Sigh. Another year older, but wiser?

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Today’s my birthday. I happily share this date with the late Marilyn Monroe. (Oh, and Andy Griffiths, who despite being a heck of a likeable guy isn’t quite as sexy…)

I’m spending the day interviewing one of the subjects in a project that’s just getting underway. The goal is to understand how to genuinely teach people to cook enough to curb their reliance on processed and fast foods. For now, that’s what I’ve chosen to do with my fancy culinary degree, and it feels great.

As for me, I’m at that point of life that I’m always looking for places of reckoning. Where’s my life going? Am I achieving what I set out to do? At the top of the year, I made a goal to lose about 30 pounds. I lost about 16 as of the 28th April. I hit 37.9% body fat, down from 39.2%. I had been a size 12 in trousers and went down to an eight. I put on my standard black dress for an event, and my assistants Lisa and husband Mike both looked at me curiously. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
Lisa blurted, “That’s just too big for you.”

Isn’t that one of the sweetest phrases in the English language? It’s right up there with “I’ve taken the liberty of upgrading you to first class” and “full host bar.”

But it was short lived. Yesterday, I realized that I’ve gained five pounds back in the past month. I got busy, hit the gym less often. I drank a lot more wine. I tested bread recipes, and ate the result. We went out for pizza in Chicago. The French Trade Commission gave me a whole bunch of cheese… the list goes on.

As I got off the scale yesterday, I was just angry, truly upset with myself. Why did I let this happen? But then, I sat down and took a deep breath. As much as I loathed turning 40, somehow that milestone granted a bit of perspective. For all the grief we women give ourselves as we strive for an impossible ideal of perfection, the reality is that no one particularly notices when we gain or lose five pounds. No one cares if I have a bad hair day. Everyone has something else to worry about, even if it’s only their own weight and hair. Why beat myself up? What’s the point?

For my birthday, I decided to give myself forgiveness and understanding. Hey, it happens, even to Oprah. I can still fit into the size eight trousers, they’re just tight, right? Now I’m off to the gym.

About katflinn

Kathleen Flinn is the author of "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry," "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School" and "Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good." All are published by Viking/Penguin.

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