Day One

Today is the start of the LIFT (my gym/lifting group) 30 day ‘Get Ripped Challenge’. It is far better that we start on January 6 rather than the predictable January 1 as when everyone else is giving up and going back to fat on January 31, I will still have another week to gloat and feel superior.

This isn’t one of those 30 day extreme paleo deals where you cowshare for a month and then celebrate with cake. Nor is it Crossfit cultishness — the Kool-Aid in this case having been replaced with bone broth. It’s meant to be a blueprint of good eating for the year, though I suspect in my case it could be one of those blueprints that gets coffee spilled on it accidentally, making it a bit hard to read and so you have to improvise.

The only issue for me starting the challenge is that it makes me ravenously hungry for sugar, the riddance of my dependance on which is the main point of the thing. Having exhausted/eaten the supply of chocolate I brought back from England (with the spurious plan to gift to friends whom I had no plans to see), I am now forced to grovel around in the kitchen cupboards for something exciting hidden away behind a bag of never opened almond flour. So far, I have found cooking chocolate and Erik’s cocoa powder but am saving these for the desperate hours.

My relationship with sugar is not complicated. I want it, I buy it, I eat it. But I’ve also found that when I quit eating sugar, I become a nicer and more sociable person. This is important to me, especially since I read the Likeability Factor by Tim Saunders who said if I become more likeable I won’t have to get divorced (paraphrasing). Also, it will make me better at networking events if I am not glued to the pudding table with only the caterer for company and resenting anyone that wants to talk to me about a job when I’m trying to eat.

The trickiest part is that I don’t eat very much meat. Not that meat has sugar, but the idea is to eat lots of protein to reduce sugar cravings. I do eat fish and occasional chicken-free-chicken but am not part of the group that shares gluten-free crockpot recipes for new ways with chicken livers and crows feet. On the good side though it means that I don’t have to go through bacon withdrawal as I don’t eat any pork. I was particularly pleased about that yesterday morning when This American Life reran a piece about pork bung and whether it could be disguised as calamari. Go ahead and google pork bung. And always sniff your calamari first.

We had our individual ‘before’ photos taken yesterday so of course there was a lot of pouting and posing in bikinis with backs arched, head suggestively tilted and hands on hips. Because that’s how us Lady Lifters are. I think I may suffer from reverse body dysmorphia as I always think that my body looks better than it really does. We don’t have a full length mirror in the house so can only see my top half and am therefore left to imagine how it sits atop my gazelle-like long limbs and feminine knees and unbruised shins.

Of course at 48, I could legitimately give up and let it all bag out as everyone knows that’s it’s impossible to prevent weight gain and strength loss at this age. Shape magazine says so in December, right before they tell you in January to shed the winter blues and strap on those 5lb ankle weights so that you can be tankini fit by June. I might believe this if there weren’t incredibly fit, strong and older women than me in our group. But there is some sort of accepted wisdom about not being able to fight mother nature, and how pull-ups are impossible at this age. (Or at any age if you’re a ‘Lady Marine’ trying to pass the PFT). Fortunately, like Jesus, I do not believe in Mother Nature so don’t have to buy into this bollocks. (I mean that I don’t believe in Jesus OR Mother Nature, not that Jesus didn’t believe in Mother Nature. I have no evidence of his beliefs. Just like the writers of the Bible).

But I am hoping that my sugar-free month will also make me braver in the gym as I seem to have become a lot more fearful about the possibility of catastrophic head trauma and/or spinal fractures. Without sugar, all this will change. In the manner of Jerry Hall as wife to Mick Jagger, I will become a crockpot guru in the kitchen, a kindly hostess in the parlor and a fearless whore in the gym.

In other reboots of the New Year, Erik has decided to reorganize his office and our entire home electronics / entertainment system. I suspect he may have got his hands on some Prednisone such is his fervor for cleaning and problem-solving. This has so far involved something called the Roku, the repurposing of an old iPad to listen to the radio and various purchases from Amazon. I am not technical. I merely benefit from living with Erik and having copies of Wired magazine around which transmit knowledge through osmosis. I also diligently take in every fifth word that Erik says and then flawlessly drop these into technical conversations with the luddites that I work with so that I appear to be some kind of genius.

I wish pork bung could be mistaken for chocolate.