Please Pass the Bread…No Butter

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By DeeDee Corbitt Sauter

For the past several months, I have been working on myself.

I find that to be such a new-wave, new-age, egocentric comment. Still, it does seem better than randomly announcing that I need to be alone or else I may just end up practicing my newly acquired skill of saying “no.”

I have been running a “no” deficit, meaning I can’t seem to say it out loud, only inside my head. So instead of creating boundaries, I just end up increasing my anxiety level. I decided to add saying “no” to some other personal goals. One of the most difficult for me, although apparently not for my husband, is losing weight.

While researching the fastest and most effective way to shed some (well, a thousand) pounds, I read about a number of options which may not work any better than a toy magic wand. For example, the reviews for raspberry ketones, hCG shots and hoodia are so extreme that reading them gave me a migraine. I can’t comment on their efficacy because I have not tried them. I am going instead with a regimen of decreased caloric intake, mild exercise and wishful thinking.

I have also become increasingly confused about the state of my weight as I google health choices in general. It seems, according to some very enthusiastic bloggers, that I can be fat, healthy and happy simultaneously if I would simply learn to accept myself. On the other hand, according to other bloggers, I am losing precious minutes of life with every pound I don’t lose, and I can acquire an exponentially increasing number of disorders with every morsel of unhealthy food.

Then I found an infinite number of “facts” about the high fructose corn syrup vs. sugar argument, which further complicated my nutritional choices. My continued researching made me nervous about actually losing weight. Why would I want to live longer if I can only eat a fraction of the delicious food out there? There are entire web sites, TV shows and world-famous chefs who have devoted their lives to converting even the most nutritional food into bad-for-you, but delicious tasting, morsels. And then come the what ifs…

What happens if I don’t actually love the fat me and I lose weight? What will my friends think? One of them has voiced concern that perhaps I will no longer go out with her just because she has no desire to lose weight. Frankly, that’s absurd. How can friendship be based on pounds? There is no way I could judge someone based on weight if it’s a demon I have been personally fighting for years.

What if I successfully lose weight, for health reasons of course, and then gain some back because the people in charge of making food tasty are madly successful? Should I then judge myself or embrace my fatness and accept who I am while praising artists who tempt me with such succulent sustenance?

The process is like an Escher painting: complicated, confusing, with no beginning or ending. Perhaps working on myself needs to start with something less intense and confusing. Anyone can use the many resources available to improve or completely change their personality.

Losing weight and decreasing anxiety are just two options. Supportive medication (like cake, chocolate, ice cream and sometimes those regular pharmaceuticals) is also available.

The more I ponder the options available to me via the Internet, bookstores and endless advice from friends (who have already reached a level of perfection, thereby making them experts on everything), I feel a great need to escape the pressure of making a decision.

When this happens, I close my eyes, take a deep breath and try to slow my heart rate, using YouTube and smartphone apps to direct my meditation. I also reach for the M&M’s container and slowly ingest one after another.

I have found that sucking off the candy colored shell makes the world a brighter place almost instantly. If one is so satisfying, then certainly 500 is that much better. I decide that weight loss should probably not be my first foray into self-help adventureland. Realizing perfection is unattainable, I say “no” to that idea and reach for more M&M’s.

DeeDee Corbitt Sauter is a resident of Prince William County. Her column, “Tambourines and Elephants,” appears monthly in Prince William Living.


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