As a hefty gal, my mind often retreats into the glorious days of past when my biggest complaint about my butt was that it was too bubbly. As I sit my prodigious behind at the couch now, I think (not without envy) about the shape I had then, still visible in my mother’s elegant form. And the best part is, I wasn’t even thinking about my body at all then.
Now, I have become obssessed with diets. I have tried many fad diets, celebrity recommendation, gym and some yoga postures said to promote metabolism and chi flow. I bought (or even picked up discarded) work-out equipment, cellulite creams, electronic girdles and flushing pills. Aggrrhhh, all trouble and no results.
The books too. My favorites are the ethnic ones: “Mediterranean diet” “French women don’t get fat” “Japaneze women don’t get fat or old” “Brasilians have made a pact with the devil” etc, etc. I have read them all, seriously pouring over pages and pages of recipes, daily schedules and magic thining concoctions and have come to a single result: These women are all getting richer because of me and they do not want me to lose more than three pounds because they’d be dying of hunger if that ever happens.
(Pride over being such a good economy booster aside, I am still left with a gut and a nostalgia for the times when it was actually less prominent than my bosom. Much less. )
I also think that since I am not Japaneze, Brasilian, or French, I am a lost cause. Albanians have actually always appreciated larger women, and the concept of “having some cushin’ for the pushin’ ” is an old and honorable Albanian beauty criteria. But times change.
Reading all those books, i see they have these things in common: moderation, portion control and mystery concoction. and leek.
Poor leek has a very bad rep in my culture. It was the vegetable of obligation and the staple for tables which had to make do with 10 eggs, 1 stick of butter, 1 chicken, two pounds of salami, 4 pounds of meat and 4 pounds of feta cheese a month for an average family of five. It was smelly, it was dirty, it was abundable and it was there.
And now, it is being touted as the secret of the century for losing weight. We were thinner though.
So I start to compose what we Albanians would call “Totalitarian diet, Albanian women do not get fat, old or free”. How to lose weight Albanian style:
1. Choose a dictator. No matter how nice he/she may start out as, once the underlings are hired and the statue ordered, food rations follow closely behind.
2. leek leek leek in abundance. and none of this american pale immitation. you must have the tough Albanian version with dirt amongst its layers, and a pungent smell during cooking that accompanied you faithfully during class or work or even date.
3. ban all kinds of bread except grainy and dense one. this bread goes through your system like sand and can actually neutralize alcohol in the system so one has the added bonus of driving drunk (oh wait, totalitarian regime, no private vehicles except Chinese bikes, so no drunk driving)
4. ration the sugar so people have only enough for one tablespoon for one coffee. none of this one coffee/three sugars nonsense.
5. go to the beach with a bikini you had to fashion out of your grandmother’s old bathing suit or curtains. there is no better motivator to tone than the prospective of bloomer bikini bottoms with bunched up elastic leg holes. oh and don’t forget your single chimney smoking spinster aunt who very thoughtfully comments on all your body parts within hearing range of the whole beach population.
6. learn to eat boiled water and bread, boiled tea and bread, boiled tea sans bread, and marmalade. no matter how little marmalade is bought, there is always a sliver left at the end of the meal which then becomes hard as stone in two minutes flat and can survive up to ten months unused in the fridge.
7. abolish supermarkets and have women walk ten miles with shopping bags from the market home after work and face a bunch of hungry kids and husband with a low-sugar level. then have said women prepare the gas heaters for use since you have thoughtfully cut the electricity for the last ten days. by the time dinner is ready, several family members have fallen asleep or have made do with a toasted or dry bread slice.
8. cook for 7 days and serve the same leek soup every day. who would look forward to food then?
Kidding aside, I truly think that the totalitarian diet book can actually become a best seller and save the waist-lines of many women and men. just avoid the dictator because obesity does not have to be the only cause for suffering in the world.