I unabashedly love Mindy Kaling. I loved her before she got huge, when a friend introduced me to her amazing shopping blog. She was my first celebrity sighting in LA. She’s funny, she’s fierce, I want her to be my friend. (Mindy, read this and be my friend, okay? I’m totally not creepy, I promise.)
So obviously I was wildly excited when her book came out. I could not wait to read it and discover all the things we had in common, to fuel the friendship we were going to have when I ran into her in some totally normal LA place and I complimented her on her shoes and then we became best friends and I got to be in a TV show with her (this was before she had her own show that doesn’t have me in it).
Alas, while Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is hilarious (if you haven’t read it yet, get on it!), it revealed very few similarities between me and Mindy. I didn’t go to Dartmouth. I don’t act. I don’t write for a wildly popular TV show. I’ve never lived in New York.
What Mindy and I do share, on the other hand, is a general hatred of exercise and love of dieting. While an accident of genetics has prevented me from ever being anything close to overweight, I, like Mindy, am not an athlete. A desire to support charity and gain karma points has reluctantly gotten me into running, but that’s about it (thank you, Mindy, for your awesome running tips). Given that I’m not super sporty and I no longer have the metabolism of a 10 year old, there’s only one way to stave off obesity, and that’s dieting. Mindy believes that dieting’s kind of a hobby for a women, and she’s not sure what she’d do without it, and I’ve become the same way. While I haven’t tried the variety of diets she has (mine would be limited to Weight Watchers and a juice cleanse), I definitely understand dieting as a recreational pastime. While some people spend their idle hours reading about things like politics or philanthropy, I spend my time browsing health blogs, hoping that eventually one is going to tell me the secret to eating as many bacon cheeseburgers as I want and still remaining thin. Obviously this hasn’t happened, and instead I have learned about things like flax and chia seeds and superfoods and how apparently, if I’m not doing interval workouts, and am instead reading Glamour while on the elliptical, I am totally wasting my time at the gym.
I used to think this was an acceptable hobby. And then today, while contemplating the ice cream display at the grocery store, I realized I had no desire, now or ever again, to eat any product that had “diet,” “skinny,” or “fat free” in the name. Life is too short to eat a bunch of chemicals that have been formed into a “frozen dessert product.” Life is for the eating of real ice cream. Life is too short to just eat half the avocado (and the other half always goes brown before I can finish it, no matter how hard I try to avoid it). Life is too short for food scales and measuring cups and always doing everything by the book. Life is too short to know the calorie count of everything.
Here’s the thing: if I took all the time I spent obsessing about weight and food and exercise and devoted it to something that contributed to society rather than my own neurosis, I would probably get a lot farther in life. I know I’m not alone in this problem. It makes me a little sad that we live in a society where two amazing female comics both felt the need to devote chapters in their books to food and weight. Granted, they were hilarious chapters, and it’s awesome that Mindy and Tina can be honest about their struggles in this area, but I’m still looking forward to the day where this kind of thing doesn’t matter.