My pots and pans were pretty scrappy, picked up in a supermarket or hardware store here and there over the years. But the name Calphalon had a nice ring about it. This Calphalon pot, however, significantly shinier than anything I’d had, was three times larger than any pot I had ever cooked in, or lifted, or washed. A box of spaghetti would last me weeks. But suddenly I was cooking up the entire box in one night in the shiny Calphalon pot, every week. There was also now three times as much water to drain! Another mess, too, and a steamy one at that. Then there was the job of transferring the pasta to the large celadon ceramic pasta dish also three times larger than I had ever known.
Dinner had to be served not whenever I was hungry but carefully calibrated to be too early and not too late. It had to be sandwiched nicely in between my new step-daughter getting home from her after-school activities, and before she went upstairs to practice her flute and do her hours and hours of homework and before the dog got his evening walk. After homework and before bedtime was evening snack time. Ice cream! Ice cream all around, in our bedroom, on the bed, in front of the TV! Everybody loved dinner, everybody loved the spaghetti, and everybody loved the ice cream.
And I felt sick!
The calculation was simple: From a single person cooking or one, I was now cooking for three – myself, a husband (who ran 50 miles each week) and a teenage step-daughter.
Considering as a single, I didn’t even purchase ice cream, my new refrigerator, double the size of the one I had in my Brooklyn apartment, with an entire side being the freezer, held temptation in all forms, shapes, flavors, food groups, and temperatures. It was a very bad day when my step-daughter innocently enough, said to me one day, “There’s nothing in the fridge!” Apparently Dad did a much better job of keeping the refrigerator stocked than I did.
There were a lot of firsts those years. It was the first time somebody had gotten down on one knee and asked me, “Will you marry me?” It was also the first time my physician said, “You have to lose weight.”
Of course eventually my step-daughter went off to college and I was only shopping and cooking for two. I was sure that my waistline would be saved. But no! I was shopping and cooking for two – but the scale, digital and accurate, and I were at a standoff.
Gone was the spaghetti from my shopping cart. Gone the different meal each evening. Gone is the ice cream. But in its place is my husband’s new love and evening snack: frozen yogurt. Coffee frozen yogurt. Quarts of it. And only him and me around to eat it.
Then came another first, as my doctor said, “You’re pre-diabetic. You have to meet with the nurse and go over your diet.” Loyally, I created a little chart for my weight and checked off food types as I ate them: Dairy, protein, fruit, vegetables, carbohydrates, nuts and oils… I was always the athlete: Bicycling to work, swimming, tennis, but then another first from the doctor: “What are you doing for exercise?”
Gone is the orange juice and Mango Tango. Replaced with countable oranges. Gone the cashews. Replaced with a serving of 8 almonds. Gone the white basmati rice, replaced with brown basmati rice. Gone half an avocado for guacamole; now 1/4 the avocado for guacamole. Two years later, my blood sugar level is acceptable. My weight is still not.
Last month hubby and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. Sixteen years of love, giving, sharing, supporting each others, sixteen years of happiness. And sixteen years of frozen yogurt in the freezer and cake in the bread box for my long-distance runner husband.
That’s also .63 pounds for every year of marriage. This statistic probably wouldn’t bother anybody but me.
“What’s a little pound here and there?”
“You still look good!”
“But you’re so active!”
I swear I can hear my bones saying to me, “Ouch. You’re putting too much weight on me. Lighten up!” I’m sure my digestive system is saying, “Why you making me work overtime? Easy. Easy. Easy!”
Last night I went into my third cooking mode: Cooking one meal for my husband and one entirely separate meal for me. I’m going to try eating high protein: Sliced turkey, egg salad, boiled chicken, tuna and salmon for snacks and for dinner. The husband is getting various Indian food dinners with rice cooked in tumeric, a little wine on the side. Or maybe a mini-pizza. He’d better hope I lose significant weight soon.
For the record, I’m not saying that I won’t try a few of his leftovers as I walk the dishes from the table back to the sink… I am saying that it’s sure a lot harder to take it off than to put it on in the first place.