Hi. My name is Trish, and I'm a salt-a-holic. It's been four days since the last time I salted my entire dinner plate (including the parts between the food, in case I needed extra for dipping) when I thought no one was looking.
People have told me for YEARS that this was not a long-term strategy for health and well being; I brushed them off with pithy rejoinders about how salt is a preservative and therefore the secret to maintaining my youthful glow. (And just for the record, I'm not conceding this point, not one bit).
The thing is though, I read a book this weekend that scared the salt right out of my shaker, so to speak. It wasn't one of the usual harrowing tales of high-blood pressure or clogged arteries that harass me every month from the pages of my women's magazines, nor was it a stern talking-to by a member of the medical profession. It was a memoir called Confessions of a Carb Queen by a former body builder whose food addiction (which was, by and large, determined to be a salt addiction) left her topping off the scales at 468 pounds before she finally sought help.
I mean-yikes! If that doesn't get your attention, what will?
Here's what shocked me: when she asked for help finding her way back out of her 468 pound cage, guess what they removed from her diet? Not fat. Not carbs. But salt. She described the crazy cycle of how salt leaves you insatiable, craving more and more. I thought of all the nights I've shoveled giant bowls of pasta into my mouth, my stomach begging for mercy while my taste buds demanded, "We need MORE!" And how often I sneak extra salt when I'm out to dinner, hoping no one will notice that I've reapplied four, five, or even six times. Then I laughed, thinking of a friend of my parents' who tells people he's on a "low-sodium diet" because he no longer adds extra salt to his bag of potato chips. That sounds like something I'd say.
I threw away our salt shaker Saturday night. And the garlic salt, and the soy sauce. I think we have some meat tenderizer lurking on a shelf somewhere, but as soon as I can hunt it down, that's gone, too. It's not that I really think I'll end up in the 400 lb. range; the author of this book had other food issues that--thank God--I don't share. My fear is less extreme: that I'll reach that point so many women do, where I've gained so much weight that I no longer feel like myself, and can't figure out how to get back to where I'm supposed to be. I don't want to drape clothes over my body just to be covered. I don't want to shop only in the handbags and shoes sections because I'm afraid to know my dress size. I want to be me for the long term, and if breaking my salt habit will help me avoid being Trish in a Tent, I guess that's the price I have to pay.
But still...if I used salt as an exfoliant, I might still benefit from its beauty-preserving powers, right??? Bring on the Cheez-It skin scrub!!!