A reader asks: How can I stay healthy in an unhealthy house?

After an extended absence, your blog mistress has returned. She brings many apologies and the return the fun and frippery known to this space. From now on, she will continue to answer your questions, again each Sunday. Send your emails to whatwouldmarieantoinettedo at gmail dot com.

Family time at the Temple prison.

Your Majesty,

I hope this letter finds you well.  I am having a little trouble, and was thinking that perhaps you could help me. I have been having a difficult time losing weight.  I am quite a bit heavier than I should be, and while I do exercise and have a physically demanding job, I have not managed to lose a single pound!  This is quite strange to me, as I do not eat very much.  There is very little in the house that is around for me to eat, or that I am willing to eat at all (roast beef cold cuts?  No thank you!).  It seems to me that, when I try to find something to eat–even as early as a day or so after I have been grocery shopping with Mother–it turns out that she and Father have both eaten everything already and I am left staring at empty shelves! 

I have heard that if one does not eat enough, one’s body can fall into some kind of “starvation mode,” which causes the body to store whatever food it receives during that time.  Is that what is happening to me?

I would, of course, purchase my own groceries if I could, however, I am saving up my money so that I may pay off my University loans when the time comes.  Should I discuss with my parents a possible stipend added to the grocery fund so that I can prepare healthy meals for myself and for my family, or would that come off as quite greedy?  I have tried to gently make it known that I usually do not get much food even after we have shopped for it, but that does not end well at all for me.  I have been told that I can “live off of myself” for months and not starve.  

I don’t want to be starving myself fat, but that seems to be what is happening, and I am quite at a loss for what to do.

Mademoiselle Rubenesque

My Darling Rubenesque,

First off, a curvy figure is nothing to be ashamed of. Your blogmistress herself has her share and takes pride in her ability to fill out her grand corps. I’ve never been one to shy away from a hearty meal either. At least with friends and familiars.

I’ve had the good fortune to be without a good meal only a few time in my life. As a child, my mother ensured that my brothers and sisters ate a diet featuring fresh vegetables and fruits not the typical fare of the time. As a dauphine and queen, I had the choice not to eat at palace meals, uncomfortable by the teeming masses who would crowd to watch me chew. But in private and at my beloved Trianon retreat, I munched on fresh berries and poured fresh cream for my girlfriends.

Even in prison I ate well. While the King was alive, my family and I could order meals we consumed on china and linens. Our supporters still existed in the ranks of the markets and those assisting at the prison and we would sometimes benefit from roasts and other treats.  After Louis was executed, my food at the Conciergerie was spartan but good. I drank coffee at breakfast and my dinner and suppers started with soup and included vegetable ragoux. I ate desserts, ones comprising mostly of fruit.

Except the last day — my trial. I suffered through interminable accusations all while weakened from constant hemmorrhaging. Hours and hours and hours passed while I was blamed for espionage and debauchery and even child molestation. I’d had just a few sips of boullion to sustain me — a guard’s girlfriend insisted on serving it and spilled it as she walked. I would have gone to the scaffold with nothing more if not for my maid Rosalie who kept some more warming on the hob.

The soul needs to be nourished as does the body. See a doctor or a nutritionist about your intake to help you diagnose the healthiest option. As for your family, you could cook slightly more take the first helpings and leave it to that. If they cannot see your need to make a change for you, try to do what you can to keep yourself healthy and well, and know that at least you are committed to a healthy change.

What do you think? Did the queen get it right? What would you do? 


4 thoughts on “A reader asks: How can I stay healthy in an unhealthy house?

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