The Great Battle

June 10, 2011

Things I find it nearly impossible to do while in a relationship:

1.)    Lose any significant amount of weight. Not a few pounds here or there, but significant weight.

2.)    Well…no, that’s really about it. Truly. It is a crazy phenomenon brought on by a number of things, and after talking to many others about this, I’ve found it isn’t singular to me. Not nearly.

3.)    Yeah, no seriously—just that.

Now, there are a number of factors that go into this phenomenon. Because when single, despite certain genetic—oh, we’ll call them “gifts,” but they will refer to things like curves—I find I tend to lose weight pretty easily by tweaking any number of behaviors. When I’m putting even moderate amounts of effort and/or money into it. Not that I wish to get rid of my curves, mind you, gentle reader. I usually quite like them, and I think they’re highly undervalued in this society’s media. (Curves in general, not mine in specific. Actually, you know what? Fuck. Mine in specific. YOU WILL APPRECIATE MY CURVES, AND YOU WILL LIKE IT!) But my healthier ideal weight is probably around the one I lied about on my driver’s license, so I’d at least like to get to that place.

But when I’m single, I have more money and effort to put into keeping a certain weight.

And aside from having effort and money to put into losing weight when single, I also find that I just lose some weight in general as a singleton, even without the added effort. This is because when I’m bored or anxious/tripping on the paranoia one can only achieve while living alone and realizing that having not left your apartment all Sunday means you haven’t actually heard the sound of anyone’s voice—not even your own—for over 24 hours, I tend to spend all my free time walking. I do love walking to alleviate unpleasantness. It’s so cathartic.

For example, my anxiety and paranoia while single might manifest like so: “Dear god—I haven’t had sex in two months. TWO MONTHS! Wow. Like, I don’t even really miss it…I just didn’t notice. Oh my god, come to think of it, I read once that there’s a pheromone you emit when you’ve been having sex regularly that attracts the opposite sex. Can they smell my sexual inactivity? Is my singleness repelling people??!”  (Said in my apartment alone, talking to my plants.)

And a walk—ooo, a walk just takes all the nasty craziness away and replaces it with sanity and clarity of thought. Like, “Ahhh. Much better now. Frightening paranoia has ended; I’ll just suck on these juicy beta endorphins for the next hour and go sweetly to sleep.” It just clears the air. A walk is like the Glade air freshener of my fetid psychological miasma. That’s poetry. I may stitch that on a pillow.

Only, since being in a relationship, when I’m feeling anxious, there is another sentient being in the apartment at most times who tends to quell the emotional baddies much better than my plants ever did (who still have yet to put a nice arm around me when I’m sad. So, you know what? I quit watering them. Yeah, screw you, you heartless bastards). And when I’m bored while in a relationship, my sig’ o’ and I just do something or watch something together. I’m not complaining; it’s lovely. I just now have no motivation to go walk out of general malaise until I’m too tired to remember what was bugging me. And that seems to rule out just losing weight without really trying.

In in a relationship, there never seems to be enough of anything to accomplish significant weight loss when I am really trying: free time, money, superfluous energy, etc. Even when I feel like I’m putting lots of energy and focus into it, it does not happen. And it’s so irritating; I eat sensibly. My portions aren’t large; I almost never like fried foods or things in butter; the only meats I usually eat are chicken, turkey, or fish—again, not in butter or fried; I seldom go back for seconds; I don’t often fancy dessert; I like vegetables and healthier options generally whenever possible; and I’ve cut out copious amounts of drinking. Hello, body. I’m torturing you with sensible, healthy eating—you’d think you’d shape up.

But I think I’ve boiled it down to a fair number of reasons.

1.)

First, age. I was 24 when I got into my current relationship; I am 27 today. Now, I’m not exactly a card-carrying member of the local gomer club (despite a rather misleading name for my blog), but I’m no spring chicken anymore either. Maybe like a summer chicken. And I’m thinking my body has decided to prepare me for the joys of bearing children and carrying them on my hips whether I make the active decision to procreate right now or not. Much like happens with chickens’ bodies in the summer! True story…

And I’ve come to this conclusion because, most specifically, it used to be easier to lose weight in certain areas of my frame than it is now. Ergo, I’m going to go ahead and say age is one of the villains of this piece.

2.)

Things can’t get any freakin’ better!

