EXCERPT: 'My Footprint,' by Jeff Garlin

No, I'm not starting yet. Monday, September 1, 2008 I'm currently reading a book of daily meditations for compulsive overeaters (of which I am one). The name of the book is Food for Thought. The meditation for today is about being nice to yourself by staying abstinent twenty-four hours a day. I'll keep that in mind. I'd like to make it past one hour without doing damage to myself before I focus on twenty-four. It's 6:00 a.m. and I'm in the kitchen for breakfast. Which, by the way, is late for me. I wake up every day at five thirty. No alarm. No matter what time I go to bed. If I'm not asleep by midnight I know the next day will be a disaster.

So I decide on scrambled egg whites. Opening the refrigerator, I notice -- okay, look for -- some Pillsbury sugar cookie dough. I eat all the dough. Now I have to run out to the grocery store to replace it before my family wakes up. This brings a level of excitement that I enjoy. Not as much as raw cookie dough, but it's quite enjoyable nonetheless.

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Damn. I fell asleep on the couch before I could get to the store. My wife and sons are eating breakfast. I tell my wife that I'm going out to the newsstand.

"Is it open on Labor Day?"

"I think it is."

"What do you need at the newsstand?"

"A fantasy football magazine."

"You and your stupid fantasy football."

A discussion of our different views of fantasy football would not be prudent right now. All I know is, fantasy football just gave me a great cover to run my covert errand, thank you very much.

I pop out to Gelson's and grab my cookie dough and a Sporting News Fantasy Football guide. When I get home and roll the magazine around the cookie dough, I drop the grocery bag in the recycling bin.

A quick aside here: yes, I hope to lighten my carbon footprint, because I know it is a big one, but I've always been obsessed with recycling. I'll even take things home from work or social events just to make sure they get recycled properly. The thought of some piece of plastic sitting for hundreds of years in a dump somewhere makes me nuts.

Okay, so after destroying the evidence and replacing the cookie dough, I stroll nonchalantly through the house to make sure I'm in the clear. My children are in the basement playing video games. I can tell it's a Star Wars game by the music. I can hear that my wife is upstairs showering. Actually, I was wrong, because she pops out of our bedroom.

" You're back."

"I'm back."

"Did you get the magazine you needed?"


"I don't understand what's so important about fantasy football that you needed to rush out and get a magazine now."

I shrug my shoulders and she goes off into the shower.

The only living things who saw me put away the cookie dough are my dogs. I know they won't say anything. They love me.


Willingness. Today's meditation is about willingness. I've always been willing to change and evolve. I could also say that I've been willing to fail. I've been ready to eat poorly and avoid exercise. Time to change. I'm willing.

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