All workouts and no soda make Sara a cranky (but skinny!) girl…

It’s official. I’ve become one of THOSE people.

You know the people I mean. The ones who exercise with freakishly religious zeal. The ones who ONLY fill their shopping carts at the grocery store with organic fruits and veggies. The people who can, without needing to do any quick math, tell you IMMEDIATELY how many calories they’ve consumed so far today, as well as what their total daily caloric intake will be.

Yes.  I have become a skinny health nut.

I didn’t become one of THOSE people because I wanted to feel morally superior to the people who don’t work out, buy processed foods, and don’t know their daily calorie intake at this exact second—although don’t get me wrong, I DO feel superior to all of you who aren’t like that.  Massively so.  All of THOSE people do.  You were right about that.  We judge you. 

No, I made this lifestyle change because I promised myself that I would be a size 4 by summer. And I’m actually almost there. I’ve got probably another 5-7 pounds left to go, with another two months of school left and a month-and-a-half until the pool opens.

3 days before I got on the exercise/healthy eating wagon
Me last week… see the difference???

Yay me!

But I’m also finding myself at that dreaded plateau, where those last 5-7 pounds don’t seem to want to budge.  I’ve tried reasoning with them, I’ve tried yelling at them, I’ve even tried offering them a trip to Disney World (hey, it would work if someone wanted to get rid of ME!).  But to no avail.  Clearly, drastic measures are necessary, so it was time to give up my last remaining dietary vice.

Yes, boys and girls, I’m talking about my diet soda addiction.

For years, I ignored all of the articles/tv shows/doctors/health experts/random busybodies (cough Angela cough) who said that any soda, even diet, is bad for you. Because I love me some Diet Coke. And it has zero calories! Nothing with zero calories can be bad for you! (And no, no one who speaks German could be evil either.)

Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows that CALORIES are the enemy, not the artificial sweeteners and other delicious, cancer-causing ingredients.

Right?  I mean, why would they put the word “diet” in the NAME of the product if it wasn’t going to help you lose weight?  Who would do something like that?

And I NEEDED my soda.

Because if you know me at all, you know that I don’t drink coffee. (And if you don’t know me, but still know that I don’t drink coffee, that’s really creepy and please stop stalking me!) But I’m an inveterate insomniac and have a day job that starts at what I believe should technically still be termed “The Middle of the Freaking Night for God’s Sake.” Literally. When I rule the world, that’s what 7:25am will be called.

So for years now (never mind how many!), I’ve relied on two (okay, three or four) cans of Coke Zero to get me through until the time when normal people start their days. You know. Noon.

For me, that was the perfect amount of caffeine to keep me functional, but NOT enough to cause further sleep problems.

But coffee drinkers don’t understand that, as I learned when I went to the Meadowlands to see Bruce Springsteen with my dad last week. I drove both ways, as it was my spring break and my dad had to work the next day, but after hitting a mysterious traffic jam on the New Jersey Turnpike that Google Maps claimed didn’t exist but that lasted for an hour, and with three hours left to drive at 1am, I realized I was going to need some kind of a stimulant to help keep me awake on the road.

So we stopped at the Walt Whitman rest stop to get me a Diet Coke.

Perfectly confident in my abilities to make it safely home with that 32oz soda next to me, I got back in the car. My dad called my mom to give her an estimate on when he would be home, and I spoke to her for a couple of minutes as well (a little bit about the concert, but mostly bragging about how healthily I had eaten that day.  My mom is the skinniest person on the planet, so she was proud). And when I went to take a sip of my delicious, life-prolonging, energy-giving Diet Coke, I got only ice.  And that horrible watered-down soda remnant crap that you get when your soda is gone but you try to drink it anyway.

While I had been on the phone, my dad drank the whole soda. And because he single-handedly keeps Starbucks in business and literally has pure coffee running through his veins instead of blood, the caffeine in my soda did nothing for him.  Thirty seconds later, he was asleep.

At which point, I decided to kill him and leave his body in the swamps of Jersey.

Because if I learned anything from The Sopranos, it’s that that’s a pretty common occurrence in New Jersey and shouldn’t really raise any eyebrows.

But I love my dad. So even though I spent the next hour of the drive plotting his demise in gory detail, I didn’t act on it. Instead, I drank half of my emergency 5 Hour Energy that I keep in the car for just such situations.

And I haven’t slept since.

So, because I’m pretty sure I’m still hopped up on the caffeine from a week and a half ago, I realized that the time had come to lay off of the soda entirely to help reach my weight loss goals.

(Plus, the soda habit was getting expensive. I need to save my money for the really important things, like clothes that actually fit now that I’ve lost weight and tickets for when Bruce comes back around in the fall!)

And I have to admit that in addition to cutting out all of the additives that were going to kill me, cutting caffeine out as well has left me feeling…

AWFUL! All of those experts who said I’d feel so much better, what the hell are they smoking? I mean, yes, I get to feel that sense of superiority over all of those coffee and soda addicts out there, but…


Never mind. I feel great.

