When you’re given the nickname The Queen of SANEity, The Podcast Co-Pilot, or referred to as being the Head of the Calorie Myth’s Fan Club, it can leave you twitching under an enormous weight of responsibility. And, it can sometimes cause the phrase, “In the spirit of full disclosure…”, to reverberate around your brain. Especially when you’re having an instance of dietary insanity, like the day you decide – for no rational or sensible reason – to scoff an entire loaf of Sunmaid Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread in one afternoon. So I thought it was high time I explain myself, and make sure we have ample clarity around the differences between Jonathan Bailor and I.
I am a girl. As all girls know – or at least get to know as time passes – we operate differently to boys. Our hormones do strange things. Our bodies do strange things. WITHOUT OUR PERMISSION. And as we get older, our hormones and our bodies start to do *really* strange things. Mine make me want to sob during video clips like this, collect purring kittens like others have amassed Beanie Babies, eat raisin bread in unconscionable quantities every 7 weeks or so, gift-wrap socks up singly so they’ll be more presents to open, and change clothes 3 times before I can leave the house.
I am single. I don’t have a separate conscience sharing my couch at home. There’s no one there watching what I devour, remarking on my choice of nightwear, or pointing out that the lawn needs mowing. Again. I get to do a lot of this, single-handedly. I have a lovely life, and I never have to compromise on the hues of my bedroom walls, the music that gets blasted from the CD player, how long I linger in the green chair by the window scribbling down recipe schemas on scrappy slips of paper, or what foods I invite to hook up with me in the kitchen. At the same time, the only person I have to keep me on track is me; and every once in a while I don’t do so well at that bit.
I am not twenty-something. If you have not reached the Dirty Thirties or the Fabulous Forties yet, they’re coming. And it’s exciting. At some point your body will likely start doing peculiar things – sweating at inopportune moments, forcing you to hold any printed words at arms length, and requiring use of lashings more body lotion and hair conditioner than ever before. The sweating and holding things at arms length have not come to live with me yet, while the body lotion and hair conditioner moved in a while back. Speaking of hair, the melanin in ¼ of mine left the building before I’d graduated to the Dirty Thirties. The timing of these things is fairly haphazard, which only serves to make it all the more exciting. Body parts will start misbehaving without warning. And, you will accumulate weight and fat like snow drifting around the front porch, despite the fact that you are doing nothing different to what you’ve always done. This part is not so exciting.
I have an average body-fat percentage. Over the years it’s been less-than-average and it’s been more-than-average. That it is now average again (YAY!!) is wildly exciting to me after several years of trying every diet known to man and watching my weight keep on climbing – regardless of what I did in the eating and exercising department. I’ve been where most of you are or have been.
I love food. I love to eat. I love to cook. I refuse to exist on a diet of vegetable smoothies and protein bars. I want to eat real food, I want to sit at the table and eat meals, and I want to be slim and healthy doing so. I am a pastry chef who is now bound and determined to make you a whole bunch of scrumptious meals, plus desserts and treats that will not make our bodies horde fat like bears off for their lengthy winter nap. I trained long and hard for this. You’re worth it.
I have a past. This includes 4 years flipping patties under those notorious golden arches to get myself through school, 3 years ensconced in varying amounts of flour, sugar and almond paste as mandated by the course curriculum at the National Bakery School, and innumerable afternoons in the steamy kitchens of the best chefs in the nation nibbling on fancy food while cheekily charming them into stocking their pantries with all manner of fine French baking supplies. I shouldn’t forget to disclose my long-term entanglement with chocolate. Food has been inextricably woven into the fabric of my being since time began. Despite my best intentions there are still times when the burning desire for flavors and aromas – ones that make my heart thump like I’ve just competed in Tough Mudder, and send my tongue into a frenzy – is like crack. Combined with joyous memories that warm your soul, you’ve got a recipe for health insanity. My past embraces 27 years of being no more than 119 lbs soaking wet while gobbling up anything I fancied – often in bulk – and getting the majority of my exercise in the form of hauling a briefcase full of chocolate samples & kneading dough into submission. Over 30 years is a lot of habit to break, even when the evidence stares you straight in the muffin top every morning as you step out of the shower and catch a glimpse in the mirror.
I have a ridiculous schedule. Monday – Thursday I work, on average, 15 hours a day, outside of my home. That doesn’t leave time for
much cooking or eating anything else. Like you, I live a real life. One with a mortgage, an ever-settling layer of dust, a car that runs on gas, clothes that refuse to wash themselves no matter the encouragement or bribes I offer up, a yard to weed, cats to herd, online bill pay to tangle with, and people to nurture. There’s only so much a girl can do, and I don’t always pick the most important, although I give it my best shot; I think I succeed most of the time. It’s true that on occasion the most important thing to be done is to lie in the grass in the warm sunshine.
I don’t want to be a hot model, gym instructor or fitness freak. No, really. I don’t. I want to slip into my jeans and not feel like an over-stuffed pouffe. I want to wear sleeveless tops and not look like my upper body is acting out “Escape From Alcatraz”. I want my kneecaps and collar bones to see the light of day. I want to be a healthy weight and be free of cancer, diabetes and high cholesterol. I want to look in the mirror and see a cute, muffin-top-less, back-fat-less and wobbly-arm-less girl smiling back at me. I want to have enough energy to keep up with my crazy, happy life without slumping onto my desk, face-down, in mid-sentence, mid-afternoon.
I am just an ordinary girl living the best life she knows how to; and thankfully, my “how to” learns a little more with each day that passes. These memos that I pen are the story of my trek through life – warts, haywire hormones, raisin bread, and all. I share my trials alongside my triumphs. I take you on all my adventures – travel, food, fat-loss, life – because they’re all a portion of who I am, and you get to see the whole hot mess. I confess my moments of dietary insanity, because you have them too. And we laugh, and move on, and encourage each other on our respective journeys. There’s more laughs over on The Podcasts.
So if you come here expecting perfection, prepare to be disappointed. If you come here for science, there’ll be plenty of posts directing you to places to get that. I am not the poster child for The Calorie Myth. I am the poster child for Loving Yourself. If you come here for a dose of real life from someone who has likely walked a similar – imperfect – path to you; if you come here for a shoulder to cry on when you mess up, or when your hormones get the upper hand, or when things just don’t go your way, I’m your girl. When you need a cheerleader – come on over. When you require a gentle reminder that this is not about perfection, it’s about moving towards your own unique goals, come hang. When you get waylaid at the grocery store by the loud, trumpeting call of marketing hot shots and advertising gurus – making money off your misery – get yourself back on track right here. When you want ideas and guidance on how to implement this whole healthy-eating thing into your world, I’ll be around. And when you need practical, delicious recipes to get you closer to your goal – this is where you’ll find them. Because I’ve a hunch that if you drink one more smoothie for breakfast you’ll beat your blender into smithereens, and if you eat one more lean chicken breast with Caesar salad (hold the croutons) for dinner you’ll expire from the sheer boredom of it all.
The science is brilliant – and knowing the science makes this whole thing so much easier. I thank the heavens every day for the research Jonathan and so many others have done to bring this science to us. But science doesn’t understand human nature or human emotion. Science doesn’t get that you can have an emotional attachment to Kentucky Fried Chicken so strong it can make you drive 30 miles just to get a bucket. The science is simple – that doesn’t make it easy to put into practice. Science can tell you how it works, but not how to live it. Science doesn’t cheer you on. Science doesn’t have a schedule to consider, or any number of other life things that get in the way. Science is not in the business of integrating itself into your life; and science has never struggled like you and I to maintain a healthy weight.