Friday, June 3, 2011

Chow Down

186.6 lbs. Given the birthday dinner (filet mignon, tomato with onion and bleu cheese, Brussels sprouts and key lime pie) an upward spike tomorrow is distinctly possible, but BOY, was that dinner worth it! Hoo, Doggies!

Why is it that as I’m putting it on, my nail polish looks great, but when I look again, it looks like I had a 6 year old paint it on? Annoyed sigh. I go through so much nail polish remover, it’s stupid.

Based on the wads (larger than clumps, far, far larger than clumps) of hair I saw in the showers at the gym, I’m surprised I haven’t seen more bald women walking out of the locker room. And they don’t look like weave escapees, either. One of those things is going to walk out and push someone off the treadmill. Scary, Man.

In preparing to head out to dinner tonight, I tried to get into my suit pants. I couldn’t. Not because they were too small, but they were so damned big on me, I didn’t have enough safety pins to hold the bunched fabric in place. Whee! There is such a satisfying thrill to be able to have a pair of pants (or a skirt) fall off your ass that had been too tight only months before. The suit is a size 20. I don’t know how much smaller I am (I’ll find next time I go clothes shopping, I suppose). My good blazer (hey, sometimes, you need professional grade clothing), a size 18, was way too big. This justifies the aching back (upper, mid and lower), the exhausted legs and the hours of frustration in yoga.

Beyond the numbers game I’m playing, there are other, more physical achievement landmarks I’m working towards:

Complete a Pilates roll-up

Complete 5 push-ups and translate that to a Chadaranda push-up into Cobra pose and Upward Dog

Successfully hold Tree Pose, Half Moon Pose, Grab Your Toe and Hold Out Your Leg Then Swing it to the Side Pose

Be able to shift from Downward Dog to properly aligning foot for Warrior or Crescent Pose without my belly or boobs getting in the way (there are three obstacles, the belly, the boobs (okay, maybe four obstacles) and having the flexibility to make the move in the first place

Be able to hold Plank Pose without modification (my shoulders get tired)

Complete an hour on the Rotating Staircase of Death (if one’s available tomorrow, I may give it a shot)

Advance to intermediate then Advanced levels in Pilates (requires much stronger core muscles)

Be able to get into and out of the Fila Tone Up top without it feeling like Houdini’s last, unsuccessful escape (the one that killed him, in case you were wondering)

With leg folded up behind, be able to directly grab my ankle rather than snatch a handful of workout pants and work my way to it

Be able to run for at least 5 minutes on the treadmill

And achieve lasting peace in the Middle East

One of these is improbable at best and I know you can pick out which one: Running is probably going to be one of the last ones to fall. Among other things, my right knee, generally a well-behaved joint not given to throwing tantrums or making a scene, has begun to clear its throat, so to speak, when asked to run for more than a minute and a half. Elliptical? No problem: the right foot isn’t continually hitting a surface and transferring the shock up the leg (so long as the foot stays on the pedal).

I will say, one day last week, I managed to get a few long strides in on the treadmill and for a few seconds, I actually reconnected to the wonderful feeling of running full out that I’d had at 10 years old. I’m not looking to run a marathon (no need to prove nuttin’ to nobody), but it would be nice to maybe contemplate a 10k or 5k. Or to outrun all of my screaming fans and the paparazzi. I could have screaming fans. “The Secret” says I can have, be and do anything I want.

The US Department of Agriculture has revamped its eating guidelines again. Where we started with a cube, then went to a pyramid (the percentages of which kept shifting), we now have My Plate:

Because we’re too dumb to understand the other systems. They need to come up with a separate diagram for models consisting of cigarettes, Red Bull and Tic Tacs with a trash can off to one side for purging.

The USDA has created these guidelines to suggest the proportions in which we should be eating various food groups. On the surface, it appears that a department within the Executive Branch of the US Government is trying to help us be healthier.  They keep an eye on the American food system to make sure We the People get clean, safe food.

The USDA has other purposes, too. Namely, PROMOTING AMERICAN AGRICULTURE. This means getting people to buy American agricultural products. Food. They want us to buy and consume more food.

Here’s a dirty little secret about the food cube/pyramid/plate/Mobius strip: it comes with an agenda. Lobbyists for the various aspects of American agriculture, like the Egg Board, Dairy Council, Archer Daniels Midland and ConAgra have a say in what ends up in the final diagram and how much of THEIR clients’ product is represented. This not terribly helpful in a nation that is, figuratively, sitting back and scratching its privates wondering how the hell it got so fat. Humans haven’t evolved so much in 40 years that our nutritional needs have changed. The tweaks are to sell more food.

Eat a rainbow: tomatoes, sweet potatoes,  Swiss chard (sautéed with garlic and a dash of vinegar), blueberries, citrus, strawberries, green beans, peas, zucchini (you may have my share) and apples, for examples.

Eat reasonable amounts of food: Claim Jumper is great, but you could feed a Ukrainian village for a week on the calories in one entrée salad. Plan to share your meal, doggie bag it or run a marathon after leaving the table.

Choose your calories wisely: this is fuel and cellular repair and cleaning services on the hoof. Soda, Twinkies, Twizzlers and Doritos just can’t do the job. You need vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, certain fats and sugars to make the machinery run. Lettuce on a Whopper doesn’t count: iceberg lettuce has been so overbred that you get more nutrition from eating a dinner napkin. And contrary to what the Reagan Administration said, ketchup is not a vegetable. (Their agenda? Big cuts in food stamps and school lunch programs.) Think of achieving the appropriate balance within a reasonable caloric intake as a game of Tetris: defined space, you’ve got to make them all fit and you want them to give back some benefit. Empty calories take up space and give back nothing. Actually, that’s not true; they give back heartburn, flab, tooth decay and zits. Lots of zits.

So, I’m not getting excited over this latest piece of “guidance” from Washington. Just remember: this is a consumer-driven economy and someone is always (always) trying to sell you something.

Since I need to start financing a new wardrobe (Yea), I have this bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you…

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