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Lunchtime Feud

Eating healthy might be causing brain damage.

A woman holds a health shake.
Photo by Derick McKinney on Unsplash

I’m tired of eating healthy. I thought quarantine would be a great time to kick off an early New Year’s resolution. Turns out, eating rather than dieting during quarantine is much more fun. Though I’ve managed to lose that first ten pounds, my body has begun to fight back with unmitigated sugar and carb cravings. The real battle begins anew each morning.

As if on cue, I hear a muffled growl coming from my mid-section and feel a twinge of pain as if to say, “Hey, Dummy, it’s lunchtime.” My belly is whispering sweet nothings to my brain about meatball hoagies and chocolate cake from the corner deli. I silence them all with my self-control and reach in the cabinet for my can of SlimQuik. I set it on the counter before me and stare at it with disgust.

“Yuck,” is all I can muster, thinking instead about that meatball hoagie.

“Heeey,” comes a tiny voice from somewhere nearby.

I glance around my quiet kitchen frantically, trying to find the source of the strange little voice. I look at the dog, who has tilted her head and is staring at SlimQuik.

“Hey, you… Tubby.”

The dog barks and I growl. Someone has called me tubby! I am not tubby. I am a healthy American woman. Sure, I have a little more junk in the trunk that I did at 18, but I also have a bigger front end courtesy of two children and more than a few extra miles on me. I am still smaller than Marilyn Monroe at the height of her career. While I do prefer elastic waistbands if I’m totally honest, I attribute that more to age than weight. Regardless, I am NOT tubby.

“Heeeyyy.” It’s coming from SlimQuik I decide, my twice-daily sacrifice to the blue-jean gods so that they let me fit in. “Drink me, Tubby,” it sneers.

“I don’t want to,” I reply sternly. I hear a short harrumph and glare back at it, daring it to argue with me.

“Want to, maybe not. Need to, for sure.”

“I’m not tubby… or fat,” I say indignantly, jutting my chin out to reduce the crepey-roll thing under my neck. “I’m just over 40 now and I’m redistributing. It is called the ‘Snowman Effect.” Look it up.’”

“At least snowmen melt, sister,” SlimQuik retorts. “You’re one snowball away being a tundra — Get it? TON-dra.”

I redden with embarrassment and turn away from the evil health shake. I shove the empty Hostess Sno-Ball wrapper further down in the trashcan. The dog is watching me like I’ve lost my wits. I look around the empty kitchen, praying my husband doesn’t walk in to discover me talking to a canned meal replacement. I’m pretty sure he’s one incident away from committing me already.

“I’m not drinking my shake,” I say with finality, this time addressing the dog.

SlimQuik snorts. “Alright, Tubby. Just remember that when you go swimming in sweatpants and a turtleneck this summer. Or the small children scream because they think an elephant escaped from the zoo and invaded their local swimming hole.”

I’d never let it know, but SlimQuik has a point. The image of me swimming in sweatpants isn’t pleasant, but neither is me wearing a swimsuit in public. I can justify the wide hips and the round rump to myself as a product of motherhood until summer hits and they are there, bare and marred with faded white stretchmarks peeking out beneath my shorts to scare the beachgoers. Getting caught by the neighbor in my bikini this summer was embarrassing enough for us both to convince me to start this diet in the first place.

“There she blows…” quips SlimQuik, mocking me again.

I stuff SlimQuik back in the cabinet. The muffled oinking sounds still erupt from the crack between the cabinet doors.

“You shut up,” I hiss. “You’re tubby!”

“Me?!” I hear someone ask from behind me. I spin to find myself face-to-face with my husband.

“I was …uh…. talking to SlimQuik.”


“SlimQuik, the diet shake on the counter.” Only it isn’t. It’s hiding in the cabinet, silent and stealthy once more appearing as an innocent tin can, while I stand there looking like a name-calling idiot.

“Whatever,” mutters my husband as he turns to walk away. I see him grab a fold of belly fat as he walks by his reflection. “Who is she calling tubby, anyway?” he whispers mostly to himself.

I reach into the cabinet to grab the SlimQuik and the rest of his six-pack friends. I chunk them unspoiled into the trashcan on the way out of the kitchen. “I’m not tubby,” I mumble as the lid swings shut.

“Going to get a meatball hoagie,” I yell to my husband and stroll out the door. I’m tired of eating healthy and New Year’s is a whole month away.




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