Weight, weight: don’t tell me
My shark instincts kick in during a potluck. I look upon the prey sitting on the counter, vulnerable and glistening: glazed ham, buttery mashed potatoes and one seasoned lamb chop. My eyes roll white and I load up my plate.
I look up to see a friend also circling the buffet table. We’re both vying for the last piece of lamb, but because this is a civilized party, we go through the motions of being adults.
“It’s all yours,” I say.
He relents. “I really shouldn’t,” he says, patting his belly. “Just joined the 200 Club and all.”
Oh right, I think, and suddenly my appetite for the lamb chop is replaced by self-consciousness. Since turning 30, I’ve seen the numbers on the scale hover around two-hundo, and every New Year, I’ve resolved to get my weight down. But in the past year, my number skyrocketed to 220. I don’t know whether it’s because of stress, my (poor) diet or physical atrophy in the face of a pre-apocalyptic world, but I, too, am now a member of the 200 Club. And it bums me out.
What’s my excuse? I’m just a 35-year-old freelance writer with cats. I have all the time to exercise. I should be the fittest man in the world. I look down at my plate of potatoes, bread and macaroni and cheese. The road to the 200 Club is paved with beige food. I shake my head and resolve right then to get under 200 pounds.
The moment I step on a treadmill, I remember why it’s so hard to lose weight: Exercise is hard. Moreover, it’s boring. It’s just me alone with my thoughts and going nowhere, which I can do without getting sweaty, thank you very much.
In an effort to liven things up, I go to a group exercise class at the Copley Price YMCA in City Heights. The class is called STRONG by Zumba, which sounds intense but not aggro like CrossFit. The last thing I want is to push giant tires around with a bunch of grunting bros.
Our instructor Jackie explains STRONG as high-intensity interval training set to music. “If you’re looking to dance, you’re in the wrong place,” she says.
For the next hour we do squats, burpees, pushups and jumping jacks. I watch myself move unflatteringly in the mirrors. My torso shakes like an ill-fitting catcher’s pad. I’m by far the sweatiest person, and I worry I’m creating a slipping hazard for my fellow STRONGers.
At the end of the class, my ass is thoroughly kicked. Jackie asks if she’ll see me next week. “Maybe,” I say.
I step on the scale and realize that — to my horror — I have not dropped any weight after one class. The journey out of the 200 Club will be long, but it took a lot of time and evolution for sharks to become an apex species. So, yeah, I’ll be at Jackie’s class next week.
Sign up for the Pacific Insider newsletter
PACIFIC magazine delivers the latest restaurant and bar openings, festivals and top concerts, every Tuesday.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Pacific San Diego.