It takes me exactly 3,500 steps, according to my FitBit, to walk over and down the hill to the french bakery, Rosallini’s, that in my opinion pulls the best coffee between Ballard and Green Lake. The walk puts a hefty dent in my hard-won 10,000 daily steps. However, I only indulge in a pastry there about once a week. When I order my lattes I breathe in the butter-filled air, gaze into the pastry cases, and plot out the next treat. This appreciation-not-deprivation makes the equation of exercise and calories work for me.
This morning, as I tried to make my hot coffee match the length of the New York Times, two women sidled up to the bar next to me, deeply engaged in conversation. I began to hear “ten pounds” and “diet” and “no carbs.” They were talking over each other, competing pounds lost and gained. Do women really talk like this anymore to each other?
I had just finished reading my health writer idol Jane Brody’s article, For Real Weight Control, published January 28th, that addressed just this issue of extreme dieting. She supported the idea — with data and fact and personal experience — that we have to change habits to control our weight, not take away eating. The deprivation vs. moderation argument that has become personal to me.
When you have lost as many bits and pieces as I have including a length of colon, time is precious and so is my food. It matters what I eat and how I eat and silver lining time; this has become a lesson for me. I feel better if I eat thoughtfully and every four hours. Generally, my portions are small plate. I still have two pieces or more of chocolate at tea time. There is no food martyrdom, just a consideration that what goes in has to be good for this battered flesh and bone, aging despite all the diets in the universe. Once a fat girl who hated her body, I now am grateful it is carrying me into the next decade.
It was a close call at the bakery this morning — whether I was going to lean over and let fly some unfiltered and unsolicited opinions and offer this link — or whether I was going to sit this one out. Super close when I swiveled, put down my paper and saw two beautiful, thin women were having this conversation. And it is January, ladies — not the month to punish ourselves.
I won’t pounce on you at the bakery; I hope you will click on and read the article linked above. But I will send you healing vibes as I eat my vanilla bean eclair in a few days with a creamy, steaming 12 oz latte.
Get informed. Love the body you live in. Take a walk with that friend who is obsessed with dieting. Hug them.
Then enjoy yourself.
Painting by Todd Young, owned by Beth Slattery