Around the middle of February, I decided there was a damn good reason that getting to the gym required approximately the same motivation as a nude crawl through — well, through the mile or so of depressing suburban landscape between it and my house. We’re always being admonished to listen to our bodies, and my body was making it quite clear that it wished to indulge its inner bear and hibernate the rest of winter.
Plus, I had this book project that was blotting out the sun, and so. You know what happened next.
The book is down to the last details, leaving the house is no longer a trial, the light is kind and plentiful and I am, predictably, flabbed out again. This time, I need to combine the usual strategy of regular exercise and sensible eating with something more drastic — I’m going low-carb, pals. Send search parties if I’m not back in a week.
I likely will be. I’ve tried Dr. Atkins’ whack diet in the past, and it’s always worked the same way: By day three, I’m hallucinating about potatoes. By day five, I’d pay $500 for a single slice of toast. After a week, it’s all over. But — listen to this rationalization — those have always been with the zero-carb plan, and this time around — listen to this, it’s pure bullshit — things will be different! I’m just trying to stay under 30 grams a day. Tough, but doable.
This morning was a good omen: The cheese omelet folded together so beautifully, it looked like a picture from a magazine. My omelets tend to be tasty, but messy, because I overfill them. I threw in as much cheese as I felt like eating, and it was a perfect little envelope of melty deliciousness.
But we shall see. There’s no doubt low-carb diets work. The problem is, they’re hard to sustain, especially if you like food. Who doesn’t like food? Atkins people, who can go on and on about bacon, but recoil in terror at a roasted sweet potato. I love cauliflower, but show me a person who’s satisfied with a cauliflower vichyssoise and I’ll show you someone who is profoundly missing the point of dinner.
I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, going back to the gym feels good-bad. Bad in the inevitable soreness, good in the reassertion of muscle, that which can be felt through all the fat, that is. After two weeks, my low-grade back pain is gone, and even my knees feel better after all those squats. I’ve come to believe that the world would be a better, less cranky place if every home contained a well-used Pilates reformer. When I started mat Pilates classes last year, someone said here they are a revelation, and that is Word, friends. If you’re long of torso like me, I beseech you to give them a try. So does your back.
And that makes approximately 500 words of the most boring subject matter on the planet, and that’s all I will inflict upon you. I just want it on the record somewhere: I’m trying.
It seems I’m overdue for a few words about “Treme,” and they are coming. It’s traditional for HBO to give TV critics four episodes of its shows before they write a review, and that’s what I’m giving myself before committing, but so far: I am digging it. It would be a surprise at this point if I didn’t: Like all good white people with New Yorker subscriptions, I’m a David Simon fan. Anyone interested in looking at the problems of American cities, fairly but passionately, is someone I’m willing to cut a lot of slack. And what happened to New Orleans in 2005 is, it became Detroit more or less over the course of a few days — depopulated, blighted, dysfunctional, but with the same can’t-kill-it pulse. I’m interested to see where it’s going.
And how can you not love a show with snappy dialogue like this?
I brought beignets!
Who you fuckin’?
So, bloggage? Some:
oil spill vile mat of flame in the Gulf of Mexico? Boy, I miss the ’90s. Life was simpler then.
As shallow and simple as my brain is in the morning, of course I’m going to read any story with a headline that asks, Why does this pair of pants cost $550? (The photo was of a male model is distinctly run-of-the-mill khakis.) But when they can get this line above the jump —
“The cost of creating those things has nothing to do with the price,” said David A. Aaker, the vice chairman of Prophet, a brand consulting firm. “It is all about who else is wearing them, who designed them and who is selling them.”
— that’s how I spell WIN.
And now I’m off. Enjoy the end of the week.
Jason T. said on April 29, 2010 at 9:56 am
John Cole suggests the Louisiana oil spill is liable to have substantially worse effects than the Exxon Valdez disaster.
I am foolishly hoping that a catastrophe like this one will point out just one of the fallacies of “drill, baby, drill!” as an energy policy.
crinoidgirl said on April 29, 2010 at 9:59 am
Nice coincidence. I, too, have been chained to the computer by book-writing and -editing demands. I, too, am profoundly flabbed out. Besides taking up walking again, I’m going back to my old mainstay, the Paleo Diet. Another sort of low-carb way of eating, it seems to suit my body type and temperament. Your mileage may vary, though.
