Well, it's mid-July, so I guess it's time to start shaping up for summer. I'm not a fat person, but I don't carry my extra weight well. Do you remember that children's toy that was like a beachball that was half-filled with water? So it never bounced or travelled properly? That's how I move/feel with these extra lbs weighing me down; if I descend stairs too quickly, my pizza gut accrues too much forward momentum and I somersault downwards with such velocity that Harrison Ford keeps trying to outrun me Indiana Jones-style.
Dream: Drop ten pounds by 2014.
Goal: Achievable. The key to weight-loss is realistic expectations and I think if I really work at it and eat one less order of fries a day for three years, a new, slightly less fat shape will emerge. By the way, I'm kidding about the fries per day thing, but apparently not so out of line! According to that smug punk Eric Schlosser in his book Fast Food Nation (written high above us a tower built of hemp and holier-than-thouness), the average American eats four orders of fries a week! Thank goodness I'm Canadian so I don't have to feel guilty about my four order of fries per week. If I knew I was on the average, I'd just hate myself.
Plan: I've skimmed a lot of women's magazines while waiting to buy ice cream at the convenience store, and they all have some great tips on how to drop those pesky ten pounds. I plan to distill their advice into a few helpful hints to put you on the road to thinness! I know weight-loss is a multi-million dollar industry, so I really should charge you to keep reading this, but what I'd rather is for you to take the amount of fat you lose, put it in a red wagon, and wheel it out on television. Oprah could cure AIDS at this point and she'll always be remembered for that self-important stunt.
Tip the First: Eat less. Sounds fine in theory, but have you tried less? It's awful! I'm not a good cook, but every time I attempt cookery, I forget that I'm cooking for just me, or sometimes me and Jon. I end up following the idiot proof recipes from cooking shows or the back of the macaroni box, but I forget that I'm not a stressed out mom of four who wants to whip up something quick! Instead, Jon and I end up slogging through casseroles or pasta dishes with insane enthusiasm because we made it ourselves, dammit! Alternatively, especially when I'm working throughout the dining hour, I'll under-make food and hope to be all virtuous about it. Packing a tuna fish sandwich and a handful of baby carrots makes you seem all health-conscious to your co-workers in the break room, but not if they could see you hours later pouring Doritos from the sack directly into your mouth.
Tip the Second: Exercise more. More than what? If I don't exercise at all, how the hell am I supposed to do it more? The only thing I do is walk, and I do try to do that a lot. I figured out, for instance, that my walk to work is four kilometres so now that it's summer, I walk to work all the time. I suppose I could jog, but I'm not sure I know how. It's like a slow run, I guess, but my fast run is super slow! And I certainly don't have the measured, comfortable gait of a jogger. I'm all sweaty and panicked looking and get this weird sweat-pile atop my gut and below my rib cage that becomes kind of an ink blot test. I can't tell if this sweat stain is the Republic of China, or two chickens fucking.
Tip the Third: Stop eating out. Oh man. Again, this would be easier if eating in wasn't such a trial (if you don't know what I'm referencing here, skip back two paragraphs and take a serious look at your reading comprehension skills). I know fast food is bad for me, but dine-in establishments can be just as dicey. There's just so much damn food! I was out for lunch with an actress once who, midway through her meal, unscrewed the cap on the salt-shaker and coated the rest of her food in the salt. A tip she learned from a dancer, she explained (because they all have fabulous relationships with food). If you make your food inedible when you're no longer hungry, you may be tempted to continue to eat, but you can't because the food is ruined. I haven't tried that yet because not only does it seem pretty fucked up, but I know that a salted mound of food might actually seem triple delicious to me and an ineffective deterrent. And it's expensive to eat out, but not always. There are so many hole-in-wall eateries here desperate for my business that will bankrupt themselves to make yummy for my tummy. A Jamaican place near my house makes the only and therefore best jerk chicken I've ever had in my life on a giant bed of rice with tons of sauce. It makes me wish I were an old black man so I could sit among the other old black men and stare out the window and not feel so weird. Just down the street from there is a tiny shawarma place that fills you the fuck up! Shawarma is a Turkish word meaning “giant pita filled with lamb fat and happiness.” You get this icing-bag style pita filled with lamb and hummus and vegetables, an extra thing of hummus and fresh pitas in a sack and a giant salad thing for like six dollars. That's easily three meals! If you can ignore the grimy floors and the grandchildren of the proprietors doing old timey kid things like playing marbles or pick-pocketing, you can eat out of the cheap in this big city. There's a Thai place nearby that has a wonton soup so cheap I think it's negative money. You get soup and a dollar for only thirty cents.
The last and most important thing, of course, is commitment to change. Like a budget or masturbation schedule, a diet has to be stuck to in order to work. This is where I fall the shortest. I can get behind healthy lifestyle changes, but a reward/punishment relationship with food seems really dangerous to me. I've known people who have limited their food intake, exercised obsessively, and abused themselves terribly for “slipping” off their diets and consequently have weight issues, poor self-worth, and no food when I come over. Self-indulgence is bad, but self-denial is worse. I'd rather be a fat ball of fun rolling down the stairs then a skinny bundle of anxiety worrying about the calories in toothpaste. So the next time we go out to dinner, let's keep our entrees salt-free and save room for dessert since I'm having my cake and eating it too.