Plenty wise, but pound foolish | AspenTimes.com

Plenty wise, but pound foolish

Alison Berkley
Aspen CO, Colorado

“Wow, honey. You’re a metabolic miracle!” my Dad said when I talked to him on the phone the other day. “You’re probably the only person in the world who can work out three times a day, not eat and still not lose any weight!”

“Either that, or my scale is broken,” I replied.

“Just think of how fat you’d be if you didn’t work out,” my mom said. She is a genius with these simple bottom-line statements that sound like insults but really are compliments turned inside out.

“Can you put Dad back on?” I said.

We all know the month of May is spent feverishly working out and dieting, so the beer gut is at least partially diminished by the time June rolls around and it’s time to don the bikini at the Sky Hotel pool.

I know this for a fact because the yoga studio has been packed with locals who are literally sweating it out, packing more days in at yoga than they have all winter, all red faced with their mouths hanging open as they gasp for air. (I don’t know how many times I have to tell them to breathe through their noses, but when you’re that hot, it’s hard to listen).

Hello, it’s offseason: We were all prepared for things to get really slow at the studio, but they didn’t. If anything, we’ve had more people coming more often, virtually melting the pounds away in a studio that’s heated to 105 degrees ” and that’s not counting the humidity or the rise in temperature that occurs when there’s more body heat.

In fact, it seems that everyone is shrinking their waistlines but me. I come in day after day and see their bodies change. I know they see it too, because they gradually wear less and less clothing until finally they’re clad in little more than a glorified two-piece bathing suit.

“Oh my god! I’m so sorry!” one of our first-time students said when he walked into the changing room and saw me standing there in my Heidi Bottom yoga shorts and little top.

“No, no, this is what we wear to class,” I said, pulling him back in by his elbow. “It’s okay.”

It amazes me that more men haven’t figured out that our studio is the hottest place in town, but that is another subject entirely.

Anyhoo, of course it makes me happy to see my students improving and getting the results that I, myself, so desperately crave. I’ve tried everything. I run, I work out at the gym, and I try to eat very carefully, sticking to whole foods and nutrient-rich dishes and cutting out all the bad stuff.

I bought a juicer a few weeks ago and was so excited, convinced that this was the key. I’d just drink tons of juice, and it would act as a magic potion, causing my body to change overnight. I bought a big bag of carrots and apples and had a blast mixing it up with beets, ginger and celery.

“If you drink juice, you’re only getting the sugar and none of the fiber,” one of my students said.

“You can’t have that! You need to eat more protein,” said another.

“It’s fine as long as you stay away from sugary veggies like carrots, apples and beets,” another teacher said.

“What? You’re eating chicken? No, you need to cut that out and only eat vegetables and fruit.”

One night I was trying out the “clean” diet one of my vegan friends recommended, sticking to veggies and brown rice. I steamed up a bunch of green, leafy veggies, mushrooms and everything I could find in my fridge. I made a huge batch of the stuff, which was a good thing because no matter how much I ate I was still starving to death.

Taking small servings and going back for more is one of those little habits that drives my mom crazy. I’ll cut these ridiculously small pieces of cake and then end up having six, or I’ll pull my sandwich apart, trying to avoid the bread and fattening stuff, only to eat the whole thing in the end.

“Oh for god’s sake, Alison. Just take a bigger piece,” my mom always says.

So, by the time I finished eating an entire wok full of vegetables I thought I might explode. I had a stomachache that lasted three days, and the only thing that seemed to settle my tummy was pretzels and beer.

The other little problem, and I know this happens to all you guys, is when going out to a party or to meet my friends for a drink at that precarious 6 or 7 o’clock hour, which also happens to coincide with dinner time.

I’m convinced that everyone in this town is indeed on a liquid diet because no one ever seems to be all that concerned with eating actual food. I then find myself at one of two restaurants that serves food after 10, scarfing a huge order of fries and some really greasy sandwich, that tastes better than anything I’ve had in months, right before I go to bed.

Two steps forward, four steps back.

So I guess I can admit the miracle has nothing to do with my metabolism and more to do with my ability to sleep soundly on a full, bloated stomach, wake up the next day and forget all about how much I indulged and negated whatever efforts were put forth the day before.

I guess my dog isn’t the only one chasing his own tail. Maybe I should be better about really trying to stick to my diet. Or maybe I shouldn’t sweat it.


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