“Opa!” Our waitress exclaimed and then she lit our cheese on fire.
This was one of two reasons my mother and my brother had decided to go to the Greek restaurant to celebrate his birthday (the other being the rumor of a belly dancer that remained a rumor). We never miss an opportunity to set dairy products ablaze, especially if we’re not the ones risking 3rd degrees burns on our forearms.
After the flames died down in the silver platter of cheese in our waitress’s hand, she set it on the table and placed a basket of bread right under my nose. After she walked away, I picked up the basket and placed it as far away as my unburned forearms would reach.
“No cheese for me,” I said before anyone could ask. I kept my hands folded in my lap, waiting for the salad I had ordered earlier. I stared at the map of Greece on the far wall next to the CD player who’s LCD let me know track number fourteen was playing. The three-tiered dessert case in the corner was rotating slowly, displaying chocolate pastries I don’t know the names of but I know would have tasted delicious.
“Opa!” Some more cheese met its maker.
Man, this was so fucking lame.
People were lighting cheese on fire, and I was waiting with my hands in my lap for a salad. This celebration dinner had been my suggestion, so any lameness I felt was my own fault. When the waitress had taken my order earlier, I felt like I had a neon sign above my head flashing, “Girl on a diet!” I don’t eat out much, so when I do I like to eat the flaming cheese (after the fire has been put out), but I knew eating that slab of curd was going to be the difference between me fitting into my pants tomorrow morning or not. Literally. My weight had been on the way up lately and it had finally reached a point of no return where it needed to go down again. I don’t want to deprive myself of good foods all the time, but I’ve got to admit there are times when I have to deprive myself of treats if I want to maintain my weight.
This is one of the roughest parts of maintenance for me because I think diets are lame. I think supermodels who eat half a side salad and only drink water are lame. I think people who eat 600 calories a day have serious problems. I don’t want to live like that. I like eating real food and having bagels from time to time and eating a cookie if it’s offered to me. But I’ve realized in the past 6 months or so that if I eat the cookie all the time and I have the bagels every time they’re offered to me, I’m going to gain 10 pounds. So there will come times when I will have to order the salad and buy lots of vegetables and feel like a girl on a diet because I sort of am a girl on a diet (at least until my jeans fit again). Which sucks.
However, I also think people should be allowed to eat whatever the hell they want to eat, be it the triple-cheeseburger combo meal with a milkshake and large fries or half the side salad with a glass of water. Hopefully I can find a balance somewhere between the two extremes. I’ll try not to whine about it to my dinner companions either, who should be allowed to enjoy their cheese and spinach pie without someone moaning, “Oh, none of that for me, I’ve got to watch my weight!” It annoys me when people say things like that and I hate it if I’m even temporarily transformed into someone who does the same.
Today, my pants are looser. Which means eventually there will be a tomorrow filled with flaming cheese. Just not today.