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A Week of Strong

It is Monday, and I am a testament to human discipline. I am will power incarnate.

Last weekend, like all weekends before it, I was confronted with a barrage of shame-inducing images: Fleshless twenty-somethings flitting along downtown sidewalks in jeans tighter than the skin on grapes. Itty bitty bikinis dangling in department store windows, looking more like polka dot rubber bands than something that might actually cover my ba-donk-a-donk. And a magazine ad featuring a plate of sweet ‘n’ sour pork that was supposed to warn me about the dangers of high cholesterol, but just made me really, really hungry. All of which inspired me toward a Sunday night resolution: to procure a sleeker silhouette, a bikini-ready bod, through sheer self-control. I begin today.

For breakfast, I eat three spoonfuls of plain oatmeal, which I can tell is extremely healthy because it tastes like wet bread. I attend a Pilates class, where the chipper teacher seems annoyed by my loud whimpering and refusal to do any push-ups (doesn’t that seem like a task best left to more experienced students?). I nibble carrot sticks all day. I chug water to purge the toxins left by too many Circus Animal cookies in my previous, feeble-willed existence.

“I AM resolute. I CAN have six-pack abs if I want them. I WILL treat my body like the temple that it is.”

It is Tuesday. Am I imagining it or are my workout pants looser? I sweeten my oatmeal with Splenda and set out on a two-mile walk. I stop at Starbucks and treat myself to a fat-free cappuccino and muffin (a gross one with bran and dried fruit, so don’t lecture me).

Tonight’s affirmation: “I AM pretty studly. I CAN picture myself in a polka dot rubber band. I WILL pick up a tube of that Dove Firming Lotion, just to supplement my other efforts.”

It is Wednesday and I am in pain. Ow. Damn those Pilates. It hurts when I slather firming lotion on my stomach, thighs, butt, upper arms, and the sort of jowly thing under my chin. It even hurts when I carry the big bag of chocolate chips to the table to sprinkle a few on my oatmeal. I opt for a workout video at home and grunt through a few squats and squeezes. Then I switch over to the E! channel instead so I can flick carrot sticks at Teri Hatcher and Keira Knightley and tell them how I feel sorry for them because they don’t have any curves, and so I really wonder how they’ll ever snag a man.

Affirmation: “I AM not 22 anymore. I CAN accept that dieting is not my forte. I WILL have to pick up all the errant carrot sticks in the living room as soon as I can bend over freely again.”

It is Thursday and I’m freaking starving. I actually taste the firming lotion. I don’t feel like exercising. I drive to Starbucks, parking at the far end of the lot so I can get my heart rate up before I suck down a full-fat cappuccino and muffin. OK, it’s not a muffin, it’s a cupcake. But I save half of it for later. Only I wind up eating it in the car on the way home.

“I AM entitled to a day off from my fitness regimen. I CAN take a break without backsliding into sloth and gluttony. I WILL begin again tomorrow, refreshed and recommitted.”

It is Friday and screw the oatmeal, I’m just having the chocolate chips today — with a chaser of Circus Animal cookies. I picture the face of that Pilates tyrant as I bite their little heads off and cackle. I have no intention of breaking a sweat today, unless it’s to dog-paddle through a pool of firming lotion.

“I AM done with this nonsense. I CAN always just buy a bigger bathing suit. I WILL be ordering sweet ‘n’ sour pork before Monday rolls around again … when I’m due back at Pilates.”

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