There are flashpoints of anarchy in my everyday. Waves of disorder before the order flows back. When I cook, every ingredient, every pot, every measuring spoon ends up scattered on the counter. But by the time the last bite of the meal is consumed, I have turned my back on chaos. Pans and plates have found their place again and any leftover morsel has been ensconced in its proper container and refrigerated. Only the aroma is left to remind you of the meal.
Same with my desk, the color of which is blanketed by charts, folder and scraps of papers during the day. Layers of paperwork and forms are accented by pens, paperclips and drugstore glasses. Barely a corner of color is evident until it is unveiled at the end of the day; paper corners once again properly aligned in stacks. As with the desk, so is it with my body by the end of each calendar year.
The last month of this year (like all others before it) I have joined my fellow Americans in the ritual of excess. I consume all the “forbiddens”. The fried, The saucy. The cheesy. The just-too-much. A whole Bavarian pretzel? Why not. A second slice of cheesecake? Sure. And at some point my body relents – and expands. Shapely legs become blocky. Stomach is post-burrito-big when I awake. And my backside? Well, let’s just say that there is more of me to love. And I have to admit that I enjoyed every bite of the fried and the saucy and the cheesy. So don’t expect me to bemoan my lost physique. Because I now have a goal. Something destroyed has to be rebuilt. And in my mini-anarchy mind, that motivates me.
I am in awe of all of you who are able to keep within mere pounds of your ideal weight throughout the year. Must be lovely. But it isn’t me. I’m not saying that that is good. I’m just saying it isn’t me. I look forward to my Month of Too-Much because it is the only time I allow it. Even after a competition, my stomach is too shrunken and I am too indoctrinated into small portions and semi-starvation to fully enjoy food. After a competition, I feast on colors, tastes and textures that have nothing innately sinful about them. Fat-free salad dressing. Roasted mini peppers. Humus on pita. There is no comparison between the joy of munching on a flavored rice cake after competition and the pure elation of devouring a slice of warm deep dish apple pie (with whipped topping on top, of course.) in the month of December.
So now comes the time to rebuild the physique. To turn away from mindless eating for pleasure and go back to eating for function. But I will be doing it without self-recriminations. There will be no avoiding the scale and certainly no boo-hooing when I step off the scale. There will be no running past the mirror desperately clutching my towel, afraid of what visage will be found in the glass. There will be no shrinking into the hidden corners of the gym to work out hidden and in secret.
Vacation was good but vacation is over.
And it’s time to go to work.