We are on a new fitness initiative in this house. For several weeks now, L and I have been tackling our new goal: to lost the baby weight that we have accumulated in the last few months. I face the added challenge of not only addressing the baby weight I gained through pure sympathy, but also the law firm weight I acquired during those last few months of whatever happened to be going on.
Saturday mornings are weigh-in time, when we do it Biggest Loser-style. "M, last week your weight was X. Your current weight is...beep beep beep...Y." Then we write it down on the notepad and decide how we feel about the week's progress. This week, for instance, I'm rebounding from nearly a week spent in a conference at North Carolina. There I spent many days eating industrial foods and sitting in overly air-conditioned hotel ballrooms. I also ate, for the first time, melon wrapped in prosciutto. The melon was really wet and moist, and the prosciutto was partly flapping off, and when I put the whole damn thing in my mouth I about gagged from the sensation that there was a jellyfish in my mouth. It was one of the grossest things I've ever eaten. I've never felt so betrayed by prosciutto.
This week went better as far as exercise goes -- I fit some good runs in there -- but I experienced a bit of self-sabotage. One night, after we finished dinner, I ate three slices of pizza because otherwise they would have gone bad. Another night was date night, so dinner was a platter of meats and cheeses with a glass of wine, followed by movie popcorn and Coke. Also, L brought home a pint of real Haagen Dazs ice cream -- Dark Chocolate Mint -- because (1) it had all of my favorite things in it and (2) it's a limited edition. A limited edition! How could we not eat it?
It must be said, though, that we have actually taken some concrete steps to get back on the straight and narrow that I am pretty proud of. First, I have cut out most of the soda I usually drink. Instead of a can of Coke at lunch, plus assorted Cokes throughout the evenings and weekends, I'm now drinking Canada Dry seltzer water, which is like normal water but angrier, and also vaguely flavorful. Despite the tepid flavoring, I find seltzer to be very aggressively carbonated -- way bubblier than Coke. I imagine that seltzer has so much carbonation because it's pissed at how tepid its flavors are. The lemon-lime version tastes like the faintest, vaguest memory of Sprite, and yet it's got enough carbonation to take the skin off the roof of your mouth. And yet that's a balance I can live with. Now I come home and think, "oh boy, could I use a seltzer!" But hey, it has no sodium and no calories, so why the heck not. Each day I'm saving at least 140 calories from that Coke I'm not drinking. Second, we've exchanged our ice cream for frozen yogurt (for the most part), which makes me feel virtuous, even though the texture makes me think I'm eating hunks of ice from a glacier. And third, I'm doing better with exercising consistently. I am running again, a couple runs a week for 5 miles apiece, down the Hudson River. It feels great and I can definitely feel my stamina improving already.
Even though the results of our weight loss initiative are slow and often disappointing, I'm feeling healthier and more active. Tomorrow I'm running a 5 mile Father's Day race to benefit prostate cancer research -- it will be my first road race in over a year, I think, and I'm pretty nervous about it. These days I'm not used to the hills of Central Park, although I am convinced that my muscle memory endures after all the training I used to do there. Hopefully the run will go well -- I ran today and I took it easy, but my legs still felt heavy and weak -- and then I can make it through the rest of the week without eating like a lunatic.
To be honest I'm not really concerned with actual weight loss; it's more about reestablishing a more active, balanced lifestyle, and putting in place some good habits to counteract a slower metabolism as I enter a whole new decade of life. This can't be one of those things where ever year I get a little slower, a little more out of breath, a little paunchier. Not yet at least.