Alison Berkley: The Princess’s Palate |

Alison Berkley: The Princess’s Palate

Alison Berkley
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Amanda and I just got done doing Bernadette’s class. It’s an hour-long circuit training class at Jean Robert’s Gym. Today we did abs.

Yep, an hour-long ab workout is just what you need when you’re a yoga instructor who fell in love and got fat, or at least fat by Aspen’s standards.

Fat by Aspen standards is when people who truly care about you and have the best intentions at heart say things like, “you need to find a healthy balance,” or “you’ve let yourself go, but it’s probably just because you’re ready to get pregnant.”

This is all after you’ve made it very clear that you just want to be yourself and are no longer interested in starving and substituting cigarettes, vodka, and espresso for food. You’ve explained that you just want to be comfortable with your body and that all those years of diet and exercise and trying to be ASAP (as skinny as possible) so you could get laid ASAP (as soon as possible) was all just a big fat waste of time. Because in the end, the guys it attracted were the wrong guys.

Now I know better. The right guy looks you in the eye and holds you tight every morning. He thinks you’re cute even in the middle of a yoga class when you’re drenched in sweat and your hair is a frizzy mess and your yoga shorts are riding up over your chubby thighs. When I think about all the carbs I cut out of my diet for men that suck, I could scream.

“Girls get skinny for other girls,” a friend of mine once said. “Guys want girls with curves.”

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What blows me away the most, though, is how my friends who are ridiculously gorgeous pick themselves apart and somehow manage to hone in on their miniscule flaws.

Like I have this one friend who is young and thin and beautiful, with long, curly, dark hair and ripped abs who is the envy of everyone around her. Yet she complains her boobs are too small and her hips are too narrow. “I look like a boy,” she says.

I have another who is tall with long legs, a beautiful face and the kind of pillowy lips people spend thousands of dollars on injections for, and yet it’s her hips that are the problem.

“They’re so big,” she complains. I’m pretty sure she weighs less than I do even though she is eight inches taller, so when she says “I feel so huge,” I try not to take it personally.

We all do it, I know. For us girls, it’s practically written into our DNA that we never think we are good enough, pretty enough, thin enough, young looking enough. It’s not like you get to a certain point in your life where it ends, even if you are in a happy marriage and have a million people who love you and give you affirmation every day.

“Listen honey, it’s a never-ending battle,” is what my mom always says. At 66, I still watch her eat one half of her toast with cottage cheese every morning. She pretends she forgot to eat it, but I know her little tricks. One of them is to eat half of every meal that’s served to you. And to think of those children who are starving in Africa.

I know we like to blame it on the media, on the fashion magazines and Playboy and Miss America pageants. We blame it on clothing designers and fit models and airbrushed photos in advertising campaigns.

But really we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Like, now I wish I never got skinny in the first place so that no one would notice a difference. That’s always been my philosophy with getting all dolled up and it works. If you wear makeup and blow-dry your hair every day, people only notice if you don’t. When you walk around all week in yoga clothes with your hair in a messy bun, people go nuts when you pull out a brush, never mind pulling out all the stops.

So I’m trying to put a stop to this nonsense and just be happy with what I got. So instead of focusing on squeezing back into a size 2 or seeing the scale dip back down a few notches, I’ve decided to focus on getting in prime shape for ski season.

“I just want to be strong and feel good,” is what I told Amanda this morning while we drank our daily post-yoga lattes at Parallel 15. “I’m done with it. All of it.”

So after eating a LUNA bar for lunch, it’s off to the gym we went. It took all of five minutes of working out in front of a mirror for my whole get-strong philosophy to fly out the window. There was also the fact that it looked like a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader convention in there with a selection of women so fine it looked more like a modeling audition than a workout class.

“Boy, everyone is really ugly in here,” I said to Amanda, as we were lying on our backs with our feet up in the air doing crunches. I don’t know whether to be discouraged or motivated, so I go with motivated and squeeze my abs a little harder.

When I was little, I fell off my bike and cut my chin open and had to get eight stitches. My mom suggested I could always go to a plastic surgeon later if the scar was too bad.

“Why would she do that?” my Dad said. “It’s people’s scars, their imperfections that makes them unique.”

OK, so maybe I slipped a little bit, gained a few pounds, and fell off the fitness bandwagon. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll have just one little scar to show for it.

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