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The Treadmill of Torture


Here I am at month number two eating freakin’ tasteless Styrofoam and grass of healthy eating and there is minimal progress to report. Still, there is progress which, for us, is. . .um. . .progress.

For instance, Dirtman wore socks several times in the last few weeks. This is a major accomplishment since Dirtman has been pretending the reason he goes sockless is because he’s really cool and so manly he doesn’t need them. I happen to know he wasn’t wearing them because it required bending over to reach his feet.

For the record, I always wear socks and even go so far as to have shoes that require tying. Only now my face doesn’t turn purple when I do it.

Go ahead and scoff at our puny little triumphs. We’ve embraced the fact that we’re never going to be dancing around like most of the people in commercials because they’ve “lost 120 pounds in a month!” or the cutesy-voiced bitch woman who makes me want to kick in the television: “This is a size two.”

Our moments of bitterness during those annoying commercials are nothing compared to the rage we feel about the more painful injustices of having to lose weight. And this goes beyond the fact that we can’t go to a moderately-priced restaurant and get a meal both low in fat and normal in portion size. We are from a generation that was told to clean our plates because of the starving children in India. (Have you, by the way, checked up on those kids? Doing pretty well on all our leftovers, I’d say. . .).

Marketing aside, there are things about losing weight that are just not fair.

For instance, it’s not enough to walk for 30 minutes anymore. No, now three times a week I’m supposed to do weight training. Isn’t it enough that I’m carrying me around all day? A couple of five-pound weights hardly seem like much compared to the hips I’m dragging up and down the stairs.

And why doesn’t laundry and vacuuming count?

Now – now – they tell me that there is no such thing as a negative calorie food. I was counting on eating 137 stalks of celery to prepare for a Starbucks Coffee Ice Cream binge and wasted all that time doing the math. I don’t balance my checkbook, but spent a good long time adding up how many calories it takes to bite, chew and digest each single stalk. Don’t tell me I’m not motivated.

Then there is this: I have two brothers. My brothers eat five times what I eat, order dessert and wash it all down with a Guinness. The next morning I will make them slabs of pork sausage, a couple eggs and a couple pieces of toast slathered with butter and jam. I will have yogurt.

They will gain nothing. I won’t be able to button my fat pants (you know you have them too). And they’re not even carrying me around for exercise like I am. See? Not. Fair.

Even my treadmill engages in unfair practices. It tells me the usual information like how fast and far I’m going and even lets me know how many calories I’m burning, though I think this particular feature on my machine is waaaaaay off. It also evaluates the level of exertion I’m putting into my workout. With a real strenuous workout a little light goes on next to the word “endurance.” This is only theoretical, of course, since no one who has ever been on the treadmill has seen that light go on.

The next level down is “moderate” and then down to “fat burning.” There is another light and it’s the one that goes on while I’m on the treadmill. There are no words for my level. I guess they were too polite to print the word “lame.” But I’m panting, sweating and miserable, which is how I gauge the level of my exertion. How can I not at least be “fat burning?” I’m not up there just chewing celery, ya know.

And, really, as much information as I had to put into the treadmill’s computer so it can accurately calculate the calories burned, you would think they’d have a way to compensate for leg length. My brother, who is a runner, says that I’m nitpicking, but that’s only because he can think straight because he’s allowed to eat like a person.

We are truly trying to get beyond our bitterness about having a pathetic metabolism and focus on all the wonderful things that are happening because we’re eating healthy and exercising. And, of course, this month brings Valentine’s Day when we go to our favorite restaurant and . . . oh . . .

Not. Fair.

Share  Posted by Jeanne Jackson at 2:50 PM | Permalink

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