Each dieter does it differently. Some eat a lot but look forward to exercise to burn it off. To me, looking forward to exercise is akin to eager anticipation of a root canal. Ain’t gonna happen.
My method of staying on track is by removing temptation; i.e., if it’s not here, I won’t eat it. Should you inspect my refrigerator, you would lay view to a vast amount of empty space. It’s a Spartan existence, but – for the most part – it works.
My mother used neither exercise nor my “minimalist” approach. Rather, she simply controlled her portions. Wow! What a novel concept: Eat well and eat the correct amount. Who would have thought?
Yet, therein lies a rub.
Whenever I visited, she would organize some form of get-together “in Scott’s honor.” Aunts and cousins would converge on Saturday afternoon to see how the Northern California component of the clan was surviving. Hugs. Conversation. Photographs. And of course, food. Lots and lots of food.
Across numerous tables would span a landscape of desserts, rolls, cheese, desserts, cold cuts, desserts, drinks, and – did I say – desserts. If ten people were expected, we had foodstuff for 50. “Food shortage” was not in her vocabulary.
For Mom, being encircled by so much food worked fine; she refused to give in to it. For me, it was difficult; I tried to elicit her support.
“Mom, can we not have so much to eat?”
“No, honey. People expect food at parties.”
“I know; but we have enough for a small nation. It’s too tempting.”
“Don’t worry sweetie, it’ll get eaten.”
“What concerns me is by whom.”
Inevitably, there would be “one last thing” that we forgot to put on the table. Surveying the scenery of soups, slaws, and salads, she would exclaim, “We don’t have potato salad!”
“Mom, there’s plenty. No more, please!”
“Nonsense. Everyone loves potato salad.”
“This is a party in my honor, can’t we please do it my way?”
“It is for you – but I’m the hostess. We’ll do it right.”
(The irony is the potato salad was always thrown out later, untouched; a lesson that remained unlearned.)
It annoyed me that she ignored my requests, making it more demanding for me to watch my weight at what was MY party. I know, on the grand scale of things, it’s no big deal. But sometimes “little things” get under your skin. It seemed inconsiderate. I resented it.
Ruth Marcus would have turned 82 next week. If she were still alive, I would have ecstatically delivered truckloads of potato salad anywhere she wanted me to.
Some things are simply more significant than a perfect diet.