Monday Musings – This Thing Called Dieting

I’m fat. Not grossly fat. Like 2 seats in an airplane fat. But fatter than I should be for my height.

When I look in the mirror I see a round person staring back at me. Cheekbones are still there but they’re struggling mightily to be seen under the squish. Am I unhealthy? That depends on where you look for input. Some studies say that people with a little squish are better off than skin and bones types. I’m definitely not skin and bones but I don’t think I’m obese either. I have middle of the road squish. Still, it really doesn’t matter how fat I am if my clothes don’t fit or I feel like a beach ball rolling around the house. When the way I look gets in the way of my life, it’s probably time to do something about it.

I’m basically a very motivated person. If I set my mind to something, I generally put my nose to the grindstone and keep it there until I get the task done. (Or I have no nose left hehehe) So why is losing and keeping weight off so hard? Too much Estrogen? Slow metabolism? Squirrel storing fat for Winter? (My own personal favorite) Or just plain over eating? I’m probably like most of you. I don’t overeat on a regular basis. I have days when I eat everything that crosses under my nose (ooh, mouse, yum) and though I have great intentions, my energy output is sporadic.

Here’s the real issue though. I’m a food addict. I love food. I love the look of it, the taste of it, the smell of it. I love the feelings it gives me when I eat, the memories of family and fun it induces. Sigh… I just love food. But unlike other addictions, you can’t give food up. You can’t avoid it. All you can do is eat bland, tasteless, ishy stuff you would never touch if you had a choice. And you can only eat it in serving sizes as big as your little finger. Yum, sign me up. Add to that little bit of torture the fact that you also need to exercise, thus burning away the tidbit of food your diet allows you to consume and making you so hungry that, yes, even that mouse looks good.

In addition, your routines get all screwed up. You can’t enjoy that glass of wine at night anymore. Popcorn at the movies? A distant memory. And a visit home is pure torture, because your always skinny sister, niece and nephew-in-law can eat pretty much anything they want without ever gaining weight. I hate their guts.

Sigh… No wonder this dieting crap is so hard.

Do I ever wish I was a zombie, able to eat and eat and eat and never gain weight? Yes. Do I HATE people who can eat whatever they want and not battle their weight. Oh mama do I!

Yesterday I tried to eat my fingers with a little salt. I don’t know how much longer I can hold on.

But I’m trying…

Pray for me.


Monday Musings – When Does Paranormal Turn the Corner into Horror?

Like anything else in the entertainment world, fiction interpretation is a subjective exercise. One woman’s horror may be another woman’s dark paranormal. However, despite the sometimes murky boundaries, there are basic differences in the two genres.

While dark paranormal may have some elements of horror in it, and horror can feature paranormal elements, the biggest difference between the two is the HEA (happily ever after) ending. Horror doesn’t need to have one. In fact, it usually doesn’t. That alone is a horrifying result to many paranormal readers. This is because paranormal is largely a creature of the romance genre. Even the early Dracula stories featured a man and a woman and a larger than life love, even if it was one-sided. #:0) Werewolf and other “werecreature” stories are perfect vehicles for romance, with all that animal magnetism and sexual chemistry that comes naturally to powerful creatures with earthy inclinations.

But unlike paranormal, horror doesn’t lend itself well to romance. It’s a sad fact that relationships don’t have a chance in horror. Nothing says “come and get me scary guy with the chainsaw” like getting immersed in a sexual moment and not paying attention to the shadow falling over you through the window. It’s a concept many slasher films were built on. In fact, in this type of fiction there’s nothing more delightfully horrible than when the love interest is eaten/beaten/cut into tiny pieces. So no happy ending, no walking into the sunset hand in hand. Unless you’re heavily armed and willing/able to kick some bad guy ass.

Characters in a horror story don’t need to be likable. In fact, it’s sometimes fun to root for the killer to get the “too stupid to live” characters in a slasher/horror story. Things that might kill the mood in a paranormal aren’t off limits in horror. The hero used to rob banks? Nobody really cares. He’s trying to save the sexy young woman, her mother, and the neighbor kid from the ghost with razor sharp teeth. He’s a hero.  The heroine was a street walker/pole dancer with a drug habit? Doesn’t matter. She threw herself over the eight year old boy at the end to save him and died a horrible, bloody death. Perfect horror story fodder.

Ultimately, both genres can be fun escapes. Each fills a specific need. But they aren’t interchangeable. They’re unique types of fiction that deserve unique notice and acceptance. Whatever your cup of tea, you should understand the differences so you don’t unfairly critique either one for not being what you expected.

Happy Reading!