Wednesday, December 14, 2005

like a bowl full of jelly

My weight has always been a complicated issue, but I think I've finally distilled it to a simple matter of choice: I can choose to lift weight, in the form of metal bars and dumbells, for an hour or two each week; or I can choose to wear it, like a subcutaneous snowsuit, every minute of every hour of every single day.

Most of the time -- like 90 percent, give or take -- I'm an obsessively healthy eater. Raw vegetables, lean protein and cereals from the whole-grain hippie aisle are my main dietary staples. While I adore all food and will discuss at great length the sweets and pastas and steaks and cheese that entice me from day to day, I go to great pains to keep them the hell away from my mouth. In theory indulgences are sweet rewards; in practice they breed bitter regret.

Still, lately I suspect... who am I kidding, I know some unsanctioned junk has been sneaking past the bouncer. 'Tis the season, after all, and on top of the usual holiday suspects my Jewish office has been gifted with Israeli chocolates (the best in the world), Zabar's babka (the best in New York), and fried dough in every size, shape and flavor (a tradition at Hannukah time).

A bite here, a nibble there, it adds up. So I've been running 15 miles a week to offset the expansive effects of this most delectable time of year. (Thank you Kayla, Patron Saint of Cardio, who materializes in my doorway each afternoon chirping at me to "Put those sneakers on! Gym's getting crowded! Don't give me the pouty face, I saw you with that muffin today.")

To some degree the strategy has worked... but here's where I hit a snag: My job has lately kept me from my weekly strength training class. Keep in mind, it takes only two weeks for muscles to start breaking down; In twice that time I've fallen victim to a phenomenon known as Sorority Girl Body, which was described to me by a gym instructor like this: "It's, you know, skinnyfat. Like when you look great in your clothes, but then you get naked and everything's just a fucking mess."

Yeah, I'm turning into that girl. Soft, lumpy, round-of-belly and dimpled-of-thigh. Her uniform of denim is more than just stylish; jeans conceal a multitude of sins.

Late nights at the office are done for now; Our big fat fundraiser has been a big fat success, and I'm back in the groove of squats, thrusts and curls. Lessons learned: 1. I can run like a hamster for miles and miles, and it's great for my heart and for burning off carrot cake with sweet glistening raisins and a paper-thin layer of the richest cream cheese icing I ever tasted, it was almost like a glaze, how do they get such intense flavor in there, is it lemon juice......? Sorry. I mean, jogging burns calories, but weight training wards off Cottage Cheese Disease; and 2. Gorgeous golden fried peanut butter-honey-and-banana sandwiches, and warm apple-cherry pie with vanilla bean ice cream and candied pecans, and steaming baskets of cheese fries smothered in five-alarm chili, and melty cheesy meaty doughy yummy yummy pizza... these are but siren songs wafting from the deep fat fryer in my subconscious mind. Resistance is tough, but not futile.

The holidays are here and temptation will chase me as sure as Santa's gonna skip over my chimney Christmas Eve. When willpower fizzles, muscles may triumph.

Failing that, I can always run away.

15 comments:

DC Cookie said...

Not to mention weight training gives you this sense of strength and power. I've finally just started, and I'm loving it.

Anonymous said...

I've heard, but cannot confirm from recent experience, that sex is an excellent way to burn off calories. I suppose it could be easier on your knees than running, too...or not.

Beware: I get my information from the same source claiming that hooded sweatshirts and flannel pants are the modern equivalent of chastity belts, except for devotees of Ted Kaczynski.

btw, my Word Verification is spyqhlis, which if looked at quickly may add additional pause to my modestly suggested form of exercise.

Salvy said...

I don't know about all of that exercise. I find being fat is so much more fun.

Although I struggle and want to lose weight almost everyday. I look around and don't see thin people being any happier, having better lives, better relationships, better jobs...so what really is better about it?

I do have to say that I have great admiration for all you girls who really work at it and stick with it. I just sometimes wonder why.

the kitchenette said...

whoa, sounds like we were seperated at birth.

always write said...

I hope I haven't made myself out to be some kind of hardbody; I do the bare minimum each week, and my thighs jiggle at least as much as the next girl's.

cookie: enjoy the power! it really does feel amazing.

anonymous: that last point, duly noted ;)

salvy: you are absolutely correct; it does not make a person any happier. I've always admired women who can be comfortable in their skin no matter what.

kitchen: WSC's Club Strength class! perfect for a lazy brain like mine; it takes all the thinking and counting out of lifting weights.

RebaLu said...

reading your blog is like retelling my life story, except the being jewish part (but my ancestors were!). native washingtonian, started liking tomatoes at 28, going through a feminization project at age 30, AND always in search for the perfect jeans. keep the stories flowing...

Kayla said...

It should be noted that you are my inspiration, too... Since I have flip flopped my morning solo runs to crowded gym night runs! :) You keep me accountable!! (the 2 p.m. "We are going running after work, right?" keeps me from sliding into the "Oh, I will just skip it today and go home and sit on my couch")... Now, can I talk you into morning boot camp?? :)

Heather B. said...

I love a good workout, and as of late, I've been giving into temptation, but I guess that because of my regular workout, I haven't been gaining as much as I normally would at this time of year. So keep up with the workouts, despite falling off the wagon on occassion, because in the long run all will be good.

Chairborne Stranger said...

15 miles a week is really good. I used to run about that, but now I must admit, I sit and eat a lot of this Christmas food and I only get 6 or 8 in. Resistance to naps is often futile, for me.

Barbara said...

Reading this post made me hungry! My willpower has been breaking down a lot lately. Last year we put a home gym in our basement, so I no longer have an excuse. I feel so good when I do a really good workout, but it just doesn't happen every day. What I found interesting after having been exactly the same weight for a very long time was that losing weight becomes addictive to the point of being hard to stop. I started to look at my body in overly critical ways, seeing fat where there really was none. I have determined that I want to grow old being strong and slim, not the blubbery mess I was turning into. I too have heard that sex burns a lot of calories, but come to think of it, that came from my husband...

Snowflake Chaser said...

The other day at the gym, a woman came in and turned the television in front of us on to the Food Network. The woman on Everyday Italian was making gooey, creamy, chocolatey and raspberry-y desserts. It was torture. Then she started talking back to the screen saying 'I am never eating you again. Remind me to never eat you again!' and then she ran even faster.

She must have had issues with holidays. When she left, the woman on the other side of me said 'let's just say we're working out so we can go eat those things afterwards.' I agreed and then my sane neighbor changed the channel to CNN. That killed any of the appetite.

So, the moral of the story? Watch CNN. You won't get hungry for holiday sweets ;)

The Daily Rant said...

I just read this eating a huge hunk of french bread and smaller hunk of Danish Blue Cheese.

Can you loan me Kayla???

always write said...

Kayla will be unavailable until February 1. Or possibly March, depending how hungry I get after New Year's.

Snowflake, I actually watch the Food network almost every time I'm on the treadmill. Kayla finds this weird. Weirder: I watch it ALL DAY LONG on Yom Kippur.

Snowflake Chaser said...

I actually love the Food Network. Love watching it when I'm depressed, too. Eating when you're down isn't the only way to enjoy food; watching can be just as good.

I don't think it's strange. But then, I don't (and I don't think you) use it as a Cat-of-Nine-Tails to get me to run faster at the gym. ;)

The Food Network is an addiction. Like food porn or something.

Claire said...

Your post has me both salivating and feeling guilty about it. I admire your workout ethic. I need to get back into it, but just haven't been motivated enough.