Weighty Thoughts

By A.J. Llewellyn
You know the infamous food pyramid? What would your ideal one look like? I ran across this photo yesterday and it is the epitome of mine.
Recently I blogged about my new closet, which by the way is still not finished but that’s by the by. As I was turfing out old clothes, I came across a pair of jeans from my college days. And boy, was I fat! It made me sad to see them, remembering how bad I felt in those days and how weight has always been an issue for me.
I’ve struggled to maintain a healthy weight – not easy when I have a sedentary job and I LOVE to eat, but I remembered as I threw out the jeans that I had kept them to remind myself of how I used to look and how I DO NOT want to look now or in the future. It spurred me to write a new story, a topic I previously visited in one of my favorite books, Beyond the Reef.
In many ways that book was very autobiographical, right down to my taking a job as a personal assistant to an obnoxious movie star.
In my new story, Full, for my Sins of Fall anthology (in which D.J. Manly, Serena Yates and I tackle the seven deadly sins), it should be no surprise my story tackles gluttony.
I found myself resisting the urge to eat candy as I wrote. I found myself becoming quite emotional. I called a dear friend and super-successful screenwriter, Elizabeth Hunter and told her that the story was flowing but bringing up a lot of old emotions for me.
She said, quite sensibly, that all writing raises issues for us.
“That’s why we write,” she said.
I think it was the only thing she could have said and yes, she is right, I sometimes wonder why food and weight is such an enormous emotional issue. I will be honest. I read an interview with two well-known M/M romance novelists and both women were extremely overweight. One of them was even photographed eating an enormous piece of cake.
Then on Facebook, I saw a recent photo of a bunch of romance writers at a convention and my God, they were all huge! Perhaps it is a hazard of our trade, but maybe that’s also why we do write.
There was an episode of Absolutely Fabulous, in which Eddy told her mother, “Inside me, darling, is a thin person screaming to get out.”
Her mother responded with, “Just the one, dear?”
I often think about this and laugh, because for me, the opposite is true. A fat person lurks and seeks to reclaim lost, gluttonous territory. At the height of my weight loss, I sometimes woke up in the middle of the night to check my weight on the scales. I have calmed down a lot because I am frankly, not that vain. The Vanity Gene as my friend Rob calls it, is seriously lacking in me.
My father just came to visit last week and whined about the state of my clothing. “Buy yourself some new clothes, for God’s sake,” he said. But he forgets I’m a writer and paying my bills is my priority.
Now, my friend Rob who coined The Vanity Gene theory, struggles with his weight and we discuss this issue a lot. My Dad has the gene in spades. He’s never had a weight issue. It kills me. I asked him if he ever dreams about gummi bears and he looked at me as if I was nuts.
I wish some of his Vanity Genes had rubbed off on me, but I’m afraid, I think about Good and Plenty too much. I think about books. So many stories crowd my head. I need food to comfort me as I empty my brain of so much stuff.
I do know this.
I recently joined Weight Watchers because I felt the need to be with my people and I am so grateful I did. I’ve met so many wonderful people in all shapes and sizes. It’s given me a wealth of new material. And the Weight Watchers candy bars are so yummy, too.
I have a safe place to exercise my fledgling vanity gene. I am afraid I might be a lost cause, but I might be slowly adjusting my mental food pyramid to include a few pieces of fruit and a veggie or two.
How about you? Is weight an issue for you? Do you eat and write? Or are you one of those lucky souls firmly in the grip of The Vanity Gene?
Please leave a comment to qualify to win a brand new paperback of my novel, The Love God of Indian Frybread. How ironic it should have food in the title…
Aloha oe,

2 Responses to “Weighty Thoughts”

  1. Does eat and read count? Because you don´t want to know all I keep handy while reading. Of course it doesn´t help that a lot of times mm romances include a lot of food references…
    And no, I´m not one of these lucky souls so from time to time I really need to change cookies for apples 🙂
    Have a great Summer!!

  2. Your foodie details are one of the most enjoyable things about your books. And yes, weight is an issue for me as well–too busy being in my brain then in my body! 🙂 That unfortunately includes reading while eating. Maybe it’s more that romance readers are sensual people.

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