The Secret to Staying Thin

by Chloe Jeffreys · 24 comments

in Aging Well, Health and Wellness

For those just tuning in, I’m a labor and delivery nurse. Since fertility, like death, never takes a holiday, yesterday–on Christmas Day–I had to work 12.5 hours at the hospital.

If people would just read my daughter’s gut-wrenching account of what it is like to have a Christmas birthday nobody would knowingly do this to their child. But apparently people aren’t thinking about how badly it will suck for their kid’s entire life while they’re getting all jiggy wit it in March. I know we certainly weren’t.

Since I was told, off-the record, that being on bereavement last year–because my mother diedconstituted a HOLIDAY for me, I was obligated to work this Christmas.


I was also told that I should seriously consider not having my hysterectomy over the Christmas holiday this year because, and I quote,  “people will talk”. I’m not sure what they’ll talk about. Maybe they’ll say, “That Chloe!  The depths of her depravity know no bounds! She’ll kill off her relatives; schedule major surgery. That bitch will do anything to have Christmas off!”

But I’m not bitter.

And just for the record, the patient doesn’t schedule their surgery; the surgeon schedules the surgery. That’s the way it works in the Big City. My surgeon didn’t have an opening until the end of March, 2012. I’m very excited. I’ll be spending my 25th Anniversary with a “Closed for Repairs” sign hanging over my vagina. Maybe people will talk now about the lengths I”m willing to go to have my 25th Anniversary off. Sheesh.


As my luck would have it, two women decided to go all Little Town of Bethlehem on me and have babies for Christmas.

Hey, the money was good, right? And I served humankind, which was really Christ’s point anyway, right?

The hospital, out of its deep pockets of generosity, offered a free turkey dinner, with all of the trimmings, for those of us unfortunates who were spending our Christmases working instead of at home in the loving bosom of our families.

I don’t mean to be ungrateful. There are people starving in this world who would kill–if they had the strength to–for a meal like we were given, but the turkey was so dry and the stuffing was so salty that they both could have survived the crossing of the Mayflower and been served at the first Thanksgiving.  But the gravy was pretty decent, so I slathered it all over everything.

Then there was all the stuff lying around.

I don’t know what it is about hospitals, but for some reason people feel the need to bring in the absolute unhealthiest food possible and plop it on the community tables for doctors and nurses to plunder.

There was a veritable sea of boxes of cheap, Russell Stover® candies, bowls filled with aluminum-wrapped Santas and Christmas bells, bags of Hershey’s kisses of every race, color and creed, plates of homemade cookies (by now looking a little picked over), canisters of butter toffee popcorn, industrial-sized tins of Moose Droppings®, and at least two ginormous Mason jars filled with homemade Chex® Mix…with cashews.

No salad was served with our free lunch, and there was not a Cutie® or a veggie platter in sight.

Now nobody made me eat this stuff. I have no one to blame but myself. But eat it I did. The horrible free lunch (proving that there really is no such thing as “free” lunch), the cheap candies, (I passed on the cookies because they had all glommed into a congealed mass of melted chocolate, nuts and once-bright rainbow sprinkles), and an untold number of handfuls of Chex Mix…with cashews.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

Here it is.

The point?

Throw it away.

Finally, realizing that I was powerless to stop eating all of this crap that was just sitting there within arm’s reach, I began to simply throw it in the trash. I overturned a half-full jar of Chex Mix…with cashews into the trash followed by my half-eaten chocolate Santa Claus.

I’ve heard of people doing this and then changing their minds and foraging into the trash to retrieve the goodies, but nobody is desperate enough to go dumpster-diving in a hospital trashcan. Nobody.

And now you are going to say something about the poor other people who wanted to eat this stuff?

I was doing them a favor.

I wish I could say that I felt better right away, but I didn’t.  At least I couldn’t eat any more of it.

Today is a Daniel’s Fast sort of day for me. Fruit, vegetables and water. And Shredded Wheat & Bran® because I have to eat Shredded Wheat & Bran® every day or the world spins off its axis and we all plunge to our deaths. You can thank me with anonymous cards filled with small, unmarked bills.