You just might want to stay out of my way if you happen to see me before noon for the next couple of weeks. I’m still a little grumpy in the mornings.

But bikini season, here I come!

My New Year’s resolution? Avoid the sweaty new gym members!

In case you somehow missed the memo (or drank so much that you no longer remember anything), it’s now 2012. Which means we have less than a year less to live.

Just kidding.  That Mayan stuff is crap. Sorry kids, you still have to do your homework, the world isn’t ending…

But it IS the time for resolutions.

But not for me—I no longer make New Year’s resolutions. The last time I made one, I resolved not to make a horrified face when I see really ugly people. That didn’t even last until 12:02am. I DID make it a whole minute without making a face when I saw ugly people, but two minutes? Come on, a girl has her limits!

(Side note, when I explained that to one of my former students, Ana told me that the reason I failed in that resolution was because I shouldn’t make resolutions that go against my natural instincts. But if THAT were true, I’d literally own ten billion pairs of shoes and sit around eating cake all day. Because my natural instincts say I should buy all of the pretty shoes I see and eat a lot of cake. Yes, I’d be happy if I resolved to follow that, but I’d also be poor and fat, which would, in turn, destroy the shoe-and-cake-induced happiness. Fat and happy is an oxymoron in my world. Thanks mom.)

Most people, however, are big fans of this whole New Year’s resolution thing. And unfortunately, the most common resolution made is to go to the gym more often.

Which is the REAL reason that I hate New Year’s resolutions and refuse to make them.

Because you see, I am a gym rat. I have been since college, which was a long time ago if you know my real age, and a couple of years ago if you don’t. It used to be so bad that the trainers at my gym would occasionally introduce me when they gave new members a tour. Because I was there THAT often.

Yes, I took a bit of an extended hiatus after getting Rosie (because playing with a puppy is a LOT more fun than running on a treadmill. And she’s so cute!), but I’ve been back in the swing of it for a while now and am insanely addicted again.

How can I resist that face??

Which is why I’m NOT okay with these New Year’s resolution people.

Every year, they flock to the gym like the fat little lemmings that they are and ruin my workout for a month and a half.

It’s awful.

I know, I know, you want to tweet this with the hashtag #firstworldproblems (or possibly #spoiledwhitegirlproblems), but it’s really obnoxious. Because gyms aren’t built to handle the crowds from January 1-February 15. If you tried to Metro downtown for any part of the Obama inauguration, you understand my pain. There just isn’t enough gym space to accommodate the crowds.

And it doesn’t help that these particular crowds are out of shape, monstrously overweight, and really, REALLY sweaty.

I mean, okay, I’ve been sweated on before. It’s never pleasant. Not even when you’re in the front row at a Springsteen show and it’s Bruce sweating on you. But I’d prefer that ANY day over the residual drenching you get if you’re next to a New Year’s resolution person who resembles a hippopotamus on the treadmill. Seriously. These people need to come with signs like they have in the splash zone for Shamu at Sea World. If you’re within two machines of these people, you WILL get wet.

Going to the gym in January seriously makes me want to cry sometimes.

But I have a solution! (Come on, you knew that was coming… I’m the girl who suggested we get rid of Delaware and give their Congressional votes to DC to stop the “Taxation without representation” whining, and suggested we kick Texas out of the Union and conquer Canada—of COURSE I know how to solve the January gym problem!)

Everyone knows that the New Year’s resolution people will stop going to the gym by mid-February at the latest. Sure, a dozen or so will keep going until halfway through March, and of those, one or two will actually become gym nuts and keep it up. Gyms can handle that kind of growth—because sometimes older gym members die. Or move away. Or get puppies. You know—the circle of life.

So it’s not like the gyms really need to expand—that wouldn’t be cost efficient for the rest of the year. But you know those Halloween stores that pop up in September and are only open until the first week of November?

Yup. We need seasonal gyms.

But here’s the genius part of the plan: they need to be advertised as seasonal gyms. Because the New Year’s resolution people are NEVER going to join a gym that’s going to close in two months. They actually BELIEVE that they’re going to keep this exercise thing up. Despite the fact that they sound like emphysemic hyenas as soon as their heart rates get above 90.

We loyal gym rats, however, would LOVE to go to a gym that’s going to only be serious exercisers until the New Year’s crowd returns to their couches for the rest of the year. I personally would be HAPPY to pay extra to get to go to a gym where the sound of man-boobs flapping won’t overpower my iPod.

And the beauty of this plan is that those stores would be LONG vacant again by the time the space is needed for Halloween stores. It’s a win-win.

But until the gym industry keeps on and fixes this problem, I guess I DO need to make a resolution this year after all: I resolve to be encouraging to the people who want to change their lives by exercising this year.

And to wear a wetsuit to the gym for the next month and a half. Because there’s no humanly possible way to be encouraging to someone who is spraying you with the sweat from under their man boobs.

A girl has her limits after all.