I will soon be embarking on a fearsome journey to physical fitness and dietary responsibility. My husband and I watched the movie Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead a couple of months ago. We were both highly intrigued and amazed by this man’s quest for health and weight-loss. Joe Cross was severely overweight, suffering from an autoimmune disease, and generally feeling like tepidly rewarmed shit. In an effort to lose weight and get healthy, he decided to go on a juice fast for sixty days while travelling across the United States. Combining his diet with exercise, he manages to lose a lot of weight, heal his autoimmune disease, and inspire people across the country to take control of their own health. It was an inspiring and eye-opening film.
I am not technically fat, though I could stand to lose a few pounds and get in shape. I am extremely averse to exercise, unfortunately, which stems from painful childhood experiences. I was always the last to be picked for any team sport activity, and the calls of “easy out, easy out” during schoolyard baseball games still haunt me. Running always left me faint, even as a little kid. The stinking Presidential Fitness program was the bane of my existence. The kids zipped past my red and wheezing small frame as I struggled to complete my 15-minute mile. A string of sports-related humiliations followed me all through school:
- In kindergarten, there was a game that the kids liked to play called “Boys Against the Girls,” during which boys would chase the girls around. If the girls were caught, they had to kiss the boy. I think that if that game were played today, some overzealous sheriff would arrest a kid for sexual-harassment. But back then, this was the most popular game UNTIL the third-grade boys decided they wanted to play. We called these guys “the big boys” because they were the oldest kids on the playground during recess. They improvised a variation in the game where they would act like monsters, chase us little girls around till they caught us, then place us in the prison of a cage of monkey-bars. There were two “prison camps” where the boys would steal each other’s harem and transport us back and forth. Typing this out now, I see there are some major issues with this game. So anyway, I was still a wild female running around un-captured when my shoe came unlaced. I called “time-out” to tie it, but the boy giving chase didn’t respect this universal rule and continued to chase me, roaring like a Lord of the Flies. I abandoned my laces and tried to run, but tripped, fell, and skinned my hands, knees, and chin. The boy actually ignored my bleeding and tried to round me up for prison. Outraged, I smacked him in the face, went to the teacher and tattled my ass off. The game was banned after that, but I bear the scars of battle.
- Playing kickball one day during PE, I was thrilled to be picked next-to-last, which meant that the chubby girl with coke-bottle glasses who fell all the time was the loser for a change. I was determined to show myself worthy of the honor. Stepping up for my turn, the “pitcher” or whatever they call the boy who rolled the ball to me hollered for everyone to “move in, she’s gonna bunt!” I trained my eyes on the ball, sure that this time, I would send it sailing over their heads and be able to trot leisurely around the bases as I basked in the shock and awe. The ball rolled to me over the uneven ground as I moved forward to meet it with my foot, confident that the sheer force of my will would allow me this one little bit of glory. Somehow, my foot kicked OVER the ball and came down on top of it. My foot bounced off the ball and knocked me off-balance. I fell backwards, on top of the treacherous red rubber ball, and rolled into an ungainly heap as classmates and teachers laughed their evil asses off. The burn of shame permanently etched a flush upon my cheeks to remind me of that horrible day forever.
- There was a diabolical game that they called Alley Dodgeball back in the day. I think it has been outlawed now. We lined up in two parallel lines on the blacktop, about 15 kids per side. I can’t remember all of the rules now, but basically you had to run the gauntlet between these two lines as kids tried to strike you with the aforementioned red rubber ball of doom. Usually I would stand still and allow them to strike me right away, after which I would be sent to the “jail,” otherwise known as “the safe zone.” Today, however, there was no teacher in attendance to monitor the violence, so the boys were literally assaulting the kids with extremely hard throws to the head and private areas. Shaking with fear as it was my turn to dart through the alley, the most heinous and vile child in my class, Damon, or DEMON, as I privately labelled him, laughed maniacally as he gained control of the ball. I began to run and he carefully took aim. He threw the ball with all his strength and time slowed as I watched it coming towards me. Instinctively, I jumped up to avoid the ball, but since I wasn’t Michael Jordan, the ball clipped my legs and caused me to go head over heels, skidding over the rough blacktop. My hands, knees, legs and face were shredded. Damon laughed as I lay bleeding. I stood up, picked up a piece of my knee from the ground, and limped away in a fury, too ashamed to even cry.
- In an effort to overcome my awkwardness and extreme ineptitude in all things sport-related, I signed up for volleyball and basketball. I sucked at both. In general, my place was at the end of the bench, where my only task was to watch the game, cheer for my teammates, and run in to do that hand pile-up-shout-GO,TEAM thing. I faithfully attended all practices and did the tortuous drills and calisthenics, eager to improve, but it was hopeless. Ours was a losing team anyway. It wasn’t unheard of to lose by 50 points or more during a basketball game. Even so, the coach would usually only put me in the game when our “good” players fouled out or there was less than a minute on the clock. It was during one of those last-minute subs that I found myself running cluelessly up and down the court, when for some unknown reason one of my teammates passed me the ball. This heretofore unknown occurrence caught me completely unaware as the ball smacked me squarely in the face. As anyone who has been struck in the face knows, the nose is extremely sensitive, as was my ego as I stared through my haze of tears at the crowd that laughed with glee. My mother, a beautiful Japanese lady, had a distinctive laugh that belied her dainty appearance. The BWA-HA-HA of her donkey-braying laugh pierced through the din to reach my beet-red, burning ears. I picked her out from the crowd and saw as she sat next to my chagrined father, her mouth wide and eyes streaming. Thus ended my sporting career. I suffered through the last of my losing season, then chucked my jersey into the dumpster.
Now, in my thirty-ninth year, I am
thinking about going to get fit. I bought my husband a Ninja 1100 blender for Father’s Day. It’s not a juicer-I couldn’t afford to buy a dedicated juicer-but it is pretty powerful. We plan to juice some veggies and fruit, strain the pulp, and drink our way to health and weight-loss. The man went to the organic grocery store and bought some insanely expensive produce for our first trial. We blended kale, green apples, cucumbers, fresh ginger, celery, and lemon. The result was an extremely thick slurry of green pulp that didn’t taste bad, but gagged me as made its way past my uvula. This is when we decided that a strainer was necessary.
The hardest part will probably be cooking real food for my kids, inhaling the aromas, and denying myself a taste. I have heard that the first few days of a juice-fast can leave you with frequent loose stools and a general feeling of hunger, weakness and possible suicidal thoughts. They recommend taking a few days off from your job and responsibilities to get through the rough patch. I can’t afford to take off work and I can’t get rid of the kids, so this part may be even more difficult.
So, first thing this morning I weighed 127 pounds on the dot. I am just shy of 5 feet 2 inches, with a round
beer baby belly and an amply-padded derriere. I would like to get close to my pre-baby average weight of about 115 pounds, which is perfect for my small frame and will enable me to get back into my favorite pair of jeans. Make no mistake, the real motivation of this endeavor is to look good in a bikini. After three C-sections, my poor tummy will never be what it once was, and I can accept that. But I don’t want to look like a beer-guzzling biker dude with a basketball gut. I am also giving up caffeine and alcohol (NO, GOD NO!) during this cleansing period, which will certainly add to my misery in the short-term. I am going to start slow with the exercise program, with the goal to fit in at least two 30-minute walks per day. I am also eyeballing the unopened PS3 Zumba fitness game I got for Christmas. Wish me luck!