Posted by: emjb | January 15, 2007

I really don’t want to talk about diets ever again

As a woman, that’s a pretty ambitious goal. How much of most women’s conversation consists of diets, food, weight, and body topics? 60%? It seems like too much, however much it is. Getting a “good” body is presented as the Holy Grail all women should strive for, our biggest goal in life, more important than being rich or successful.

I use to hate my body, like most teenage girls do; I used to think not looking like whatever model or actress was in front of me meant I was unloveable, a freak, a nonperson. I’m glad not to feel that anymore, not to feel that panic of feeling I would never make it to Perfect Bodytown.

Because I never really wanted to go there, honestly. I wanted to be approved of by the world, men in general, but women too, and it’s true that being skinny and pretty will get you that. But to fight your body to that extent is a tremendous task; you literally can’t think of anything else, or you’ll slip up and eat too much. If you stay up late reading, you won’t get up early to jog. If you spend all your time with your family and friends, or working on your own projects, you won’t make it to the gym, won’t have time to make lowfat smoothies and drink 8 glasses of water a day. Looking the way you’re supposed to is work–which is why actresses and models do almost nothing else, and still hire trainers and have surgery and Botox.

I don’t diet. I eat what I think I should, sometimes more, sometimes less. I could stand to lose a few pounds, but I’m trying to get there by walking more and not buying things with high fructose corn syrup and other nasty stuff in them. I need more exercise but don’t live in the right place to get it (no sidewalks), so I’m hoping to improve on that at our next move.

I don’t hate my body anymore. It does its best, with the genetic recipe and the over rich American diet it’s been handed. It keeps on chugging every day, is pretty healthy, and I’m grateful for that. I don’t hate my old pregnancy stretch marks, or my chunky build that I’ve had all my life; I work with them as just facts about who I am, like my eye color. I will never look good in a bathing suit; but then I never have. Because most bathing suits are idiotic bits of bondage wear, frankly, and if you want something to swim in, you’d do better with a good racing back tank suit and some men’s shorts. Going for a simple swim should never require a Brazilian.

I’m stronger than I once was. I can lift my 35 pound son and flip him around a couple of times in a row, and I pick him up at least 10 times a day. I can walk a long way in good shoes. My blood pressure is usually low.

I also have a family history of heart problems, though every one of them were people who had appalling diets and for the most part, smoked heavily. So I don’t know how doomed I am without being a smoker or eating franks and beans for dinner every night. I might be doomed no matter what I eat or do. Or I might be fine. Or I might get hit by the number 10 bus next week.

Whatever my last day on Earth involves, I don’t want my thoughts to have been busy counting calories instead of thinking about the things I really care about.



  1. Plus, Texas in general–save, perhaps, Austin–isn’t a good place for worrying about health. I’m always amazed how bad the food makes me feel (even if it’s tasty) when I’m there. I eat out all the time here in NYC, and I rarely regret a meal unless it’s something like that Papa John’s crappy, crappy pizza I got on Friday night because everything closed at 11pm. As much as I am a capitalist pig and give a big hoorah to chain restaurants for making it big, there’s nothing like a mom-and-pop to be naive enough to get their ingredients from a garden/farm and not a tube. Well, that, and Southern food is just bad for you.

  2. Blasphemer! Chikin fried steak is GOD’S food! When Jesus comes back, I’m gonna whip up the biggest batch of breadin’ & gravy any’un ever seen, and I’m gonna make Jesus eat it. And if he don’t, I’ll shoot him.

  3. Heh, dean, you’re not eating at the right places. My office mates are foodies, and we’ve hit some very nice vegetarian, good (fresh) Mexican, places in the last month in Dallas. Tasty.

    Eating vegetarian has been really easy for me this go–I love rice and vegetables. I only miss meat once in a while. And even though I ain’t Svelty McSvelterson, I do feel better. Weird.

    Salad is still a mystery to me. Tasteless chilled leaves with globs of sauce and random cold vegetables. What is the appeal? I don’t get it. It’s like starvation rations.

  4. What? You’re vegetarian? You leave out important details on your blog. Your husband never mentions you … ever.

    Again, you prove my point. You need to come to a good deli in Manhattan. They’ll show you what a salad’s about.

  5. Yes, Dean, maybe we’ll try a New York deli one day. Maybe we could even move there and eat at restaurants around town for four years or so. Hmm…

  6. You’re not attractive when you’re patronizing, Matthew.

  7. Don’t like deli salads. Bleck.

    Don’t really like delis; too easy to see all the health code violations taking place. I’d rather not know.

    Matt doesn’t care about me, you know that.

  8. Certain wives should make sure they’re not posting as their husbands.

    And Dean, I’ll try harder to make myself attractive to you. Maybe get a Brazilian.

  9. Maybe just don’t take my comments about how New York delis have great (but expensive) salads as unsolicited life advice. Or just don’t be patronizing. You know how I love to be talked to like I’m six.

  10. Dang… Looks like y’all’re about to break out into a fracas with the fisticuffs and all. Good thing this here’s the comment section of a blog and not high noon on Main.

  11. “You need to come to a good deli in Manhattan.”

    Ummm…unsolicited advice.

    Anyway, I don’t give a shit. I just like being obnoxious.

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