Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I walked into Barnes and Noble yesterday to pick up a book for Little Babe and walked out with Dr. Ian Smith's Extreme Fat Smash Diet, tucked inside my handbag so no one could see my purchase.

With red print across the top screaming, When You Need to Lose it Fast, and the endorsement on the bottom: As Seen on VH1's Celebrity Fit Club, this book was simply irresistible.

Especially as I put on a few pounds this winter and want to Lose it Fast.

Especially as the non-stop pace of my workdays (which typically begin at 6 am and conclude past midnight with brief breaks to awaken and prepare Little Babe for school, speak to Middle and Big Babe by phone, attend meetings, prepare and have dinner with HOBB and Little Babe and then put Little Babe to sleep) result in NEVER leaving my computer for more than quick sprints to the bathroom...often undertaken with cellphone and office phone in hand...which obviously means that it is a rare thing for me to get to the gym these days.

This work-without-end routine is nuts, I know, and not at all healthy. You would not believe the amount of conference calls I've conducted while in the bathroom.

Yesterday, I interrupted a shower to answer my Crackberry and stood shivering, with conditioner in my wet hair, peppermint body wash drying to a frosting-like veneer on my naked skin, while I talked about an inane project for 10 minutes, trying to control the chattering of my teeth.

And speaking of teeth... I've even talked on the phone while brushing my teeth, making the other person wonder if I am on drugs, no doubt.
Things are utterly out of balance for all of us, I know, but for some, worse than others. During the past three days of abundant sunshine, I never made it outdoors for even a brief recess on the steps of Low Library, on the Columbia campus or anything more than a dash across campus towards the subway. Looking through my 4th floor windows, which overlook the university, I saw throngs of happy college students and families with young children cavorting happily in the sun. Alas, not I.

Regarding the winter weight...I haven't put it on from scarfing down vast quantities of food. That's not my style. I'm a grazer, not a vacuum cleaner.

The additional poundage comes from a sudden and new desire to eat only foods in the Chocolate food group (cookies, cake, ice cream, scones, and dark with salted almonds) or the Salty Snack group (cheddar cheese and beer potato chips, Roberts Pirate Booty or anything crunchy with a cheddar cheese flavor). It comes from stress and being sedentary and maybe not even eating enough (with such busy days, who can find the time to eat??), which lowers metabolism, leading to weight gain.

If you saw me holding this book you might think that something is cuckoo in my head because I hardly look like smashing fat should be my number one concern. If you saw me at the gym when I do manage to escape my work, you'd think I was trying to conquer the treadmill with my determined stride and penchant for working out until my shirt is soaked and my hair is wet. If you saw me walking across 59th Street yesterday, reading and answering e-mails on my Crackberry for the entire 20-minutes it took me to get from Park Avenue to Broadway, barely glancing at cars as I crossed streets, barely managing to avoid bumping into people with my heavy backpack which included my laptop, papers and workout clothes (not that I even put them on yesterday), you might think I was involved in work that involved state secrets.
This new diet book...well on its way to mega-bestsellerdom...and its henchbooks are not really being purchased by people who want to lose weight. They are being purchased by those who are desperate to change their lives.

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