Joe Kobiela said on April 29, 2010 at 10:22 am
Diets don’t work,life style changes do. There are no magic pills, the only way to lose weight is to burn more calories then you take in, it sucks I know. Eat less excersise more. On a nother note I noticed that the plane they are flying out in the gulf to spray the oil slick is a old dc-3 all the modern stuff and they are still using a 1937 designed airplane. The joke is when the last 747 is flown to the desert bone yard, the crew will fly home in a dc-3.
coozledad said on April 29, 2010 at 10:22 am
The Pilates reformer sounds interesting. I’ve tried to find free plans for one on the web, but no luck.
I don’t know if It would help my specific weight problem anyway. I’m comfortable with my weight, but my head has gotten fat. Sort of olive-shaped.
Julie Robinson said on April 29, 2010 at 10:23 am
The oil spill news gets worse by the hour: first a second leak has been detected, and now, whoops, it’s actually leaking 210,000 gallons A DAY. What a horrible price we have inflicted on our mother earth.
Anyone who goes on Atkins needs to look at their gene pool first. Almost everyone in my family has gout, and a high protein diet is begging for an attack. But I wish you well and completely understand; my body also wants to hibernate in the winter. I have lost 58 pounds but all winter the last two went on and off, despite healthy eating and exercise. I just couldn’t get the metabolism humming.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 29, 2010 at 10:24 am
Is the upper lip tattoo like permanent eyeliner or eyebrow, filling out what nature leaves sparse or wan? Or am I mistaken in thinking that is normally accented and/or covered with a mustache?
This is where the whole tribal look is pushing me in my official interactions, making me want to say to younger folk “Are you really that certain you never want to move from your current socioeconomic status, ever?” Yes, I know, it’s no doubt driven by a sense that social mobility is harder these days, at least upwards, and there have always been folk who were committed from the start to staying in their underclass niche, but the sheer numbers of teens who are getting a mjor jump on high neck tats, ornate gothic designs down the wrist onto hands and fingers, and piercings that look like they’re not gonna grow back too readily after removal — it’s a lockdown, self imposed, that feels so rooted in despair and hopelessness about the future.
Or, I’m about to turn 50. Could be that. But I really want to say “stop now, slow down, give your future a few more years to develop before you shut those doors ahead of you.”
Julie Robinson said on April 29, 2010 at 10:34 am
Jeff, cranky oldster me agrees with you. But many of my kids’ friends have extensive piercings and tattoos and I’ve been taught acceptance. Maybe you are only seeing those in the justice system? And perhaps when their generation takes over it won’t matter at all. I don’t personally care for the look but I have learned to look past it.
Dorothy said on April 29, 2010 at 10:34 am
So if you get arrested for driving with a suspended license, they glue a piece of cardboard to your forehead and cut the corners out diagonally because…..?? (Picture #12 at the smoking gun link you shared)
MichaelG said on April 29, 2010 at 10:37 am
I kinda like the kiss marks tattooed on his cheek and neck.
Next time you’re in Milano, check out the Via della Spiga. The store windows there are full of 500E tee shirts and 1000E pants. There’s even a boutique deli with designer pasta for many many Euros per kilo. I forget the exact prices but they’re eye watering. I have pix at home. It’s a lot of fun to window shop, though.
4dbirds said on April 29, 2010 at 11:11 am
Joe K, you and I agree. It’s a matter of calories in and energy burned. I got yelled at last time I said that in comments. I’ve been fat and I’ve been thin and to be thin you have to be hungry. If you think you’re eating 1500 calories a day and you’re not losing, you’re not exercising and/or you’re not weighing your food.
Jen said on April 29, 2010 at 11:45 am
I have a sedentary job (newspaper) and sedentary hobbies (writing, reading, watching TV), but the exercise is going to get ramped up here because our insurance is offering a discount if you exercise 30 minutes a day five days a week. Gotta strap on the walking shoes! I’ve also been trying to do more fruits and vegetables, and eat less.
Sadly, my dad and 4dbirds are right – it’s eat less, exercise more, period. In addition, those fad diets a lot of times end up screwing up your metabolism, to the point that when you go off them, you end up fatter than you were before you started it, and it gets progressively harder to lose the weight.
