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Heading to South Beach

Alison Berkley

I am on a diet.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. For a while there, I thought I finally learned to feel comfortable in my own skin. I would not succumb to societal pressures and wish I was a 5-foot-10 anorexic with enormous boobs. (Duh, I know those are unrealistic expectations. They have yet to develop a surgical procedure that will make me 10 inches taller.)

I thought I was doing great. I began to understand how to flaunt my good assets (legs and butt) and hide my bad ones (what you don’t know won’t hurt you). And thank god for whoever invented platform shoes – as long as there’s a rise in the front and the back so the foot isn’t tilted at a miserable angle, I can wear these shoes all the livelong day.

I have platform flip-flops, platform sneakers, platform sandals, mules and clogs. Sometimes even I forget how short I really am.

Bigger boobs? No problem. A padded bra does the trick just fine. Oh, don’t give me that. I don’t care if it’s “false advertising.” Any guy who is that superficial deserves a little letdown. Call it karma.

Besides, now that I’m living in a mountain town again, I’m loving the “athletic” look, the ability to cruise around town in those fabulous tank tops with the bra built right in. No need to flaunt my sex appeal 24-7. Every girl needs a break now and then.

Then one day, my healthy self-image was shattered with a few innocent comments.

“So, how far along are you?” the soccer mom at the top of Smuggler asked.

“What!?” I replied.

“How many months are you?” she asked again, shooting me a knowing smile.

“WHAT?!” I screamed, with no hope for maintaining my composure.

“Um, I mean – How long did it take you to get up here?” she stammered, ready to run away.

That really hit home since that was the second time this year someone assumed I was pregnant. I mean, all my friends are pregnant, and I know pregnancy is supposed to be contagious, but looking pregnant? Please.

I began to wonder if maybe the distorted view I had of myself in my 20s (“I’m too this, I’m too that”) had sort of reversed itself, flip-flopped if you will. That my self-perception was still inaccurate, but to the opposite effect. Maybe now I think I look great, but in reality all this Aspen Princess stuff has finally gone to my head.

Fine. Time to face the facts, own up to the truth. No need to get on the scale. I’d just ask my mother.

“Mom, do you think I’m fat?” I asked her one day, pulling my shirt up and examining my belly and hips in the mirror, swiveling from side to side.

“Don’t be ridiculous. You look fine,” she said, her nose deep in the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle. She was good at this game (dealing with me, not the stupid crossword puzzle) because she’d had 34 years of practice.

“Mom, I’m serious. If I’m fat, I’m counting on you to be honest and tell me. I think it’s good. I mean, it just goes to show that I’ve finally become comfortable with my body and who I really am.”

She slid her glasses to the end of her nose and peered over them, examining me more carefully.

“Well, you have put on a little weight,” she murmured, bracing herself for the backlash.

“WHAT? OH, GREAT. OH GOD, THANKS A LOT. NOW I’M TRAUMATIZED.”

“No, I said that YOU said you’d put on a little weight. Oh, for god’s sake,” she said with a sigh and returned to her crossword puzzle. “You always look the same.”

That’s the default response I expected from the get-go, but now it was too late.

So I called my little brother. He would tell me the truth, even if it hurt my feelings.

“Of course you’re fat, you big fat loooo-ser. Fatty, fatty boooom-ba-lattttti,” he cooed, thrilled at the easy target. “But don’t worry about it, because you hide it well. You still have small legs and a small little head.” Click.

I knew then it was D-Day. Time to start the ol’ diet.

So I went to caloriecontrol.org, caloriesperhour.com, caloriecountercharts.com, urafatcow.com and whydopeoplethinkurpregnant.com before settling for caloriescount.com.

For $25, I could use their Online Food Diary, Calorie Calculator and Get Moving Calculator to keep track of how much I ate and how much I burned. “The New Healthier You is just a Click Away!” it screamed in big, blue letters.

First the site directed me to the Ideal Weight Calculator. I filled out my height, age and gender and hit the enter key. The results came back within a split second.

Healthy Weight In Pounds: 100.

The zeroes stared at me like two big eyeballs, wide-open with horror. One hundred pounds? One hundred pounds! That’s what my dog weighs, and he’s only 2-foot-2.

No thanks to caloriescount.com, I’ve become one of those freaky diet chicks overnight. I’m the queen of steamed vegetables, the champion of low-fat. A dissident of sweets. An anti-carbite. (Bad little carb! Bad! Bad! Bad! Go to your room!) No booze. No eating after 8 p.m. I even started using spray butter. How sick is that?

According to the Weight Loss Calculator, I will lose 2 pounds a week if I eat less than 1,200 calories a day, so that means I’ll hit my ideal weight after only 15 weeks (four months, give or take) of starvation, headaches, fatigue and irritability (they say that chocolate is like an anti-depressant. Or was it an aphrodisiac? I don’t remember, but I’m assuming that lack of chocolate is part of my problem).

Oh, I don’t expect to be happy as soon as I turn thin. I’ll just be happy that no one thinks I’m expecting.

The Princess would give anything for a J-Bar cheeseburger with fries about now. E-mail your dieting woes to alison@berkleymedia.com.


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