The Masochist’s Guide to Self-Betterment – or- Beginning a Weight-Loss Plan

30 06 2010

*I wrote this a while back, but I thought it needed to be shared. Also, this is written as a joke. I’m the last person anyone should be turning to for advice on how to workout properly*

The first step to a cure is admitting you have a problem. Maybe one too many of your favorite articles of clothing “shrunk in the dryer.” Maybe you caught a glimpse of your naked self in the bathroom mirror and were stunned for all the wrong reasons. Maybe you were in the dressing room at your favorite store and txted you best friend (BFF) in a panic: ‘OMG! Im FAT! WTF?’ However you made the determination that there’s a little to much of you, now it’s time to do something about it.
First, tell your mother you want to start dieting. If you’re really as large as you think you are – and sometimes even if you aren’t, she will be overjoyed and begin to nag you mercilessly about your progress. Traditionally, this is supposed to work especially well if your mom is Italian or Jewish, but usually most mothers, regardless of ethnicity, will rise to the occasion with gusto. For extra “encouragement”, also tell a nosey grandma or auntie. Children, though generally very “persuasive”, are also, generally, very selfish and tend to reserve their fierce dedication and powers of annoyance for situations in which they are the sole beneficiaries. Translation – unless you want to keep bribing some little brat to keep after your lard ass, it’s better to leave this to the grown-ups. Why pay for something you could get free, especially in this economy? Besides, who nags you better than your mom?
Next, see all that yummy, bad-for-you food in your pantry and fridge? Well, it can’t stay there ready to tempt you in a moment of weakness, so what are you going to do with it? Those with a firm sense of resolve will get rid of it by throwing it away. How wasteful! The rest of us will have a “Day of Sin”/”*Jour de Gras” – whatever you want to call it – and savor the last bits of junk food we’ll be eating for quite some time. The next morning your stomach will feel very bad indeed and you won’t have much of a desire for most of that food for a while. Also, after you consider that your caloric intake for the previous day probably looked a hell of a lot like Bernie Madoff’s bank statement before the Feds got to the lousy bastard, you’re most likely already googling area gyms. Perhaps, if you have one, you could consider inviting your workout buddy to ensure continued dedication to the cause. Now is also the time to go grocery shopping if your constitution can handle being around copious amounts of food at the moment. You won’t buy out the store and what you do buy will be healthy because you’ve taken care of your craving for snacks and such with your “Day of Sin”.
Now it’s time to pick a gym and join it. Do a little research, pick a place where you think you’ll be comfortable, and then go and check it out. Does it smell of feet? Is the workout area such a mess that you wonder if it was a test site for anti-personnel weapons? Are the showers, locker room, restroom, ect… a health code violation? If you answer yes to any of these things turn around and leave, possibly placing a call to the Better Business Bureau as you do, and find someplace that makes the cut. When you do join a gym, and if it’s in your realm of financial possibility, hire a personal trainer or take classes so there’s someone there to hold you to your goals and otherwise whip your roly-poly self into shape.
Once you join the gym, GO! The money is already out of your pocket, so make good use of what you spent it on even after the “Day of Sin” guilt wears off. As you are jogging away on the treadmill or doing whatever it is that you do on an elliptical – ellipticaling? – take note of what bouncing that shouldn’t be and let that be a reminder as to why you’re there in the first place. Enjoy watch the little calorie-loss-counter-thing slowly go up as you huff and puff for a half hour, or hour, or whatever. Congratulations! It’s the end of your first work out and you’ve lost the caloric equivalent of a snack-sized bag of Pop Secret (without butter) and three carrots. Makes it hard to justify that post-gym trip to Dairy Queen now, doesn’t it?

Finally, as you lay on your bed, sore and tired, try to find the sense of accomplishment you should theoretically have.

*Jour de Gras – French – Day of Fat

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Searching for Confidence on the SALE Rack

