When Foodies are Forced to Diet

Some of the best things in life start with “pre”: preschool, pre-party, prepared, prehistoric – dinosaurs are awesome. But some of the worst things also start with “pre”: premenstrual, preeclampsia, premenopausal, pre-diabetic.

Part of my “Take Care of Myself” resolution was getting some much needed, much delayed blood work done. It’s no secret that diets and exercise have not been working for me. I was on Weight Watchers for four months last year and ended up gaining a few pounds.


And no. I didn’t cheat. Often. I was miserable. My head ached, my stomach cramped, and my energy levels were so low I wondered why I bothered.

Friends, the internet, and family tried to help. Go Paleo! Go whole foods! Go gluten free! Go carb free! Go vegan! Go vegetarian!

It’s no secret that I’m sick unto death of “diets”. Why eat fake, cardboard bread when I can bake the real thing and have a warm, lovely smell in my house? Why eat odd-tasting low fat cheese when I have a world full of creamy, flavorful Stilton, brie, and chevre? And while I drink enough water – more than enough, apparently – I don’t want to give up my weekend wines, the crisp Pinot Blancs, the rich Syrahs, the refreshing proseccos.

Still, there was a picture from New Year’s Eve that made my blood run cold. It showed me with a glass of champagne in hand while a platter of Chacuterie sat on the table behind me. I had my head bent in helpless laughter, the lights of the Christmas tree dancing over my shoulders. I looked as if I was having an amazing time.

I also looked swollen, puffy, pregnant. Which I'm not.

Shortly after looking at that picture, my blood work came back. With held breath, I kept my fingers crossed for thyroid or metabolic issues to explain why diets don’t seem to work. I hoped to hear a prescription for a medication that will clear my head, give me more energy, and help me lose weight without giving up the foods I love.

My thyroid and metabolism numbers are normal.

My doctor sighed as I expressed my dismay. “Diet and exercise,” she repeated the mantra of my life.

Then, she told me my blood pressure is higher than she’d like and my glucose levels are considered pre-diabetic.

Diet and exercise.

I have a choice. I can either continue the way I am and end up with health issues that might shorten my life, or I can figure out a way to combine my love of fresh, homemade food and my need to lose weight.

Obviously, I’m working on the second. Three weeks into the year and I’m on a treadmill five days a week, climbing the mountain. Three weeks into the year and I’m drinking 128 ounces of water a day, every day, without fail. Three weeks into the year and I am letting my fitbit tell me if I can splurge on that glass of wine.

I’m counting calories again with the specter of weight-related health issues peering over my shoulder. Do you have any advice for a foodie who needs to lose weight?