Wednesday 29 June 2011

When Toothpaste is a Food Group (reprinted with permission from the Globe and Mail)

I’ve always been a curvy girl.  Even in youth, I had more in common with Sophia than Twiggy, and towards the end of the last century, I was definitely in the Marilyn class.  But lately, there has been a slight shifting of the curves…the crisis came last week, when sweet little store Clerkette asked me when I was ‘due’.  For the record, I was done long ago.
This former beach babe was on track to becoming a beach ball.  Badly needed was a revision of the current eating strategy, which involved stuffing in as much as possible in order to avoid the famine that might just come in the next seven hundred years.
In desperation, I turned to television.  Prepackaged food plans are all the rage on cable:  “Look at me!  I’m a Grandmother, and love prancing around in a bikini again…” Hey, that annoying person in a size 2 could be me!  I was a size 2 maybe in grade four.  There had to be a sensible way of eating for life that didn’t involve wacky obsessions.
Which got me thinking… thin people are thin because of how they eat.  And if I watched them and copied them, surely I would be thin in time, too?  Brilliant, I thought!  Piece of cake!  Why do all my idioms involve food?
I went in search of a role model.  Diane came to mind, a tall blonde colleague, willowy slim.  I remembered a conversation we had during a conference. It was one-thirty, lunchtime had come and gone, and leather portfolios were starting to look tasty. 
“Are you hungry?” Diane said.  “I’m starving.  Do you want to go down and get a bowl of soup?  I could really do with a bowl of soup.”
We went to the cafeteria.  I had a chicken salad sandwich with mayo and fries.  Diane had a bowl of clear chicken soup with 4 crackers. 
“Oh, that was good,” she said.  “I’m stuffed.”  And she didn’t eat anything more until dinner, when she had a large salad with no dressing.
Soup is the answer, no question.  I shall have a bowl of soup every day for lunch and not eat anything else until dinner.  I shall be as slim as Diane, eventually.  Right?

7 a.m.:  I hate breakfast.  Diane never eats breakfast.  Coffee with milk (yuck) instead of cream and out the door.
10 a.m.:  In a meeting.  Will she ever shut up?  Somebody pass the muffins.  They’re pigs at that end of the table – pigs!  Oh yeah – I can’t have one.  I’m being good.
12 noon:  Soup!  I’m having soup and it’s really good.  Salty.  Chickeny.  It’s gone.  That was quick.  
1 p.m.:  Ate the 4 crackers that came with the soup.
2 p.m.:  Went searching for gum, breath mints, anything.
3 p.m.:  Snuck somebody’s Diet Coke from the fridge.
4 p.m.:  Screamed at my staff for talking.
5 p.m.:  Sobbed quietly in the washroom.
6 p.m.:  Raced home, setting new record.  Chewed all remaining pieces of sugarless gum in the package.
7 p.m.:  Ate salad of spinach, romaine, tomato, 1 egg, 1-ounce low-fat cheese, no dressing, while family munched leftover lasagna and trifle.
8 p.m.:  Yelled at children for talking.
9 p.m.:  Looked for snack.  All that Easter chocolate hanging around.  What would a thin person eat?  Probably just one piece.  I broke off a small piece of bunny.
2 a.m.:  Dreamt about food.  Glorious food.  Roast beef with Yorkshire, macaroni and cheese, cocktail parties with canapé. 
4 a.m.:  Got up and ate the rest of the bunny.

            I’ve learned two things from my day of eating like a thin person.
  1. I will never be tall and blonde and thin.
  2. When you’re starving, toothpaste can be a food group.
Tomorrow is a new day and I am trying a new approach:  eat like two thin people.

Melodie's heroine Rowena is definitely on the curvy side.  Rowena Through the Wall (Imajin Books) is now available in ebook and paperback from and Smashwords.


  1. Love 'toothpaste as a food group!'

  2. Thank you, Lady P! I am working on another diet far I've only sobbed twice.

  3. Makes me want to brush my teeth... and that's not a bad thing.

  4. Eat like two thin people doesn't sound like a bad idea at all.

  5. Ha, I split my sides reading this. Here's a link to a recipe of the sort of food I miss because everything over here is low fat, arg. I hate low fat. I'm British and need fat even if I am putting on the pounds

  6. I have had tore through my kitchen looking for any form of sugar. At one point getting into my boyfriends "diabetic stash," for when his sugar goes too low. I have decided one thing, I'm addicted to sugar. I drink diet coke and figure that can at least save me calories. Going on a diet is equivalent to quitting smoking or drinking. You baically go crazy and god help whoever surrounds you. Cutting carbs helps the cravings, but so hard to stick to.