Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta diet. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta diet. Mostrar todas las entradas

miércoles, 20 de abril de 2016

Sweet life

   Peter had in front of him a huge selection of pastry. As the correspondent of the most important magazine in the business, he had the advantage of being able to go to any bakery in the city and being treated like royalty there. The owners would normally go out of their way in order to please him, showing him their latest innovations.

 They often tried too hard, combining too many flavors in one single piece of confectionery or trying to make a fantastic setting for the dessert when the flavor was not really the best part of it. And Peter always had the last word. He had eaten it all, everywhere, and his palate was respected by every single person except, of course, the people who he had damaged with his articles.

 He had being the cause of closure of more than one bakery, cupcake store and tearoom. With his writing, he really crushed the lives and aspirations of many people, all of whom only had the simple dream of baking the best desserts possible. It seemed like a simple dream, an easy one if you will, but it wasn’t because the competition was tough and everything had already being done. Nothing was good enough and every single idea had to be checked thoroughly in order to know if it was really original or just another copy.

 However, Peter was just another man. He only had this kind of power in a small community, where they all knew who he was. For many of his friends and people that knew him, Peter was just a big guy obsessed with desserts and he had been that guy since high school. However, people respected him because he had turned his love of sweets into a career and that wasn’t something just anyone could do.

 So you would think he should have been a happy person, doing what he had always wanted which was eating and writing about it. Well, Peter certainly wasn’t what you could call “happy”. The first reason was that he was overweight. He had always been and had been mocked tirelessly by his fellow classmates back in school. He had been called all kinds of names and had asked his parents to educate him at home because he couldn’t really take it anymore. He felt trapped.

 That was when he started learning more about what he ate and his interest in food grew and in turned into a career. He wasn’t just a fat guy who ate desserts for a living. He was also a man that knew every single nuance of every ingredient that had ever been using in the making of any sweet good. He could tell the ingredients of any dessert after just one bite and that made him a huge star in the small world he had entered in. But he was still mocked.

 Of course, it was always the people that he had attacked with his articles. They felt the best way to attack him was to create rumors or to write pieces about him online. With the Internet, he often saw videos appearing all over the places with pictures of him doing pig sounds and things like that. People were never really creative when it came to insulting. They always attacked the same spot and, to Peter’s chagrin, it always worked. Because he was fat and he didn’t want to be.

 But his job depended on him eating. He couldn’t just stop eating and then go on with life as normal. That wasn’t an option. Besides, he loved eating and the flavors and everything that had to do with confectionery and sweets. He had never properly learned to do it himself because he thought it would be counterproductive. In other words, baking himself would not help his problem and would only fuel the hate that people felt towards him

 So one day, in secret, he decided to try several ways to lose weight. The first attempts were somewhat light, relying on a diverse set of pills and massages and kind of “magical” techniques to become skinny. Of course, those didn’t work at all. He was hoping they did but none of those products ever worked, except on the ad were the fat guy or lady always becomes this weightlifter or something like that. So after one month, he moved on to dieting.

 That wasn’t as hard as he thought. He just reduced his meals drastically, trying to eat healthier and less without really pulling the plug on the desserts. He just couldn’t do that because most of them he had to eat because it was his job. That sounds like an excuse but it certainly wasn’t. His boss was very pleased with his work. After all, it was the best food magazine in the country, so any absence or refusal to work would be just devastating.

 The diet thing kind of worked but it took time and, like anyone in his position, Peter wanted to have instant results. He wanted to be leaner and more beautiful in the blink of an eye but that wasn’t possible. So he decided to go to a doctor and try to learn more about his body in order to know how to solve the problem.

 It was really confusing to have to go and eat at least four different desserts in the morning and then having an appointment with his doctor in the afternoon and complain about his weight. It was crazy but he had no other way of doing things. The doctor told him that he was fat because of the food. It wasn’t a hormonal thing. So he could lose the weight easily. He gave him advice on dieting and sent him on his way.

 Four months after that, people started noting Peter had changed his posture and walked a bit differently. His waist seemed less prominent, as well as his behind. Everyone looked at him; especially in the bakery shops where they noticed his face had changed too. He had a bit more color in his skin and seemed to be happier. Of course, his enemies took the time to attack him for this changes too, saying that a person that wasn’t proud of who they were, was always a danger for the rest because you could never really trust them.

