| The Talking Taco And The Dreaded Muffin Top

By Lacy Schoen

A friend and I had lunch the other day. We shared Cuban tacos. Three of them, to be exact. The last one on the table speaks to us, “HEY! Which one of you to is gong to get me? I’m so tasty!“ Yes, the taco actually talked to us! Tacos do that when they know they are hot and delicious. Kind of like a hot chick taunting a married man. She knows she is bad for him, but she’s smokin’ and she‘s a temptress. This was our little Cuban taco, sitting there staring at both of us - urging us to cheat on our diets.

My friend urges me to eat it. This is his desperate attempt to keep himself from scarfing it down. The taco is small. But, I adamantly decline, telling him, “I don’t need it.” He scoffs at me having to watch my weight. And there it is. Game on!

This is the battle that goes on back and forth between two people who watch their weight. They argue over who DOESN‘T need to watch their weight. Affirmations fly across the table…“Oh no, you do NOT have to watch your weight. You look great!”

This duel of one-ups-man-ship is a farce, because both are really just trying to get that darn taco to shut up. Just ask the waitress to remove it. Game over. Both win.

So why did I decline little, fiery Taco Fidel? Because; I had half of a small salad and one taco, already. It’s not that I think two tacos and a half salad are excessive. It‘s that with each passing year, I find I can‘t eat as much. I have to watch every single, little, tiny, miniscule, microscopic, atomic carb, crumb and aroma. Frankly, this blows!

Let’s take Fidel. If I’d have eaten that little taco, the next morning - the dreaded MT! MT stands for Muffin Top - the flattering term coined for the roll of puff (nice word for flab) that goes over the top of your pants and out into the world - where it does NOT belong!

MTs are not easy to get rid of. They come in three stages. The most severe is a Stage 3 MT - all the way around your pants - even your back! Horrid! This is an emergency, and a sign you need to get a larger pair of pants while you work this out.

Then there’s the Stage 2 MT that starts at your sides, and goes around to the front. For me, this means that I’m one size over. I won’t wear those pants, but they become my goal. They hang in the bathroom, every morning stopping me and saying, “Hey Lace, how’d you do yesterday? Any conversations with feisty fare? Try me on. Let‘s see.”

It’s a daily ritual that perplexes my hubby. He says he can’t tell the difference from day to day. Ha! “Just look the other way,“ I tell him. He’ll notice when it gets outta hand - when it gets to the frightful, full-circumference Stage 3 MT! He thinks I’m neurotic.

Then there’s the irritating Stage 1 MT. The hang over is just your sides. It’s like trying to shoo away a fly in your face. It’s irritating, but not severe. You sort of fit, but not quite. You are in the right size, but you are chubby, and need to quit listening to tacos.

That’s where I am. I teeter on the edge of the Stage 1 and success. There is very little margin for error, so maintenance is key.

Then there are foods that talk to me so persuasively, like movie butter popcorn and chips and salsa; that I don‘t even argue any more. The chips dance around, “Riva, Riva! Salt me! Salt me! Then put me in the tomatoes - with cilantro and onion! You will have a party in your mouth!“ The chips are right. So I do it.

Movie butter popcorn has a different approach. It says, “Hey, I’m just one, little, tiny kernel. How could I be that bad?” I always fall for that pickup line. Sign me up. Douse with butter. I’m in!

So in the case of dastardly talking chips and salsa and popcorn, I just do what they tell me to do. The best scenario in these cases is that I don’t consume a truckload, and I can usually manage that. And if I continue to argue with all the other yummies, like fiery Fidel Taco, then I can still avoid the dreaded Stage 3 MT. Life is good.

~  ~  ~