Eat Dessert First

We were laughing about the middle-aged couple we’d seen earlier. We noticed them  tucked away in a booth as we passed through the upscale restaurant. They were sitting cuddled up on the same side of the booth, necking. Married, no doubt, but not to each other. Perhaps from Cincinnati, or even as close as Dayton. People are foolish, we agreed.

Lunch was wonderful– a “lobster crab cake” for me, on a bed of mixed greens; Quiche for Rita. Either of those things might have been dreadful. It many restaurants, they are. But today at the Coldwater Cafe, they were sublime. A handheld chalkboard had been left on our table, listing the day’s dessert offerings.

“Will it bother you if I order dessert?” Rita asked. She knows I’ve been sticking to this weight-loss project, and she is one of the most considerate people I know.

“Not at all,” I responded cheerily. “I’m planning on ordering dessert myself.”

Earlier we’d been comparing prescribed diets– Atkins, South Beach, Nutri-System. I confessed that I failed miserably at those I’d tried, and it’s not a mystery as to the why. I am a contrarian. If you tell me I can’t do something, I will do it. If I’m allotted certain foods and forbidden others, I will only want the forbidden.

It’s not that I want to be thin at all costs. I want to be healthy for the rest of my life. I want to skip knee surgery, back surgery, hip replacement, I want to get back to doing the things that I used to do when I had a more active lifestyle.

This does not mean that I am going to skip dessert in a good restaurant when I am having lunch with a friend.

Quite a few of the desserts offered were ice-cream based. Ice cream used to be my number one weakness. I loved ice cream. But as time went on I was less and less able to digest it, and it got to the point that when I ate ice cream it made me ill. One’s body is a funny thing that way: when things make you sick, you tend not to crave them anymore. Once in great while, I do have a yearning for ice cream– and then I load up on the Lact-aid and I have a little.

So no ice cream desserts. Too hot for bread pudding, ditto Coconut cake. There were some sorbets. I thought about them. It’s a sensible kind of dessert. I wasn’t sure how Sriracha Peach Sorbet would be– that might have been a misstep in the kitchen. But  you know I can have sorbet at home any night of the week.

Rita ordered Chocolate Mousse Cake, which arrived in a beautiful presentation on a long rectangular plate with a swirl of chocolate ribbon and an artful dollop of whipped cream.  She said it was just as delicious as it looked.

“And for you?”

“Creme brulee.”

Before you start typing your comments as to how much fat and how high the calories, let me stop you: I don’t care. I know it’s heavy cream and egg yolks and sugar. It’s not like I have creme brulee three times a week, though I might be willing to make concessions to afford that if I could figure out how to.

It was perfect. It was silky and sweet and cold, only slightly warmed by the torch that left a perfect burnt sugar shell.

It’s good to adjust our habits towards better health. It’s an excellent thing to lose weight and get fit. But it has to fit in with the rest of our lives too– life isn’t all about work and deprivation. Without pleasure, what’s the point?

Today’s Target Number: 54! (Yes, new territory.) Steps: 5239, which includes 1.3 miles on the treadmill, .18 of a mile at a run. (That’s a furlong and a half, race fans.) Breakfast: yogurt with granola, hard-boiled egg, banana, a piece of ciabatta. Lunch: a cup of pasta with 6 shrimp, broccoli and peppers in a lemon sauce, another piece of ciabatta. Dinner: 2 scrambled eggs,  two pieces of ciabatta toast, blueberries with blueberry yogurt.

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