 Those were real haters, never really setting on one thing, always having an excuse to attack someone. But, strangely, Peter lost any interest in them. His relationship with many friends had improved, mainly because they noticed he really cared for his health and that he had qualities they had never realized like a great sense of humor and a way of giving very good advice. They had never realized that because they judged too soon and Peter had paid for that.

 But things were changing. Even his boss noticed the small changes and decided to have a talk with Peter. He asked him if he wanted to have some time for himself or if he needed someone to talk to. The boss thought his weight loss was due to something bad but then Peter explained and he understood. Incredibly, his boss cried and explained he had a son who was having kind if the same problems, being bullied at school and all. Peter promised to talk to him.

 He realized soon that it wasn’t about being skinny. That’s not why people pay attention to other people. It’s when they notice you have the will to care about yourself that they make contact with you. If you are a decent human being you don’t really care about someone’s weight or their physical appearance or anything like that. But it certainly makes you interested if someone is making the impossible to improve themselves, in any way possible.

 Peter did it with his body but many people try to learn new things or create new stuff for others. He realized that’s what people really were interested in and soon, although he didn’t loose all the weight he had envisioned, he became happier with his own self. He would always be more willing to help the bakers that were starting and just ate less because he had more to do.

 A couple of years after his decision to make something different, he met a baker named Anna and they married and had two girls who became the love of their father. And Anna was always there for him, supporting Peter in new adventures like writing books about his passions, whether they were sweets or fighting yourself.

 Of course, haters were still around. But Peter just lost his ability to care about them.

viernes, 17 de julio de 2015

Anna's diet

   The smell of chocolate filled the air, liquid chocolate being heated in large tanks. Some of them also had the smell of oranges, others smelled of strawberries. In the factory, they also created various candy and even flavored soft drinks. Temco was one of the largest companies in the country and it only dedicated itself to sugar-based goods. The amount of it that they used in a year, was worth a good contract and that’s why Anna was there, touring the facilities. She wasn’t especially fond of sweets. To be honest, she was one of those people that avoided eating many of the most delicious things. Some called it taking care of herself; others thought it was self-deprivation.

In any case, Anna represented a sugar company that had the capacity to provide several more tons of the precious good in order for Temco to produce more and even new products. Anna was a great saleswoman and the idea of growth always attracted people and companies that wanted to grow more and more. They signed the contract that same afternoon; after a nice lunch where they praised each other often and had no sugar at all. Anna liked to celebrate her contracts with champagne, which was the only time she allowed herself to step out of her strict diet. But maybe this time she shouldn’t have done. Somehow, the following morning when the maid entered the room to clean the bed, she found Anna still in the bathtub but dead.

 It was all over the news and many concluded, even before she got to the morgue, that she had fallen asleep and drowned in her own warm water and bubbles. But when the body was thoroughly examined, they found no traces of water in her lungs. Oddly enough, her hair was dry and she had only ingested the equivalent of one cup of champagne. They did a toxicology exam on the contents of her stomach and found out Anna had been poisoned. The police then took the case, as it had happened on one of the most prestigious hotels and soon Temco was also dragged into the storm by various reporters that had found out about everything before anyone else had.

 Detective Preston was in charge of the investigation and the first thing he did was talk to the CEO of Temco. After all, he had had dinner with Anna the same day she had died and maybe he could say something about her demeanor during that time. But the man did not remember anything strange, nothing that would be notable. He only said that he found strange she didn’t really ate much. She had ordered a salad with tuna and many vegetables but barely touched any of it. Preston visited the restaurant and talked to the young waiter who had served them. He also remembered the almost full plate of salad at the end of the dinner.

 Preston decided then to talk to the family. Surprisingly enough, Anna’s mother was not at all shocked or visibly sad by the death or her daughter. The father had died several years ago from a heart attack and the mother seemed to be focused on other things such as exercising, tanning her skin and also dieting. She told Preston that Anna’s diet was one much more strict than the one she was on. She was very adamant about respecting it and they had quarreled several times over it because the mother thought her ways were better. Besides that, she didn’t really provide anything new or insightful. It was obvious she didn’t really know her daughter besides those silly details. Maybe that’s why she looked absolutely oblivious to the whole thing, as if it had nothing to do with her.

