Sunday, May 6, 2007

Like a Dude

I've written a couple times about how my father, after receiving a stern warning from his doctor about imminent diabetes, or heart disease, or at the very least an increasing inability to get up gracefully from his La-Z-Boy, basically plunked down with a bowl of cut cauliflower and broccoli as a snack and announced that he planned to lose 50 lbs. And he did. He walked on his treadmill, he followed the Mayo Diet religiously, and he looked at his old comfort foods of buttered popcorn and ice cream with such scorn it was hard to believe he ever really ate junk food in the first place. He lost 50 lbs, and a little bit more within three months I think, and even though he gained it all right back after his doctor gave him the all clear, he's very cute and smug and sits in his armchair with a smile and I KNOW he's thinking "I could get up out this chair right now and lose like eight pounds in the process, so step off about the bag of Doritos I just crammed into my mouth. Bitches, please."

I always ponder this when I'm in a diet rut because there's such a huge disparity between men and women in this. Somehow the fact that I have ovaries gives me license to ruminate over every single detail of dieting. How I FEEL when I start a diet. What I'm THINKING while I'm on it. What were my EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS when I fell off the wagon? Seriously...every day I'm on a diet is like a Lifetime Original Movie around here, and between the journaling, and the reflection, and the personal meditation, not a whole lot of actual weight loss gets done.

I always chuckle when I get comments from male bloggers after I've had a particulary Sturm und Drang-y entry because they're usually like, " if you're having trouble eating too much chocolate, maybe stop eating chocolate?" I think that's a laudable goal, but as every woman knows the fact that you can't stop eating chocolate while you're PMSing is directly linked to the fact that you got made fun of for eating a Ding Dong on the bus during a school field trip in junior high when you were a little chunky already and that you only had the Ding Dong because your mother packed it in your lunch and you always felt that your mother secretly wanted to sabotage you from being pretty because she had an inferiority complex and so that's why she made you wear unflattering glasses and a bowl cut until you were 15 and really it's all her fault and why doesn't the world understand me and my urges and I will never find a man who kisses me the way George kissed Izzy last Thursday and I'm going to be alone forever in this apartment with these cats and where in God's name did I hide that last Klondike bar...

...and scene.

Do you see? Men don't have to put up with the insane woman in their heads, and I bet normal women don't have to either. But at least I do, and I suspect there are a few other women who have to as well. And so we think, and write, and eat, and then the process starts over when the judgemental lifetime member at Weight Watchers writes down your .2 lb. loss on your tracker with pursed lips. Men just do, and I admire that about them, so I strived today to do at least some positive thinking and to get my priorities aligned and to plan ahead for the week's battle with food so I wouldn't be caught in the McDonald's drive-thru (now with 2 lanes so you can get to your massive coronary with greater expedience!) jonesing for a McGriddle on Thursday morning again.

I figured out that I really think (and maybe this is another woman thing) that I tend to swing from extreme to extreme. One week I'm at Whole Foods, buying two hundred dollars of organic vegetables, macrobiotic prepared cuisine, and super elite Colombian coffee that, like, promises to help you do calculus better or something. But since all of that stuff is hard to cook, and hard to keep in the refrigerator, I don't use it, so I end up at the Arby's, sucking down a Jamocha and hiding behind my sunglasses in secret shame. I guess it's important to realize that that kind of lifestyle is great for people who already have healthy eating habits, who've done the vegetarian/vegan thing successfully for awhile and have detoxed bodies and no cravings and who can transition into eating miso and seitan and other healthy foods with lots of vowels. For the average dieter, whose former life was probably full of high fructose corn syrup and maybe some Slim Jims thrown in for good measure, I don't really think it's THAT shameful to have to supplement a diet with weight loss junk foods. 100 Calorie Packs and WW snack cakes are obviously not going to be as beneficial in the long run as edamame and tofu salad, but if they keep you on the wagon, then I think they're just fine.

And I guess the same thing happens to me with exercise. I make exercise tables. Color coded exercise tables on Excel when I'm supposed to be planning for the edification of the young minds about to pass through my doorway. They're very fancy charts with every permutation of cardio, strength training, and flexibility you can imagine. They're divine. The only problem is, I don't use them. Evidently the effort required in creating such glorious charts makes me too exhausted to just move my lard ass in actuality. So you know what? No charts. No expectations. No depression when I don't Stick to the Chart. Again, an hour and a half of exercise a day is probably awesome for someone who's run a 5K, or even just one K, but I'm like in Remedial Fitness right now. I gotta move my body, but it doesn't need to be in profound ways yet.

So yes, the irony of writing a ginormous post about actually getting things done instead of thinknig hasn't escaped me, but at least it was productive writing and not whining writing. And at least I didn't make a grand promise I won't be able to keep tomorrow. I just want to be realistic here, and I have to thank the Male Dieters of America for helping me keep it real.


Wendy said...

I live with a man who has the vegetarian/no cravings/food with lots of vowels lifestyle down. Always has, always will. He will never understand why I can't just take out the bag of Newman's Os, eat two cookies, and put the rest away and I will never understand why he can put them away without thinking about it.

Abba said...

This post was awesome. I love reading your blog. You write very well.

It kills that your dad can do that. I wish I could do the same thing, but as you said, I am one of those women who always has to ponder about feelings, blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, I am glad you are keeping it real. Too many people just bullshit their way through.

Laura Brandon said...

Holy freaking god, I'm in love with your writing. You have great talent. It's like you've found the words I never could but you know exactly how I feel, and I keep finding more and more women who think the way I do, and just, thank you.

lukossmom said...

Erin, I have to say, you get me. Awesome post! My "Alley McBeal" head thanks you. I guess I'm not that crazy!