I’m not calling it a diet. Diets sound bleak. They require a surfeit of will power that I possessed as a younger woman but no longer exercise much.
Look, I know I’m overweight. I see that bulge around my middle – that famous apple shape that predestines me to a heart attack. That apple shape is characteristic of all my aunts and uncles on my father’s side of the family. It’s probably no coincidence that they all also have diabetes.
It’s the possibility of diabetes that scares me. I’ve gotten used to keeping my eyes firmly on the shoulders and up when I look in the mirror. Besides, if I lost weight, none of my clothes would fit. (A digression: None of my clothes fit now. I buy shirts at least a size too large so I won’t have to see that belly fat pressing against the fabric at my former waist line.)
Most of my friends pretend they don’t notice I’m overweight. But a couple of months ago, Michael boldly sent me an email, suggesting I read a book called The Primal Blueprint. The pseudo-science in that book is hooey, as far as I’m concerned. But…but…the author suggests we’d all be better off if we eliminated sugar and grains from our diet. (He also wants us to lay off any beef that’s not grassfed and a bunch of other stuff that he calls poison, but I can’t take on everything.)
Sugar and carbs…they’re surely the staff of diabetes onset. True, the dish of pineapple and coconut Hagen Daz I ate every night was small, but I was addicted to it. I wasn’t ready to tackle a diet, but maybe it would help if I just avoided ice cream and desserts and bread and pizza and pasta and potatoes…well, duh, anybody could see that that couldn’t be bad for you.
I asked myself: Would I rather give up sugar or butter? If I’m going to eat vegetables, I need my butter.
And so I embarked on my new eating plan. I’m not counting calories, or exercising portion control. I eat bacon every now and then, and I put a dollop of crème fraiche into my turkey chili. I bake sweet potatoes and drench them in butter. I’ve mashed cauliflower and sautéed Brussels sprouts in olive oil. I eat watermelon and blueberries and Bosc pears instead of ice cream.
I look for restaurants that serve meat and veg; I get no rice when I eat Thai. I regretfully decline the injera at my favorite Ethiopian restaurant and duck my head in shame when I request a fork. I ask to hold the bun when I order a burger. I no longer (s0b!) eat grits with my eggs. I wave away the basket of bread when eating out, and no pasta or pizza has passed my lips.
For breakfast recently, I ordered a bagel with cream cheese, lox and capers – hold the bagel. It looked silly on the plate, but it ate pretty well.
In the past two months, my total sweets intake has been one piece of cheesecake, three cookies and a red velvet cupcake. Nobody’s perfect.
It’s not a diet. But I’ve lost ten pounds.