Secondly, happiness. It is damned difficult to worry about fighting myself with health food and annoyingly long hours of exercise when I’m too happy to notice. Not that I disliked myself when I was single, by any means. I was just more honed in to the task at hand, you see. The battle with my instincts of “tastes good = is good” and “feeling of laziness = well-deserved sleep,” if you will. I was a warrior in the body fight. And now I’m all, “Tra la la…whatever. Sugar bomb? Meh. I could really go for an orange pop…” I’m all sleeping in on weekend mornings rather than going out for a walk because the bed is such a nicer place to be with my partner there. Damn this insufferable, infernal contentment! What is it getting me?

3.)

Thirdly, I do not live in the constant fear of never having sex again. Say what you will about this statement, but that panic button for me and many others is a big, shiny, red one. It will make you do things you have absolutely no desire to do (when being totally honest with yourself)—things like going out at all hours of the night to packed bars booming with music so loud that you nightly lose your voice just trying to ask the name of the random sweaty person whose hand has been on your ass for the last half hour rather than just staying home with a hot toddy and a decent, quieter, more satisfying form of entertainment. Or suffering through torturous first date dinners with people you wouldn’t want to talk to if they were the only person who spoke English in a 1000-mile radius. Or regular small talk. Or going to comedy clubs for amateur night. Or, I don’t know, jogging. Point made.

4.)

An actual shot in my kitchen last week.

Next, I spend most free time I do have (which is precious little, let me tell you, and that is no understatement) doing relationshippy or couply things rather than at the gym. If I do get a night free, it’s so much nicer spending it at home with the darling male companion. So that’s how I spend most of my free time. And again, “most of my free time” is a small percentage of an already small percentage of my composite time, so have perspective. (I work a full-time job, do freelance work, commute 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, go to meetings and appointments most evenings, and see people constantly.) Also, see “not living in the constant fear of never having sex again.” This fear would trump wanting to spend free time at home if it were a certain reality, but it is not.

5.)

Cakes!

And finally, cooking for two. It has always been really easy for me to lose weight when cooking for just myself because I’m willing to eat some remarkably unenjoyable things. When I was single, since I don’t care about meals terribly much, I would often just make sure I was hitting certain food groups and stayed below a certain calorie/fat content amount. And then I’d eat what I’d made, regardless of whether any of it went together. It wasn’t about the pleasantness of the experience. It was about having fuel, and …doing math, and …eating nearly indigestibly healthy, tasteless things. But now that I cook for two (we have a nice system where I do all the cooking, he does all the dishes), I cook entirely differently.

It’s not that he’s picky; he’s said numerous times he’ll eat whatever I cook. And let’s just all pause now and appreciate a good’un when we see one. He’s a good’un.

But even though he assures me he’s not picky, I don’t want to inflict bad meals upon him. I prefer to give him a nice, balanced meal (taste-wise as much as health-wise). No, I don’t know why. I just do. So I cook things we both want to eat, which immediately ups the starch intake, at least. It also puts more meat where I normally wouldn’t put it, since he works on his feet all day, and I feel he should have a good intake of protein. I still cook things without putting them in butter and have other healthy cooking habits thoroughly ingrained. Still.

But furthermore, healthy food is often fresh food, which as you probably know is pretty damned costly. Health food generally does not consist of things that come out of boxes and cans. And therefore, making meals of healthy food for two people is even more expensive than…well, than making healthy food for one. Which is already fucking expensive! So in order to cut costs, we eat more things like pasta. More bread. More rice. These carbs add up, don’t ya know.

So, despite my continual work to overcome these obstacles, so far, aside from the small weight losses here or there, my efforts to lose significant weight have been fruitless as of late. Similar stories from many, many of the shacked-up people I’ve talked to. Damn. And combined with back problems I’ve had over the last two years that make it difficult for me to do any workout more athletic than walking, I think it might just be one of those things that will continue to plague me for quite awhile.

As will my plants not responding to me.

Heartless.

Save

“The drug of the day.”

I will be upfront and say that which is no surprise to anyone who spends time with me: I have an overactive mind and a really wild and hairy imagination. It’s true. And while encouraging parents will want to applaud this in you as a child, telling you it’s a gift, that you’re creative, that you’re special, I find that the only benefit I tend to get out of it is the ability to stare at a wall or out a window for hours on end without ever getting bored or running out of things to think about and elaborate on. (And yes, Anal Retentive Annie, I realize I ended both those phrases with prepositions. It sounded funny the other way.) On the other hand, I find it hard to shut up. Or to shut it down. And the mean reds tend to come all at once and out of nowhere, and can spend plenty of time turning my imagination into a nightmarish playground. It’s cute. Really.

