Let the countdown begin

Four weeks until summer starts. That’s what the relentless sign at my new exercise class says. I should be pleased, but somehow that’s not the emotion that’s first to pop up.

You could say that I have almost five weeks left to make a dent in my more than subcutaneous layer of fat that has thickened every year since I hit 40. You could say I should be dancing around like Sylvester Stallone in “Rocky.” I’m certainly sweating like he did.

I have finally gotten back to doing a vigorous hour workout twice a week, for two weeks now. It may not sound like much to you, but for me, queen of the couch potatoes, it’s phenomenal.

And as result, I think I should have dropped a good 20 pounds just for the ambition I have shown.

But, as we have told our children for years, life is not fair.

I firmly believe that we should be able to burn calories in direct proportion to those things we’d like to eat, but don’t. I didn’t open that bag of potato chips. That should be a good 800 calories right there. I said no to the brownies in the staff lounge. Come on. At least 200 for that. I didn’t take a second helping of dinner. I didn’t eat that cookie, that caramel Frappuccino, or that pound of See’s chocolates. I didn’t even buy any frozen yogurt this week. I should be a shadow of my current self.

Even though the uneaten calories will never be useful, I am currently dedicated to working up a dripping sweat and stumbling around the next day with sore muscles. I felt infinitely virtuous until I stepped on the scale in high anticipation. Two pounds! I had only shed two crummy pounds! And while I’d love to believe that portion of lard came off my midriff, I am pretty sure I can lose that much weight by taking off my make up and nail polish.

I do cheer up when some hard-body is endlessly grinding away on the latest elliptical machine. If they think telling me that, “It’s like walking in sand” is a selling point, they never schlepped two bags, an umbrella, a chair and swim fins down to the beach. But when that horrid woman strolls out in a bikini and claims to be somebody’s grandmother, my two-pound victory seems vastly inadequate.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know my post-menopausal bones are healthier for it, but unless my pants begin to loosen and those rolls around my middle give way to a sighting of my ribs again, I will not be consoled.

Don’t tell me that muscle weighs more than fat and don’t tell me that I’ll build muscle before I lose fat. It’s true, but just don’t tell me. It does nothing to improve my mood. If I were to replace the 20 pounds I need to lose with a like amount of muscle, I could hit the sideshow.

I’ll keep my old bathing suit out for inspiration and ask that you save me some of those grilled ribs, those root beer floats, the lemonade, the ice cream and the potato salad. At a pound a week, I’ll be ready for summer in October.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer at odds with her avoirdupois.  Contact her at jgillette@coastnewsgroup

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