December is a very ill-advised month in which to embark on an exercise program. You might even call it sadistic, with temptations lurking everywhere — from my first-grader’s ethnic brunch (two groaning buffet tables with three kinds of homemade scones, noodle kugels galore and cookies begging to be sampled) to various holiday soirees (hello, peppermint white-chocolate bark!).
From Thanksgiving weekend to New Year’s Day, the holiday season is all about food. But when I launched a month-long fitness boot camp on Dec. 5, I kissed carbs goodbye. I am kind of regretting that right about now.
I am a starch nut. I’ll eat cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner. I’m not much of a meat eater, but I consume plenty of healthy proteins, namely beans. But what good are beans without a bed of rice or a blanket of toasted tortilla? How am I to savor Indian food without the naan?
For three weeks now, I haven’t eaten a slice of bread or a strand of spaghetti. Even harder to resist, for me, are cookies and cakes. I love to bake; making banana chocolate chip muffins with my kids is as much a part of the rhythm of family life as brushing teeth.
I haven’t been doing much baking lately. Instead, I’ve been loading up on protein, eating more red meat in the past few weeks than has crossed my plate in months. I’m pairing up egg whites and black beans for breakfast and snacking on nuts and carrots. I’ve learned to cook my own green lentil daal.
And still — still! — I’ve lost just 1 lb. For two weeks now, the scale has held steady at 131. It’s enough to make a girl channel her frustration into a double chocolate doughnut.
Family, friends and readers who’ve been following my weekly updates have talked me off the ledge. @workoutmommy, a kettlebell queen, tweeted: “hang in there! Sometimes the body is slow to adapt & might need another week or so to catch up! :)”
I didn’t register for boot camp primarily to lose weight, actually. I’d wanted to feel healthier and work vigorous exercise into my day. That part has been wildly successful; after a few weeks of sprints and abs-crunches on Bosu balls, I did 12 push-ups on Wednesday, which is 11 more than I could have done a month ago. But I’d hoped that weight loss would be a fringe benefit. I had visions of the pounds speedily melting off until I approached 120 lbs., about what I weighed when I got married 10 years ago.
Perhaps my expectations were unrealistic. The boot camp guru didn’t help either when he announced that participants had collectively lost 100 pounds. I know he was trying to inspire, but the news just left me wondering if I’m destined to be Rubenesque forever.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that the scale is broken.