This has led me to ongoing past attempts to either find things to shut all the over-activity up or to ride it like a wave. Alcohol was a steady fallback, for sure, for a grand old 6 years or so. Barbiturates, cigarettes, holy Christ—caffeine in amounts that made my ears ring, and some glittering, sparkling other things I’ve tried that swirled around in my head, attempting to fix it, stall it, or calm it down.

After years of desperately seeking a new drug of sorts—something that revs me up when I want revving up and calms me down when I want to rest, I have abandoned my former remedies nearly altogether (with the exception of a can of pop here, a glass of wine there). They usually never achieved the desired effect, as they all have undesired consequences. Alcohol—hangover; pills—grogginess and necessity of prescription; caffeine—crash. I tried other things too—walking five miles home from work in the evenings, electrolytes, cleansing fasts, altering my meal habits, etc. All were “eh.”

I seem to have recently discovered my new drug. The one I take which wakes me up, puts me in a phenomenal mood all day long, knocks me out at a reasonable hour, gives me tremendous energy, costs no calories, has no negative after-consequence, and doesn’t make me binge on sugar. And that is working out in the morning. Why it makes a difference to work out in the morning, I’m not sure. Some metabolism thing? Dunno. All I know is that working out in the afternoon or evening is….just working out in the afternoon or evening. Working out in the morning is the freaking answer to what we’re doing on Earth or something. Because, just, wow.

How have I never discovered it? I used to think those people who work out in the morning are total wack jobs. Truly sick individuals who must have nothing better to do. But really. Rather than doing it at the end of the day when I’m ridiculously tired, I do it before work. And I LOVE it. It’s like some mystical force I can’t explain. You know how the perfect cocktail just hits all the right places as it goes down? This is that cocktail.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s a pain in the ass. But I love that the energy lasts all day; I love that I can sleep at night; I love the positive framework into which everything seems to fit afterward. Fuck. What have I been doing with my mornings prior? Sleeping? Ahahahaha!


And I’m not one of those obnoxious individuals who will walk around in track clothes or talk freakishly wide-eyed to other people about the gym or my workout habits. Really, it’s not an interesting subject, and I probably won’t mention it much to anyone at all outside of this post unless asked. It’s just that it occurred to me today that I should be in a really shitty mood.

I should. People have days; this one is not mine. But I worked out this morning. Sounds stupid, but I swear to god. The sun is still shining.

For instance, my thumb is killing me. Two days ago, I very nearly snipped the entire middle of the face of my thumb off while attempting to open a bottle of wine. …don’t ask. My thumb freaking hurts! But, like all I can think about with regards to it is “Eh. The pain isn’t that bad.” Or thinking about how after wounding myself and laying face-down on the ground for minutes with my thumb held up in the air (like a child) for my darling male companion to fix it, he then put a black pirate Band-Aid on it and we spent an enjoyable part of the evening fighting with his pirate Lego set afterward, since my thumb bandage had been inspiring me to yell “Yaarrrr!” and “Avast!” (and if you think it’s easy defending yourself with a tiny Lego sword and pistol when part of your thumb wants to separate itself from the rest of your thumb, you have another think coming). And that makes me smile. So. Intense thumb pain—fun with pirates. You see, I worked out this morning. Everything’s peaches.

Another example. I realized I hadn’t brought my lunch today and all I have at my desk is an old can of condensed soup. Also, I’ve been cold all morning. My reaction? “Hurray! I love when we have soup weather.” Then I opened a bag of crackers at lunch which proceeded to spill Saltine guts all over my desk and pants, and I laughed. In fact, I think I even had the nerve to give it one of those isn’t-that-cute smiles. Bills to pay—no worries. It’s all wonderful. Collection agent called. Have a lovely day! Rolled my ankle a little walking here from the gym–well, thankfully it wasn’t worse than that! Yeah. I worked out this morning.

This sort of optimism is really pretty out of character for me. Also, I’m relaxed, focused, and energetic. Rock my f’ing socks. So yeah, I’m going to attempt to keep trying for the morning. If you happen to see me in a pissy mood, remind me, yeah? Good stuff, people. Good stuff.