Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I'm not a good dieter. I don't find abstinence from food to be a worthy virtue or one I'm interested in pursuing. After the first few weeks of good, solid, daily exercise, and the rewards of two more weeks combining the exercise with diet, I've come to that terrible point where it's time to "institutionalize" the changes. Self-control and hard work toward a goal is one thing, but when it becomes clear that I need to do this another four weeks to reach the goal, and after that to basically keep doing this to maintain it, I'm crabby. Really, really crabby.

I don't like thinking about weight this much, and I don't like working out. But more than that, I love to cook and to eat, and these weeks of eating small amounts with little variety is getting to me. I am officially no longer interested in eating any more broccoli. Tonight a dish of kale and beans that tasted delightful last week had much less flavor (I was out of sherry, clearly a key ingredient not replaceable by a little shot of red wine).

In the end, I am-- and knew this about myself--a binge person. I do well in spurts, not in the dailiness of work routines and working out in gyms and eating right. (This is why teaching suited me-- 18 weeks of intensity followed by a break to write.) I don't think it is that I am easily bored. I don't have a short attention span. I just bristle against routine and against spending my energy toward being thin, fit or making money. I recognize fully the value of all three of these things, and the way being thinner would contribute to my health and well-being. I know that abstaining from most sugar and from caffeine and alcohol, dairy and bread, as I have for the past month, makes me feel more clear, more awake, less sluggish during the day.

It just takes my attention and makes me feel pinched and stingy, unattached to the joys of life. But then again, winter is coming, and discipline may be a good way to direct one's attention in these pinched, cold, dark months. In the end, I will buy new clothes, bright and charming.


Sweet Mary Sunshine said...

You and I bristle against the same things, it seems. I can think of no greater torture than to give up candy for breakfast or to have to go into a stinky sweaty gym. Ever hear the phrase "Fat and happy?" I know I'm nowhere near obese, but am squishy and ok with it. Yes, I do miss my toned body of just a few years ago, but I'd much much much rather spend time playing with my kids than putting them into the gym daycare so I can go work up a sweat.

Be kind to yourself, Susan. I like you as you are. :)

Susan Sink said...

Thank you, Rebecca! My father used to say: "Better flabby than crabby!" This was usually when my mother was taking away my dessert or somehow pushing me to diet, and I found it quite a refreshing attitude!

When you are 45, however, you start to see how things can get away from you very easily... there is a certain "virtue" and satisfaction in getting in shape!