Dear Diet, Maybe We Need A Break? No?


Can we then, maybe find a way to work it out?

Kenyan holidays are synonymous with eating. A lot. So if it feels like cutting back on calories is cutting back on the cheer. Is there a middle ground? Here’s to reasoning it out with your diet!

You know I love you. What’s not to love? You are clean, green, lean and full of natural flavors. I know you are good for me and there is nothing I want more than to be faithful to you. Diet, you and I have had a good run this year. Sure, our relationship has suffered a few hiccups – there are days when I have felt a little stifled by your constant rules of what, how and when I should indulge my palate pleasures. I might have cheated on you a little. It was nothing serious though; just a few nightly nibbles here and there. But every time I have strayed, I have gathered my wits about me in the morning and remorsefully come back to you. To be fair, for the most part of this year, I have behaved myself and shunned all others. You’ve got to give me that. But now, you and I have a big problem. As happens every year, our relationship is about to face a serious threat. It’s the holidays. I’m afraid I may not be able to resist the temptations that I know are coming my way. For starters, it’s not my fault that the spirit of this season is in tandem with eating and drinking (anything but water). How can I then stay true to you, diet, and still be a part of this tradition? On the one hand, I don’t want to lose what you and I have worked so hard to build, but on the other… have you seen my cousin’s Christmas cupcakes, huh, have you?! Even my auntie conveniently forgets she’s diabetic; that’s how evil/ good those little spongy devils are! And if you think the desserts are decadent, you will not find a word for starters and  the mains… okay, we actually don’t take them in any particular order, you just grab what you want,  when you want it, all on the same plate if it pleases you. There are no rules here, diet.

Let me just mention that my people have an affinity for carbs unequaled in all the land. Even the veggies have splashes of ‘nice’ carbs here and there. For example, no decent main meal is complete without corn and potatoes. So you see, diet, all the complex (carb) lessons you’ve taught me this year will be put to a serious test. You’ve taught me food logic – I eat when I’m hungry, I eat until I’m satiated (not engorged). When it comes to portions, you have taught me the simple ‘half plate’ method – I fill half my plate with veggies, fruits or salads, the other quarter with protein sources and the last quarter with carbohydrates. Simple. But it’s the holidays – and I’m afraid discipline and decorum have left the building. So without mincing words, diet, I love you, but I am going to cheat on you.

Especially because there will be alcohol involved.  It follows that the next best thing to get drunk on after food is indeed alcohol. Again, I did not make this rule, so please don’t fault me. I do not even know why you are getting upset… how am I supposed to know that a little pretty pink cocktail glass packs so many calories anyway? You cannot keep that kind of information from me and expect it to not to sneak up on me! You know, I’m starting to think some of this is your fault after all. You diet, with all your rules and regulations and disguised calories! Okay, fine, so I might be able to say no to alcohol, but explain to me how on earth I’m supposed to pass up gallons of ice-cream during those Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings marathons with my nephews, huh? You, diet, have got me in a very sticky situation! No I’m not turning this around on you, diet, no I am not making this about you, NO I’m NOT shouting! Why are we fighting? Maybe we do need some time apart? Maybe it’ll be good for us, some time to figure things out? Maybe see other people? Here’s what we’ll do. I will go on holiday. But, but, I will not engage everything that bats their fatty, sugary eyelids at me. I. Will. Not. Flirt. Back. Should I fail, I will not do it with impunity. I will try my best to be mindful of you and your feelings.  I will try  to make it so that there’s a possibility of an amicable and seamless reunion when I’m back. So maybe instead of five, I will have two, maybe three cupcakes tops. Instead of a bucket of ice cream, I’ll have frozen yogurt… who am I kidding, I’ll have a medium bowl of ice cream. I will not go for seconds just because my aunt insists I’m too skinny and I will not, under no circumstances, have a plateful of rice, chapatti, mashed potatoes, corn and Nyama Choma all in one plate. If not taste, I could at least feign class.

Come the new year, I pray that this letting loose of the reins will have done us more good than harm. Maybe this little pass will make me realize how good I have it with you. And because you, diet, can be a little set in your ways, maybe this is what you need to realize that ‘it’s never that serious’, that you need to live a little, for goodness sake! When I come back to you and your alter ego, exercise, we will have it so good it will be just like I was never gone. Okay, forget that, we will have an awful lot of garbage to clean up. Meanwhile, I might, or might not miss you, but every time I have my way with a chocolate milk shake (with no milk involved) I sure will be guiltily thinking about you.

Yours truly,


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