I’ve never liked radical health trends. Concepts like juicing, fasting and hot yoga give me the creeps. So, I’m skeptical as I listen to my daughter Cassie’s new health regimen during a recent visit in North Carolina.
“First,” she says carefully, as though explaining something to a toddler, “I eat whatever I want and as much as I want.”
“I’m with you there,” I say. “Common sense. Enough of this ridiculous calorie control. Why, if God wanted us to diet, He would have …”
“As I was saying,” she says, “I eat whatever I want and as much as I want.”
She looks pointedly at my eyes to make sure I will let her finish her sentence. Jeez.
“As much as I want,” she continues, eyes still boring into me with that I’m-watching-you look, “five out of seven days a week. I pick two other days within that week to fast.”
“Fast?” I ask. “As in a religious fast?”
“Kind of, except no church. You just do normal stuff,” she says.
“Like think about eating? Because that’s what I’d be doing if I didn’t eat,” I say.
She goes on, and it’s back to the “look” again. Clearly this is not the right diet for me. I’m way too impatient, as evidenced by trying to interrupt her several more times because I can’t believe any child of mine would consider not eating. I mean, I nursed that kid – about every two hours. Clearly one of us is impatient.
“The fasting days allow up to 500 calories,” she says, “according to this diet I read about.”
Now I’m listening. That doesn’t sound too harsh.
“And,” she goes on, “you have to exercise a lot, pretty much an hour a day.”
I don’t know what’s wrong with me sometimes.
“I’m in,” I say.
She’s pretty excited. I guess I am, too.
Day 1 of fast: Cassie has coffee with 20 calories of cream in it for breakfast. I proudly have just half of a leftover egg souffle from the bread chain around the corner.
“That’s 255 calories,” she says, backward glance at me. Oh, well, veggies later, then.
She goes off to Pilates class. I do a crossword puzzle, which I hear burns up a lot of mental calories.
An hour later, I wipe the sweat from my brow and take a shower.
Now Cassie’s back in the kitchen, sauteeing a single egg and some vegetables for her “brunch,” and I am rethinking this.
“Maybe I should try a different plan,” I say, eyeing her mini-omelet.
“That was quick,” she says.
I take a good look at her. There is no doubt she is looking healthy and that this is working for her.
“OK,” I say. “I’ll keep at it. Modified for my older years.” As I say it, I know it makes no sense whatsoever, but maybe she won’t catch on to that.
“That makes no sense whatsoever,” she says, which is all I need to put on my loose clothing and go for a swift walk – twice! – around her driveway.
“I’m bushed,” I announce. “And famished. This thing better be working.”
I crack a couple of eggs. When her back is turned, I pop a piece of muffin from a baggie on the counter into my mouth.
“Tonight I can have that quarter-piece of muffin with my salad,” she says, happily. Oops.
Two hours later, after pilaging in my pocketbook for leftover hard candies, I discover the Vitamin C drops I used for my cold last week. They’re surprisingly delicious, and after all, they can’t be fattening or they wouldn’t say Vitamin C on them. They’re a health food, for goodness sakes.
“I’m going for a walk,” I tell Cassie. “Part of the program.”
It feels great. To brag, that is.
It’s exactly 1.6 miles to the nearest shopping center, and by the time I arrive, I’m starving. Like a religious miracle, I happen to arrive at the door of my favorite pizza place.
It would be rude not to go inside and say hello to my pals who work there.
Or to turn down food when offered.
OK, it’s not offered for free, but still. When someone asks, “What can I get you?” it would only be a complete clod who would say, “Nothing.”
By the time I get back to the house, my feet are ready to fall off their hinges, and I have popped a Vitamin C drop (well, five) into my mouth to cover the pizza (and soda) (and cake) scent.
After all, Cassie and I are in this together.
And I sure don’t want to sabotage our plan.