I've kind of sort of been on a diet. You know, it's one of those half-hearted efforts - some days I do really well, some days I don't. But, my doctor has been monitoring my weight, as have other well-meaning friends and family, and whatever I'm doing half-hearted must be working because at my recent doctor's visit I had lost two pounds. And at the doctor's office the time before, which was two months ago, I had lost four pounds. My doctor asked me what I was doing to lose the weight.

"I'm... (sigh) well, you know... (sigh)" I stammered. (He always loves it when I do that.) It finally came to me. "I'm on Slim Fast," I said.

"And are you following it the way it's supposed to be done?" he asked.

"Uh... yeah, for the most part," I replied.

"Oh," I said, another thing just coming to me, "and I gave up doughnuts for Lent."

"You're a donuts person, huh," he said. I replied, "No, it's more of a chocolate thing."

And I confess, to you readers, not to my doctor, I've already broken my Lent swearing off of doughnuts. But only once, and I'm trying hard not to have the rationale that since I've already cheated, doing it again wouldn't hurt. I would know.

"Do you like bagels?" my doctor asked.

"Yes, I love them," I replied.

"Well, why don't you have a bagel instead of a doughnut?" he suggested.

"With cream cheese... " I said, and upon noticing the frown he got on his face, "Lite Cream Cheese?"

"How about Whipped Cream Cheese?" he finally allowed. I was surprised because I always thought the whipped version would be more calories than the others, but apparently not.

However, my friend Theresa said that a bagel is like eating five pieces of toast, so she advised me against going the bagel route. This was while we were at dinner at Hoss's Seafood and Steakhouse in Exton, her favorite place. She usually gets the salad bar because it includes the dessert bar, but on this Sunday she was refraining from having any because she gave up chocolate for Lent. "But it's Sunday," I said, reminding her that you're allowed to eat what you've sworn off on Sundays.

"I know, but I'm trying to do it just straight through," she replied, though she said she'd take a cookie as long as it wasn't chocolate. It wasn't. Theresa, who feels the way about cookies as I do for doughnuts, said that next year she was giving up cookies.

And, she was happy to hear of my weight loss, however small it may be. She asked what the Slim Fast Diet consists of. "A shake at breakfast and a shake at lunch," I replied.

"That's it?" she asked incredulous. "Oh, I could never do that."

Theresa actually did not eat this particular time at Hoss's because she had been at a baby shower and ended up eating there. I, on the other hand, had been starving, so we still went. She asked me if a Slim Fast shake really suffices.

It does at the time you actually drink it, but I told her, "That's why I was starving."

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