Monday, June 04, 2007

Thinking Thin

A teaser from my book:

Thinking Thin

I keep trying to “think thin,” but I’m not really sure what that means. I think I should be thin—that makes sense—but I’m not. Thinking I should weigh less gives me the excuse to eat more. Or crappy food. Oh, I can eat that cookie—I’m thin! I’m thinking thin. But, this isn’t working at all. I should think fat. I am fatter than I want to be—I must behave like a fat person and head to the gym.

I know this is a mistake as soon as I enter the room. Bad at motivating myself, I had decided that I needed to take a structured cardio class: Spinning. The lights are out and I wonder, half hoping, if the class has been canceled, but no, they are waiting in the dark so as not to heat the room unnecessarily. Two overweight gym members and a gigantic body builder who works at the gym are already pedaling, warming up.

The instructor walks over to me, inquiring whether I have taken a spinning class before. No, I haven’t. She helps me adjust my chair, showing me the three ways to grip the handle-bars: first position where I am to remain seated with my hands firmly in front of me, second position where I am to lean forward with my hands in the corners of the handle-bars, and third position where I am to stand and pedal without moving my shoulders while holding the ends of the bars. Strapping my feet into the pedals, she warns me, saying “don’t take your feet out under any circumstances. Trust me, I’ve seen someone break an ankle doing this. It is not a pretty sight.”

Huh. This does not bode well. I am not the most coordinated person. In fact, I still manage to walk into walls and furniture. As such, I’m a little apprehensive about what I’ve gotten myself into.

I, too, begin pedaling, waiting for the other people to finish setting up. I am the youngest and smallest of the 7 participants. Okay, I can do this.

We start, pedaling fast on a low resistance to warm our muscles. The teacher commands us to stretch, raising our arms above our heads, but I tilt unnervingly to one side then the other. Apparently, it takes coordination I don’t have just to move my arms and pedal at the same time.

I must not look at the clock. The power certainly affected the clock when the lights were turned off because the minute hand has not moved. We pedal and pedal. She yells at us to spin so fast that now I understand why I have been buckled in. I feel like my legs are going to pedal themselves off. They will continue on their own velocity, hurtling across the room until they run into the wall of mirrors. The wall mocking my every bounce, jiggle, and look of frustration. I have no control; my legs are just moving. The muscles want to leap from my thighs, escape in a quivering thrust with my veins trailing behind them, waving like streamers.

It’s been 4 minutes. What was I thinking?

I did not realize that Spinning was synonymous with hell. I am standing, then sitting, and then standing, all for counts of 8, then 4, and then 2. In spinning vernacular, these are called “jumps.” In my world, this is called “torture.”

I am fervently cursing the stupid pizza and vodka that has made this class a necessity. Surely, there is a better way to lose weight than this. If it’s possible to eat nothing but water and frozen spinach for the next 3 weeks, I will do it.

I am spinning around and around, faster and faster. We race as if our stationary bikes could take flight and I feel as if I’m en route to visit my parents, halfway across the country. Start your own spinning class, now, Mom! Maybe we can meet each other halfway. I feel as though I’ve already biked at least most of the distance.

Changing exercises, we are told to lean forward and grasp the end of the handlebars. For this set, we take turns sitting and standing, switching between second and third position, really feeling every rotation in our butt and thighs.

“Come on,” the instructor yells, “work it!”

I’m working things I thought were out of order. Is it possible to stand, pumping up and down without moving my shoulders as points of leverage? I don’t think my thigh muscles can support me. Still holding the ends of the bars, we pedal furiously, then sit again.

The seat is pressed against my crotch. Hard. But not in the good sort of way bikes sometimes rub against you. No, no. This is just hard and irritating, the possibility of pleasure somewhere far, far away. It is a constant, throbbing reminder of why I’m putting myself through the most hellish way I can think of to burn 18,000 calories. Either that, or a hint that I should have invested in a Southern piercing.

I am pouring sweat. I don’t think I will be able to walk tomorrow. My face is the same hue as my freshly dyed hair—bright auburn. And somehow I make it through 45 minutes without incident. I don’t fall off my seat or walk out of class or scream (or even mutter) the 'are fucking you serious?' that I’m thinking the whole time.

The teacher congratulates us on fogging up the mirrors and encourages us to return in two days for more “fun.” If this is her idea of fun, her priorities have definitely spun out of control. But then again, so has my affinity for junk food.

Limping home, I decide that if broccoli and gardenburgers will ensure a minimal amount of spinning classes in the future, they will become my new “thinking fat” dinner plan.


Blogger Kara said...

Ha ha ha ha. Try being in the saddle for this fun at 7:45am. It's even better.

2:28 PM, June 04, 2007


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