Since the beginning of this healthy lifestyle of mine, I’ve been a tad bit obsessed with cauliflower. As in, if cauliflower had a fan club, I would be president. And not just president, but that crazy, wild-eyed disciple willing to do anything in the name of cauliflower, including demanding nothing but love for my vegetable god from my fellow constituents. As in, a few weeks ago, my friend sent me a text that read, “What are you doing?” and my response to him was, “OMG MY MICROWAVE BROKE AND I DON’T KNOW HOW TO MAKE MY CAULIFLOWER WITHOUT IT HELP MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!”
It’s possible I have gone a little overboard.
Also, while I don’t own a scale, I can tell I’ve hit a bit of a plateau. My pictures from four weeks ago aren’t much different than today. And while I’m still certainly happier and healthier, I DO want to lose more weight. But I have been eating turkey meatloaf and mashed cauliflower at minimum four times a week. Perhaps my body has gotten a little too acclimated. So I began looking up more recipes, started tracking my food on MyFitnessPal, watching sodium and fat. In doing so, I learned a few things about my diet – as clean as it was, it could still be better. My Bolthouse protein shake is pretty high in calories – were they worth it? I eat one or two bananas a day, and they’re relatively high in sugar. Maybe I should substitute something else for a snack? Could I do without the banana in my smoothie? I really should finally cut out that half a diet Coke a day, the artificial sweeteners aren’t doing me any favors.
And that? Is when I got pissed off. I mean seriously, what the fuck? At this time last year, I was eating McDonald’s large Quarter Pounder meals at least three times a week; I was eating a half pan of macaroni and cheese for dinner every night. I was drinking beer all the time, in addition to about three refills of a 44 oz diet coke from Corner Bakery every day. Since January, I haven’t had a binge night, I haven’t had a damn potato, I haven’t really splurged other than about three times, and those “splurges” were about a cup of pasta or some beers on the weekend. I am down to about six ounces of diet coke as opposed to damn near 200. I HAVEN’T HAD A BAGEL OR A DONUT IN SIX MONTHS, for God’s sake. And those are free at work!!
Plus, PLUS, I went from my only form of exercise being huffing and puffing up and down the train stairs or up to my apartment, to working out six days a week. I can run three miles! I do 5Ks! I want my birthday present for all of my friends to run an obstacle course race with me instead of just sitting at a bar! (Well, I want to go to the bar afterwards, obviously. But first, we run!) I do pushups, I lift weights, I do ab challenges from that terrifying Shaun T. person. I ride my bike over ten miles a day, on purpose. My legs look like someone has taken a baseball bat to them, they’re so bruised up from carrying my bike up the stairs – one handed! – every single damn day.
I was talking to my mom about the other day, and the best analogy I can come up with is that getting healthy is like cleaning your floors. The closer you get, the harder it is. You know what I mean? You sweep and mop your floors, right? And they look pretty good. You did a good job. Then you notice a little patch of dust stuck to the baseboard. So you grab a sponge and get down on your hands and knees and wipe it off. But then, while you’re down there, you notice that the corner where the walls meet is nasty looking, so you clean that up too. But then right next to it, BAM, there’s a stray dehydrated grape hiding under the cabinets and you can’t even remember the last time you even had grapes in the house. The closer you look, the more shit you find.
Weight loss is the same way. No matter how well you’re doing, you could always be doing better. Yes, you only had one tablespoon of peanut butter in your morning smoothie, but was it organic, no sugar added peanut butter? Sure, you did a great half hour workout, but really, did you work your legs at all today? It can be frustrating as all fuck. I’m working so hard, dammit. I’ve made sweeping changes, great changes. I already swept and mopped the damn floors, do I need to get on my hands and knees with a stupid toothbrush every single day to make it look like I did anything at all?
Then over the weekend, we went to a carnival. I adore carnivals. Always have. I love the lights and the sounds and the games and most of all, the rides. I love the breathless screaming of the riders, the tinny pinging music of the carousel, and the blaring rock of the “big” rides. This particular fest had a huge, glorious spinning-upside-down ride that I’d never seen before, and I had to go on it. It was myself, my husband, and our friend – our median age is about 37, none of us had been on a carnival ride in years, mostly because most sane adults over the age of 23 don’t go on carnival rides anymore. But I wanted to go so badly. So we bought our tickets and got in line.
As we were waiting and watching other passengers get on and off, I started getting a little worried about the size of the seat in relation to the size of my ass. They were seats that kind of look like those Bumbo seats for babies, and you had to pretty much jump into them. It was the first time, ever, I had worried about fitting into anything. Didn’t care for it, I have to say.
Luckily for my esteem and the mood of the day, I was able to hop in relatively comfortably. The ride was fantastic, upside down and spinning and loud music and we laughed and screamed the whole way through it, afterwards proclaiming it the Best. Ride. Ever. But if I hadn’t spent the last six or seven months continuously washing those kitchen floors, I would have missed it.
Is it frustrating to have to (metaphorically) take out that toothbrush and scrub at the baseboards nearly every day. It is. Am I jealous of those people who have “help,” and don’t have to struggle to keep the stupid floors clean? Sure I am. But is it worth every second? Without a doubt.