As I write this, I am eating a brown sugar cinnamon Pop Tart. What an idiot, considering it’s the month we’re all focused on health and fitness. It’s a JANUARY ritual.
This is the month we all strategize. We frown at ourselves in the full-length mirror, which is really the rearview mirror of what we did in December.
Now, if you were to give my silhouette an objective squint, and are not a Beverly Hills resident, you might conclude I’m on the slender side. Especially when my clothes strategically drape over my little bay window, otherwise known as (a quaint) protrusion in the tummy area. Chalk that up to middle age, a history of carrying two large babies and not having a 90210 zip code.
Height and weight charts back up my claim of being vaguely, relatively, somewhat slender. Furthermore, recent cholesterol blood tests prove I neither snack on bologna-stuffed funnel cake nor guzzle half & half on a daily basis. I am okay.
Yet, the Pop Tart. How do things like this happen? I have been known to roll shopping carts where vegetarians and natural food snobs gather. I read labels and put tempting items back on the shelf if they seem too “chemical-y” or, as my youngest would say, have “a factory taste.” But now I am discussing the act of eating something naughty the exact month everyone has a PLAN to GET IN SHAPE.
Here’s why: I believe rigidly depriving oneself, even in the clean slate promise of pure, crystalized January, will backfire. It’s the old “never say diet” philosophy. I live by it, because I know I would collapse from boredom pouring blue-tinted skim milk over Special Not OK cereal. Stomach growls and stalking celery never work for me.
No reason to count calories either, because it’s fairly obvious a chain restaurant’s Decadent Whatever Mudslide dessert is worth its weight in cellulite. Anything delicious and gooey and on the back page of a menu will give you four digits. Forget the numbers. Go ahead, order it, take a few bites or three or four, then box it up for home and just pray you remembered to have sons back in the mid-’90s. That would make them teenagers now. Male teenagers–the golden family members who instinctively pounce the square Styrofoam boxes mysteriously parked in the fridge. Everybody wins here.
Sometimes, if my bay window offers too much of a view, or if I have trouble zipping up my jeans, I ever so casually put myself on a willy-nilly austerity program. A half-sandwich here, a nice apple instead of chips there. I find black coffee goes better with my outfit for a few weeks. Cream? What’s that?
Garbage is always in the mix, though. No sense craving something for weeks and weeks. If it’s always allowed, it’s less vital. Trust me, that bad snack I just demolished (the one anyone squeezing a Thigh Master right now would kill for) had a slight cardboard aftertaste. For me, occasional junk food is fine, as long as I avoid the Los Angeles area and put a temporary hold on Victoria’s Secret model auditions.
And speaking of secrets, here are three other things I do to maintain my almost-svelte-is-that-a-bay-window figure: 1. I sort of exercise—pathetic jogs or decent walks—with many, many bad weather sabbaticals. 2. I never drink stuff with sugar, real or fake. 3. Any time I go to the west coast, I pack Spanx.