Reduction Seduction

by Bella Rum

Tomorrow is Friday. I’ll be stepping on those scales at Weight Watchers – hopefully a few pounds lighter. I’ve moved my body and eaten the right foods this week. I’m looking forward to spring, when I’ll be a lighter and hopefully healthier version of myself.

It feels good to do something constructive. There are always benefits beyond the obvious when we do good things for ourselves. The weight loss is a given, and the health benefits are expected, but that added sense of  well-being that comes along with a healthier lifestyle is a bonus. This always makes me wonder why I don’t stay on track all the time.

This week has found me pushing myself to the television, shoving Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away The Pounds into the DVD player, and moving my long dormant limbs to music and the sound of her optimistic cajoling. Her videos are just right for someone with my level of abilities. That would be someone who’s practiced neglect and lack of restraint at the altar of personal health for a prolonged time.

Okay, that’s enough self-flagellation. I’ve decided to be more optimistic. Yes, this is me being optimistic. By the way, Leslie makes a number of videos to accommodate different levels of physical ability. They’re not only for sedentary potatoes like me.

I’ve eaten more vegetables this week than the entire month of December. We all know they make great munchies. I turn to them during that difficult time of day. Late afternoon – a few hours before dinner – is a killer for me.

H has convinced me to pay less attention to the cost of food and more to the quality and health benefits. As I mentioned before, I’ve fallen in love with blackberries. God only knows what they spray on them, but I wash them within an inch of their lives. H hears them screaming all the way upstairs. I know we should eat seasonal and local fruits and veggies, but I can’t stop myself.

I’ve had two memorable encounters with cashiers at my grocery store recently.  A few weeks ago, after placing my items on the conveyor belt, the cashier, a middle-aged woman, looked up at me with a puzzled expression and said, “Wow, real food!”

Me ~ What do you mean?
Cashier ~ You have real food here. I don’t usually see that.
Me ~ What do you mean by real food?
Cashier ~ You know, vegetables and fruits and meats and eggs and stuff that actually has to be cooked. You must be a real cook.

More of a reluctant-sort-of-dabble-at-it-kind-of-cook.

The cashier went on to explain to me that most of the food that arrived on her conveyor belt was processed, canned, frozen or boxed — the microwavable – add water and mix – remove plastic from the top before baking sort of stuff.

A couple of days ago I encountered another cashier,  a physically fit young man in his mid twenties. Cryptically, he said, “Wow, I’m impressed.”

Me~ What?

Cashier ~ Look at all these fresh fruits and vegetables. I usually see mostly meat, potatoes and canned and frozen stuff coming through here.

I just stood there and took credit for my choices instead of confessing my most recent attempt at W/W to rein in my bad habits. Those two cashiers said a lot about the way we eat, though. When we’re busy or tired or stressed, something is sacrificed. As a nation, we’re eating on the run, in our cars, and at our desks. Good eating habits are among the first casualties of a busy life.

The ritual of dining at a table with someone you like and having good conversation is too often demoted to eating something in isolation that comes out of a cardboard or polystyrene plastic container. We’re a culture on the go; there’s no doubt, but giving ourselves the gift of quality and health and companionship is essential. It’s part of what makes life worth living.

Choose something that smooths your feathers and salves your hurts. Be good to yourself. That’s what I’m going to try to do.

Let’s all go eat some fruit out of a pretty bowl now.