Saturday, February 12, 2011

How the Saint earned his halo

“Do I detect a little flattening going on?” My new favourite person gestured at my belly.
We were at a writing workshop with a fairly famous teacher and a room full of people so I didn’t throw my arms around her, which I thought that was  pretty cool of me, but I couldn’t help the smile that stretched across my face.
“Ten pounds!”
“Good for you!” She beamed back.
It was my first outside validation. Not only was I losing weight and feeling good, somebody else could see it. What is it about us humans that we need that external validation?
Anyway, her recognition made it easier to nibble my almonds and sip my vegetable juice during the break instead of caving in to the siren song of muffins. This was my first foray into the world of public meals and snacks in the two weeks since I’d started The Program so I was glad for all the support I could get.
Of course, many of the people in the room were my friends, so if I’d asked they would have rallied with encouragement anyway, but I didn’t want to do that. I hadn’t told many people I was doing this program.
Why not?
Well for starters, what if I failed?
I wanted kudos (see above re: external validation) but I dreaded commiseration.
At the same time, it wasn’t a secret. If the subject came up, I mentioned it. One of my friends has long enjoyed what she calls a caveman diet – fruit, vegetables, protein – and I’d told her my intention. Elpis, of course, knew what I was doing. My sister was cheerleading for Fodder and me. And the Saint, naturally.
I wasn’t about to cook rice and potatoes just for him, of course. Unlike one woman I encountered at the meetings, I didn’t go home and, like, bake for him. That’s, like, totally crazy.
The Saint is perfectly capable of boiling a potful of rice or mashing spuds if he wants them.
I stocked the fridge with Rachel-friendly foods, shoving aside half a loaf of bread to fit in the yogurt and flax meal. Like clockwork, the empty cottage cheese tub hit the recycling bin, the yogurt container followed it, the drawers of apples and pears emptied, bags of carrots deflated…and the half-loaf of multigrain was still there.
We refilled the fridge regularly with heads of broccoli, beets with their tops, bales of lettuce and spinach, oranges and pineapple, free-range eggs and tofu…and every time I depleted the stocks, that half loaf was still perched on its butt in the back.
Eventually, I had to ask.
“What’s going on with the bread?” I stood in the doorway to the living room, my hands on my hips.
The Saint looked up from his book. “What bread?”
Now, the Saint is not the carb junkie that I am, but as part of a satisfying breakfast he does favour a couple of slices of peanut-butter toast, whose aroma floats through the house like my favourite Chanel, a fragrance I hadn’t scented for…. 
“You haven’t been eating peanut-butter toast!” I realized.
He agreed and turned the page of his Bernard Cornwell novel.
“Since when?” I cast my mind back.
“Since you started this thing.” He slipped a bookmark into Sharpe’s Peril.
“Why not?” I asked suspiciously.
“Because you’re working really hard at this and I’m proud of you.” He set aside his book.
I did throw my arms around him.


  1. God Bless the Saint! He is a gem, isn't he?

  2. You know it, Nancy!
    The trick is to figure out which one. A rough diamond? Or, no, how about a pearl (as in "of wisdom")?
    Maybe this requires more thought.

    Or less.