1. It’s impossible to mentally count liquids amongst your calories. A glass of white wine on a patio, or an elegant cocktail before a meal, or a latte in the middle of the afternoon — these just seem like “accessories to food” that don’t really have any caloric value. And yet, on a decent night out, you can easily drink upwards of 500 calories. Just in drinks. And that is devastating.
2. Sometimes you rationalize in your head that “if you cook it at home, it’s good.” Which leads to you making pasta with ample olive oil and/or butter, cheese, and a side of crusty bread. Because, you know, you cooked it yourself!
3. Even if your home cooked food is pretty healthy, it’s pretty much cancelled out by the fact that you spend half of the cooking process “tasting” everything, which leads to you eating two portions of everything by the end of the night. But you can’t help it! You have to taste the sauce 15 times!
4. Food shopping is a nearly existential thing for you. If you could, you would spend an entire weekend walking around markets and cheese shops and bakeries and butchers, just kind of leisurely tasting and buying and planning the meal you’re going to make that night.
5. When you hear that a new speciality food shop has opened up near you, you consider it your moral obligation to go shop there, and buy pretty much everything that looks good.
6. Restaurant Week is meant to save money, but usually ends up in you tripling your going out budget (both calorically and financially) so that you can try everything.
7. When you go out to a restaurant you’ve been looking forward to for a while, you get this feeling like “Well, I’m here, I’d better appreciate it.” Which means three courses, and wine, and the bread with a nice spread of butter, and maybe even an after-dinner drink. But you have been looking forward to it forever!
8. You have magically gotten it in your head that some foods are just “good,” such as salad. Which means that you’ll put a salad together with ingredients like large chunks of fresh mozzarella, and think that it counts as a net positive because it was on a bed of leafy greens.
9. Olive oil and wine are the two universal liquids that haunt your attempts at dieting. But you cannot give them up because a life without olive oil and wine is just… a cold, scary place.
10. You can’t really cut out soda or junk food, because those were never your vices to begin with, so your first line of attack when it comes to reducing simple calories has to be things like “crusty bread” or “wonderful soft cheeses,” or even “ordering dessert,” which are all impossible to sacrifice.
11. You are a firm believer in dessert.
12. When you want milk or cream, you don’t believe in skim. And you wish that you could switch to the “skim iced latte” lifestyle, but nice, rich milk is its own thing — and half of the beauty is in the creaminess and fullness of it. You’re not interested in the half-versions of things (even if they would save a lot of headaches.)
13. Dinner parties are one of your favorite things, but also the hardest places to control how much you’re actually eating. You can easily go through several glasses of wine, and a few servings of each course without realizing it. (Because it’s just so fun and relaxed and everyone’s talking and having a good time!)
14. Finding new recipes to try is one of your favorite activities, but if you’re going to go through the trouble of cooking something from scratch, it’s usually not going to be “the 400-calorie salad.”
15. When you make food, you make a lot of it, and in your mind, leftovers never count.
16. Stopping for something like an afternoon coffee and pastry is something you never remember to count, either. But it feels like a meal that doesn’t count in general!
17. Often, when you have a few really good days of super-clean, super-light eating, and feel really triumphant, you’ll reward yourself with a big dinner at an Italian restaurant. With extra fresh shaved pecorino over everything, and big glasses of red wine. And then it’s back to square one.