Oh, how I long for the days I ate without thinking and had a thought without wanting to eat.
If I lost a pound for every diet I’ve tried, I’d be skinny. Like runway model skinny. However, financial compensation is not attached to South Beach or Slim Belly or any of the other diet du jour plans, which, come to think of it, is not a bad idea. What better incentive to shed a few pounds than to make a few dollars?
For now, though, I have to lose weight the old fashion way — by sheer will and a pantry devoid of Oreo Double Stuff cookies.
I know the drill. Find a trendy new diet, go to the grocery store and buy food that tastes like cardboard and bacon then hunker down with an occasional attempt at working out. And by working out, I mean walking intensely, yet, not so intensely that I can’t carry on a conversation with a friend. Priorities, people.
I’m shaking my own head on this. I know the outcome. In time — translation: one week later — I will succumb to the ways of my past, grab a sleeve of Ritz crackers, a pint of coffee gelato and the bag of Oreo Double Stuff I hid in the pots and pan drawer and inhale them all while chastising myself for such lack of self-discipline. And I’ll love every delicious carb-loaded minute.
Then, while shaking my flabby arms to the heavens, I’ll swear to the Kate Mosses of the universe and proclaim I’ll never eat another cookie again.
And so it goes.
Do I dare say I struggle because there once was a time I didn’t have to worry about every consumed calorie? Oh, how I long for the days I ate without thinking and had a thought without wanting to eat.
There is a scene in the “Freaky Friday” movie remake with Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan — the mother and daughter in switched bodies — in which Jamie Lee, now in Lindsay’s body, is eating a French fry exclaiming, “I can eat these now and they won’t go to my hips!” This, my friends, is the seminal line every menopausal woman understands.
At 20, fries were an inconsequential part of life. At 50, they represent the devil himself, never to be metabolized, forever attached on our bumpy hips.
Which is why I decided to try yet another diet. But this one is different! (Says the woman with cookie crumbs on her shirt.) It is the Whole 30 plan, focusing on eating only whole foods for — you guessed it — 30 days. Easy breezy. Except when I got to day five wondering what maniacal person would suggest a life without Chardonnay. Or coffee creamer. Sacrilege!
Did I feel lighter? Yes. Did I lose weight? Sure. Did I crave vegetables and fruit? Of course. I couldn’t flippin’ eat anything else.
But, the misery. Coffee without creamer is like a day without sunshine. Or fries. And who wants to eat asparagus without a rich cream sauce on top of a lovely pile of white rice. This is the part where I start my diatribe on moderation. All things in moderation, right? Not really.
Perhaps there should be consideration toward a more modest approach to diet — say, a Whole 15 plan or, even better, Whole 5 diet where one eats healthy for five days. Baby steps.
I’ve definitely acquired the self-affirmation skill not to beat myself up over my imperfections, but I have to admit, I appreciate the value of healthy living.
This is why I believe a Whole 1 diet is the best way.
Let’s just begin with one really good day. That’s all we have anyway so why get ahead of ourselves? I’ll write up the cookbook portion. It will just be a few pages. Maybe there will be a veggie Double Stuff recipe I can find.
Yes. One really good day. My Whole 1.
I am not sure of that day’s menu, but I know this: It will include a long walk with a good friend. We will talk and laugh and sprint, sometimes shaking our flabby arms to the heavens to make an emphatic point about something we won’t remember the next day. No diet tops that. Which, in my book, is the start of a very healthy outlook.
Amy Mangan is a native Ocalan and longtime writer. She can be reached at email@example.com.