The Hanger Games

A warning to my friends: If you run into me this week, I may seem a little crabbier than usual. There are seemingly many reasons for this, but it really all boils down to one: I am a cliché.

I’m one of those people who signed up for a weight loss program at the beginning of the new year. It’s through my awesome gym (shout-out to Ki’netik Fitness!), and it’s actually called “6-Weeks to a Healthier You!” And as everyone knows, “healthier” is really a code word for “skinnier.” I’m all for that.

The first week of the program is called a “depletion” week. We’re eliminating carbs and sugars and dairy this week in an effort to “develop the hormonal environment to become a fat burner instead of a sugar burner.” As if I don’t already have a wacky, premenopausal “hormonal environment” to deal with… As a result, “You will feel drained, you will feel hungry, and you will be a little cranky. Or maybe a lot cranky. Warn your family, friends, and co-workers now.”

Those are direct quotes from the official hand-out we got at a meeting on day one. (That’s how “official” this thing is. Hand-outs and meetings and weigh-ins, oh my…) Thus, the warning at the beginning of this post. Whether you blame it on the hormones or just being hangry, it might explain why I almost completely lost my sh—, er, STUFF (my mom reads this, so I try to keep profanity at a minimum) when I discovered my son was throwing completely good pencils into the trash after their points broke, rather than, you know, SHARPENING THEM…. Although, come to think of it, maybe that IS a good reason to lose your sh—, er, stuff. Seriously!!! These are Ticonderogas! “The world’s best pencils!” And you’re just going to throw them away when there are people starving in China who would love to have a nice pencil like this to write with?! (Okay, so maybe I got my “mom-isms” a little mixed up; that’s also a side effect of this diet, I think.)

So, this first week we’re eating 4 “meals” a day. And I must keep the word “meals” in quotes. Each “meal” can consist of one serving of protein—for example, chicken, fish “(“the size of your palm”) or eggs—and a gigantic serving of “fibrous vegetables.” Plus, a serving the size of “two thumbs” of “healthy fats.” Plus one serving of fruit and one serving of starches (“the size of your fist”), twice a week.

If you’re like me, this brings up more questions than answers. Like, “Whose hand can I use to calculate these measures?” And, “Is frosting from a can considered a healthy fat?”

Of course, since it’s through a gym, we’re also supposed to be doing daily workouts plus an additional “slow aerobic” workout — basically, walking for 45 minutes… It’s all well and good, and I appreciate the guidelines and the specificity. For the most part, despite my hangry bitchiness, I’m feeling pretty good and positive about this whole journey.

Except… I’m doing this challenge with my husband. Aw, so nice, right? We can commiserate, we can eat the same things, we can support each other.… Yeah. Whatever.

Here’s what’s not fair about this whole thing. First of all — I think we all agree that if we had a personal chef like Oprah, we would all lose weight and be healthy eaters, right? Well, in our house, my husband is Oprah, and I’m the personal chef… As a caveat, I would like to get this out in the open right now: I am a feminist. Barring any physical limitations, I believe women can do anything that men can do, and they should. I also believe that we shouldn’t be made to feel guilty if we’re moms who work outside of the home, and we shouldn’t be made to feel guilty if we don’t. Live and let live, and all that. It just so happens that in our house, we tend to have taken on “traditional” roles… What I’m getting at is — I’m the one who does the cooking and the grocery shopping.

Now, half of the battle with this “challenge” is figuring out what you’re going to eat 4 times a day. Basically, my husband gets to eat whatever I put in front of him, after I figure it all out (part of that “mental load” I’ve talked about before) and prepare it. And that’s okay, I suppose. At least we’re eating the same stuff. And it sure does keep me accountable.

Now is a good time for me to get something else out in the open: I do tend to exaggerate from time to time in order to make a point or to make a story a little funnier. But the things I am about to tell you in the following paragraph are NOT an exaggeration, I promise.

Is it fair that after only 3 days of eating the same food — prepared by me — the man has lost TEN POUNDS?!?! Which is basically more than my goal for the whole six weeks?? How is this possible? How is this fair?? I can just SMELL a chocolate cupcake and gain 3 pounds. (Okay, maybe the cupcake thing is a slight exaggeration.) While he can change up his diet for a couple of days and lose 10 pounds. It’s maddening. It’s unfair. It’s enough to make a deprived and hangry dieter lose her sh—, er, stuff.

Technically, we are not supposed to be competing with each other. But honestly, isn’t everything in life a competition?? It kind of is in my house. That is why I’m going to start sneaking some forbidden carbs into his meals and maybe even give him two fists of starches the next time we’re allowed to have them. Which is in 2 days. Not that I’m counting.

I recognize that by telling this story, I’ve become even more of a cliché — the person who will share all the gory details of her diet and exercise routine with anyone who will listen. On the off chance that you read this far and are actually interested, bless you. If you happen to be embarking on a challenge like this yourself, let me just say: “May the carbs be ever in your favor.” Ha. (Lame jokes are also a side effect of depletion week.)

3 thoughts on “The Hanger Games

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