Because I'm fat and broke - Rob Felt

Do you want to go to lunch today?"

The answer to that exact question is "yes," but a "no, thanks" is what comes out. Why am I passing up this harmless offer of a mid-day work break at a local restaurant?

Because I'm fat and broke.

Although these points are exaggerated for effect, they're based in reality. My waist is wide and my wallet is thin, and I'd much rather it were just the opposite.

The past few months have seen me cultivate a wavering level of commitment to getting "back in shape" by eating better and ramping up the exercise. Maybe putting it down in ink will fix the health meter at 9 or 10 and keep the pressure on.

Lunch could consist of a greasy McBurger or a cheese-oozing calzone, but I'm going to try the bachelor-style health method of frozen dinners for awhile.

It's mostly about portion control, and you pay for that. You pay the frozen dinner companies to give you decent tasting food in small, compartmentalized containers that are measured out to keep most of the nutrition facts on the back of the box in the single digits.

At the end of the day, it's worth it.

Spending time chopping fruits and vegetables or putting a salad together for myself in the morning would drive me right back to the fast food chains. It's just not going to happen, and I'm cool with that.

In order to eat healthy, or at least not eat like a pig, I need a lot of help.

That's where the crossover problem comes into play. Healthy, prepared foods that taste good are expensive, and this invokes the second of my two problems.

I've walked the aisles of Whole Foods and filled a clear plastic container with healthy goodness only to have the cashier ring up my food and iced green tea to a total of $15.

No way. I could get three value meals at most fast-food joints for that kind of green.

The compromise is the "healthy" frozen dinner. Produced by a handful of companies and lining an entire wall of frozen cases at your local grocer, these book-sized boxes do the thinking for you. At around $3 each, they please the checking account. At around 10 grams of fat, they keep the feeble dieting attempt satisfied.

Available in a staggering variety of configurations, these meal packs range from the mundane Salisbury steak with macaroni and cheese all the way to Asian-style noodles with chicken stir-fry. Emphasis on the "style" with that one.

If you can forgo a little taste to save a lot of cash, time and calories, then these things are definitely the way to go.

As far as your social life goes, you're going to lose friends and cool points sitting at your desk tossing down microwave beef tips. If you can do this long enough to save some cash and get back into sexy form, it might not matter in the end.

Rob Felt is the photographer for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or rfelt@henryherald.com .