The secret to staying slim isn’t dieting or obsessive exercise. The secret is knowing when to stop.

Just stop. Throw whatever you have left over in the garbage right now and walk away.

If I can, you can.

Throw it away and stop now.

Christmas is over.

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack@TheJackB December 27, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Twenty-five years ago when I was a single lad who had a thing for a friend I tried to convince her that the best way to working off the calories gained from holiday grub was by rolling in the hay.

She told me that she didn’t think it was such a good idea and I reminded her that Joseph and Mary didn’t get pregnant that way and suggested that she not worry about it.

I was shot down and told that it was among the worst attempts at extra-curricular activities ever and that she was offended by my attempt to use religion to get lucky.

So I reminded her that we were both Jewish and that it shouldn’t be considered offensive. She turned around and said that it didn’t matter because it had been so lame anyway.

Long story short, I ate the extra donut. Of course 25 years ago my metabolism destroyed calories with reckless abandon so it just didn’t matter. Alas, that metabolism has left me for a different life.
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Chloe Jeffreys December 28, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Oh my.

Dearest Jack, I cannot believe that your efforts to get laid by using both a woman’s fear of fatness coupled with religion returned to you so void.


You’re lucky she let you have the donut.


Annie Mesa December 27, 2011 at 4:56 pm

I laughed out loud several times reading this…descriptions of the “free lunch” (which I passed up, thank you very much), what all we “people” are going to say about you and your “holiday” antics…thanks for the laughter! But, you must have missed the box of incredible mandarins in the nurse’s lounge, courtesy of Sean and Dave Maybe there weren’t any left because that’s what the med/surg nurses gorged on all day!


Chloe Jeffreys December 27, 2011 at 6:57 pm

I missed the mandarins!

I was sorrowful busy until 2:15pm and maybe they were gone by then. It was mostly the stuff over in my area. There I am all alone with it. Don’t tell anyone else that I threw it away, okay?
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Brenda December 27, 2011 at 7:32 am

We got a Harry & David pear basket and really, the pears were the best part. Oh, and a lemon cheesecake. But no one here likes cheesecake, so after the courtesy stay in the fridge for a week it’ll go this week.

I didn’t get a chance to make goodies or cookies before the holiday, so I’ll be baking and chex mix (except I only like the cereal in it) making for New Year’s and the Superbowl (I live in WI afterall, GO PACK!)

Luckily for us the cookies and fudge we were given sucked royally so I have only had one bite of that.

Now my Lindt Truffles shall NOT be tossed, nor shared. They shall be hidden and partaken of sparingly, secretly and sacredly.


Chloe Jeffreys December 27, 2011 at 12:14 pm

We gave Harry & David pear baskets this year and everybody says the pears are terrific.

I think the quality of the baked goods and homemade candies I’ve received has really declined this year. I wonder if people are just too busy to really do ’em up right.

And there are some things that just need to be hoarded for later. I wouldn’t toss Lindt Truffles either!


Legume December 27, 2011 at 7:01 am

Yes, throw it away! I so totally agree.

I am amazed at the amount of cookies we are given at this time of year, plus we made some. There is no possible way we can all eat it, nor should we. I have been tempted to freeze some for later, but there are always those dry cookies, given by well meaning folk, that will not improve with freezing. That batch will make it to the trash. I will feel a little bad, but seriously, eating it is just ridiculous.

Chex mix makes me want to hurl, due to a holiday evening of imbibing and then catching some nasty stomach bug the next day. I just can’t even think about Chex mix without getting a little nauseous, and yet that is what everyone gives as gifts.

Someone gave us a basket of fruit this year, which was lovely.

Have you noticed that all those holiday foods one thirsty? I have been thirsty since Friday. Off to get another glass of water…
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Chloe Jeffreys December 27, 2011 at 12:17 pm

The crappy baked goods are so guilt-inducing. I know people spent their precious time buying the groceries and making those for me, but I don’t want to waste my daily calorie allotment eating fattening stuff that isn’t even any good. Now if it is good, then it is worth it, but if it isn’t then it just isn’t.

