Saturday, September 12, 2009

Biography Part 2: I discover the calorie

When I was a student at Wesleyan University, I recall strolling past Olin-Atwater Library everyday, and of course, often studying there--usually on Friday nights (but that is a different story). You would think, going to a prestigious liberal arts school, that I would be mulling great philosophical questions (I studied literature and religion) or politics (Wesleyan is one of the most socially aware campuses in the country). But often my brain would be generating this scroll of thoughts:

"One of those tasty corn muffins at breakfast--about 200 or so, perhaps? And the milk in my coffee, won't bother with that. Now if I have an oat bran muffin (they are tiny, so about 200, well, maybe 250)...I will be at 500. Then 500 for a West Wings pita sandwich at lunch. 1,000 is good. But if they have the turtle pie--I'll eat maybe half the pita, then I can have the pie and maybe some of those yummy warm cookes....if only the meals had labels, labels, like the Lean Cuisine pizzas, then I could calculate it PERFECTLY."

Some days, I would eat nothing but sugary foods, ignoring the hunger headache. So long as stayed under my limit, hey, I was fine. Sure, I looked kind of pasty, flabby, despite working out at the gym, despite the fact that I never looked as toned or had as much energy as I should, given that I worked out. I figured I had lost 60 pounds since my high school high weight, and if I could eat a l0w-calorie diet that was all sugar, why not?

The irony of course, is that the scientist the library was named after discovered the calorie--Wilbur Atwater Olin. But did I know or care? Not at all. My mind was on important things, like how if I had the carrot cake for dinner tomorrow, it would be 400 calories, so I had to budget my chocolate consumption accordingly. They had the best carrot cake at the campus cafe--dense, rich, moist...I loved the sour cream cheese icing, the whispers of crumb, the chunky lumps of nuts spattered across its surface.

Studying--oh yes, that, what were we talking about? Um, birthday cake?

The take home message: Today, I am a runner, vegetarian (although I support ethical and mindful meat consumption), and comfortable with my weight and body, finally at age 35. But whenever I deny myself sugar, I feel like a little kid throwing a tantrum--I want more! I want to become more proficient at baking, but I'm scared I'll eat all the batter. I eat real food, because I have to, but I would like to enjoy it more. This blog is a journey of my progress to find a healthy balance in my life in the name of food, exercise, and self-improvement. With some sweetness along the way.

Bon Appetit, as Julia Child might say (mom loved to watch her, even though she never cooked a single meal she saw on PBS)! But don't forget the dessert!

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