First published in The Globe and Mail. Reprinted with permission.
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 decade, I
was definitely in the Marilyn class. But
lately, there has been a slight shifting of the curves…a lower European drop,
so to speak. The crisis came last
January, when the sweet little store Clerkette asked me when I was ‘due’. For the record, I was done long ago.
It was obvious:
this couldn’t go on. This former beach
babe was on track to becoming a beach ball.
Badly needed was a swift 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 or
First, I tried
Weight Watchers. Nice people and sound
advice, but all the ‘counting’ had me thinking about food every hour. I fetished over fruitcake. I don’t even like fruitcake. This was not for me.
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 could be me, back
in a size 2! I was a size 2 in grade
four. There had to be a sensible way of eating for life, that didn’t involve
Which got me
thinking… thin people are thin because of how they eat. And if I watched them carefully and copied
them religiously, surely I would be thin in time, too?
Brilliant, I thought! Piece of cake, I thought! Why do all my idioms involve food?
I went in search
of a role model. Dianne came to mind, a
tall blonde colleague, willowy slim. She
once told me that she hadn’t had butter in over 15 years. I remembered a conversation we had during a
conference. It was one-thirty, lunchtime had come and gone, and I was
ravenous. Leather portfolios were
starting to look tasty.
hungry?” Dianne 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 down to
the cafeteria. I had a chicken salad
sandwich with mayo and fries. Dianne had
a bowl of clear chicken soup with 4 soda crackers.
"Oh, that was
good,” she said. “I’m stuffed.” And she didn’t eat anything more until dinner
at seven, 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 Dianne, eventually. Who needs crackers?
I hate breakfast in the early morning.
Dianne never eats breakfast.
Coffee with milk (yuck) instead of cream and out the door.
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.
Soup! I’m having soup and it’s
really good. Salty. Chickeny.
It’s gone. That was quick. I’m feeling righteous. This can work, I think.
Ate the 4 crackers that came with the soup.
Went searching for gum, breath mints, anything.
Snuck somebody’s Diet Coke from the fridge.
Screamed at my staff for talking.
Sobbed quietly in the washroom.
Raced home, setting new record.
Chewed all five pieces of sugarless gum left in the package, while
Ate salad of spinach, romaine, tomato, 1 egg, 1-ounce low-fat cheese, no
dressing, while family munched leftover lasagna and trifle.
Yelled at the kids for talking.
Looked for snack. Surely thin
people have a snack before bed? All that
Easter chocolate hanging around. What
would a thin person eat? Probably just
one piece, and it would be dark chocolate for sure. I broke off a small piece of bunny and swilled
it down with skim milk.
Dreamt about food. Glorious
food. Roast beef with Yorkshire,
macaroni and cheese, cocktail parties with canapé. Dianne was stuffing her face with Brie.
Got up and ate the rest of the chocolate bunny.
I’ve learned two things from my day
of eating like a thin person.
- I will never be tall and blonde and thin.
- 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 Campbell writes funny books. The Goddaughter's Revenge is now available at Chapters, Barnes&Noble and Amazon.