Juliet gets up at 5:15am. She throws on some gym clothes, takes a few sips of orange juice, and fills up her water bottle. She opens the storm door ever-so-softly (as not to wake her still-sleeping husband and two children), and begins her warmup. Five minutes later she’s pounding the pavement; forty-five minutes later, she’s stretching in front of her house.
She wakes the children when she gets in at 6:00am, and jumps in the shower. She gets out in time to help the children pour their low-fat, low-sugar whole-grain cereal and skim milk. Her husband gets up and takes a leisurely shower, and wanders down to find the children finishing their breakfast, and wife chewing on a low-fat energy bar, drinking black half-caf. The children’s lunches and afternoon snack (to be eaten before their afternoon sports) — apple, turkey-on-wheat, veggie sticks for lunch, and peanut butter on wheat crackers for snack — have been packed by mom.
Mom loads the kids on the bus to school, making sure to tell little Alexis that maybe she should try out for junior cross country, because she’s worried about her unhealthily-expanding waistline which the pediatrician made sure to mention at their last visit. She suggests that perhaps Alexis should try to only eat half of her afternoon snack, and drink as much water as she could (and no juice).
Juliet arrives at work right on time, taking the stairs up to her fifth-floor office. At 10:00am she retrieves a non-fat, sugar-free yogurt from the breakroom fridge, and savors it at her desk for the next half-hour, drinking plenty of water. From time to time she stretches her legs under her desk, using a small rubber exercise ball purchased just for that purpose.
At lunch time she is asked to go out to lunch with her boss and a few colleagues, and she agrees. She orders a side salad and cup of low-sodium minestrone soup, then splurges on a half-piece of cake ordered by a male coworker. She thinks about how she will need to do an extra half-hour during her afternoon workout.
She skips her afternoon low-fat, low-sugar energy bar, and instead drinks a cup of black coffee. She picks up the kids from after-school activities, congratulating her daughter when she discovers half the peanut butter crackers remain uneaten. She gets them settled on their homework, and when her husband comes home she takes the opportunity to go for another run. She runs harder than usual, thinking of the cake during lunch.
She showers again, and starts to prepare boneless, skinless chicken breasts for dinner. She takes a few calls from her family, trying to convince her sister that her diabetes is curable if she loses enough weight. “I’m from the same family as you, sis, and I don’t have diabetes — or the extra weight you have, for that matter.” By the time she’s done talking, the vegetables have been steamed and seasoned with a low-sodium all-purpose seasoning. She mashes cauliflower and seasons it, then calls in the family.
Juliet savors every bite of her dinner slowly, fighting back her gnawing hunger. She suggests that Alexis do the same, “You might find you stop being hungry sooner, sweetie!” Her husband adds a few slices of cheese to his vegetables, and some canned gravy to his meat. She disallows this for the children.
There is no dessert in the house, so everyone is eventually tucked into bed with a glass of water. When Alexis says she’s still hungry, Juliet replies, “You only think you’re hungry, sweetie. Just keep sipping on that water, you’ll be fine.” Juliet shuts their lights and leaves their doors open a crack, pleased as she imagines the praise she and her daughter’s reduced waistline will receive at their next visit to the pediatrician.
She joins her husband for their evening movie, cuddling close. Her husband remarks that the lead starlet’s butt can’t hold a candle to hers, and they joke about how the starlet’s behind jiggles in particular scenes. They make separate bowls of popcorn: his regular butter and salt, hers plain with pepper. They fool around before bed, and fall asleep sated.
Now, based on the short description above, choose one of the following. First pick on your gut, your base perceptions that may be greatly influenced by what you were taught growing up, and the current media-saturated culture in which we live. Then pick your real answer, and let me know in the comments what you chose.
A: Admirable and hard-working, a diligent mother, wife, and sister.
B: Healthy, but could stand to spend more time with her family. But at least she’s trying to make it work for her, and is probably reasonably afraid of diabetes if it runs in her family.
C: Only admirable in the current context of our culture, but is actually morally neutral based on the description.
D: Seems to impose on her daughter way too much. What’s up with that? She shouldn’t be so self-absorbed, projecting her body paranoia on her child.
E: None of the above (enlighten us!)