Saturday, June 9, 2012

Zen and the art of Dieting

Sweetie left early this morning to go to a GAL training session in Daytona.  I'm alone in the house except for one brown dog and two black cats who are all sound asleep. In my book this day of solitude is similar to Haily's comet. It doesn't come around that often. I feel quite sure it HAS happened before, but not so often that I can consider it a normal occurrence. Please don't get me wrong. I like having Sweetie around. He pretty much keeps his nose in a book or sits at his computer so it's not like he's disruptive or bothersome. And let's face it, he's pretty darn sweet. But there is just something delicious about having a place to one's own. For a day. Or two.

So, you might ask, what am I doing with myself to soak up all this solitude? Have I laid in bed snoozing between chapters in a juicy novel and crunching on chips? Have I dropped Michael Bolton into the CD player and turned up the volume? (Ordinarily, MB wouldn't be my first choice of singers, but when you want to fill a place with music you can wail along with, he's the man.) Have I bopped through the living room to Dan Seals? I wonder if it is a symptom of my advanced age that I have not given myself over to the music. (At least I'm not listening to Montovani.) It's weird, I think, that I seem to be enjoying the quietude when I can have that most any day of the week. 

To be honest, I did sleep in. How could I not? I had the whole bed to myself (except for the very center which Girl Cat claims as her own special spot), five pillows, two quilts, and a sprinkling of rain outside my window.  But once up I sat down at the computer to await the muse.  

Perhaps the main reason I'm being more sedentary than usual when I find myself alone, is that I'm starving. Okay, maybe starvation should be saved to describe POW's or drought-bloated African children.  Maybe I'm prone to a tad bit of exaggeration. But you tell that to my stomach which is used to demanding and receiving. The same stomach who has eaten baked chicken, baked chicken cut up and made into a salad, backed chicken tossed into a green salad, and baked chicken covered in a tablespoon of spaghetti sauce for the past days. The same stomach that cries for a piece of chocolate cake.

It's only my opinion, and you are free to have your own, but I think "diet" is a four letter word in the negative sense. I mean look at the word - DIE-t. It tells you right up front what you are going to feel like until you've met your weight loss goal, or grabbed a bag of potato chips like a lion would an antelope's leg and refused to let go.  I know there are those of you reading this who might say if you don't diet you're not going to live very long anyway. And I also know the benefits of small, nutrient-filled, fiber-rich portions washed down by 8 ounces of water and followed by a brisk walk are far greater than the opposite which I normally embrace.  I'm just one of those people who prefer to ignore my own preaching.

Sweetie started this whole subject of losing weight - him, not me. Then my doctor gave me the leave-10%-on-your-plate-lecture. Then my writing buddies talked of weight training and Zumba dancing and counting Weight Watcher points. I felt like I was stuck in the middle of the pack at the Boston Marathon and couldn't do anything but let the crowd carry me along. (Okay, so I don't know what it feels like to be in the Boston marathon but I'm prone to exaggeration)  But if Sweetie can give up Lays Wavy chips for cucumber slices and Publix Sport Bread for kippered herring, then the least I can do is cut down on my portions and make friends with baked chicken.  

I may have made a preliminary mistake by not calibrating my home scale with the one in the Doctor's office.  Letting my stomach lead me into the kitchen at 2am, I prowled around for something to hold me over til my breakfast of eggs with baked chicken and salsa. Before getting back into bed, I carefully stepped on the scale so it wouldn't creak and awaken by roommates. I won't tell you the number but I almost shrieked. It was a good four pounds OVER what I'd weight a week earlier.  So maybe the baked chicken diet is not the fastest way to drop pounds, but it's impossible that I gained weight. IMPOSSIBLE. Isn't it? 

I just finished a book about writing and Zen Buddhism. A lot of the Zen stuff went over my head. 
"Simply I'm here. Simply snow falls." Huh?? However, one of the things I take away from the book is that one has to continually practice. Whether writing, or meditating, or, dare I say dieting, " don't look for success and don't quit."*

Did I mention I'm starving? 

Wishing for you, food for thought.
Merry ME

*Long Quiet Highway, by Natalie Goldberg, Bantam Books, 1993, pg. 161, pg. 105


Cinderella said...

My empathy. It is SO hard to deit when you like food. And what woman over 40 doesn't like food? Very few normal ones that I know of, sigh.

Enjoy sleeping in again tomorrow!

Cinderella said...

DIET, sorry. see, I can't even spell the word!

laura said...

I really feel it. I've tossed every salty, processed bit of wonderfulness out. Well lets be honest, I ate a good bit of it first to finish it off. But now I'm eating kale at 11pm wondering when morning will get here and I can have some oatmeal. Yes, it has come to this. Good luck!