When I get sick, all I care about is getting better. Food makes me feel better: spicy tom yum soup, chips, cookies, chocolate. I crave all the caloric crap my mom never let me have as a kid. When I bite down onto a See’s Candy, I perk up. No wonder it’s called comfort food. One thing is on my mind during illness: make myself feel better. I lament that all those weeks of working out at the gym have gone down the drain. My reunion is coming up and I’ll be back to my heavy self. Classmates will snicker that I never lost the poundage I put on in business school.
But I don’t let those thoughts keep me from porking out. First things first. Be well. I can worry about losing the weight when I’m healthy again. I tell myself I’ll run more, run faster. I’ll spend the night in the steam room if I have to. But in the mean time, it’s tom yum soup, lots of sugar, and lots of salt.
Once darkness turns into light, I always fear stepping on the scale. Surprisingly, I always lose weight. It doesn’t matter that I pigged out on the snack aisle of Walgreen’s. It doesn’t matter that I hadn’t gone to the gym in a week.
The same thing happens when I go on vacation. Vacations are all about food, right? Trying the regional cuisine, pairing it with wine. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Back at home, the scale calls to me. But the number always pops up lower than if I’d been running two back-to-back marathons. What gives?
A lot of people figure I’m lying and I’m probably not eating as much when I’m sick. Not true. When I’m normal healthy Catherine, I’m restrained. I have soy milk for breakfast, a Lean Cuisine for lunch, an afternoon snack, then probably another microwavable entrée for dinner. Then I run for half-an-hour. When I’m sick, I gorge. I order a grande peppermint hot chocolate with whip from Starbucks, eggs & sausage from the café, tom yum soup with rice for lunch, chips from the vending machine, Specialty’s chocolate chip cookie, another tom yum soup (different than lunch) for dinner, plus green beans and tofu with more rice. Then I sit and let it all collect in my tummy while staring mindlessly at whatever Dean has on the TV.
What’s the point of working out if I can lose more weight laid up on my couch, snacking on Cheetos and reading Kathy Griffin’s Official Book Club Selection? A whole population of workout-aholics will tell you they feel better. They feel healthier. I beg to differ. I don’t feel any better running on the treadmill every day. I actually feel worse! Achy, sore, and in dire need of a sports massage. I’d rather not work out, feel just fine, and reduce my risk of injury.
Who will join me in my crusade to not work out, lose weight, and still feel good?