My trainer, who also happens to be one of my very best girlfriends, is getting frustrated because the longer we work out together, the fatter I get. Not that I’m fat, but I’ve got a belly. In all fairness to her, she is frustrated on my behalf, because she knows I’d like to have a nice, flat stomach. Apparently not as much as I’d like to have a muffin, however.
I’ve battled with this back and forth about food and weight my entire life and, ironically, I don’t think what I look like has shifted much in that time. I’m not one of those people who gains and loses a lot of weight, or who yo-yo diets. I’m a slightly thinner than average 40-year-old woman who has had a child.
I used to care a lot about how skinny I felt (note I didn’t say looked because who the hell knows how they really look, anyway?). But over the years, I’ve gradually cared less. A bottle of olive oil, which used to last years (really, years!) now needs to be replaced every couple months. I think part of the growing ambivalence comes with the wisdom and security that comes with age. What seems like a big deal when you’re 15 turns out to really just be a pimple when you’re 30.
Going to France was definitely the turning point. The quality of the food there was just so high that it seemed like an insult not to appreciate it properly. And now that I’m home, it’s that kind of eating that appeals to me. Not the mindless snacking or eating endless muffins (although I do make great muffins), but the appeal of fresh, home baked bread with good chèvre or this molé, which I plan to make soon.
I still want to look good, but mostly I want to be happy. I’ll keep exercising because I want to be strong and healthy for myself and my family, and because I enjoy my time with my trainer girlfriend. But I think the days of striving for no belly fat are long gone. And, honestly, I’m glad. Because enjoying good food and good wine with friends is one of the things that makes me happiest. About that I have no ambivalence.