A Weighty Challenge


A funny thing happened to me while walking down Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

I saw Jackie Gleason’s reflection in a storefront window.

Only, it wasn’t the miraculous return of  The Great One from the grave.

The image in the window was my head attached to what resembled Ralph Kramden’s body.

“How sweet it is – NOT!”

This disturbing image is the catalyst that drove me back to chubby lady class.  After my Weight Watcher’s debacle, I’m trying something different.

It’s a weight loss challenge at the local recreation center.

Challenge, as in the plight of fighter, Rocky Balboa.  As in finally not struggling to reach the top of the food pyramid and jumping around wildly in the victorious moment of dropping some extra tonnage.

I Pity the Fool who gets in the way of my weight-loss victory this time.

Self, I’m talking to you!

My daughter said, “That’s no fair, you get to go to the recreation center!”

Somehow she has it in her mind that I’m going to be swimming in the kiddie pool and going down the water slides all day.

The lifeguards would need a plunger to get me out of the tube.

The first step to tackling a problem, is admitting that you have one.

As I checked into the rec center during the rather bustling evening rush hour, I was asked which class I would be attending.

At that moment, I felt like all the young professionals trading in pinstripe suits for chic workout wear stared at me in a hushed silence as I uttered the words, “The Weight Loss Challenge class.”

It was an awkwardness I can only compare to purchasing feminine hygiene products at a crowded drug store as a teenager.

I expected to see a room of treadmills with Oreo cookies hanging overhead to encourage us lab rats to run faster on the wheel at the direction of a loud-mouthed instructor with a whistle around her neck.  Kind of like the gym teacher in the movie, “Porky’s.”

What I got instead, was a soft-spoken, slender, super-healthy looking dietitian eager to help.

It’s not a large meeting room where one can toss out a few self-deprecating zingers about having five chins and then sneak out early.

We’re actually putting our yoga pants to work by walking on outdoor trails, strength training and getting the old ticker running smoothly.

Speaking of tickers, thank God the Defibrillator is located two steps away from the scales and thank God she didn’t need to use them on me after I jumped on the scale.

As we stretched to get limber for our walk, she said think of your muscles as rubber bands.  The bigger you stretch, the more flexible they will become.

I wish I knew when Rigor mortis set into my body.  I’m totally wearing clown shoes next week so I can touch my toes.

Although, the lack of toe touching didn’t hold a candle to the incredibly painful ass cramp that shot through my butt cheeks as I tried to reach around my back and grab my foot in a basic quadricep stretching move.

The women in the group are a lot of fun except they really don’t need to lose any weight.  One even admitted wearing a heavy sweatshirt during a Weight Watchers weigh-in so she could meet the 10 pound minimum and be admitted into the program.

I didn’t have the nerve to tell her that I, in fact, cut five inches off of my Bermuda shorts just to lose an extra ounce while enrolled in Weight Watchers.  So what if I looked like Huckleberry Finn.

Our instructor said she would send us each an email to help us personalize our fitness goals and to check our SPAM filters for a “healthyliving.com” address.  I told her to look for a return email from me with the address, “Hostesscupcakes.com.”

She also said she may be a little frazzled at the beginning of class because she’d likely be coming from a workout.

I said I’d likely have crumbs on me because I’d likely be coming from grazing in my pantry.

So this week begins the life of carting around a 64 ounce tumbler full of water and keeping a food journal in my quest to be Weight Loss Challenge Champion.

The prize?  A gift certificate for fancy workout wear and the retirement of my very tired Yummy Tummy.

© 2012 Terri Spilman

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20 thoughts on “A Weighty Challenge

  1. OMG, is it wrong the one thing I’m focusing on in this whole post is punching the chick who wore the heavy sweatshirt to WW??? Don’t try to be a fake fatty! Don’t.try.to.be.a.fake.fatty.

    AGH. Now that I have that off my chest. You go! I wish we had something like that around here. I’m forced to drink my Mich Ultras in silence til I find out about one. Kidding. I’m doing a weight loss thing with my neighbor but need to get back on the work out train. I’m proud of you–good luck! And you are a hot mama–no resemblance to Jackie–but funny post and I can so relate to being shocked at my very own image!!!!

    • Ha! I too was obsessed with the “Fake Fatty” however, it’s all relative as how you see yourself. I mean really, I can gain 50 pounds and when I pack on an extra 10 on top of that and it finally occurs to me to get some help? Denial is more than a river…good luck with the neighborhood faux WW. To quote the Troy and Gabriella from High School Musical, “We’re all in this together…”

  2. You get to do to the rec center, lucky you! I love your daughter, she can obviously see the positive in everything. Well, whatever works for you to lose a few pounds. I can’t believe Weight Watchers has minimum weight requirements. What if someone wants to lose those dreadful last 10 lb, huh?

  3. I heard some advice… (Great, more advice, right?) …but I’ve found it helpful. It was something to the effect of:

    Do things that bring you joy and peace today, and that also help you establish joy and peace for the future.

    I guess that’s balance: Finding pleasures that don’t sabotage our future, and vice versa – we also don’t want to live entirely for the future without enjoying today. It’s a delicate balance. Best of luck striking yours 🙂

    – Sarah

  4. I stopped looking in storefront windows, mirrors, and anything that has reflective properties years ago. I find it helps keep my stress levels down and allows me to look down at my tummy and think, it’s not that bad. If that doesn’t work, I look over to my son and say, “This is all your fault! If I hadn’t gained those thirty pregnancy ponds, Ford modeling agency might have given me a call!” ha! Funny post! I loved it! 🙂

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