Farewell sweater season

Cyclical woes of body image and why scientists should invent zero-calorie Taco Bell

Alas, the holiday season has officially ended, and with it my excuses to eat and drink as I’d like.

At each progressive night of festive gatherings this holiday season, I sat at the end of the table, plump as the Grinch cutting roast beast while double fisting champagne. I’m trying to put this behavior behind me, until next Thanksgiving of course. For now, my focus has turned to something that once seemed years away but is actually frighteningly close. There’s a monster under my bed, and its name is bikini season.

I’m usually not one to complain about my weight, my poochy abs, my flabby arms, and my stumpy legs … well, maybe I am. My friends are the only relief; we stand together as we still whine about our first-year 15.

Luckily, I am 100 percent self-aware of the predictable cycle in my health routine: self-doubt, self-confidence, self-pity, self-indulgence and repeat. This monster is nothing new — in fact, I battle him weekly. On Monday he stays hidden, but by Thursday he has nearly swallowed me whole, like Little Red Riding Hood’s crippled helpless grandmother. I think I need one of those Life Alert buttons.

There is only one reason I have managed to remain vaguely slim. I have been recently blessed with a curse. One night, while sleeping in the queen-sized bliss of my second-year apartment, aliens abducted me. No one seemed to notice, and I woke up the next morning with gluten intolerance. My life has never been the same.

Long ago, my favorite food groups were bread and cheese. I really do miss carbs. Birthdays seem more bland without the pleasure of cake — lots of cake. I once ate an entire baguette with my friends after coming home from a night out. I even miss the taste of shotgunning a warm beer.

They all say, “You’re so lucky.” Lies. I don’t feel so lucky licking my fingers after pulling the all toppings off of a piece of College Inn cheesy bread.

As I write this, I am setting my alarm for a morning Pilates class. I would rather work my legs until they’ve collapsed in the gym rather than eat kale twice a day. Life is too short to completely forgo the indulgence of delicious, unhealthy food. My allergy has certainly helped me control my obsession with anything containing calories, but it will never take away the pure joy I get from biting into a piece of medium rare steak, closing my eyes, and taking it all in. Forget about the monster under your bed for one moment a week and eat something that makes you happy.

Allison’s column runs biweekly Wednesdays. She can be reached at a.lank@cavalierdaily.com.

Published January 28, 2014 in Life

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