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Brent
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Sunday, Sept. 07, 2003 - 8:50 p.m.

Donít you hate it when you have a wonderful idea for a brief, stimulating, gorgeously-written commentary, and you start working on it with the certainty itíll be broadcast on All Things Considered in a mere few weeks, and itís all going so well, youíre writing a beautiful thing, and then you check to see what other people have said about it, and it turns out you are the absolute last person in the world to make the observation that is the foundation of your piece? You hate that too?

Itís raining. Itís cold enough for a sweater in the house. Cold enough that I had sex for the first time in four months without ending up sweaty and overheated. Cold enough that I made hot chocolate from scratch on the stove.

This hot chocolate was not part of my plan, containing refined sugar as it does. This weekend has marked the beginning of an experiment: no beer, and not much sugar or refined flour. I have never before really purposely not eaten something [Oh, like YOUíVE never used a qualifier or two in the middle of a complex verb?]. Iíve always gravitated toward lower fat and higher fiber foods because they taste better to me, not because Iím depriving myself. Not eating meat also tends to make me choose healthier foods (though it also tends to make me choose cheese). But since I stopped taking the pill, Iíve gained a lot of weight fairly quickly Ė maybe 25 pounds.

I know this is backwards. I hated the pill in all ways except one: I lost about thirty-five pounds with absolutely no effort. My metabolism just kicked on. If anything, my beer consumption increased dramatically on the pill, because I metabolized alcohol so fast.

Though it confused me at first, my weight loss actually makes sense: estrogen increases metabolism. Its antidiuretic effects can tend to counteract that, though, and most women donít really feel the effects. Also, progesterones tend to slow metabolism, so most women experience no weight loss while using the pill. But I think I have a hypersensitivity to estrogen. Everything I hated about the pill Ė long, icky brown periods, no sex drive, bad skin, no natural lube Ė is an effect produced by estrogen. So the good and the bad were both amplified.

Iím ecstatic to be off the pillÖI feel more creative, have better sex, can taste food better, have nice red periods, donít have to wear a watch, and feel very 1960s using a diaphragm. But the weight rushed back in a matter of months. So I want to see if quitting beer will have any effect on me. I kind of doubt that it will. I weigh about what I weighed through my whole undergraduate education, when I drank very little, exercised, and felt pretty good. But itís worth a try.

Friday at the show I drank scotch-and-sodas, feel very much like a grandpa and not at all like a rock kid, and last night I drank a whole bottle of wine. Itís hard to pace oneself when one is used to beer. But I feel pretty good.

And thus the week begins.

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