Thursday, October 23, 2008

The D-Word

Okay, so I'm trying this new thing. As previously disclosed, I'm a couple inches too short for my pounds. Now I've decided that the height is not likely to change. And it's not like I'm morbidly obese, or even unhealthy. I'm in decent shape, although riding a scooter with Matthew the other day was more terrifying than I was prepared for it to be. And I can run (to rescue a child from traffic). But there's a number on the scale that I'd rather not be over, and I'm totally over. (But by less than 10 pounds, she adds, justifying.)

So I've tried some things. There was a summer that I didn't eat any refined sugar. That meant, among other things, no white bread, no cereal, no spagetti sauce, no ice cream (!) -- and I lost enough pounds to feel great. But there's no such thing as Christmas without Butter Toffee (with or without the chocolate, but don't forget the almonds). And let's not even talk about what bad company I was, where even salad dressing was off The List. No fun at all.

The next summer (I'm sensing a pattern, here) was the Wheat-Free Experiment. A well-meaning dermatologist informed me that my disgusting eczema-hands were most likely a reaction to a food allergy, and that most people who have a food allergy have it toward wheat. So no flour. At all. For three months. No bread. No pasta (whimper). No crackers, no croutons, no pancakes, no waffles. Then I finally got in to see the Very Busy Allergist for a series of pokes up my arms, only to have him tell me that I'm not allergic to anything I'm likely to eat (we didn't really go into the cats-and-ragweed discussion at that time). Except maybe corn. Just a little.

This may not sound like any kind of disaster, but if you'll notice, the things I declined to eat for the previous summers did not include buttered popcorn. So I'm saying that what kept me from shouting with deprivation was good, buttery popcorn, and lots of it. And now, of course, the popcorn habit is rejoined by ice cream, pizza, and the occasional bag of cinnamon bears.

I've found that I can go long without chocolate, even though I'm capable of telling the difference between good chocolate and the other kind (meaning, of course, really great chocolate). But when I need comfort food, bring on the hot, buttered, white starch. Homemade rolls. Soft pretzels. Rice. Mashed potatoes. And plenty of popcorn. Bagels, biscuits, breadsticks, english muffins, crepes, even scones (but only once or twice a year -- a girl has to have some limits).

But it is time to change some things around here. Above all, I need to be a good example to my kids. My girls need to see me being healthy, happy and strong (as opposed to anorexic or can't-get-off-the-couch heavy). And so I've started this new thing. I'm not really calling it a diet, because that's sort of a bad word to me. I am eating (for three days) very lean proteins and an unbelievable amount of raw vegetables. It only took one day for me to get sick of baby carrots. I'm making great salads, though.

And then, after the three days, I will follow a simple plan (not so much diet) that lets me eat almost anything that's real (meaning fairly close to its natural state) food. Except butter. And cream. And pretty much anything else that's white. So I'm not saying that it's going to be easy, but it is simple. Plan ahead. Buy real food, mostly plants. Eat at home. Prepare to say no. Fill up on garden food. As the pounds go down, reward with stashing money away for good pants (and shoes, and maybe a new purse -- not that I need to have smaller thighs for that, but I can dream).

I'm not really planning to ever be a skinny woman. I have great, healthy bones (bigger than some women's whole selves), and I don't need to be skinny. Fit, yes. In the safe numbers, definitely. Satisfied -- well, soon.

Who needs Butter Toffee, anyway?


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