Freedom and balance


I was in the dairy section of the grocery store last night when a crisis hit me like a rake to the face. Reaching for my usual quart of Dannon Light & Fit vanilla yogurt, I noticed three terrible words: “Great New Taste!”


Why do they need to go changing my favorite yogurt? I don’t need it to have a “great new taste” – I loved the old taste. And! AND! What’s worse: it has increased from 80 calories per serving to 110 calories per serving. I DO NOT LIKE THIS. This is almost as bad as the day that they started packaging Tampax in bright orange wrappers – an absolute betrayal. How is one expected to be inconspicuous with something orange – the color of panic devices, like flares and Coast Guard buoys and the terrorist attack level “High”?

It’s not quite as bad as the day I found out that they no longer produce Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in “Coffee”. But still. Completely unjust.

I come from a long line of calorie counters – it’s in my genes. At various points in my life, I have been absolutely ruled by the regimented balancing act of caloric consumption/expulsion. Last summer, I achieved what should have been a dieter’s nirvana, reaching the lowest weight of my life and fitting into the tiniest pants I’ve ever owned; however, I still felt a panic and a desperate need for control. I still saw my pipe-cleaner arms to be flabby, my thighs to be trunk-like, and my flat stomach to be completely unworthy of a bathing suit.

I couldn’t relish the accomplishment of it all. I was too busy worrying about gaining an ounce.

Since then, I have considerably loosened my tight rein on calorie counting. While my mind feels a little bit freer, my body is also a little bit heavier. What’s a girl to do?

I want to live in freedom from the oppression of low self-esteem, terrible body image, calorie counting, exercise obsession, and general control freakage. I’m not there yet. But I want to be. And for me, I think that “freedom” is going to have to mean weighing a few pounds more than I know that I could weigh. It’s going to mean not beating myself up over my caloric failures of the day when I crawl into bed at night. It’s going to mean recognizing and living out a healthy balance of enjoying food, and being active, and getting enough sleep, and having a glass of wine if I want one, but not having too many.

It’s going to mean eating the extra 30 calories of yogurt. And it’s going to mean not flipping out about it.



  1. Greta on August 14, 2008 at 10:23 AM

    Is this a vision?? It sounds like it!

    And it’s going in the book. :)

  2. anna on August 14, 2008 at 11:37 AM

    such a struggle. but we, verily verily, will prevail!

    thanks for your faithful honesty.

  3. jnt. on August 14, 2008 at 4:22 PM

    once again, i feel like i am reading my own diary…

    except you word things a lot more eloquently. i love reading your writing…

    and i hate counting calories.

  4. Rebecca on August 15, 2008 at 7:47 AM

    Boy, do I ever resonate with this.

    And you know, I always try to remind myself that it’s MY perception of myself. Because I know that pretty much everyone else sees me as thin…and I see myself as thin, too, but thin with about 8 extra pounds, you know?? It’s ridiculous. And of course, I don’t want to just be thin, but also healthy, active, etc. I’ve seen my attitude change ever so slightly over the years. I always think of the women in their 50s and older who would look back at their 20-something selves and say, “Get over it. You’re gorgeous. Enjoy it!” :)

  5. jjkissinger on August 16, 2008 at 7:58 PM

    Not sure how to say it without sounding like a bit of a creeper…but I know that you know that I’m a happily married man. Still, I have to say (and Lisa would agree) that, no matter what, Annie defines “foxy.” Gain fifty pounds…the same would be true.

    Let them eat yogurt! And cake…and banana’s foster…and some chocolate-dipped strawberries…and a nice, cold margarita to wash it all down.

  6. steve and randel hambrick on August 21, 2008 at 11:06 AM

    WHAT???!!?? the caloric content went up? what the heck. thanks for being the bearer of bad news. i currently have 3 tubs on dannon light and fit vanilla in my fridge as we speak. i make a smoothie with it every morning for breakfast. i am NOT happy about these so called improvements.. bummer :(

    p.s. found your blog from annie downs! :)

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