I happened to be talking to my friend, G, after shule one Saturday morning. We were just standing around catching up on the week just behind us. Who did what. How are we each feeling. You look like you are doing better….The usual small talk amongst us middle-aged, disabled women.
She told me she was not really doing badly. She was really happy that she had lost weight. Knowing she is diabetic and suffers often from lymphedema and cellulitis I asked whether that was because she had been suffering lately. With great excitement and enthusiasm she began to extol this new miracle in hers and her partners lives.
Bilberry. M joined us about this time. She jumped right in and also extolling the benefits of Bilberry. They explained it was an over the counter, condensed formula berry in a pill they had heard about. G takes the “Standardized” pills and M takes the other kind. They both tell me that they are loosing great weight just by taking this Bilberry. But, G uses the “standardized” formula. M uses the non-standardized formula. Both are getting great results, they happily tell me.
I cannot remember how they first heard about this. But, they went on and on. I asked them, quite sarcastically, and with clear disbelief, whether they were also dieting like Weight Watchers or Atkins. Because, a lot of women are doing Weight Watchers currently in our group. Like most group of women there will be a rather sizeable (yuck, yuck) number of us who are on some kind of diet or other.
Both denied being on any diet other than taking the Bilberry. Now, I usually poo-poo any kind of diet. Mostly because, I’ve done them all. Weight Watchers, less than 35 grams a day of fat, to pre-digested liquid protein. Can any one say, “What in hELL is pre-digested liquid protein?” Isn’t it pretty much self-explanatory? Who pre-digests this? I have no idea. I don’t remember if the doctor at the Washington University School of Medicine Weight Loss Clinic told me at the age of 16 or 17. It’s been a long time since then. Mom made me go. She had found out about this and began it herself. Of course, I was, as she saw me, like herself FAT. In 5th grade about age 11 my Mom made me go to weekly Weight Watchers meetings, weigh ins, open yourself up to say how proud you are of your co-watchers and yourself for your quarter pound weight loss or how disgusted you are with yourself for your 8 ounce weight gain that week. I remember the Nissen twins were there too. We all went to the same shule. I don’t recall them liking me or me them. But, there we were. All made to come by our Moms who were so self-conscious about their weight they projected it on we not really fat little growing girls.
You want to talk a bout a major YUCK! Oh, but the Cherry flavor isn’t sooooo bad. Oh YES it iS! Uhugh, without nearly bringing the entirety of my just eaten breakfast back into visual space let me just say that the nearly gel texture, room temperature, red, pre-digested liquid protein was nauseating.
So, inside my head I am saying, “Yeah, right, sure. Like you are not eating your Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s.” And out of my mouth comes, “Yeah, right, sure. Like you are not eating your Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s.” Truth. My friends know this is how I am. If I think it, the likelihood of my saying it out loud is, and I am being highly conservative here, over 80%.
“No.” M tells me that she still finds G up in the middle of the night with her ice cream in hand and spoon in mouth. G and M have always been hefty. They, like me, are fat. “I wonder if, I mean, what are you doing?” I am just trying to figure out if it my be worth my experimenting with this new magical berry. I mean what can it hurt. Especially, if I still get to eat as poorly as I always do.
So, we talk some more and I continue to fight with myself inside myself, where all the world’s greatest dialogues occur. Should I try it. Why not? What can it hurt? Should I call my gastroenterologist first? Why should I try it. I know damn well that it won’t work. What if it does work? How nuts is it that you are even thinking about this. But, what if it does work? I mean this could be the one. You know better than that. Crap. Fine. I won’t do it.
Whew, now that this conversation is over I can go on with my life. We all hug, tell each other to have a good week, and we will see you next week (kinohorra). “See ya later.” Laugh, laugh. I get in my car and go through the motions to start it and drive off. As I am driving home this internal conversation, still going on. “Damn it. I thought I decided it wasn’t worth trying this stuff.” “Really, what in your history would have led you to believe I wouldn’t bring this option of a magical pill up again?” “nothing.” I go home.
The next time I go grocery shopping this conversation begins again. Like there was a chance it wouldn’t? So, I am going up and down the aisles and as I see the “Natural” aisle I find myself looking for Bilberry. Standardized. I find both the standardized and non-standardized. The cost was high. But, I figured I could work it into my budget. I stand for several minutes in front of these and all the other natural herbs, plants, berries, solutions, vitamins, and minerals. The conversation inside my head never ceases. Finally, I realize I have got to make a decision. In the cart or out. In the cart or out. In the cart or, FOR GODS SAKE MAKE A FRIGGING DECISION ALREADY! ok. in the cart. standardized.
It is now two weeks later. I have been taking the Bilberry which has the usual disclaimer on the label that the claims of the manufacturer have not been verified by the FDA. But, the label, ah, the label, says “BILBERRY. PROMOTES HEALTHY EYE VISION*. What? Eye vision. Eye vision? What else would the eyes do? Smell? Your eyes are not noses or feet, or fingers for god’s sake. But, damn it I am gonna try it for weight loss. Which I find I have lost not one darned ounce. But, my eye vision is better than my toe vision.