Considering my mom never dieted while I was growing up, I was pretty naïve about the lengths in which many women go to maintain and manipulate their figures through their food intake (or lack thereof). In my first year of college, I was introduced to the wonder that is fat-free milk (which a male friend aptly described as a white crayon swirled in water) and how you can drink a lot of it to feel full without gaining any weight. You see, I have always had a small frame but once the girls around me started fussing about their weights, being small was no longer good enough anymore and all of a sudden having prepubescent legs and stick arms was the golden standard. But I learned almost just as quickly that my stomach can’t handle the four cups of milk in lieu of a proper meal (no details needed here) so the eat-only-milk-and-and-maybe-a-few-bananas diet went out the window.
Fat-free milk was aptly described to me as a white crayon swirled in water.Alas, when my second year of college came rolling around the corner, I moved into my first apartment, the decision to prematurely leave the dorms partially motivated by my desire to steer clear away from the all-you-can-eat dining halls. And this was when magic happened, when for the first time in my life, food rules no longer existed and if I only wanted to eat pastries and coffee everyday? Well, who was there to tell me otherwise? I justified this as the L.A. Diet and working as a barista at a popular coffee shop in Westwood allowed me to keep this up as I had unlimited access to all the bagels, muffins, and shots of espresso any suppressed foodie could ever hope for. Eating only white flour and sugar (fortified by vast quantities of caffeine) is not good for your skin and hair but in L.A. (as we all catch on quickly), it is all about the perceived image and rarely the up close and personal. I was not healthy at all but so long as this diet kept me thin, things were just dandy.
On left, the slimming results of having a vegan "house-sister." On right, slighter plumper with Patrick during simpler days.
As soon as I entered the corporate world some two years later, I expanded my diet to three “square” meals a day (coffee and muffin for breakfast, went out for a big lunch, and ice cream for dinner) since I no longer had to deal with competition from underage coeds. I gained a couple of pounds but I never did have to upgrade from my size 2 jeans so I wore my extra layer of “insulation” proudly. Around this time I also started dating Patrick and as most lovey-dovey new couples can relate, the first few months of the courtship is usually centered around decadent dinners out (paid for by courting male) and extravagant breakfasts in bed (prepared traditionally by the female counterpart to show off her domestic aptitude and to insinuate what a great wife she will one day be…). I never did become the wife but I did manage to garner a “house-sister” along the way who opened my eyes to yet another new way of life: healthy living.
My sister, Carly, moved in with me early last year and I hired her as my assistant to help me with some projects I was working on at the time. This vegan, organic, let’s-never-wash-our-hair-with-shampoo-again of a house-sister also did my laundry, made my bed every morning (it wasn’t a bad gig, for me, I mean) and cooked all of my meals. All of a sudden I went from canned biscuits and sausage gravy to eating bran cereal with rice milk for breakfast, vegan sandwiches for lunch, organic fruit for dinner, and coconut ice cream for dessert. And then there was the cup after cup of psyllium husk I was convinced to drink but uh, we won’t get into that. I was looking good and feeling great and then I found out I was a little bit...pregnant.
Part 2 to follow.