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Greek-American Stories: Weighing the Situation

“I don’t know why I’m not losing weight like the doctor promised,” complained Yiannis to those around the table at Dixon’s. “Areti cooks all the food from the list I got from the doctor. He promises that if I follow the diet I’ll lose a lot of weight within a month. Then, I go back for a checkup.”  Dimos advised, “Maybe you should do more walking, Yiannis.”  Yiannis responded, “I do that too. I bought this step counter and it’s supposed to show how much I walked. And, I’ve been using it almost every day.” George said with half a grin, “maybe It would work better if you counted your bites.” Yiannis made a face. “Don’t be funny, George! I’m following the list of food the doctors gave me.” “Maybe, you should eat only once a day and not three meals,” Kipreos suggested. Yiannis shook his head. “Then, I’d be starving and eat more than I should. No, the doctor knows better. Besides, the diet is darn good. Areti has no trouble cooking whatever’s on it.”

John said, “does the doctor know that you come here every Sunday and have two coffees with sugar and cream and two or three donuts?” Noting his favorites were already gone, Kipreos added, “and, especially the sprinkled ones!” Yiannis’s hand waved about. “That’s only once a week. It’s not as if I do it every day, y’ know. Besides! A guy’s gotta have something to look forward to when he’s dieting,” he said reaching out for his second donut. Dimos, curious about the diet and recipes the doctor prescribed, asked, “do you happen to have that diet list with you? Can I see that list from the doctor?” With that, Yiannis whipped a long paper from his pocket and said, sure! It just happens I have to pick up a few more items that we’re now out of. I’m going shopping when I leave here. It’s a lot of stuff, I can tell you. It sure keeps me busy. But, I do it!”

Studying the list as the others drank their coffees they, patiently, awaited to hear Dimos’ analysis on what the doctor prescribed for Yiannis for losing weight. Leaning back, viewing what each main dish for lunch and dinner consisted of he became thoughtful. “Well, the food listed here is a lot of vegetables and meat choices look reasonable.  Fish is included, I see. Chicken has a reasonable amount of cooking options, too. And, the lunches are mostly sandwiches and salads. Hmmm! Let’s see! Sandwiches with…” Then, reading what was written at the bottom of the page his expression changed from serious to a growing wide grin. Leaning back, he nodded, knowingly. Then, he told him, “diet is OK. Only…” Everyone’s attention waited to hear his observations.  “Only, what?” asked Yiannis, pausing. Bringing the list up, his finger pointed to specific instructions at the bottom of the list. he said, “well, your doctor gave you good advice, Yiannis.  One could lose weight following this daily list for a month, like he promised.  But, that won’t happen with your way of dieting.”

Growing impatient, Yiannis shrugged. “What d’you mean? Areti cooks everything exactly as it says. Look!” He pointed to the first day’s luncheon meal. “Two sandwiches, with turkey breast, lettuce and tomato, no mayo or butter on bread slices.” Pointing to the next meal, he pointed, “look! ‘Place each chicken piece in the oven, side by side.’ Then, add seasonings. Cook for forty-five minutes and you have the diet dinner. Hey! I can do it for one month.”  Adding, “I’m full, too. Not like some diets that leave you hungry and then you don’t continue the diet anymore.”

“Oh, Areti followed directions, alright, Yiannis, excepting that you’ve been eating for two portions at one time.” Handing back the list, he added, “you’ve got to start all over.” Kipreos smiled. “That means you can buy less food on that shopping list.” Looking glum, realizing those delicious portions are to be halved.  A long pause followed, his thoughts struggled for a solution. Then, setting down his coffee, he said, “no problem. I’ll follow the diet like he said. But, I’ll make a small change, that’s all. So, instead of one month, it’ll take two months to lose weight.”

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