Sunday, February 12, 2006

Mmmmm, Donuts

Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't kill their husbands, they just don't.

Oh, really? Tell that to my body. Let's take a quick poll.

Toe: Still ugly and gross and cause for concern. May have to seek actual medical attention.
Knees: Seceding from the Union. Threatening to take ankles with them.
Calves, quads and hams: Dammit, bitch, will you please stretch after you run? For reals.
Abdominal muscles: What, you want us to do something? Not just lay here and look pretty under those layers and layers of fat cells where no one can actually see us?

All this pain because of a number. THE number. The Number Above Which I Am A Slovenly Fat Cow And Nothing You Say Will Convince Me Otherwise. Also known as The Number That Shall Not Be Named because (a) I do not feel the need to share such intimate details with the Internet; and (b) knowledge of that number would compel some of you to form an army, storm my house and shove brownies down my throat. And I'd like to avoid that, if at all possible.

Yes, The Number made a surprise guest appearance on my scale this week, and I will not take this lying down! (Actually, standing is quite a painful proposition. May I take this lying down, please?) This explains why, on a recent Saturday morning (yesterday), I was up at 6:00 am to go running, do Pilates, and then spend eight hours running around helping people look beautiful at BR. Because I am a sick, sick woman. Also, a highly motivated one. Because I refuse to see The Number again. Or, in fact, anything close to it.

I was never the type to worry about my weight. As a teenager, I had plenty of other things to stress out about, thank you very much, like global warming and getting into Harvard Law and just being perfect in general. I was always the smallest one in my class, thanks to being short (these days we say "petite") and a year younger than everyone else. I played sports year-round, so my weight just kinda took care of itself.

But in college, life caught up with me. First semester freshman year I actually lost weight, thanks to my bout with meningitis and landing in the hospital for a week. I didn't even notice. But, dude, when your fourteen-year old brother comments, "You were soooo skinny when you came home at Thanksgiving," you know things are bad. Apparently in the busyness of trying to simultaneously not die and not fail out of school my body used up its excess reserves. (I was sick for a good three weeks before I made it to the hospital, during which time I went to as many classes as I could and did as much homework as I could muster, but every minute spent not asleep was a challenge. Things like "eating dinner" and "showering" were at the bottom of the priority list. I pulled down a 3.5 GPA that semester and, in retrospect, I can only say, Wow. And, Thank you, George S. Parker High School for teaching me everything I needed to know to get through that first semester, because I did not learn a single new thing. Except how to diagnose meningitis.)

It was all downhill from there. Nights of boozing, followed by pizza and Pokey stix at 2 am. And beer? Ew. So I opted for whatever wop/punch/hard-liquor-with-juice-or-soda was available. Tastes great! Has 5,000 more calories per cup than beer! (My children will be getting a much more comprehensive lecture on The Evils of Drinking than the one I got before going away to school. Family history of alcoholism and manic depression? Bah! Potential to do stupid/illegal/dangerous things with your friends/boys/strangers? We'll get to that later. First, it's time to review the Food Pyramid, kids! Alcohol = simple carbohydrates = empty calories. And that should scare the bejesus out of you.)

Many years later, when life had settled down a bit, I lost weight in a non-life-threatening way: insane amounts of exercise and militant calorie-counting. I reached a weight I hadn't seen since sometime in high school and even wore a bikini to the beach. In front of other people. I know it confused some of my friends when at happy hour I would have one beer and then switch to Diet Coke. One commented, "But you look great, you don't need to watch your weight!" Ummmm, no, I look great because I watch my weight. Causal relationship, believe me.

But lately all I've been watching are the numbers on the scale...and their slow climb upward, culminating in the appearance of The Number this week. (For the record, The Number is eight pounds more than my Record Low, and comfortably below my Record High. No one else has noticed my drift into Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! Territory, it's just me.) So, we're going back to the insane amounts of exercise and militant calorie-counting for a little while. Carrots are my new best friend. For lunch? Oh look, it's a salad! For the 286th day in a row!

And the exercise half? Endorphins, here we come! And if it means I have to choose between my pretty new peep-toe shoes, which conveniently show off only the ugly part of my toe, and continued use of my expensive-but-toe-defacing running shoes...well, I suppose I can sacrifice a toe for the greater good. I know I'll be a happy, skinny, endorphin-filled version of me a couple of months from now, but in the meantime all I can say is: ow, ow, ow. Pierre-August Renior said, "The pain passes, but the beauty remains." Good god, I hope he's right.

OLYMPICS UPDATE: Michelle Kwan pulled out of the women's figureskating competition due to a groin injury. Sorry, Michelle, no How I Triumphed Over Adversity interview for you.


At Mon Feb 13, 07:03:00 AM PST, Anonymous lisa said...

I have saved my homecoming dress for 11 years in the vain hope that it would fit again one day. Guess what? I tried it on yesterday for no apparent reason and it fits! (If only Casey weren't married, I'd be giving him a call!) Not that I was really skinny in high school, but hey it's something...

At Mon Feb 13, 01:36:00 PM PST, Anonymous Ann B. said...

Ohmygosh, what I wouldn't give for some Pokey sticks. Remember when they were "fat free" if you got them without cheese on top? Yeah right. Some horrible freshman joke that was.

At Thu Feb 16, 01:55:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best plan is not to run on pavement ... ever. You're not so young know that you can do that and have your joints forgive you. Stick to a treadmill or, better yet, and elyptical.

At Thu Feb 16, 05:44:00 PM PST, Blogger Daily Tragedies said...

Oh, my knees have hated me since high school, so this is not an age thing. (But if it were, let me remind you - and the rest of the Internet - that I am years younger than you. So there.)

The knee thing is genetic. Dr. Best-Sports-Med-Guy-Ever-Who-Left-Me-And-Moved-To-Stupid-Iowa gave me a bunch of exercises to do, which I do, approximately every millionth time I complain about my knees hurting. It's more fun that way.

And the elliptical? Gah. Sooooo not my friend. I tried, really! But no, we do not get along. What it comes down to is this: less running, more swimming. Jerks.

Lisa--Yay for your Homecoming dress! Casey is married? Oh how precious! (Ok, now I am old. Crap.)


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