 The detective then visited Anna’s house and checked every corner of the apartment. She had no alcohol and no drugs. The medicines she had were harmless and there was barely enough good food to feed an adult human being. The place was tastefully decorated and it was obvious Anna’s job was a very good one. Her clothes and shoes were pretty expensive and they filled a large room she had between the main bedroom and the bathroom. But nothing there could lead anywhere, neither to an accidental death nor to a reason to kill her. She did deal with multi-million contracts but she never handled actual money so why would anyone kill her? Maybe blackmail was the reason.

 Preston’s next stop was Anna’s office and it was the first time he met someone that apparently cared about the death of the woman. Her secretary sobbed and cried a bit as she opened the office were her boss had worked for almost three years now. She told Preston that Anna was not really a people person but that she wasn’t and ogre or anything. She saw herself as Anna’s friend and her only one as they had shared a couple of laughs and nice times, mainly attached to work. Preston realized that Linda, the secretary, was absolutely honest so he decided to ask her if Anna was dating someone. Linda only looked at Preston, which was enough of an answer for him.

 There was nothing interesting in the office. Many papers relating to contracts she had made with several countries around the country and the world. She was clearly very prolific and documented everything in detail. Linda gave him access to Anna’s personal agenda but there was nothing he didn’t know in there. He couldn’t discard the idea that maybe she did have a lover that no one knew about and that it had been him or her that had killed her. Maybe because of the money she had. Preston had seen her two bank accounts and it could be said that her mother was going to have a very nice old age with all that dough. It was amazing for Preston, who struggled every month, how much others made in a single month.

 It was better for the detective to head back home and just check every piece of the puzzle at the same time. He had checked with the hotel and they hadn’t found anything curious in her room besides her clothes and the bottle of champagne she had never finished. Besides, they confirmed that no one had entered Anna’s room besides her and the maid that discovered the body and there were cameras everywhere in the building so the theory of the lover had to be ruled out. Nevertheless, Preston still thought that people always have at least one private thing, something that they hide to others because it’s embarrassing or simply because they don’t want anyone to know everything about them.

 He went through Anna’s school records, as well as her college ones but nothing was found there either. She had been a great student, having failed no courses and always a teacher favorite. Someone might have not like that but it wasn’t enough to poison her. Anyway, Preston checked the hotel once more and everyone who had made any kind of contact with the bottle. But, as it turns out, the poison was in Anna’s stomach but not in the bottle of champagne. She had been poisoned earlier that day and died slowly at night in the bathtub. So Preston headed to Temco and talked to everyone who saw her and realized she had not accepted a single glass of water and they did offer Preston one at lest ten times. Anna was just a strange woman and it was becoming more and more difficult to understand her.

 Finally, Preston designed a theory were someone from a competitor company, also selling sugar, killed Anna to get to the contract first. Maybe this was all about the possibility of making tons of money. But as he looked for the other companies, no other was large enough to cover the amount of sugar that they had signed for in the contract. Temco was very big and at the moment, only Anna’s company was big enough to supply them what they needed. So competition was scarce, close to null. So Preston decided to check everything once more and then he realized he had forgotten about a key aspect of the night of the death: the dinner at a prestigious restaurant. He had interviewed the waiter but nothing more.

 He went there and asked for the tapes of the cameras that covered the area where Anna had dinner. He also asked them for the menu and everything they had to eat that night. He checked every ingredient in his computer, at home, until he realized about something: Anna’s salad had a very curious ingredient, a mushroom that grew wild in the vicinity and that people had started consuming only in the recent years. He looked it up and discovered that the mushroom was potentially dangerous if consumed with alcohol. And Anna had it with wine and then drank champagne in her hotel room. The forensic team agreed that, with her very poor diet, Anna’s stomach wasn’t able to process the mushrooms as most people could. They were only toxic if the gastric juiced were just weak enough, which was her case.

