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.