Deborah said on April 29, 2010 at 12:20 pm
Nancy, once again you’ve managed to make me laugh out loud at work. Never feel like you’re inflicting anything on us, I’m sure you could make watching grass grow feel like the most exciting thing in the world by your description of it.
alice said on April 29, 2010 at 12:20 pm
To quote an audience member from a long-ago Jerry Springer episode, “You’re gonna go far in life with that tattoo on your forehead, dude.”
msmeta said on April 29, 2010 at 12:42 pm
We make a damn good Atkins “potato” salad at our house. Substitute cooked chilled cauliflower for the potatoes. Works for us.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 29, 2010 at 12:42 pm
Julie, I’m working on visualizing “perhaps when their generation takes over it won’t matter at all.” I think that’s it, but I worry for them along the way anyhow. Job opportunities lost, etc. But then neck tattoo guy goes to final ten on Idol, and I think exactly what you just said.
When it gets really weird and tense, between mediations, I close the office door, shove the other chair to the wall, and do 20 sit-ups, 20 pushups. It’s better than a little bottle of ephedra or whatever that ghastly stuff is they sell by the register on the corner for a pick-me-up (and knock-you-down-later).
crinoidgirl said on April 29, 2010 at 12:55 pm
That’s the sanest version of handling tension that I’ve heard of.
And as far as diet/exercise goes, I find what works best for ME and my metabolism is long, slow exercise, paired with eating low on the glycemic index. Again, ymmv, and I don’t think it’s useful to propose one solution for everyone.
Rana said on April 29, 2010 at 1:04 pm
The problem with the eat less/exercise more advice is that it sounds simple but there are lots of variables. Like genetics. I take no credit for my shape, because it has been stable since my 20s, regardless of what I was eating or what level of exercise I was doing. I remember reading about “set points” – that there’s a weight your body will tend to fluctuate around, and trying to push it more than 5-10 pounds lighter or heavier will be a struggle. (I keep waiting for the peasant genes to kick in in my 50s, though.)
That said, I think eating healthy, tasty food in moderation and getting out and doing active things is a good idea, for those physically and financially able to do it. I certainly know that my mood and stamina improve under those circumstances, even if my shape does not.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 29, 2010 at 1:23 pm
Dorothy, #12 has a gauze pad from the paramedics taped to her forehead, probably from being held facedown on the street while being cuffed — nose, chin, & forehead abrasions are not uncommon in that situation, especially with somewhat impaired suspects.
Our entire office is “enjoying” that link, btw, working up back stories for each that probably aren’t as colorful as the actuality behind them.
Bob (not Greene) said on April 29, 2010 at 1:24 pm
I’m also with Pilot Joe. You know and I know the only thing that is going to really make a difference is a lifestyle change. Trouble is, I approach changing my lifestyle as if it were 1,000 pounds of weight I have to lift, so I don’t do it, or I start and stop. The results have been predictable. And it just gets harder to make the commitment every day I get closer to 50. But at least I’m not kidding myself. I know what it’s going to take. I just don’t do it. Hey, sounds like a slogan!
brian stouder said on April 29, 2010 at 1:28 pm
Further to the question “Why does this pair of pants cost $550?”
the annual Vera Bradley-palooza is going this weekend. I don’t fully understand it, except that it’s tied to breast cancer awareness, plus clearance of last year’s styles(?) (all Vera Bradley looks alike, no?) -and it is a HUGE draw!
People descend onto the displayed merchandise(VB takes over the local sporting arena/exhibition hall, aka The Allen County War Memoral Coliseum) many of whom sleep in line all night to get into the door first thing when it opens, and buy all they can (theres a $2500 limit) and then ebay it at a profit!
I suppose it’s win-win; certainly a ‘happening’ anymore.
As for ebay and me, I will say that I bought a bizarre little James Bond doll at an auciton in Columbis, Ohio two years ago. It went for $3 (how far wrong can you go?) and has a little firearm, and a little bottle of Smirnoff, and a martini shaker; and he’s wearing a tux (it’s Sean Connery/Dr No)
Pam put it on ebay for me day before yesterday, with a starting price of $19.99 – and the bid is now at $52.
I don’t understand it, but I’ll take it
Julie Robinson said on April 29, 2010 at 1:52 pm
And, Brian you cannot get a hotel room anywhere in town until the VB sale is over. The frenzy is on.
crinoidgirl said on April 29, 2010 at 1:56 pm
Oh, goodness. Have finally gotten a foot in the door at a technical writing/training shop around here. Was deadheading the daffodils when they called, apparently. It looks like I might be back on the road to full employment. YAY!
