Men Are Fattening

So are kids and work.

Here’s why I don’t look like Twiggy, Kate Moss or Claudia Schiffer or those amazing athletic women in the Title IX catalog (pick your generation): I’m married, have kids and I work.

Let’s start with how husbands are fattening. They like to eat, they want more than most women and the nice ones bring gorgeous treats and are the most fattening of all.

Let’s start with my ideal late summer dinner: a perfect tomato, sliced and sprinkled with crumbled feta, chopped black olives and spattered with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Add a nice Beaujolais and crunchy baguette bread and I’m in heaven. My husband looks at that dinner and says, “Where’s the entree?” Then he makes macaroni and cheese dripping with New York cheddar and I eat half.

Later that evening, he makes popcorn, with melted butter, and offers me some. Who can say no? Then he offers me a hit off his beer.

A colleague tells of her fattening husband. He brings her banana splits which he considerately makes from frozen yogurt -- which is fattening, sugary and unsatisfying. “I’ve never weighed so much,” she says.

Kids are fattening, even if you don’t gain weight as part of a pregnancy.

They walk slow, and good moms wait for them instead of plopping them in a stroller. They can’t jog or watch themselves so moms can go to the gym. (Gym daycare is seriously iffy.) Swim laps in the pool? Not happening. Cruelly, the kiddie pool never has lifeguards. Mom is stuck. Again.

And preschoolers only have limited patience for sitting in the back of a bicycle. I vividly remember Son’s last ride in the seat over the rear wheel of my bike. He kicked my legs steadily over 11 full miles saying over and over again: “I want to get DOWN. I want to get DOWN. I want to get DOWN.”

Work is no better.

Yes, there are those who say you just resist the siren song of the vending machine in the kitchen of every office. (If I were in charge, I’d pull out the plug, cut it off and ask for it to be hauled away. It has healthy food, but who buys that? I buy the Twix, the Snickers and the dusty cookies.)

But let’s face it -- sugar and trans fats are essential to productivity in times of stress. Struggling with a project not moving forward? Somehow candy brings that project to completion. Stressed over warring office priorities? A candy bar is somehow key to writing the perfect two-paragraph memo to get the bosses to set priorities.

Other people gain weight on vacation. I shed pounds like a cat sheds hair in springtime. Pre-kid, I would drop five pounds or more on a strenuous trip to my beloved Mexico City with lots of walking (and sometimes a little digestive distress). Now, it’s more like three pounds but I’ll take it.

To reward those who have read to the end of this rant, I have a recipe which I first discovered at the Minnesota State Fair and is now a fall favorite at our house.

Minnesota State Fair Ice Cream Sundae: place apple slices at the bottom of an ice cream dish. Stream thin strands of caramel on the apples. Top with vanilla ice cream. More caramel. Then plop some whipped cream on top. Then sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

Yeah, yeah -- I know what you're thinking. I'm fattening too.


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