 So Anna had, in a strange way, killer herself. Preston was relieved to solve the case but just sad for someone who had taken such steps to be healthier and had ended up killing herself.

lunes, 23 de marzo de 2015

Out of focus

   Gong was simply the best in her dancing class. She did every routine perfectly, able to combine different kinds of disciplines and styles with modern music. She thought classical music was out of the game now and that dance needed something else to make it more interesting. She was also a gymnast, which made her even better to the eyes of her teacher and more annoying to the eyes of every single one of her classmates. They all knew she actually thought she was a better person only because of her achievements and knowledge and they didn’t try to make her feel welcome.

 The girl didn’t care. She was only fourteen but knew very well how to treat people and how to behave by herself. She had to think she was the best to be the best every single time, in every competition and every class. It got very tiring and pretending something that she wasn’t sure was true was very exhausting. She did not do it in daily life, preferring to relate more to her sister and her parents. But only her father because her mother was all too obsessed with her practicing and winning and it had gotten to be unbearable to be in the same room with her, always criticizing and thinking she was being encouraging but wasn’t.

 Her father wanted all that for her too, but he didn’t as much. He always reminded Gong to have fun and never forget that dance and sports were not about destroying oneself on a mat but about making the art bigger and better. She listened to this and though of it always before any of her presentations. To be honest, the days of fear had passed because she had learned not to care about anyone but her, especially when performing. She just put the world out of focus and did what she had to do.

 Gong loved to use rock songs for her performances. Hip-hop was the kind of music everyone used to seem different and classical with any change was too dull for her. She had won a tournament by performing, all five of her events, with songs by Metallica. It was her who designed every single movement, not needing or asking for any kind of help. She used to have a trainer but she left him as soon as she realized he only pressured her to be the one to gain all the recognition.

 She got rid of him and decided to be dedicated and train everyday at least an hour by herself. Her parents were very supportive and it was all unnoticeable for the media or the judges of the next big event after that. She was praised so much; no one even realized she had no trainer but only her loving parents and her sister. After that particular time, she was asked to be photograph for many famous magazines because she had won a slot on the Olympics, which were going to be celebrated in Rio de Janeiro.

 Practice was intensified. She practiced every morning, from sunrise to lunch. She only had a slight breakfast on a very short break and then kept on going. Her diet had not been consulted with a doctor but her parents read all about them to make every meal appropriate for her. It was dreadful, she knew, especially for them because they had decided to do the diets as well and that proved to be a tough decision as her meals were not really full of flavors and variety.

 It was funny at first when her dad was caught by her mother, eating a cheeseburger in the car. Gong didn’t blame him and told them that she could keep doing it all by herself but they refused and her father apologized to her, although she didn’t really understand why. She just kept focused on her practice and on designing the best possible routines for every single event she was going to be performing in on the Olympic arena.

 The girls was exceedingly happy when her parents came in one morning to her room, after practice, and told her they had bought the tickets and all the hotel arrangements had already being settled. She was going to be staying with the rest of the athletes but they would be close by to check on her and join her on every event. According to the rules, they couldn’t have meals with her on the days she was to be busy but they could go out and get to know the city on the days nothing was happening.

 But Gong noticed something she didn’t like and which made her loose her focus from practicing. Her little sister Zhang, had begun to shut her out. It was very often that she could talk to her and play but now, when she tried, Gong was refused entrance to her room and on dinner Zhang wouldn’t even look at her, preferring to eat fast or at least fake she ate and leave early for her room. Zhang was eleven and had always been Gong’s best friend. She had been very supportive when some of the girls in the dance school or in the gymnastics practice were mean to her but now she was absent.

 And when the date of the trip to Brazil came nearer, she realized the whole time there she was going to think of her sister, trying to see her up there in the seats with her parents. And she didn’t now if she could stand that, not being in right terms with the one person that had always supported her and from which she felt no pressure at all. It was the morning before leaving that her parents told her Zhang was not coming with them. They had decided to leave her with aunt Myrna, who wasn’t really their aunt but her uncle’s wife, who had three kids and a big home.

