Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hitting the wall

This past week I have hit a massive brick wall. It's the same wall I have hit a hundred times before -- the wall of the dreaded PLATEAU. I have lost sixteen pounds since the beginning of the Project but a big fat ZERO in the last two weeks and I am pissed.

Let me first say that I am intellectually aware that this is normal. I understand that plateaus are a normal metabolic response to an extended period of time with restricted calories; that eventually it will break if I adjust my workout and my eating patterns; and that it is not a reason to go off the deep end. Intellectually, I get it. Emotionally, though, I am - how can I put this? - ready to knock the shit out of anything that moves. My scale, especially - that dispassionate machine that blinks its little digital screen at me and then beep-snorts in disgust after I step off. I want to pick that thing up and smash its little heart out with a hammer and spill its little light-emitting diodes all over the floor like blood and hear it gasp for mercy, like HAL in 2001. And I will laugh at its whimpering and go buy a new scale, one that is kinder and gentler and that understands that all I really want is for its numbers to go lower EVERY TIME I step on it, or I will gut it ruthlessly.

Did I mention that I put a on bathing suit this past weekend?

Probably that had nothing at all to do with my little tantrum towards the scale. Nope, not at all. After all, I am a Project Graduate and I have moved past those "thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to," haven't I? Shocks like the flesh of my thighs, which were blindingly white when I stepped out into the sun in my swimsuit. So white that from a distance, if you had seen my lower half, you would have thought my thighs were two loaves of frozen white bread dough sticking out of a Hefty bag.

But I'm over all that. Yes. So, I just wanted to pop into my blog and say Hi to all my fellow Grads, it was great to see you at class on Saturday, and now excuse me because I need to go buy a burqa, a vat of self-tanner and a new scale.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Laughing at myself

This isn't really a Project-related post, but I had to share something. I hope my fellow recruits and grads will bear with me.

I have ranted in this blog frequently about the indignities of middle age and the futile attempts to stop the aging process. Creaking joints, metabolism like a sluggish walrus, cellulite gleaming like shrink-wrapped lard in the reflection of a dressing-room mirror -- I confess it all. But there is one thing that has been happening to me over the last couple of years that is bizarrely funny and makes me laugh at myself every time it happens.

OK - what happens is, I catch a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye -- a street sign, a billboard, a menu -- and see the wrong word, something totally incomprehensible and out of context. My eyes are aging, and years of writing technical documents and working on a computer has made my mind/vision connection pretty frayed. The first time it happened I was driving with my kids somewhere, and we happened to pass an apartment building with a sign out front that seemed to say "FREE MEAT." Huh, I thought, what a nice thing to do in these lousy financial times -- they're giving away meat to people who rent! Then I thought, hmmm, what if they're vegetarians? do they get free veggies? Then, slowly, it dawned on me that the sign actually said..... "free heat." I couldn't stop giggling to myself -- then I had to make up a joke to tell my kids so they wouldn't think old Mom was losing her shit on the way to the grocery store.

It happened again just last weekend when I went out to dinner with a group of my girlfriends. We were at a very nice restaurant and I was drinking my wine, happily chatting, and then my eye caught the menu where I swear, for just a second I thought it said "House Cat Ribeye." Damn, I thought, that's gotta be a big-ass housecat for them to cut a ribeye from it -- but who eats cat? Of course what it actually said was "house-cut ribeye" but for a few seconds I had visions of an overfed Maine Coon on a plate. I laughed so hard at myself my girlfriends thought I was losing it.

This is the second time this has happened with the same group of friends -- I embarrassed myself last time in a gorgeous French-Vietnamese fusion restaurant in Chicago where I glanced at the menu and saw "Mouse Fried Rice." What the hell? I knew it was a fusion restaurant, but I thought that was taking it a little too far -- I mean, what sort of mouse? Dark-meat mouse? French mouse? Do they leave the tail on? I contemplated ordering it, just to be adventurous and try something wildly new but I didn't think I could figure out how to ask the Vietnamese waiter if they could make it extra spicy, but hold the mouse.

I am very, very careful now when I place an order for house fried rice at my favorite takeout Chinese place. Maybe I should eat more carrots, I hear they're good for your eyes.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The voices in my head

It seems that the voices in my head are back, and getting louder. At the beginning of the Project, I was out-shouting those voices -- I was going to kick those voices' ASS, get them out of my head forever, and clear their slimy residue out of my psyche. Ha.

One of the voices came back just this morning. It's the one that starts murmuring when I step on the scale, that evil awful device that I have a love-hate relationship with. I stepped on the scale, and quelle horreur -- I had gained back half a pound. "HALF A POUND!" said the voice. Oh my God, it's all over. OVER. Fat would soon be exploding out of my thighs, my stomach would soon be the size of a sea lion, and probably my chins would triple if I had a glass of juice. I pictured my body blowing up like the Michelin man, oozing fat out of my pores. Maybe I'd even grow a goiter.

I went seething down to the basement where I did my aerobic workout on the treadmill, furious the entire time. All because I had to go out and be a pig and have pizza and wine with my girlfriends ONE FREAKIN' NIGHT this week. The voice in my head said, "mmm-hmmm, you did it all to yourself, you scarfed down pizza and had two glasses of wine, I told you not to eat it, you weak-willed, weenie little fitness-wannabe. NO MORE FOOD. You will not eat anything unless it looks like you scraped it off the north side of a tree. Six sesame seeds is three too many!"

This is what happens when you skip meditating for a few days.

Seriously, it's a constant battle to remember to follow the principles of the Project and learn to calm down my mind. No one looking at me would know that this stupid voice exists in my head -- but isn't that true of all of us? How much is our struggle an internal one, a neverending war with the voices in our heads from ourselves and the ghosts of negative feedback from others? This is the challenge. Personally, I want to drag the annoying little voice out of my head and shoot it, but meditation works better.

So I am going to meditate tonight, with my pillow and my scented candle, and surround myself with thoughts of calmness and peace. And hopefully that evil, shrewish little voice in my head will dry up and blow away, at least for awhile.