Saturday, January 8, 2011

Elpis springs eternal

As I was searching ever more desperately for a way to lose a few (okay, thirty) pounds, I asked my friend Elpis – so called because she’s my goddess of hope.

Elpis has attempted a bunch of different weight-loss tactics over the last decade and while some of them worked for a while, eventually she’d stop running or start to eat normally and the weight snuck right back on.

But some friends of Elpis had lost dozens of pounds by signing up with a local lean-lifestyle guru. Elpis herself had lost fifteen pounds even though, she admitted, she cheated a little. She also spent a fair amount of time fantasizing a detailed menu for her celebration meal. Lean protein would be embellished with gravy, and an assortment of colourful vegetables would cozy up beneath a velvety sauce – Hollandaise, perhaps – and there would be potatoes with cheese and sour cream and, dear God, bacon bits. After that, there would be cake made with actual flour and sugar.

Apparently this is not standard weight-loss fare.

Cookies? Nope.

Beer? Uh-uh.

Cadbury Dairy Milk bars? Not if I wanted to see past my bellybutton any time soon.

At the gym, I tugged my workout shirt (must have shrunk in the wash) away from the top of my shorts (definitely shrank in the wash) as I weighed myself. The scale balanced at a number I’d be thrilled to have as an IQ but was shocked to associate with anything below my neck. Still, Elpis springs eternal so I looked up my Body Mass Index on the chart, hoping to see that I was still in the healthy section.

I was not.

In fact I was Officially Overweight and if I didn’t do something about it, I was on my way to Obese.

I reminded myself that Elpis had lost fifteen pounds.

Even as I wedged myself into my size twelve jeans, left my shirt untucked and layered on a vest to hide the scrolls hanging over the waistband, and planned a trip to the mall for a pair of fourteens, I knew that shopping was not the kind of action I needed.

So I took a different step. I picked up the phone.

“Wanna join a weight-loss program with me?” I asked. “It’s eight weeks long. Elpis says you have to exercise every day and eat normal healthy food–“ I crossed my fingers because I was pretty sure the guru wasn’t on board for a daily menu of peanut butter at breakfast and lunch, with beef for dinner “–and she lost fifteen pounds.”

“I’m in. When does it start?”

“That’s the down side,” I told my dad. “The first meeting is on your birthday.”

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