Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

A couple weeks ago I went out for cocktails with friends.  A good time was had by all and there was much laughing and merry making.  Making merry.  Now there's an underused term.  I think I'll start a campaign to bring it back.  Are you in?  

Ah, but I've already digressed.

As the merry was being produced, the cameras came out and I was forced, once again, to realize that my arms are bigger than your legs probably are.

That's an easy way to kill a buzz and a serious drawback to being able to see (and share) pictures instantly.  It separated me from my merry.  Killed my merry.  Would that make me a merry widow?  No, I think that's something else.  Still.  I miss merry.  I like merry.  I've got to find a way to get merry back.

You're a step ahead of me, right?  If you don't like something about yourself, change it!  So - despite all of my experience to the contrary - despite everything I have learned the hard way - I get it into my head that I can change my weight.  Everybody says so, right?  It's so easy, really - eat less, move more.  Oh - and also?  You have to want it.  I've heard that, too.  Maybe I just didn't really WANT it all those years that I starved and exercised like a fiend.  Well this time will be different.  This time I really want it.


So the next morning Tom is making me breakfast.  I have married an excellent breakfast cook.  He doesn't want much to do with preparing any other meals - he isn't even big on grilling like a lot of guys are - but man can he turn out a breakfast. He asks what I want and I say I'd like an egg white omelet. Because he is an astute dude, who knows that I didn't request my eggs sans yolks just for the taste of it, he asks, "Should I cook it in olive oil instead of butter?"  This is not, after all, the first morning after the picture before he's spent with me.  Yes, I told him.  Yes you should.  And very little of it, please.

Enter my mom.

"Is something wrong with the eggs?  I thought you liked these eggs."

Ok, there is some serious truth to that.  My mom gets her eggs from a farm.  They vary dramatically in color and size.  They are rich beyond belief.  My mom keeps WAY better eggs in the house than I do.  I look forward to them when I stay at her house.  To discard any part of this egg - particularly the huge golden yolk - seems vaguely sacrilegious.  I rethink my response.

"Y'know what, hon?  Make it one egg and two egg whites."

Tom begins to do just that, but my mother interrupts, "Why are you doing this?"

"Having breakfast?"

"Having egg whites and olive oil instead of eggs and toast and butter which is what I know you want."

She was right.  I wanted two of those big, beautiful, rich eggs, fried in butter with some toast to sop up the yolk.  But more than that, I wanted arms that didn't require a special blood pressure cuff.  No.  I would be strong.

"I just want it that way today."  (Stop there, Tammy, stop there, Tammy, stop there!  Don't say another word!)  "I'm trying to watch." (Well, now you've done it...)

"Watch?  What are you trying to watch?  Why do you do this?  Why can't you just accept yourself as you are?  You are what you are.  Tom, make her eggs in butter.  Olive oil isn't good for you.  Butter is the best.  Butter and sugar - that's what you're supposed to eat - not all this crazy stuff."

Tom looks at me.  I shrug.  I'm not good at standing up to my mom.  One breakfast wasn't gonna change my life.  If eating whole eggs fried in butter was gonna make her happy...

"Go ahead and cook them in butter."


"I don't care. I am what I am and I guess this is what I am."

"Tammy!  Why would you say that?  You just need to accept..."

"I do not accept it!  Those pictures were not acceptable!"

"Then you need to do something about it!"

"That's what I'm trying to do!"

"Don't yell at me!"

Just another typical morning in the life of a conflicted fat chick.

An external reminder of the internal conflict.  I am big.  Fact.  I could be big and beautiful.  I could be big and healthy.  I could be big and happy - merry, even.  Or I could try to become - less big.  Society keeps telling me I ought to.  Society tells me there is no such thing as big and beautiful or big and healthy.  I know I can't be much smaller - I've tried and tried and tried.  It doesn't work and it sends merry flying right out the window.  And, as I mentioned before, I really like merry.

In a three minute conversation, my mother told me to both accept it and do something about it.  One cannot do both of those things simultaneously.  I thought it was ridiculous when she made this argument, and yet - it's what I tell myself constantly.  I have to accept that I cannot change this.  I cannot accept it.  I attempt change.  Change does not occur.  I have to accept..... round and round, up and down.

A merry-go-round, if you will.  (I know.  I groaned, too.)

The next day, back home, over a big dinner salad, my daughters begin to debate the merits of various salad dressings - whose choice is healthier.  (Ok, you've got to love it when the dinner table argument revolves around whose salad dressing choice is healthier, right?  I mean, if you've got to argue...) I said a little olive oil and some vinegar - red wine, balsamic, whatever - was probably the healthiest choice.

"That's not true." my handsome hubby chimed in.

"It's not?"

"No. The healthiest choice would clearly be to drizzle it with some butter.  And a little sugar."

Hello there, merry.  Nice to see you back.  I've missed you.


bassislife said...

I really think the "Health at Every Size" movement is the way to go...that is if we could convince Hollywood, the local news and politicians who are looking to divert our attention from actual issues.


Katie Gates said...

An entertainingly written account of an all-too-familiar dilemma!

Hello Jodi said...

Once again, you completely nail it. Another set of mixed messages...

Anonymous said...

Tom rocks. Seriously. If you would feel better, merrier shall we say, with smaller arms, then do it. If you are happy, then don't. Have you read Women, Food and God? It's really good...and very helpful.

Unknown said...

I feel your pain. I've lived with that same pain for many years. I just refuse to accept it as pain any longer. I'm trying to make more healthy choices, most of the time; move more; and forget about the scale!

Cheryl said...

I heart Tom.

I think accepting your mom for who she is and doing what you need to do for yourself aren't mutually exclusive.

Size doesn't matter. Health does. I'm struggling with making healthier choices too. Vicious circle indeed.

Joanna Jenkins said...

You know Tammy, I'm pretty sure that's all an Ohio thing cuz I've had that exact same conversation a thousand times with my family..... especially with my 100 pound mother!!!! Butter, butter everywhere-- I swear she eats a pound a day and thinks all of her family should too. Ugh, it's hard to catch a break sometimes.

I hear you on the arm thing. I'm the one wearing a jacket or sweater when it's a hundred degrees out to hide them. BUt as the temps rise and the arms never deflate I'm trying to embrace the aging process and just try to feel a little healthy.

Hang in there and enjoy the merry when you can. xoxox jj