly just meat and fruit.

“Oh, I get it,” I said. “So I could have a fruit salad with a side of Wooly Mammoth.”

“Exactly,” she replied.

So, off I went to Whole Foods, because I figured I would need to go to a specialty supermarket to find loin of Mammoth and Sabertooth tiger chops.

Unfortunately, by the time I arrived, it was late in the day and they were all out. All of the other cavemen and caveladies must have beat me to it. Instead, I stocked up on steak, and more steak, and a little bit of chicken, although I’d never seen any steak or chicken in the Jurassic Park movies.

I ate meat like a maniac for a month and at the end of the first four weeks, I had lost six pounds. But my cholesterol was 322.

Realizing if I stayed on the diet I could get rid of most of the fat, but I would probably die from a stroke before I hit my ideal weight, I picked up the phone and called my diet friend.

“Hey, what’s up?” she said.

“So,” I replied. “Exactly how much thigh hair are we talking about, really?”

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