 Gong was destroyed by the news and, for the first time in all of her life, she refused to practice, to dance, to do any of the things she normally did. She cried and begged Zhang to come out of her room and talk to her. But Zhang was not there. She had left the day before for Myrna’s house and she, the bad sister that she felt, had not even noticed. Her parents almost had to force her to eat, put on her clothes and hop in the car for the ride to the airport. Her trip there was awful and the one on the plane to Brazil was even worse, always thinking of Zhang and feeling worse by the minute.

 When the plane finally landed. Gong insisted on calling her sister. She dialed the number herself and once she her aunt Myrna’s voice, she was relieved to know that Zhang was being very normal and even pleasant around her children. She asked Myrna to pass the phone to Zhang but then Myrna fell silent and it took her a bit to tell Gong that her sister had asked not to be interrupted while playing, especially not by them. She didn’t want to speak to any member of her family and Myrna didn’t want to make her feel worse.

 Almost in a whisper, she told Gong that Zhang was feeling very bad because of the entire trip thing and that she thought her parents had failed by letting her out of everything, clearly putting Gong first and her second. Aunt Myrna asked Gong not to blame them or her sister for anything and just to focus on her events and comeback soon to get things sorted out. She then wished her good luck in Rio. Gong thanked her for her good wishes and her advice and hung up.

 It got a bit better when she met the rest of the group and, the next day, when they did the big parade of nations. She was mesmerized by the thousands of people in the stadium and hoped her sister understood how much she wanted her there right now. The night of the parade, everyone went to bed early because the first week was always the most intense one. Gong had the following three days for practice and then it was time for the first event. Regrettably, time flew by and the moment came for her first performance.

 She did great. With the sound of pop music roaring all over, she focused only on her moves and sharpness and she was surprised to take the first spot among her group. The following day, she was able to move on the semifinals groups and then on the grand finals. All the girls were very talented and she had seen their every move for the last few days. Some of them seemed even stricter with their dancing, almost looking mad every single moment. It was as if they had nothing else on their minds.

 But she did. The final day, somehow, the thought of her sister took over everything and she didn’t even have a proper breakfast because of it. Suddenly she became worried because there was a feeling on her chest, a weird sensation that something felt wrong. Before leaving for the arena, she asked her parents to call her aunt and ask for Zhang. She thought only asking for here would be enough, not to be too pushy. She would have time to talk to her when they got back.

 Her parents went to their seats and she went on to perform beautifully. She had only a few points of advantage over her nearest competitor but it was enough to win the gold medal. She was thrilled when receiving the flowers, the medal and a stuffed mascot. Everyone was taking her picture and she was simply the happiest girl in the world. She would go back home and show the medal to her sister and everything would be ok.

 But it wasn’t. Her parents were nowhere to be found and when she did, she realized something awful had happened. Right enough, Myrna had told them that Zhang had committed suicide overnight. She had taken her to the hospital but here was nothing the doctors could do. When Gong heard this, she just collapsed. Her only friend in the world was gone, on the happiest day of her life.  

viernes, 21 de noviembre de 2014

Why, Cynthia? Why?

Yeah, you could call her that. She was a "gym freak", no doubt about it. Cynthia would expend several hours a day in the gym, exercising in various ways. She did it for two hours in the morning, then she would work, at midday have a balanced meal, work again until 4 and then four more hours at the gym. She arrived home at 8:30, had a salad or something light to eat and then bed, at around 11.

And that was every single day. On weekends? Well, instead of four hours, she would spend all the afternoon there. Cynthia's favorite exercise was pilates but she also joined dancing classes, spinning, swimming, running, biking, weightlifting and various others. It was as if her energy was eternal.

Her diet was also fully controlled. Everything in small portions, no red meat and no flours based products such as bread or even desserts. To be honest, she didn't ate too many sweets. Only from time to time she would treat herself to a low fat yogurt with fruit or a sugarless dessert. She preferred eating a fruit.

Anyhow, Cynthia met Jamie and they fell in love right away. Jamie was an accountant in the same company Cynthia worked on and they had bonded right away. Whatever free time she had to spend, she would spend it with Jamie: watching movies, going shopping, traveling to nice little towns,...

Luckily enough, Jamie also liked to exercise. He had a perfect body, or so she thought. Jamie would join Cynthia on weekends at the gym, were they would run against each other or help one another doing advanced exercises.

To sum it up, everything seemed fine with Cynthia. But that was exactly it. It only seemed.

Unknown to many, she had stopped talking to her siblings, only calling her parents once a month to let them know she was fine. They would never visit as she had been clear to them she wasn't keen on surprise guests. Her brother and sister were fine not talking to her. To them, Cynthia had been too pampered by their parents; everything she wanted, she got it. And it had been like that ever since she was a baby.

They knew what she really was like and they were not really interested in having anything to do with someone that would rather spend time with others or climbing positions, instead of joining them for Christmas dinners or birthdays. Cynthia always sent her gifts to her parents, never getting there and hug or kiss them. It was as if they were distant, annoying relatives.

Her sister in particular, knew a side of her many of her "closest friends" didn't know. Cynthia was violent, easily becoming enraged if people didn't allow her to do as she wanted. Her sister had once not allowed her to use a new lipstick she had been given as a gift, so Cynthia went crazy, throwing things all around and, finally, breaking the new expensive lipstick into pieces.

None of them knew about Jamie and if they had known, it wouldn't have been too different. She had had boyfriends before, all as shallow and obsessed with beauty and power like her. Some were jocks, others more of the responsable type, but it didn't mattered. They all finally met the real Cynthia and ran away scared.

But her relationship with Jamie turned two years old and everything was as good as the first day. Soon, they married and moved in together. Her parents and siblings only knew about it through a friend, in a most uncomfortable conversation.

Her mom and dad decided to go to the city were she lived and stayed in a hotel. They contacted her from there and arranged a meeting. Long story short, Cynthia lost contact with her parents. They had allowed too much to happen, to many indulgences, too many things and details. But this, had been the last drop.

Jamie proved himself an empty human being. To Cynthia's father, he was one of the shallowest persons he had ever met. The guy was only interested in money and in looking good. That was fine, but people normally had more to go with that. No, not Jamie. He was empty, like a vase with no flowers. Cynthia's dad asked him about his hobbies, his passions but the answers were always the same.

Cynthia's mom, however, was not that bothered by the simple mindedness of her new son in law. She was more shocked to know how Cynthia appeared to have changed, a turn for the worst in her opinion. Her daughter talked about maybe adopting, as she did not wish to ruin her body for a baby. She said she had it all figured it out, including nannies, education, sports,... Her mother was horrified; not only Cynthia lived away and ashamed of them (they were meeting in a café, not even a restaurant) but her future life contemplated raising a child to be like them, or maybe even even worse. It was too much.

They left to their home were they crumbled in tears, realizing how bad they had raised their daughter, as they felt it was their fault that she had grown up to be such a shallow woman. It wasn't the gym thing or even the diets. It was the fact that she was obsessed to be perfect, not accepting who she really was. She never discussed her past with people that met her and decided not to have friends, rather acquaintances. She only trusted herself in order to make her life perfect by buying and doing and pretending. And if it wasn't, she had no problem pretending.

Cynthia never knew she had nephews, from both of her siblings. She never knew her parents had won a trip to Europe or that the home were she had grew up had been destroyed by a massive flooding. And all that happened in only ten years, during which she had no contact with her relatives.

Many hoped, without telling others, that she would someday change as having children changed people, as did marriage. Well, she divorced Jamie, who tried to get custody of the child they had adopted, with no success. He was an idiot but he proved to have a heart. Cynthia did not have one. The divorce, the life of her child, they did not change her. She was as focused and cold, as always.

Maybe that is why the kid, a girl called Camilla, ran away from home at age 15. She escaped with the help of a friend and Cynthia's rage was more than it had ever been. But that was it: no guilt, no sadness, no pain. Only rage.

Camilla, after a long search, got her grandparents address and visited them. They were seniors now and she cried as she felt time had been stolen from her. Her grandma kissed and hugged her and cried with her.

They sent an email to Cynthia, where Camilla confessed she would rather stay with her grandparents than with her. That was the only time Cynthia shed a tear. The following day, she sent all of Camilla's belongings the her parents house and forgot about her. She then increased her exercise hours, becoming more and more trapped in herself until, one day, she fainted on a treadmill and died.