Anyway, she’s wonderful, really – mega-athletic, shares my taste in guys and TV shows (even Disney Channel!), and has a great infectious laugh. But once in a blue moon, she really ticks me off – and last night was a blue moon.
I try not to post bad things about specific people on this website (especially since I can now be Googled), but she doesn’t have this address and even if she did, I don’t think she’d mind much. It was just something stupid, really, but it got to me.
Those of you who know me from way back know that I haven’t always had the best relationship with food. Not that I was eating-disordered or obese anything, far from it – I just tended to let my eyes decide what and how much I wanted, rather than my stomach or my common sense. Even if I were full to bursting, I’d still order that gooey hot-fudge sundae. And even when I started getting really frustrated with my body in high school, I couldn’t seem to straighten myself out in any permanent sort of way.
Nowadays, I do seem to have straightened myself out. It was a gradual change – actually, several gradual changes, all of which are probably just natural processes of growing up. I’m a lot less picky than I was as a kid – I eat almost all vegetables now – and I can now ‘tell’ when I’m full much better than I could in the past. The swimming has helped a lot, too (although it’s starting to backfire on me these days because I’m swimming so much that midweek I practically need an IV drip of food to keep going).
Anyway, on a typical day with two swimming workouts, I usually eat Kashi cereal and orange juice in the morning, a protein bar (and usually a fruit smoothie, too) while at school, a snack when I get home (like yogurt and a bagel with peanut butter or cream cheese), and then have salad, milk, and a Lean Pocket for dinner, or sometimes soup, then eat something sweet (but usually pretty small) afterwards. And often there are a couple of other snacks in there too, if I’m feeling exhausted from swimming – like some cheese cubes or peanuts or sometimes a muffin.
I think most of you will agree that this, while by no means a perfect diet, is a lot healthier than the average American and certainly than the average college student. This is what works for me; I enjoy everything that I eat and I look forward to food, yet I don’t ever feel deprived. I’m actually very proud of myself for having reached this point, since I think that fewer and fewer people in this day and age actually do get there.
R, however, is, as I’ve mentioned, a former Olympian. She also loves to cook. Therefore, she eats exceedingly healthy – makes soups and stews in her Crock-Pot, blends smoothies with whey protein powder, eats enormous salads, and avoids fast food like the plague.
There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it works for her. I even admire it a little. However, it can make her really hard to live with sometimes. Last night, we saw a Slim-Fast commercial. We both groaned, and I said something to the effect of, “Slim-Fast does work, but you’re not going to keep the weight off that way, because you’re not going to buy little bars and cans for the rest of your life. You have to learn what works for you,” – I felt like Dr. Phil – “in the real world, and how to do it right.”
“Yeah,” R said, but there was an unusual bit of a distance to her voice.
I instantly knew what she was thinking, and so joked, “Says the girl who microwaves all her dinners...” and gestured to the Lean Pocket I was (coincidentally) heating up.
I expected her to laugh and let it go. I think that’s what most people would have done. But within the space of a few more exchanges, she was up and in the kitchen, holding my Kashi cereal box next to her Fiber One. “Yours has five grams of fiber and 110 calories. Look at mine. 8 grams of fiber and, with milk, 60 calories.” She said it very importantly, like I was supposed to gasp in shock.
I stayed calm and simply said, “Well, I’m more likely to stick with something if I enjoy eating it.” Which is true; I’ve been eating that cereal for over a year and I still love it.
She let it go not long after that, but it’s been nagging at me today. I wish she would realize that we aren’t all Olympic athletes. R is practically my best friend; I don’t want to have to feel like I have to watch what I eat around her. She eats in a way that tastes good to her and works for her, and I eat in a way that tastes good for me and works for me. And both of us take vitamins and exercise regularly. We’re both happy, healthy, and doing a hell of a lot better than your average Joe. So isn’t all this hair-splitting about cereal kinda irrelevant?