We don't need no diet control

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

It isn't often one hears something profound over a turkey sandwich at a fast-food restaurant, but it happened to me Tuesday.

I was telling my friend Nancy about some terrible advice given me last week. Nancy shook her head sympathetically.

"I never give unsolicited advice," she said. "It's like inviting God to say, 'Oh? So you think you know what you're talking about? I'll show you what you know.'"

Obviously, Nancy relates more to the Old Testament, but you get the picture. She's right: Giving unsolicited advice tempts fate. And I am tempting fate often, on everything from the best flea medicine to use on a cat to the best place to go for a stroll in the city of Cape Girardeau. (Southeast Missouri State University either before or after classes. The city's Cape La Croix walking trail is a close second.)

Even before Nancy's comment, I should have realized how irritating unsolicited advice can be. As a plus-sized woman, I constantly receive it on what to eat.

We big girls know what we should be eating. We have not been living in caves for the past decade. (There are no Big Macs in caves.) We read newspapers and magazines. We are aware of the daily recommendations of vegetables and whole grains. We understand that fried food is fattening and most restaurants serve twice the appropriate amount for a meal.

Some of us are trying to eat less. Some of us are exercising every day.

But whether we choose to apply that vast amount of knowledge in our regular lives has nothing to do with you. Thank you for caring enough about us to try to help, but you're only making it worse.

If more people understood that, the following conversation last week by a distant relative of mine could have been avoided. Here is the transcript:

Distant Relative: Heidi, here's what I do. For breakfast, I just have a little skim milk blended with a banana. It's really filling.

Heidi: Huh.

D.R.: Then, for lunch, I have a green salad. But I put one small scoop of fat-free cottage cheese and some light raspberry vinagrette on it, see.

Heidi: Huh.

D.R.: For dinner, I really treat myself. I just have what I want, maybe a piece of grilled -- not fried -- chicken or fish, a small baked potato and some broccoli or something.

Heidi: How do you keep from committing suicide on a diet like that?

Of course I didn't say that. I only thought that. I actually said, "Huh."

The perils of new shoes

I don't know about anyone else, but if I don't pick out my clothes for the office the night before, my morning doesn't go quite as well.

So, Sunday night, I set out a colorful jacket, some beige slacks and my pride and joy: brand new leather sandals.

Monday morning, I made a horrifying discovery: The cat had chewed my sandals in an unmistakeable, obvious fashion. There are deep teeth marks right in front of my toes, but I'm still wearing those sandals. I don't think I can take them back and claim they were that way when I bought them.

All I could think about when I first saw the damage was a great joke a co-worker told me once. It was about Roy Rogers, a cheetah and leather boots. The punchline was sung to the tune of "Chattanooga Choo Choo": "Pardon me, Roy, is that the cat that chewed your new shoes?"

If anyone knows it, tell it to me! It's driving me nuts.

And finally

Someone anonymously left a Wall Street Journal article on my desk today. The headline: "Doctors Push New Efforts to Eliminate Women's Periods."

What exactly are you trying to say? Think about that while I pop a Midol.

Heidi Hall is managing editor of the Southeast Missourian.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: