But most of us have many fewer timesaving buffers, and poor people none at all. For me, during school, my family helped provide precious "extra" minutes in the day for studies and odd jobs and Jane Fonda. About that time, it occurred to me that I was succeeding in the world with only part of my brain engaged. While a 10th of it was devoted to school, a 10th devoted to my daughter, and perhaps another 10th to family crises, the other 70 percent was constantly focused on food—the calorie count of a grape, the filling bulk of popcorn, the clever use of water as a placebo. How much further, I thought, can I go in the world if I use that 70 percent more wisely?
And so I began it. Henceforth, I declared (privately, so as not to invite disgrace), I would banish all concerns regarding pounds or inches. Like a debtor devising a budget, I found myself sorting, evaluating, checking off—only the currency at hand was not dollars but units of thought. Whereas formerly I'd responded to hunger pangs by (a) fantasizing about food, (b) struggling not to fantasize about food, or (c) glancing wildly around for an inspiring thin woman, now I would simply chew, swallow, and pursue in full consciousness some unrelated project that would make me proud tomorrow. The diet production was over, the fat lady had sung, this operagoer was moving up the aisle, headed for the bright and substantial real world.
"This body was now a temple, not an icon; the housing, not the jewel"