For more than three decades I’ve either been on a diet, researching a diet, trying a new “as seen on TV” miracle ab machine/cellulite cream or starving my way into a new dress or bathing suit. In between attempts, I “weight” around for the next fad to pop up. Every Monday for as long as I can remember marked the beginning of what usually ends up being an ill-fated attempt at hitting the perfect weight. Even at my thinnest, there were still, you know, flaws. When I look at old photographs I wish I could be as fat as I thought I was when it they were taken.
I’ve tried it all. Atkins, grapefruit, intermittent fasting (Actually never tried this one. I just read a lot about it.), Jenny Craig, and Weight Watchers — before they turned into WW. I’ve been a vegetarian and a caveman (or woman).
For about four days in the 1990s I was a vegan. No real cream in my coffee meant I skipped it and suffered through a headache for 24 hours. On the second day, while shopping for groceries, I picked up an aroma coming from the in store cooking station at Publix. I grabbed my buggy and tried my best not to knock down a pair of toddlers playing tag in baked goods. The fear embarrassment is the only thing that kept me from shouting, “I’ll give you my left vegan kidney if you save me a bite!” It was chicken. And, chicken, no matter how you pluck it, is a living thing. That was the first time I cried over food.
I thought if I could make it through that, this vegan thing may stick. By the fourth day, I felt cold and nauseous. A friend explained, “Your body is getting rid of all the junk you’ve put in it. Once you get through detox, you’ll never crave a Krispy Kreme donut again. Getting all the bad stuff out will make you feel sooooo much better.” Was she insane? Those dietary chemicals can stay right where they are; buried inside and undisturbed, like all of those awkward teenage emotions I refuse to process. Nothing, not even 600 straight days of non-dairy squash ravioli with tofu tempeh could curb that craving.
Sure eating a raw, vegan, low calorie diet may add a few more days to my life. But if that means replacing Krispy Kreme donuts with non-dairy kale cheesecake, I’m out.
Honestly, if a friend spoke to me the way I speak to myself, we wouldn’t speak … EVER! I’ve decided to embrace the curves, bumps and uneven skin tone. Through it all, as flawed as I’ve made myself believe this body is, it’s done some pretty amazing things. Just look at my boys. So instead of suffering through another self-inflicted day of depravity, I’m going to try to see what my family sees, even if it’s not a super model.
Telling Tales is written by Wilson County’s Becky Andrews and Angel Kane. This column is Becky’s.