About two months after I declared that I would start watching my daily food intake, I fell off that wagon. I can’t report this as particularly surprising outcome, and instead can celebrate that I stayed on for as long as I did.

Furthermore, I learned that this practice really works, at least in terms of my primary goal to reduce and manage my abdominal fat, which research has convinced me serves no good at all. Before dropping the habit, I succeeded in shrinking my waistline below 40 inches (the rule-of-thumb recommended ceiling for my physiology), and all through simply tallying my food intake. At no point did I starve myself, or even deny myself food whenever I wanted it. I simply took a freshly mindful stance towards my food, no longer letting myself chomp through a bowl of chips or basket of fries while barely even noticing it.

It works like magic, with measurable results appearing within a couple of weeks — but it requires disciplined, truly habitual attention, all day and every day. I didn’t quite achieve that.

I’ve been of a mind to push myself back on because of another medical habit I’ve very recently had to take up.

Following her own doctor’s orders, our dear, aging cat’s daily medicine has this month grown manifold in volume and complexity. Her regimen has increased from a single daily blood-pressure pill to a cocktail of three different pills — some of which we must chop up first — plus a twice-daily ear-cream for her just-diagnosed hyperthyroidism. (This provided my introduction to finger cots, a bit of medical paraphernalia that Wikipedia tells me carries the nickname “finger condoms”, and I can report this an accurate moniker.) I observe myself going through all this trouble and expense for the animal’s sake, and the thought occurs: All this, yet I can’t just thumb a couple of numbers into my phone every time I eat something?

I feel hopeful that this will stick with me eventually. I can state confidently that, years ago, I started going to the doctor for annual checkups only after noticing how I would never fail to take little Ada to her vet visits, while unable to name the last time I had seen my own GP. The pills and creams I subject the cat to today seem to work as intended, so I fully expect her to stick around and keep unwittingly reminding me to look after my own internal affairs at least as well as I do hers.

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