Thursday

After my late lunch of lentil soup with vegan sausage, I go to the gym with my roommate for some cardio fitness. One sign that you are not on a crash diet is that you have the energy to exercise, and I do. For the first time in a while, I actually feel kind of good afterwards and not like I’m going to die. (I’ve been going to the gym for a few weeks now.) Progress!

Dinner: My boyfriend Sean comes over and we order from my favorite local Chinese place. I have a weirdly specific craving for Chinese broccoli, black mushrooms, and soft tofu. Is this a result of my non-diet diet? That particular dish isn’t on the menu, but I convince them to make it for me anyway. It’s tasty, and pretty healthy too, I think? We also split an order of six veggie dumplings three ways. Their veggie dumplings are the best; tasty, mushroom-y filling in a nice, thin wrapper, with magical dipping sauce.

Because I didn’t tell him not to, Sean brought beer. Pumpkin beer. Gah! I drink one because it would be rude not to. It’s pretty excellent. Then I have a glass of the white wine I originally purchased to go with dinner.

Late night: I spy a carton of coconut nog in the fridge and offer some to Sean. Somehow this ends in me pouring myself a glass of it and adding a shot of vodka. But I can’t finish it! Too sweet and heavy. Should have used a smaller glass.

Friday

Breakfast: I am late with everything always. Get in the blog zone, Peck. Oh crap, it’s noon. Sean is throwing small rocks at the window by my desk. He left his phone here earlier and I don’t have a buzzer. I’m impressed he was able to find rocks in the city; the last time I got locked out I tried throwing trash, but it wasn’t very aerodynamic. He comes up to say hi and asks if I want to have breakfast/lunch together, and I say sure. He goes to the amazing bagel place by my house to get food and asks if I want him to get me a bagel. Of course I want him to get me a goddamn bagel! It takes all my will power to say no, but I ask him to get me some fruit instead, please. He comes back and eats his bagel in front of me while I eat yet more hot cereal and fruit. For the first time, I kind of feel like I’m “on a diet.” I make a mental note to buy more varied kinds of healthy breakfast foods. Perhaps I’ll start making my own yogurt out of almond milk? Ugh, too much work.

Lunch: Leftovers from last night. It’s getting late and I know I’m going out to dinner to celebrate a friend’s birthday later, so I eat out of one of the small-ish bowls that I normally only use for pie à la mode.

Dinner: We are going to a fancy Japanese place, hooray! I feel like it won’t be that hard to eat healthy there, so long as I can control my sake intake. Then again, it’s one of those dinners where everything is split evenly between everyone, so perhaps I should make sure I get my money’s worth. Plus, I firmly believe that only good things can happen when you drink sake.

Conclusion

I think I may have been a little smug in the past about what it actually takes to eat “healthy.” I used to believe that if you just follow your body’s cues, you will eat good, wholesome, nourishing things that won’t make you gain weight. But I also used to have the metabolism of a 20-year-old. And what if your body wants bagels for every meal? For the first time since I went vegan, I’m employing will power to control the things I eat, a practice that I once considered a few steps up from disordered behavior. (I haven’t needed will power to avoid animal products in quite some time.) I’m far from faint-y and miserable, but I’m not eating exactly what I want to. The line between “eating healthy” and “being on a diet” is different for everyone, and it’s more complicated to negotiate than I thought. For now, though, I think I’m making healthy choices with a minimum of angst.

I’m also discovering how hard it is to think only about health, and not about losing weight. I hate it that, society being what it is, it can be hard to divorce my desire to lose weight “for myself” from my desire to fit some socially created beauty myth, but the desire is there nonetheless. Will I have my feminist card revoked if I admit that I’m doing this partly to see if I can look the way I looked two years ago and fit into some of my favorite clothes again? I hope not. Just because society may play a role in your desires doesn’t mean you can’t make an informed decision to indulge them. And right now, my desire to be a size 6 again trumps my desire to eat donuts.

Also, I’m pretty sure Sean is a feeder.*

*And/or just not yet acclimated to my new habits.