30 06 2010

It’s been two years since I’ve seen a regular paycheck. The last thing I need is another expense. I also don’t need to put myself on the path to screwing up my health for the rest of my life, so losing weight had to happen and it’s something to occupy myself with to pass the time between waking up and sleeping. So far, I’ve lost a little over thirty pounds. I’m estimating because I haven’t weighed myself in a while. No matter what the number is I doubt it would make me smile, but that’s an issue for another day – I’m aiming for a healthier weight, not one you brag about. Anyway, my slightly less fluffy self is a positive thing, but my resulting lack of proper fitting clothing is an economic hit to the solar-plexus. I’ve ignored the problem for as long as I can but it’s reached the point where, even if I managed to get an interview, I’d never be hired for anything because I look clownish – everything is baggy and drooping and tent-like. I’m not exaggerating when I say that only my socks and shoes fit reliably.
This adds several new facets to my current “F***-My-Life” mindset. My biggest issue is, of course, that I am once again a dependent – something a 25-year-old, able-bodied, reasonably sentient individual should NEVER be – and I have to ask my parents for everything. It’s enough to turn my stomach and it will if I think about it long enough. Since I’ve had to conduct myself this way, I have systematically trimmed down my life to limit the times I have to ask for cash. I hate it and miss going out with my friends and stuff like that, but I hate having my parents finance me far more, so I don’t regret putting myself in a nearly unwavering pseudo-house arrest that would impress the Chinese police. I’ve continued using my social networking site of choice as a means by which to keep my friendships intact and I did go out in New York to celebrate my birthday. Since I’m trying to be as light a financial burden as I can be, I had been ignoring the fact that I have very few pieces of clothing that fit but it finally has reached the point that it would obviously affect any attempt to find employment, so I have to ask for money over, and over, and over in hopes that, aided by a that fact that I don’t look like a bum, I’ll get a job, a week or two later get a check, and gain back a bit of my autonomy. In the interest of full disclosure and because I don’t want to give anyone the wrong idea, I’m not the most social of butterflies to begin with, so I promise you it’s not as tragic as it sounds. On a happiness scale that goes from Rogers and Hammerstein goofy bliss to Ingmar Bergman bleak, I fall somewhere around a Woody Allen comedy of the Diane Keaton era – many of my issues stem from my own tendency to over-think. If that changes, so will my behavior. I’m not much of a fan of Bergman.

There is also the fact that I really don’t like shopping for clothes. I enjoy shopping for most everything else – books, shoes, DVDs, and handbags all rank high – but I do not like shopping for clothes and, as I’ve gotten older I’ve begun to hate it even more. Usually, I take someone with me to make it more of a social outing and less of a chore that’s right up there with cleaning the toilet on my list of Detested But Absolutely Essential Things To Do. I hate it because it’s a lot of effort with little or no reward. Why? Because, in addition to not being 5′ 10″ and 98 lbs, I’ve got plenty of all that makes up the female silhouette and that presents a problem. Apparently those who design clothing have gotten it into their heads that the 21st century female’s silhouette is the same as that of your average 12-year-old boy except women are all six feet tall. I’d like to take a moment to address this error in basic observation.

Clothing designers,
Please allow me to clue you in, you couldn’t be more wrong about the average female form. Take a deep breath, prepare yourselves for what’s to come, and do an image search for the term “real women”. Once the shock wears off, you’ll come to the realization that, while not like those of all the models you’re used to, these less boney bodies with so much variety of shape and size to them are worth creating decent clothing for. Come on, give us a chance.
Much Obliged,
Me

I have already begun my hunt for suitable clothes because nudity is not an option and have had a major breakthrough – jeans that fit. No “booty gap” in the back. No muffin top. They just fit. Best of all, I have discovered that my own personal Jean-topia has more than one brand in it. I have tried on and bought two different brands – Christopher Blue and CJ by Cookie Johnson. Little In The Middle jeans have also been recommended to me but I have yet to actually try a pair and, when dealing with jeans, seeing is believing. This is a wardrobe victory, but I have not won the war. There are three big bags of things to be donated and I’m not done yet. I have a lot to replace, but it’s a start.
There is always some level of connection between clothing and self-confidence and I won’t try to doubt that there is some of that at play. I don’t just need something to wear to an interview, I need “interview clothes” even though I have had only a few interviews in the past two years. Perhaps it’s a case of having to look the part to get the role. We’ll see. I’m not exactly what you’d call an optimist but I’m finding that more and more that is what one needs to even be considered for any position anywhere. Modesty be damned, you need to practically radiate supreme confidence – more self-confidence than an obese stripper – to get hired, period. The longer you’ve been out of work, the harder it is to drum up that much confidence – a rather cruel irony. I’m hoping to find some of that attitude tucked in the pocket of a great pair of interview-grade black pants. As for a job, I’ll come up with something… eventually. My self-confidence may ebb and flow like a tide, but my hope springs eternal. As I go along I see plenty of people less qualified for whatever position they hold than I would be. My grand philosophy is that they can’t all be sleeping with their bosses and when they eventually screw up bad enough to get themselves fired there I’ll be, resume in hand and looking fierce.