Eat Drink Run Woman

Musings from a Seattle personal chef with a fitness problem

The Woman


I am a reformed Seattle high-tech public relations flack who came to my senses in 2001 and chucked my high-paying PR gig to follow my passion for cooking, launching a personal chef business, Ovens to Betsy.

So what is this “fitness problem” you ask? Well, it’s really evolved over the years. Let me provide some background:

All through adolescence and high school I was a tall, gangly gal with nary a muscle. Although I spent a lot of time outdoors, I never was into organized sports. I liked to bike and swim, and living in the small town of Winsted, CT (population 7,500), I pretty much walked everywhere. I never dieted, but since we never had much — if any — junk food or soda pop in the house, I was able to keep my weight at about 120 pounds (on a 5′ 11″ frame!). I now look at pictures of myself from that period and realize I was far too skinny.

Beer changed all that.

As I entered my 20s and started college, I found myself moving around less and partying more. When my weight started to creep up too much, I’d begin an exercise jag to keep it in check. For a spell I trained with weights, following that with a running stint (I completed my first half marathon in 1993). In the mid ’90s I become enamored with mountain biking (a sport through which I met my darling Matthew), but soon grew tired of leaving so much flesh on the trails (although the gnarly scars left behind make me feel somewhat of a badass). Throughout there were sporadic jaunts to the gym for aerobic classes.

By the mid ’90s my penchant for beer turned into an even greater penchant for red wine and fabulous food. Inevitably my waistline suffered. As the new millennium dawned I found myself avoiding the gym more and more. My mountain bike was exiled to a far corner of our basement, my running shoes became layered with dust. Monthly dues to the fitness club were wasted, as I preferred to lay on the couch and watch the Food Network.

My fitness level really began to deteriorate once I become a personal chef. I actually thought it would be a great way to lose weight; it’s a somewhat physically demanding job requiring you to schlep equipment from client to client and stand on your feet all day. But therein lies the rub — you STAND all day. You don’t run, you don’t even walk. You stand. And taste. Or in my case, you don’t eat during the day, but come home famished and grab for the salty, fattening snackies. Then you have dinner. And wine. And dessert. And more wine. And then a late-night snack of cheese and olives. Soon you find yourself in your early 40s weighing 200 pounds wondering where the HELL the skinny teenager disappeared to. (I think I ate her.)

That WAS my fitness problem until May 16, 2005, the day the scales started with a “2” instead of a “1”. I’ve since developed another — one that’s much more expensive at the outset, but which will conceivably reap long-term rewards. I drastically cut down on the drinking (I actually gave it up for 12 weeks to jump-start my weight loss) and developed a running problem. In 2006 I ran two half marathons (Seafair and Seattle) and finally entered my first triathlon. I loved the experience so much I entered another the following weekend (I even got my darling to join me!) In 2007 I ran my first full marathon. The result of this newfound fitness addiction? 40 pounds and counting!