I live two lives: the one in my head and my actual life.
In my head I sashay into rooms, wearing form-fitting clothes that hug my slim frame, while balancing a tray of expertly crafted homemade appetizers, prepared by perfect me, who whipped them up after spending a day overachieving at basically being perfect. I am lovely – lovely behavior, lovely appearance, lovely attitude and always, always, always serving food and drinks.
Did I mention thin? Yeah, I thought so.
Last night I found myself stuck, as usual, in my actual life, laid up flounder-like in bed by 8 p.m. I may have eaten too much – I’m not sure, forgot to count calories. Anyway, I was so tired that I couldn’t stand sound, so I watched PBS on mute. I didn’t even use the captions. Travels with Darley was on South Carolina’s ETV. Darley was making her way through a few of Belgium’s prettiest small cities and some of the countryside too. I don’t have Darley’s digits, but based on a quick, visual assessment, I’d say she’s tall and thin. And yet in just under 25 minutes Darley drank three big beers, ate a meal prepared by a Michelin-star chef, and claimed to binge on some chocolate.
I hate to call bulls*t on Darley, but not so much that I won’t do it. Darley, no, you did not drink all that beer. Sorry, girl. Ya’ didn’t.
I love travel shows. I used to love travel, but you know, Covid. Rick Steves is an unoriginal favorite. Rick eats and drinks his way through all the popular and off-the-beaten track destinations in Europe. And Rick got fat for a while, because, well, who wouldn’t? Rick’s been trippin’ and eatin’ for a long time. Just you wait, young Darley.
Glamorous travel, glamorous entertaining, glamorous staycations, they all involve food.
I unabashedly love it.
On Sunday nights I start my diet. I call my husband back and say, “Look, we have to talk.” He yawns, but to his credit, he usually doesn’t roll his eyes. I can’t read his mind, but I know his thoughts start with something like, “Bless her heart” but that’s if I’m being generous. His thoughts could reasonably run more in the direction of, “Good Lord, not this again.”
We have our talk most Sundays (unless I’m cooking) and my best estimate would be that we’ve had probably somewhere around 1042 Sunday night, “We have to talk” talks. It’s like Groundhog Day. In addition, there are periodic “Big” talks. I’ve even pulled out an old flip chart and set it up semi-permanently in the kitchen. On the chart I have rules, lists, target goals and the occasional graph. He’s included on all the plans – what we’ll eat, when we’ll eat, how much we’ll eat. My husband isn’t overweight.
Our week starts out on Monday mornings, and I burst onto the scene confident, excited, and happy. The plan is so simple anyone could follow it: Lose weight, be perfect and – on the side – focus on what I really love – studying, buying, preparing, serving, and eating Food.
There’s this little voice in my head that says, “Aren’t these goals in conflict?”
So then here is one of life’s great questions: Can you be a skinny foodie?
I know people who are – not Darley. I think Darley’s gonna’ get fat, but that’s just me. I do, however, know people who truly do love food and eat it in proper portions. They do it without avoiding food, without starving themselves, without effort.
Take my friend, Michele, for instance. You’ve never heard anybody go on the way she does. On Facebook she posts nothing but recipes. Call her near dinnertime and she’s got the evening planned, excitedly getting ready to cook. She loves cooking, serving, and eating. What size does she wear? My best guess is maybe a 6. I know!
I’ve tried everything, including asking Michele how she does it. She says she just doesn’t like to feel full, so she stops. Well, maybe it just takes a lot for some of us to feel it. Honestly? People who don’t overeat don’t understand their behavior any more than people who do overeat understand theirs.
When I think of facing my week without food entertainment, I feel crestfallen. Everything about food is so…right. Food gives me something to do for my husband. Food lets me be creative. Food transports us – to other cultures, to other vibes, to better moods, sometimes. I shop for it, read about it, talk about it, prep for it, cook, serve, and eat it. We even love it when it’s bad. Last night we had some bad kraut. I’ve been all over Google over kraut today. More on that some other time.
This week hasn’t gone so well, and it hasn’t just been the kraut. Last week I discovered a relatively new egg substitute, so I felt forced to make a cake. It called for three eggs, so I used two and then one serving of my new vegan (bonus!) substitute. Plus, I added pudding mix to make sure it was moist. I’m not even a big cake fan, but it’s irresponsible not to try your own food. Who serves food they didn’t test? Not me. Maybe Darley would.
I don’t know if I’ll ever solve my dilemma, but I won’t stop trying. There’s always next week, right? In the meantime, I live with dual, but dueling goals: to be a skinny foodie.
[A note: I would be if I failed to mention the very priviledged nature of my issues. With the current situations and suffering that exists in Afganistan, Haiti and around the world, I do recognize that being tempted by an overabundance of food and a safe, sanitary place to prepare it, is a luxury that most do not enjoy. I write somewhat tongue-in-cheek and hope my readers understand and along with me, feel gratitude to have such silly problems.]