In the history of the world, men were built lean for speed to hunt the Wooly Mammoths and bring them home for dinner while women were created with extra fat to nurse the young. However, now that we can buy our meat in the freezer section of the supermarket, I think it’s time to change the rules. For once I wish I could enjoy my husband’s metabolism so I could park it in front of the TV, eat a pint of ice cream, a bag of potato chips, and some big hunkin’ chocolate chip cookies and not worry that it will reappear in the form of cellulite on my thighs the next day.
Sadly, though, I’m not built for hunting Wooly Mammoths, so I have to watch what I eat. But around this time of year, my best laid plans for monitoring my junk food intake go completely and totally off the rails.
It all starts around Halloween, when the trick or treaters slow to a trickle and I still have two bags of Snickers bars left in the bin.
“Throw it out,” says my husband, “or you’ll eat it.”
Unfortunately my mother taught me to never waste food. And so by mid-November I am cursing the scale as empty Snickers' wrappers taunt me from the recycle bin.
For a week I swear to lay off the junk and maybe even actually go back to the gym. But invariably I get depressed because the kick-boxing instructor who is seven months pregnant is in considerably better shape than I am, and I go home and fall off the wagon.
Then comes Thanksgiving. Did I mention how much I love pecan pie?
And then before you can say “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” I am besieged by Christmas cookies, candy canes, and ginger bread houses… parties, dinners and informal gatherings… and before I know it…
BAMMMMM! I’m twenty pounds heavier.
It’s not a surprise. I even have a name for it. I call it “Holiday Hippo Syndrome.”
Eventually New Years rolls around (and I don’t use that word “rolls” lightly). The kids go back to school and I swear to go back to the gym and start drinking diet shakes for breakfast and lunch, and then have a sensible dinner.
All my friends are on board. It helps to have support. Besides, misery loves company.
“Ugh. I’m huge,” says one friend the night before. “I have to go on a diet.”
“Me, too,” I say. “I want to lose twenty pounds by the summer. That’s reasonable, right?” Oh, how I long for the days before ultra-low rise jeans which really should not be worn by anyone over the age of seventeen or plumbers.
So my friends and I gather for coffee the next day to catch up on what we ate, I mean, what we did over the holidays. I’m dressed in my slobbiest workout gear. The gym is literally half a mile down the road from the coffee shop.
As we order our decafs, the smell of fresh made bagels, eggs frying and bacon sizzling wafts over the counter.
We can barely look at each other as we add bagels with cream cheese to our orders.
“I’ll go back to the gym tomorrow,” I say sheepishly to my partners in crime.
They nod in agreement and we all smile knowingly.
There’s always next year.