Linda said on April 29, 2010 at 1:57 pm
I did the “lifestyle change” (read: Weight Watchers) and dropped 100 lbs. Of course, it means I eat a lot less, keep close track of my food, and work out regularly, even when I hate it. It’s been 3 years, and it’s still off. Because at my age, it’s easier to keep off than to take off again.
crinoidgirl said on April 29, 2010 at 1:57 pm
Will also second Rana’s comment re:variables. I hate to keep saying this (no I don’t, since I was a Ford engineer), but your mileage may vary. It’s hard to work around my Eastern European peasant genes.
Jolene said on April 29, 2010 at 2:00 pm
In his online chats, Gene Weingarten occasionally includes a feature called something like, “Mug Shots: No Further Evidence Needed”. That might not be quite right, but the idea is that the picture is evidence enough that the person has been living outside the law. He’s had some real doozies, but none with such elaborate ink.
I’m glad I don’t have any teen-aged or twenty-something children. I just don’t know if I could adjust to major tattoos and piercing. If I wouldn’t now want to wear the clothes I wore when I was twenty, why would I want the same body art?
Jen said on April 29, 2010 at 2:32 pm
Rana, that’s true. My sister eats pretty well and exercises a ton, and she still is no skinny-mini. Not her fault – just the way she’s built. However, she’s healthy and happy, which is what it’s really about. When it becomes all about the number on the scale, you’re sunk – you’ll never truly be happy.
LAMary said on April 29, 2010 at 2:36 pm
I saw a rerun of What Not to Wear last week and they were dissing a woman’s extensive VB collection. Tossed the whole thing in the trash. She also had a lot of holiday sweaters which got jettisoned.
Rana said on April 29, 2010 at 2:43 pm
I do have one VB thing in my house – a bunch of placemats (what can I say – it was on sale and the tiny owls were cute) – but, yeah. I find the whole limited-edition-collector thing weird, and the VB variant is generally too fussy for me.
I remember that episode, LAMary! That’s one of our go-to shows on Fridays when we’re feeling brain dead and just want tv on in the background.
Jean S said on April 29, 2010 at 2:51 pm
VB is so very very Southern (at least in my eyes). Sadly, it’s fugly Southern. Ah well, one more bit of evidence that I’m out of step w/much of the mainstream.
I can’t do the true low/no carb motif. It. Makes. Me. Crazy. I can hear my brain yelling, “I NEED GLUCOSE!!”
Joe Kobiela said on April 29, 2010 at 3:01 pm
Sombody must be buying that vb stuff, you ought to see the owners lake cottage up on lake Gage.
Dorothy said on April 29, 2010 at 3:45 pm
I can’t stand the VB stuff. My head hurts when I look at it.
I guessed the explanation was something like that, Jeff (TMMO). I was aiming for sarcasm.
Deborah said on April 29, 2010 at 3:49 pm
Never heard of Vera Bradley. But that’s probably because I wear a lot of black.
I’m a slave to the scale, I’m sorry to say, it’s an obsession. I weigh myself every morning and boy does it fluctuate. I always gain 10 lbs during the winter, then start walking more and lose it by mid summer. I have winter jeans and summer jeans, that’s the way it goes. I hate going to the gym, so I’m not a member, it doesn’t motivate me. Walking is my main form of exercise. Right now I’m trying to do 6 miles a day, it’s a 3 mile round trip from my place to work and back. I go home at lunch time now so it’s two 3 mile trips a day. On weekends I try to walk 15 miles total, not always possible but it’s a goal. I used to be a skinny kid, could eat anything, but those days are gone. Exercise helps me sleep (always an ordeal) and makes me feel better overall.
deb said on April 29, 2010 at 4:04 pm
nance, julie…i’ve been struggling with weight ever since turning 50 and hitting menopause at about the same time. weight watchers—a slam dunk for weight loss my entire adult life—no longer did squat, nor did counting calories. what IS working is kinda carb-cycling thing found in wendy chant’s book “break the fat-loss code.” you still eat carbs, just not all the time; too complicated to explain here, but it involves lots of lean protein, “clean starches” and, most days, no carbs after 3 p.m. but most weeks have carb-up days where you can have alcohol and eat pizza, chips and other junk. i’m wearing clothes i haven’t been able to squeeze into in five years. the program’s not all that hard—and i’m not even exercising.
