I got some bad news recently, which actually turned out to be one of the best things that’s happened to me in a long time.
My doctor (actually my physician’s assistant) said, “You’re not gonna like me very much.”
And then she told me I was obese.
Okay, that’s not fair to her. What she really did was tell me that I have Type II Diabetes. I’ve had blood sugar issues my whole life, and weight problems since I moved to Alaska at the age of 22, got busy and quit eating.
So she talked me into going on a diet. At first I really really really didn’t want to do it. But she finally talked me into it.
The point where I caved in and decided that I’d do it was when I told her that the reason I’d given up on Jenny Craig five years ago (after losing 35 pounds and then gaining it all back again) was because I hated having to make two completely separate meals every evening for dinner. One for me (out of a box) and one for everyone else. There came a point where eating a pre-prescribed microwave meal became such a mundane task, something I just didn’t look forward to, even dreaded, that I just gave up.
She told me that this diet, which consisting of five pre-measured and pre-packaged snack meals each day, allowed me to choose and cook my own dinner meal, as long as it was lean and green.
So I cried a little bit, and then I decided right then that I’d do it.
And I did. Well, I am.
One month ago I committed myself whole hog (minus the hog), to reversing the diabetes by reversing the obesity.
Even though I took a week off for a trip to Hawaii (where I ate at least two cheeseburgers, several servings of french fries, a half order of Eggs Benedict and drank two Gin and Tonics every day), I still lost 15 pounds.
(And thank you to Karen, who tapped me on the shoulder at The Fray concert the other night, just to tell me how fabulous I already look. You’re so sweet!)
I joke that most of what I’m eating every day is non-food. It’s pre-packaged shakes and bars, little crunchy puffs or cup-o-soup. It’s just little snacks, really. But I get five of them throughout the day. And when I go home, I have been concentrating on making some of the best damned meals I’ve made in a long, long time.
I have actually found myself spending a ridiculous amount of time thinking about what I’m going to make for dinner, probably because it’s the only real meal I get to eat every day. So I put a lot of thought into it, and get a lot of joy out preparing that one, delectable meal.
I didn’t intend to make all my friends jealous with my incredibly delicious meals, I just wanted to own it. Really own it. And that’s how I went about owning my diet and finding a way to truly enjoy the experience.
I will admit that I haven’t completely cut myself off of all my culinary vices. I still put cream in my coffee, and I still enjoy a moderate amount of alcohol, and a tiny sprinkling of Parmesan cheese now and then, or a spoonful of peanut butter when my tummy rumbles.
But obviously, I’ve been doing an abundant amount of thinking about food lately. Nothing like depriving yourself of something to make you fantasize, obsess and salivate about gnocchi with a pesto alfredo sauce and heaps of cheese. Or a salami, mozzarella, sun dried tomato and olive calzone. Or bacon. Mmmm. Bacon. I do miss bacon.
That’s why I’m living out my food fantasies through music. Bon appetit!
Valerie Ing-Miller has been the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio in Redding for nine years and can often be found serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre. For her, ultimate satisfaction comes from a perfect segue. She’s the mother of a teenage daughter and a 7-year-old West Highland Terrier, and can’t imagine life without them or music. Valerie wakes up with a song in her head, she sings in the shower and at the top of her lungs in the car.
A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.