Saturday, September 6, 2008

Are We Having Fun Yet? (Losing and Finding 25 Pounds)

I just read that Beyonce had a blast packing on 20 extra pounds for a film role as Etta James. (Losing the 20 was not nearly as fun.)

Altadena Hiker, recently fantasized on her blog about how she would go about gaining 25 pounds. (Hilarous!)

I, on the other hand, have not been having fun at all in my quest for fat, or the "Booty or Bust" tour as I like to call it. I count calories and chastise myself at the end of the day if I've fallen short of my 2,500 calorie goal. I research the most calorie-dense foods. I devour 12" Philly cheese steak subs with a side of onion rings because of the weight gain potential, not for a love of the meal . I slurp thick chocolate milkshakes with the same enthusiasm that I use to chug the Berry Barium cocktails in preparation for a CT scan. It's a job.

Food was beginning to bore me. A chocolate milkshake was no longer a treat. It was fun to splurge on a pastrami sandwich once a quarter, but it loses its attraction when it becomes a weekly staple. I felt like those listless "researchers" in the Las commercials. I was consumed by culinary ennui.

Worst of all, in spite of my marathon eating sessions, I was continuing to lose, not gain weight, at an alarming rate.

And then I had a revelation. In my quest for curves, I had completely abandoned the way I like to eat. You see, I had developed the healthy eating habits of a naturally thin person. I like fresh, simply prepared foods, like Tuscan greens and beans. I'm currently craving roasted cauliflower with garlic and Italian parsley. My favorite breakfast is Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, orange zest and a squeeze of honey. The problem is that I can't gain weigh on a diet like this.

Now I've gone back to eating the foods that really excite me and I supplement with lots of my favorite high-calorie treats. I still have my beloved yogurt and berries for breakfast, but I pair the healthy stuff with a toasted bagel and high-fat cream cheese or a bowl of Cracklin' Oat Bran with milk and banana.

I'll eat a huge plate of beans and greens for lunch, but then I'll indulge in my favorite snack - potato chips with Ranch dip. I was just reading some old blog posts when I was struggling to gain weight in February. I wrote that I didn't want to resort to gaining weight by stuffing myself with chips and dip. Now I'm thinking, "Why not?"

Chips and dips and I go way back. When I first started dating George almost 30 years ago, I was hanging out at his apartment before he got home from the firm. I was lying on the bed, comforting myself with a giant bag of chips and a bowl of dip. Then I heard the front door open. Before George could yell out, "Honey, I'm home," I had stashed the evidence under the bed, wiped the dip off my mouth and brushed the chip crumbs off the sheets.

But now, I don't need to be a closet chip and dip eater. I can openly indulge, and I do. I've been ordering my groceries through and got these two super-size bags for $5.00. With the tub of dip, you're looking at a potential two pound weight gain.

The secret of my success

For a higher brow indulgence, I head to Julienne's in San Marino. I love their rosemary currant parmesan toasts ($7.50 for a small bag), but only purchase them for guests, never just for myself. Now that's just wrong. I popped in yesterday and ate 3/4 of the bag of decadent, butter-and-parmesan-drenched toasts before I pulled into our driveway. I also picked up a container of their Vidalia onion dip and, in a nod to my healthy half, a fresh corn cilantro salsa.

Why wait for a party to indulge in my favorite foods?

My new strategy is working. I'm in love with food again. I'm purusing food blogs and experimenting in the kitchen. I'm nurturing my body with healthy foods, but I'm enjoying my high-fat indulgences. I've stopped counting calories and started gaining weight.

And I'm channeling the soulful Etta James with every bite of luscious food, imagining that it will eventually lead to a body with her sensuous, womanly curves.


Ronni Gordon said...

Just read about beans and greens on your other blog and wrote down the recipe. Also asked if you know a substitute for garlic. Because I'm still on a restricted diet, I have a food problem also. I wrote about it on my blog on this post:
Sounds like you are a very creative cook. I never was. Lunch is hardest, because that's when I would usually have a big salad.
Any other ideas for something easy to make, cooked, delicious and nutritious?

Susan C said...

Ronni, I left a comment for you on the food blog too, but will leave it here as well.

I actually prefer shallots to garlic, but don't always have them on hand. Theyre sweet, fragrant and flavorful.

Another favorite lunch is spinach sauteed with shallots and mushrooms and browned ground beef. Flavor with sea salt and a touch of nutmeg. Put the whole thing in a pita. Top it with fresh grated parmesan cheese if you have it. I'm making this for dinner tonight.And I bought some beautiful baby carrots at the farmers market that I'm going to cook in a ginger glaze.

I loved your fear of food post. I've never attempted pasta carbonara because it sounds so darn complicated.

Susan C said...

PS And dessert is mint chocolate chip ice cream with chewy chocolate cookies.

West Coast Grrlie Blather said...

What a lovely post, Susan. Your dinner plans for this evening sound terrific as well. Chips + Dips = Hips!

Susan C said...

Chips + Dips = Hips

I love that. I've been trying to develop hips for 54 years!

altadenahiker said...

Kate Moss with hips, ja! Bring on the recipes (I'm already well familiar with that complex chip and ranch dip one).

Trish said...

I think I gained 5 pounds just READING the post! omg!

Sounds delicious. Thankfully, I can't do the dairy, so I'm somewhat immune to the dip, butter and Parmesan parts. ;-)

OMG...carabonara is PERFECT for putting on a few pounds. Add a little roasted chicken for leftovers (if there ARE any) and some veggies if you have to make it somewhat healthy. yuuuum!

Glad you're figuring out how to eat a little something.

ok, NOW I'm hungry!!!

Susan C said...

I just found this recipe on

It sounds easy and delish - the kind of thing I can make without consulting a recipe.

Lemony Chickpea Stir-fry Recipe

I used Soy Deli Savory Organic Tofu here, but plain is fine too.

2 tablespoon ghee or extra-virgin olive oil
fine grain sea salt
1 small onion or a couple shallots, sliced
1 cup cooked chickpeas
8 ounces extra-firm tofu
1 cup of chopped kale
2 small zucchini, chopped
zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon

Heat 1 tablespoon of the ghee/olive oil In a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir in a big pinch of salt, the onion, and chickpeas. Saute until the chickpeas are deeply golden and crusty. Stir in the tofu and cook just until the tofu is heated through, just a minute or so. Stir in the kale and cook for one minute more. Remove everything from the skillet onto a large plate and set aside. In the same skillet heat the remaining tablespoon of ghee/olive oil, add the zucchini and saute until it starts to take on a bit of color, two or three minutes. Add the chickpea mixture back to the skillet, and remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice and zest, taste, and season with a bit more salt if needed. Turn out onto a platter and serve family style.

Serves 2 - 4.

Petrea said...

Now you're talkin! That is FOOD.