Julie Robinson said on April 29, 2010 at 4:41 pm
Ouch. I like Vera Bradley AND holiday sweaters, but I have decided VB is too expensive, even at the outlet sale prices. I also don’t care what anyone else thinks of what I’m wearing. If I’m happy with it, them I’m happy, and if my husband likes it too it’s a bonus.
LAMary said on April 29, 2010 at 5:09 pm
What Not to Wear is a good brain dead show but I haven’t seen a really new episode in a while. Any of the Real Housewives shows are good brain dead stuff, but you can’t let yourself either take sides in the feuds the producers seem to encourage or feel like a genius in comparison to the housewives. Ok, they’re all shallow and trashy, but they have made a profession of it.
My oldest son and his girlfriend enjoy the Housewives as well. We got a little fixated on the lame background music Bravo uses on all the housewives shows, so my son took out his handy IPod Touch and using the Cat Piano App, provided the background music for the rest of the episode. It definitely was exactly what was needed.
Sue said on April 29, 2010 at 5:18 pm
A family crisis is good for a quick ten pounds. A sustained family crisis will slim you down to nothing in no time.
Not that I’m recommending it.
Little Bird said on April 29, 2010 at 5:20 pm
Deborah, you HAVE seen the Vera Bradley stuff! It’s all over the window at that place next to your favorite coffee joint. And don’t try to fool the nice people here, you are STILL thin!
basset said on April 29, 2010 at 5:27 pm
I have had periods of gym participation, sometimes lasting several months, but godawful music and sports tv at shattering volume and the fact that everyone in the room is way ahead of me eventually wears me down and I give up for a few months, or years.
played basketball into my forties, till I tore up the same knee twice, so that’s out… along with running, which I have always approached as a task to be endured. I cannot understand why anyone would run just for the pleasure of it.
biking… no, I don’t want to hear “outa the way, fatass” from any more packs of spandexed idiots.
there used to be fun things I could do for exercise. not any more. well, maybe walk a little, not enough sweating and suffering for that to be effective conditioning though.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 29, 2010 at 5:31 pm
Dorothy, what is this sarcasm thing of which you speak?
Crinoidgirl, congrats. Thou art blessed!
Julie Robinson said on April 29, 2010 at 5:38 pm
Sue, for me a family crisis triggers stress eating, also known as what-good-is-a-pity-party-without-refreshments. Of course I can look back to childhood to see how I learned that, but at 53, that excuse no longer holds water.
crinoidgirl said on April 29, 2010 at 11:58 pm
Up way too late, but I would like to say that at 53, with a bad knee, walking seems to be good for me. Screw running. And (paleo interject), remember that we were built for long distance walking, with the occasional short running burst. Running is not happening here. 😛
And, thank you Jeff (tmmo).
Denice B. said on April 30, 2010 at 12:16 am
Rush says left wing environmental crazies bombed the oil platform just to make a point. That fat bastard! And his mindless minions are all too willing to believe…
Hattie said on April 30, 2010 at 4:45 am
Watch the weight watching. I’m 70 and I don’t want to end up looking like a defrosted chicken like a lot of my friends who are always running around avoiding food.
At a certain age, thin turns to gaunt.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 30, 2010 at 8:35 am
Well, here’s an amazing satellite view of the Louisiana oil spill – as for El Rushbo, he’s overheated as usual, but the President’s “SWAT teams to each platform” statement was a little surprising yesterday afternoon. Between Middle Eastern interests or possible monkey wrenching gone awry the day before Earth Day, apparently the White House thinks it’s a factor to consider — SWAT teams don’t do investigations.
brian stouder said on April 30, 2010 at 9:19 am
Jeff, when I heard the president use the term “SWAT team”, it caught my ear, too. SWAT to me means that cheesey tv show from 30-odd years ago (special weapons and tactics), and/or my town’s ill-starred experiment with such things.
But then there’s this use of the term “SWAT”, which I honestly don’t get
jcburns said on April 30, 2010 at 10:51 am
I just hope they deploy those oil eating micro-bees to the gulf. (This is an obscure reference to what we heard out of a teleprompter-misreading Fort Wayne news anchor’s mouth during a visit to the blogmistress many years ago.)
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 30, 2010 at 11:15 am
JC, I needed a laugh — going camping for the weekend, and will look out for micro-bees. Could be helpful, could be hazardous . . .
Brendan said on May 1, 2010 at 6:25 am
On your soreness, I am a big advocate of Vitamin D supplements. Give it a whirl. Try to workout every day – if even just for 20 minutes. Slow and steady…