But I always feel very bad about throwing out food. That doesn’t seem right. I just have to remind myself that nobody is helped by my over-eating.

As I said to Brenda, we sent Harry & David fruit baskets to people this year. I would have loved to have received one myself.


Julia December 26, 2011 at 5:55 pm

I’ve got 22 people here tomorrow. After that it all goes in the trash.

I ate 4 Dove Dark Chocolates tonight…it was a long day. Don’t judge me.

I’m ready for bed, and I wish we could go for our long walk — around your lake or down Oxford Street or…???


Chloe Jeffreys December 26, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Your Christmas isn’t over yet, you poor thing. There’s no judgment here. I ate two pieces of my Dark Chocolate Orange today. At least it tasted good. And it has antioxidants. But everything else went into the trash.

And that walk sounds divine.


Jackie K December 26, 2011 at 4:29 pm

So true. I always find the weight gain danger period is those days AFTER Christmas when you’re picking at all the leftover sweets.
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Chloe Jeffreys December 26, 2011 at 9:38 pm

I think post-Christmas let-down + Leftover Crap x Emotional Eating = Unnecessary weight gain and January’s obligatory self-loathing. Let’s all skip that this year, shall we?


Tana December 26, 2011 at 4:17 pm

I give myself a “day of binge” (Christmas day) and then that’s it. I tossed our goodies this morning.


Chloe Jeffreys December 26, 2011 at 9:40 pm

I get a bit riled at diet foods advertised for Christmas dinner. It isn’t the food that we eat on holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving that pile on the unwanted pounds. It’s the eating all the rest of the day a year.

Once I start “treating” myself to unnecessary eating, it is hard to stop. But stop we must, or gain we will.


Pamela December 26, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Tomorrow. Or maybe Wednesday.

Sorry. That’s all the self-control I can muster.


Chloe Jeffreys December 26, 2011 at 9:42 pm

I wrote this because it was such a revelation to me that I could simply throw the food away. It rankles my spirit to toss out good food, but nobody in Africa is helped by my eating empty calories that make me feel sick and lethargic.


Maddie Kertay December 26, 2011 at 3:52 pm

You got that right.. and I am SOOOOO glad to be back to the world of non-sweet food. Cooked for 3 hours this afterrnoon making food for the week. Thai beef salad, Salad Nicoise, 5veggies beef stew….. not a bit of sugar in site. Th last of the fudge gets thrown out tonight and from then on apples or Clementines are there if someone wants something sweet!

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Chloe Jeffreys December 26, 2011 at 9:42 pm

At first the sweets feel good, but after awhile they don’t. Knowing when to stop is the key to weight control.


Birthblessed December 26, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Now I was just telling the children that today was just the 2nd day of Christmas, and you go saying Christmas is over.

Now I’m so conflicted.

However, there are 9 people here now and there were 12 all weekend, and we have people next weekend too, so I don’t think the Junk Food will be a huge problem. The real problem for ME is getting any of it at all, since I have to compete with 4 teenage boys (plus strays who wander in).
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Chloe Jeffreys December 26, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Well, teenaged boys are a whole ‘nuther story. If I’d had one of them around to help me the story would have been totally different.


Robin December 26, 2011 at 2:18 pm

“Throw it away and stop now.” Excellent advice.

I have a couple plates of homemade cookies (from friends) that will be spared but the rest of it is GONE.
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Chloe Jeffreys December 26, 2011 at 9:43 pm

If the food I’d been gorging on had even been good it wouldn’t have been so bad. But it wasn’t. It was just horrid, empty food that I was eating because I was bored.


Beth Nichols December 26, 2011 at 1:59 pm

I hate you…really I love you, but the truth hurts. I have to throw it away?

Altha from SL


Chloe Jeffreys December 26, 2011 at 2:06 pm

You do.
I love you, too.
That’s why I tell you the truth.


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