One of my friends said that she watches every single thing that goes into her mouth. She is from a back east society family. Her mother is called Bunny, and her friends Bitsy and Boo and would still wear tennis whites at the country club even when powder blue, yellow, and pink became allowed.
Scene: I am wolfing down my fifth gob of St. Andre triple crème cheese that has enough fat in it to feed half the starving children in Africa. My friend pulls a box of coconut milk out of her refrigerator and tells me that she drinks this daily.
It's fat free.
I am immediately shamed that I am a size 4 while she is a tiny 2. If I didn't love fat so much maybe I wouldn't have that extra jiggly stuff on my arms. Perhaps I wouldn't need to worry about "muffin top." Recently, on our way out to a party, when I modeled my outfit to my sweetie Will, said to me out of kindness, "Honey, you look good in those pants and I like your little feminine pooch whereas a lot women your age have a huge one."
I'm the kind of gal who, when she makes Chicken Coconut Soup, eats that thick layer of fat off the top of the coconut milk can before I pour the rest into the watery stuff into the pan for the broth. I think the pooch is here to stay.
I remember that when my brother came back to the U.S. after living in Austria for twenty years one of the hardest adjustments he had to make had to do with our eating habits. What struck him most was how obsessed we Americans are about food. Not the pleasure of it, the calories.
We measure every single thing that goes into our mouths and then feel guilty about stuff that's not categorized as "healthy." Which is like every major pleasure that I know of. I'm big on butter myself. I'm with Julia Child who says that you can't have too much butter. I slather up my gluten free bagel until it drips into my eggs that were cooked in butter. The secret to my fluffy rice? Butter.
But here's the thing. I don't butter up everything every day. When I have it I savor it. I don't think about tomorrow. I don't think about the saying I grew up hearing every time I ate a morsel of something delicious, "A second on the lips, forever on the hips." I don't spend time feeling guilty about it. I don't count the calories. The next day I eat a few more fresh veggies and I don't weigh myself. I believe a woman should have a little pooch. It's part of what makes us womanly. I think I'll ask my sweetie if he wants butter with that.
Susan Harrow is the author of Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul. She runs a Media Consultancy where she helps everyone from Fortune 500 CEOs to celebrity chefs, entrepreneurs to authors grow their business through media coaching and the power of PR. For more information please contact Susan.