For awhile now there has been a new scale at the gym that measures body fat. I successfully avoided it for several weeks, partly because I was scared and partly because I was excited, like, I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE HOW LEAN AND MEAN I AM!
An ideal body fat number for women is between 22 and 28 percent. A totally ripped athlete might be down in the teens. The AVERAGE number for American women, though, is higher – between 25 and 32 percent. Because, you know, Americans are pretty fat.
Guess what my number was? Oh, you need some context? Okay. I’m a fitness trainer. I teach boxing, I work out six days a week. I love salad. I have oatmeal for breakfast. I’m 5’10”, and wear a size 10 dress. But I don’t wear dresses too often, other than those flowing hippie dresses in the summer when it’s super hot.
What was my number? I’ll give you a hint: I now hate the number 34.
Did you ever see those ancient Hellman’s mayonnaise television commercials showing a little kid making sandwiches with the mom? The narrator says something like, “We all remember a time when making your own sandwich was just an excuse to pile on more mayonnaise,” and then the kid glops another huge dollop of blubbery white mayo onto the bread.
I think of body fat as mayonnaise. And now I know that A THIRD OF MY EARTHLY BEING is white blubbery lard, and so inconsequential that it could be spread on a sandwich. NOTE TO LITERALISTS: This metaphor may not work for you.
Still. THIRTY-FOUR PERCENT of my body is made up of fat. I eat lots of whole grains and fruits and vegetables, I look fine (not FII-IINE, but fine, as in, okay, nothing special here, folks, stare at someone else). I can do jumping push-ups. I can actually see my abs. And I measure in at 34 PERCENT BODY FAT.
I called up my trainer, Son of Sam. “Is this that 15 pounds you’ve been telling me about?” I asked.
“Yep,” he said. Then he told me that he thought of it as job security for himself, and that I shouldn’t worry about it. SMURF YOU, SON OF SAM! GET THIS MAYO OFF ME, NOW! “You know how to do it,” he said.
I don’t use the word DIET anymore. But I have Changed My Eating Habits. Again. Because I want to be less condiment and more lunch meat.
I don’t have to eat differently. I just have to eat less. Fewer handfuls of this, a lot less of that. That being wine. And Emerald’s Sweet and Salty Mixed Nuts, which I think are coated with cocaine.
Hot Firefighter Husband is not being very supportive because Changing My Eating Habits is making me Cranky, and just when the Cymbalta was starting to work its magic. It doesn’t help that the Pterodactyl keeps waking me up during the night because he thinks there are flies in his room. (They’re fleas, I keep trying to tell him.) Also, I need a new pillow, and I really need to change the fishbowl water which keeps popping into my head around 4 a.m. when I’m trying not to think about all the ways I’m screwing up my life.
I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. this morning so I could write all this down, but the Pterodactyl woke up about that time, too, so writing time was limited. Then I fussed at him about not letting his sister look at the computer screen, and he threw a cup of water at me and got sent to his room. He snuck into the bathroom and used the toothpaste to make a total abstract art design. He’s soooo talented! But gross. He needs another medium.
Then I had to rush to get the Diva to surf camp, stop for gas, and race to the gym. CRANKY. Total crank. Had to lunge my ass off. CRANK! Then while I was teaching my circuit training class, my friend DoubleYou peeked in and waved a little baggie full of greenish stuff at me. “Hey, Mama!” she said in a singsong voice. “This is for you!” And I was all, WEED! WOWSEROONI, MY DAY IS LOOKING UP! SO LONG, CRANK! But it was just fresh herbs from her garden. But I love fresh herbs! But you know, weed can be good, too. I’m told.
Anyway, DoubleYou thought I might want some fresh herbs for cooking. Instead I’ve been spending a lot of time just sniffing them because they smell so good, so they might not be fit for human consumption by the time I cook again.
Which brings me to my point. I do have one, you know. How lucky am I to be in excellent shape, with access to fresh herbs (wink, wink), healthy food and a great trainer? I can afford to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, and I have the time to cook them. I can exercise every day. And I’m still not where I should be!
Is it any wonder that most of America isn’t, either?