FOLLOWING a routine physical exam 15 years ago, my doctor said I was in pretty good shape for a 50 year old.
"I know I should lose a little weight," I mumbled.
"Yes, 50 pounds," he shot back. "Do you like ice cream?"
"I sure do," I said.
"Don't bring it into the house!" he ordered. "Do you put salt on anything?"
"Green beans and corn," I blurted.
"Don't do it!" he said. "Don't put salt on anything at all. You get enough salt."
Then came his lecture about the health hazards of a bloated waistline. I knew he was talking about me again. He weighed less than 100 pounds. I weighed 250.
I must change my ways and must act soon, he said, "before it is too late."
I stammered for excuses as he left the room.
Giving up salt wasn't difficult and ice cream gradually left our freezer. But it soon became clear that a meaningful reduction in my waistline was going to require a major, sustained effort — maybe on the scale of quitting smoking, like I had accomplished 30 years ago. I decided to put it off until I retired, when I would have more time to take care of myself.