When Nate and I met, I was 5’ 5” and weighed 187 pounds, too much for me. But I was a college senior in charge of my own menu for the first time, happily living on the “Three C’s” (Cake, Cookies and Candy).
There was only one problem. I was picking up weight like a snowman being rolled on a good packing day. Nothing fit right, and I felt like an inflated balloon.
It was the sixties, and a brand new dieting idea had just arrived: Metrecal, a flavored liquid touted as “a meal in a can.” A little bit of will power and lots of Metrecal, and they said the weight would fall away like fur off a shedding dog. So several friends and I suffered through multiple cans of Metrecal every day while studying and attending classes, then spent our evenings rewarding our self-control by driving the neon lights: McDonalds, Mister Donut, 31 Flavors and Burger King.
Then I met Nate, and as fate would have it, he liked chubby! Although Twiggy was the reed-thin beauty standard of the day, Nate was more of a Rembrandt man. He believed women should be soft and round, everything the late sixties world said was unattractive. I was a blessed woman, probably the only bride in the country who didn’t go on a diet before her wedding.
Throughout our marriage Nate held true to his position. Because I moved through seven pregnancies, I was fat a great deal of the time. He liked that. When I’d work hard to slim down afterwards he’d say, “Aren’t you getting too thin? Why don’t you put on a few pounds?”
What’s the proper attitude toward weight gain and loss? After a lifetime of yo-yo dieting, I can honestly say the only wise goal is to eat healthy. For me that doesn’t taste as good as the Three C’s. The fact that “healthy” is always the right choice is pretty hard to swallow.
Last week I went to the doctor for an annual physical. After listening to a reprimand (“You’re 14 years late on your colonoscopy”), I successfully opted out of an EKG and several other routine tests but agreed to a blood draw for a general health panel. Friday the doctor called with results. Everything was fine except my cholesterol count, much too high.
“This could get serious,” he warned. “Plaque causes strokes or heart attacks.” He quizzed me about any changes I’d made in my eating habits over the last two years, since my count had been good back then. I couldn’t think of a thing.
Then it hit me: rice cakes and peanut butter. In the last two years I’ve become an addict, enjoying four or five of them for every breakfast, occasional lunches and sporadic dinners. There’s nothing wrong with rice cakes. Its the multiple tablespoons of PB that have done me in.
So here I am, once again faced with that biblical principle of doing the right dietary thing. “Three months,” the doctor said. “Drop ten points each month, and we’ll re-test you in June. If you’re not down by 30, it’s medicine for you.”
So today’s been rough. Breaking a bad habit isn’t easy. What do they say… six weeks? Ouch. But our girls made a good point over the weekend. “Mom, if something happened to you so soon after Papa, that would be really bad.”
And of course they’re right. They did their part to help me get started by carting off the two giant jars of Jif I’d just purchased. I do want to act wisely and eat healthy, and I’m determined to drop 30 cholesterol points by June. More importantly, I want to live according to scriptural principles, in this case, moderation.
(Would honey on a rice cake be bad for cholesterol?)