The Annual Check-Up

How’s your diet?

Agh. I knew he was going to ask.

I lie. Again.

It’s good! I’m being very careful. Lots of fresh fruit and veggies, raw mostly. Or steamed. No butter or heavy sauces.

He nods slowly, looking me in the eye, and I can’t help but wonder if he knows I’m exaggerating the truth.

The holidays. You know, the holidays are hard. That’s when it started.

This is the truth. It all started with a piece of shortbread, that led to another, and another, and before I knew it my clothes were feeling snug and my descent down the slippery toboggan hill slope had begin. Five pounds. Seven pounds. Then I stopped stepping on the scale every morning and before I knew it I was in the attic pulling out the clothes I had packed away last year that were one size larger.

It’s just until I can drop these extra pounds, I told myself as I hung them in my closet. It’s temporary.

But now that silver toboggan is picking up speed as it slips and slides down the slope and I’m craving pasta. White penne, stirred together with butter and Parmesan cheese. Not whole wheat pasta; it has nowhere near the same comfort quotient as white pasta. Not freshly grated Parmesan cheese either. Oh no, I want the stuff that comes in a plastic container that is probably filled with a cocktail of preservatives with names I can’t pronounce. Warm white pasta, chemical-laden Parmesan cheese, and butter, all stirred together and served in a heavy stone wear bowl that I can wrap my hands around as I curl up under a soft quilt on the sofa watching Hallmark movies. Comfort food. Filling food.

My diet? My diet is fine, I tell him again. I don’t understand what’s happening with this weight gain. I’ve been so careful. Maybe you should test my thyroid.

Right. He knows. He has to know that I’m lying.

Because once I break down and start again with buttery and cheesy bowls of pasta I might as well head straight to the closet, rid it of my smaller-sized clothes, pack them straight away in the attic and pull out my larger sized outfits. I might as well just admit defeat and surrender to the comfort of Ronzini pasta, Kraft Parmesan cheese, and butter. Lots and lots of butter.

What about exercise, he asks next and I can’t help but wonder if he’s testing me, teasing me, daring me to make a choice whether to tell the truth or to spew forth another half-truth or, worse yet, a bold-faced lie.

Yoga, I tell him. I’ve been taking a class. And walking. Yeah, walking to the cupboard to pull out a pot to cook the pasta in.

And all the while I’m speaking, visions of a turquoise Fiesta ware bowl of pasta are dancing in my head and I’m trying to remember where I put my yoga pants–the larger sized ones, the ones I packed away last year at this time when I stood on this same precipice of making a choice whether to surrender to the pasta or give myself over once again to the weight loss program that worked for me in the past–that same weight loss program that I’ll probably be turning to again this year.

This piece started out as an exercise at a writing workshop in response to a prompt about guilty pleasures.  It may or may not have snippets of truth in it that relate to my life. 🙂


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. Linda, This is wonderful! It made me laugh and it made me hungry. Our clothes know the real truth. Thanks for brightening my day 🙂 Kathy

    1. I’m happy it made you happy (and hungry!) Kathy. And yes, despite my claim that my clothes shrink while they’re hanging in the closet sometimes, they do tell the real story.

  2. This was a great post! I “hear” you, and know that we are all in the same boat… which is why it is sinking! 🙂 Thanks for a bright spot in a busy Tuesday…

    1. LOL! Good comment about the boat sinking, Laura!

  3. Were you eavesdropping on my last doctor’s visit?? 😉

    1. Funny, Cyndia!

  4. Life is so cruel. Why does the pasta have to have 5 bazillion calories? I don’t understand it. Why or why? (Time for a little drama here.)

    If nothing else, you’re in good company, Linda. We can relate. Somehow we have to strike a balance. We have to have fun and eat and celebrate and yet be mindful of our bodies and our weight… Moderation. Once I figure it out, I’ll let you know. But if you figure it out first, please share.

    And happy new year. 🙂

    1. I know, Grace! It’s just not fair, is it?!

      Nice to know I’m not the only one. I keep thinking I’ll figure it out after I retire. That’s my story for now, anyway.

      Happy New Year to you too!

  5. My mind is in a whirl on eating right now. The pounds that came on while traveling this past year and sitting in a nursing home grabbing whatever was available to eat have made my clothes uncomfortable, and this is the truth, my truth! But everything that tastes good seems to be bad for us. Fiestaware, you say? Bowl filled with pasta against bright colors? Oh, how tempting! Loved your piece, true or not.

  6. Oh dear….I thought maybe you were peeking into my kitchen!

  7. Dear Linda, this piece just jollied me along because gaining weight is mostly all I’ve been doing in the last six weeks. Well that and celebrating the holidays and writing for a contest and having guests and trying to rid myself of flu! But oh, I have put on weight and yes, those inner dialogues you provided us with here, have certainly been part of today as I prepare to return to Weight Watchers. I’ve been going since the last week of August. But in the last six weeks I’ve been only once. So I’ve missed five meetings and my weight will show that tonight. Drat it!!!!

    I’ve been away from blogging for those six weeks and so have missed your postings. If you have any that you’d especially like me to read, please do let me know by e-mail or by comment on my blog. Peace. And bon appetite!

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