Every week or two, over a glass of wine, Fodder and I compare notes about how calorie-neutrality is working for us – or not. About four months after our last meeting with Vicki Waters, I was still walking the talk and loving it. I snacked on carrot-bleu cheese salad and almonds and or a spoonful of peanut butter on a Granny Smith apple. As Vicki had promised all those months ago, I loved plain yogurt – especially paired with a spicy compote. Puy lentils, halibut, scrambled eggs took turns on my plate and when a friend served a new vegetarian chili recipe, I couldn’t wait to cook up a batch.
Fodder, on the other hand, had slacked off. Oh sure, he headed for the gym more consistently and he’d learned that he could no longer harbour peanut butter if he didn’t want to be stalked by the pounds he’d already dumped. He loved steel-cut oats cooked with a dash of cinnamon and was favouring rye-crisp over white crackers by a big margin.
But he’s a sociable guy and his friends like to cook and eat and, well, you can guess where this is going.
He and a friend had had lunch out one day recently, and as he held the door for her on the way out of the restaurant, he felt his wardrobe start to disintegrate.
“I need some help,” he said and watched her face fall with dismay.
Was he having angina? Back spasm? A stroke? What?
“My suspenders have come unhitched,” he said.
Fodder had begun to wear suspenders when we got home from our French holiday. They were a more urbane safety precaution than string, which is what he relied on after he almost lost his Dockers at the security checkpoint in Charles de Gaulle airport, but now his friend was horrified that the same hideous social moment seemed to be happening again. Her choices were limited: make a dash for the car and leave him to it, or give him a hand.
So there she was, standing in the restaurant doorway, fishing up the back of his sweater to find the errant suspender brace, haul it down and hook him up again.
“I swear,” she said later, “he's just showing off by refusing to buy pants that fit!”
So the whole-grain crackers, the wine, the porridge are all part of Fodder’s new eating plan – and obviously, for him, they are perfectly calorie neutral.
I mean it. Go buy some smaller pants.