I had a sneaking suspicion I was slightly overweight. Granted, it was only three months after giving birth to my second child, but in my books, excuses are for wimps. I had just finished breast-feeding, so up until this point it’s not like I could deny my body the calories required to produce milk; the fact that I was taking in enough calories to produce milk for all the baby calves of community pastures across Canada may have been the problem. These revelations remind me that sometimes I’m smart like scientist.
The moment of clarity arrived sometime during the gruelling struggle to put on my bikini. Struggle as in to move violently and thrash about, the end result being likened to a yard sale, with fabric and body parts strewn, in no particular order, across the lawn. Simply put, the square footage of my body could no longer be appropriately contained by the fabric of my bathing suit.
So what did I do? I panicked. With the inevitable winter weight gain just around the corner, I knew my approach had to be swift and merciless. With trepidation and (slivers of) shame, I’ll share the list of steps I took to get back to my pre-baby weight. Don’t judge me.
1. Make a completely insane bet with someone who’s your equal in the arena of mental instability. Be sure the bet includes the promise of financial reward. In this case, my brother and I agreed that the loser would pay the winner $100 per pound on any difference in overall weight lost. Feeling generous, we gave ourselves 10 weeks to get it done. By my calculations, I had to lose 30 pounds to secure victory.
2. If you have small children in your care, or you’re expected to be semi-coherent at work, avoid any attempts to subsist on lemon water.
3. Start by purchasing a kit that promises a full-body cleanse — one that’s harsh enough to scrape your entire colon and expunge any rink hotdogs loitering in your intestinal tract since 1986. Embrace the fact that you’ll be inviting wheat germ, quinoa, kohlrabi and kelp into your home for the duration of the cleanse. Expect several magnificent bowel movements — ones that appear as though they should be baled and racked.
4. At some point, the horrifying truth will dawn on you that exercise must be incorporated into your daily routine. I started on my back, contemplating how best to do a sit-up without breaking a sweat. My stomach flopped down beside me, much like a pet walrus, panting, complete with its own heartbeat. We were both mortified by the prospect of beingcrunched. Frantic for another alternative, I decided to reacquaint myself with the elliptical. I worked up a ridiculous amount of sweat, cleaning rubbish from around said machine, then hopped on and attempted to check my pulse after three minutes. None detected. I immediately assumed I had died from exertion. As I scanned the scene of purgatory, I realized the machine wasn’t plugged in.
5. Count on callous comments from your spouse, including, “I can’t believe you ate that. That probably just cost us $200.” Dear spouse — I’m losing 30 pounds and you’re worried about what it’s going to cost? Some real thoughts, please. Other than jealousy.
6. After weeks of denying your body of carbohydrates and dairy, you’ll find yourself in a state of wondrous lucidity, one that usually can’t be obtained without the use of prescription drugs. You’ll move beyond the mundane musings of the meaning of life and start to ponder the profound questions of the universe, like, where do ravens go to pee?
7. Hair must weigh something. Wax. Everything. I fell to pieces after getting my armpits and bikini area done. I told her it hurt too much to get my entire legs done and put an end to the brutality. She informed me that it wouldn’t hurt so much if I got it done more than once every decade. To each their own. I limped out of there, went home, drew a long bath and proceeded to shave through the hedges on my legs. In hindsight, a deforestation permit may have been required. Here’s a friendly reminder, free of charge. Rinse the tub immediately after you’ve finished, mostly to avoid the following remark from your spouse: “Holy crap! Did someone pelt a monkey in here?” You can’t put a price on this type of positive reinforcement.
In the final days before the weigh-in, I was getting desperate. I had lost 25 pounds in total and knew I needed to shave off the final five. My brother was living the life of a monk, subsisting on nuts and berries (and no doubt wearing hemp sandals to prove a point) while I was in a state of binge-to-take- away-the-fear panic. Just prior to lowering myself into a bathtub of piranhas so they could feast on my midsection, I decided to do a little research on the Internet. I posed the question, “How do I lose five pounds in three days?” The responses were rivetting and the top two suggestions went as follows:remove non-vital organsand seek psychiatric help.Apparently good reason is subjective.
In the end, I lost 26 pounds and my brother lost 29. As I started to write out the cheque for $300, he told me to make it payable to my children, and asked that I tuck it safely away for their future educational needs. I wept. He thought it was as a result of his magnanimous act of kindness. In reality, it was because I could have binged on fast food in those final days, all in the name of financial security for my offspring.
Moral of the story? If you decide to embark on a similar journey, and you’re betting against a man, then base the financial rewards on percentage of body weight lost. I would have cream-corned him. Not only did he beat me, he’s also smarter and a touch nicer than me, too. As I’m certain you’re already questioning my level of shallowness, I won’t tell you which one hurt the most.
JanitaVandeVeldegrewuponafarmnear Mariapolis,Man.Sheholdsabachelorof sciencedegreeinagriculturaleconomics fromtheUniversityofManitoba.Shelivesin Regina,Sask.,withherhusbandRoddyand theirchildrenJackandIsla.Herfirstnovel, PostcardsNeverWritten,wastherecipient oftheSaskatchewanReader’sChoiceAward andalsolistedbyCBCasoneofthetopfunny booksin2009.Formoreinformation,ortoorder herbook,visitherwebsiteat www.janita.ca