The little Greek place in a strip mall in the next county that serves gyros with so much garlic it makes your mouth hurt.
The unintentionally 50's-themed Italian place just south of here, where you have to wrap your forearms in napkins to collect the grease as you eat pizza.
The Korean-run hamburger joint down the hill where the fries are so good you have to hold a fork at the ready to stab anyone who might get too close.
The taco stand down in the valley where the jalapenos nearly overwhelm the magic sauce in the tortas.
Oh, and my favorite teriyaki place down the street that serves brown rice on request, with crunchy Japanese salad my daughter and I always fight over.
We're now less than a week before weigh-in.
In the midst of this food orgy, eating is becoming almost a chore. The grease is making my stomach churn. I've been waking up at 2:00 every morning gagging. I'm back to taking Prilosec every night to keep the acid down. The very thought of meat is starting to be repugnant. Bread, butter, cheese, ham...I've started eating half meals and taking the rest home to my daughter. Share the poison, as it were.
* * * *Today my cousin told me a story.
He knows a therapist who had a client that liked to complain more than she like to lose weight.
The weight seemed intractable.
"I go up, I go down, I go back up," the woman griped.
Nothing the therapist counseled seemed to help. Finally he said, "Well, there's nothing more I can do to help. I give up."
She protested a bit, but he just shrugged his shoulders.
As she started to leave, he said, "Unless..."
"Oh, never mind. It'll never work."
"What? What is it?"
"Never mind. You won't do it."
"Just tell me."
Now the woman had to drag it out of him. "Tell me! Just tell me what it is!"
"Well..." he hedged, "only if you promise to do it."
"Maybe if you stopped trying to lose weight, and tried to gain 20 pounds, it might help."
"Just a thought."
So she did. And as soon as she hit 20 pounds, she started dieting.
This time, it worked. She took off the weight, and no more yo-yo'ing.
* * * *
Well, it's working for me, too. I feel bloated. I keep watching the calendar, wishing that darned contest would just start so I could quit feeling -- and looking -- like J. Wellington Wimpy.
But I'm nearly there. Just a few more days of blubbering up. The first weigh-in takes place next week, and, well, I'd gladly hold off on a burger today for salad on Wednesday. I really, really would.