Suburban Snapshots

I Tried an Internet Fitness Program
and I Think I'm Broken Now

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Disclaimer: I adore the women who sold me on this program. This post isn't about the program itself, but about my current incompatibility with its workout plan. If you need to leave angry comments, please refrain from calling me fat.

I'm writing from a very crabby place today. Eventually this crabbiness will subside and might even turn into something like accomplishment or contentment. Right now I'll be happy if it just turns into me being able to use my goddamned legs again.

I'm a hypocrite and a liar. I go back and forth from feeling great in my own skin to being angry at the vanishing of my hip bones to content buying bigger jeans to cursing the meat on my thighs that moves even after I've stopped. Last week was a frustrated week. I was unhappy with myself, though I'd spent weeks being absolutely delighted by the food I ate joyfully and without remorse. As it will, everything caught up and my lovely lady lumps grew and multiplied, and I got sick of it. In a fury I ordered one of those diet and exercise programs some of your friends are surely selling (hint: it rhymes with Everyone Say Dicks) because I needed structure, I needed charts and rules and a support group and a visual cue sitting on my counter reminding me to DROP THE CHEEZE ITS, FATTY.

I've got the eating part of this down pretty well. I've successfully lost weight and maintained most of it for five years. I know what's good for you and what isn't, I understand moderation, I know what a portion looks like, and I know that if I stop keeping track of all my trips from the desk to the cabinet for a handful of pretzels I'll accidentally eat a day's worth of calories in snacks before my shower. I'm totally cool with having to check a box or fill a container before stuffing my face. Keeps me off the Goldfish.

On Monday I optimistically popped in the first workout, which starts with a nice warm up, some jumping jacks to remind you just how much noise flesh can make when it's in motion, then launches immediately into this heinous, crippling exercise which basically involves lowering yourself to kneeling one leg at a time and getting back up over and over while holding weights above your head and trying not to vomit down your sports bra.

Fuck. That. Noise.

Look, I'm all for feeling a little burn, a little sore, it reminds me that for a few minutes I wasn't sitting at my desk talking to people inside the computer. But when I tell you that today, 48 full hours later I still cannot lower myself to pee without bracing on the toilet seat like it's a goddamned pommel horse I am not even exaggerating a little. On the plus side, my shoulders are going to be so shredded. This morning I walked my dog, forgetting about the part where I'd have to bend over and clean up after him. I prayed as I covered my hand with an old grocery bag that I wouldn't land tits-first in a fresh pile of shit. It took me twenty minutes, but I can still self righteously chastise people who leave turds all over my neighborhood, thank you very much. Later I tossed a can to my recycle bin and missed. I sobbed in the driveway as it taunted me from below. What have I ever done besides love you, garbanzo beans? I thought we had something.

During the video, the fit, energetic coach promises that she'll get you the body you want if you just stick with her. Girls, this is not the body I want. The body I want can get into its underwear from a standing position. The body I want can get up from the couch without squealing. I had that body three short days ago. My husband still thinks we had the best sex ever the other night because I couldn't bear to tell him that my howls were from sheer agony. I'm pretty sure I caught our neighbor giving him The Nod yesterday.

I definitely need to be more active. I want to stop realizing at noon that I haven't used my feet since nine. I'm just not a person who wants to PUSH THROUGH THE BURN. Give me a little ache, some feeling of accomplishment, evidence that my muscles haven't atrophied, but I am not made for this intensity. There's no level of ripped that's worth the degree of hobbled I'm experiencing—I went to get the mail yesterday and considered camping on my front lawn rather than gracelessly hoisting myself back up the three front steps. This is some bullshit.

Lots of people love this stuff and I applaud their dedication to utter misery. They'll be the ones at the beach who don't jiggle, who walk into a store, grab their size and confidently bypass the dressing rooms. If there's ever a zombie apocalypse that requires a lot of squatting combat, I'll be crouched behind a line of them. But for me, once this program ends, I'll be taking afternoon hikes or biking around my neighborhood. For today, I'm just hoping my dog doesn't need to take a crap during his next walk.

Five Steps to Preparing Your Child for the Real World

Friday, June 05, 2015

*This is satire

There were two posts on totally different topics I shared this week, though similar themes came up in comments. The first was a letter I wrote to our local paper calling out some women who turned a lighthearted piece about the senior prom into a free-for-all judgment volley. The second was my post suggesting that parents don't need to yell at little boys who cry in the dugout. What I saw in a few replies on both subjects was this:

The kids should get used to it, this is how it goes in the real world. 

A photo posted by Brenna Jennings (@suburbansnapshots) on

Advice from the Internet is always on-point, and I plan to apply this parenting credo as I strive to raise a child who is truly prepared for the "real world."

1. For starters, I'm going to make Anna get a job. In the real world, no one lets you live in their home and eat their food for free unless you're rich, famous, or incredibly buff, so she needs to show me some serious talent, a hardcore workout regimen or an advanced aptitude for managing hedge funds, otherwise she's hitting the pavement.

2. Then in a few months, I'm going to announce that we're selling the house and she's got to find somewhere else to live. This happens in the real world ALL THE TIME and I don't want her to be crying into a dirty futon on the sidewalk twelve years down the road when she's evicted from some off-campus hovel.

3. I'm going to use her social security number to open a bunch of credit cards and buy twenty HDTVs at Walmart plus a subscription to online fetish porn. In the real world, identity theft happens to millions of people. It would be a disservice if I didn't expose her to its ins and outs now; I'm giving her the jump on navigating phone menu labyrinths and interminable hold times because I care.

4. When I get home from grocery shopping I'm going to back over the dog. Let's get the searing pain of loss taken care of early, with no sugar-coating. None of this "Fido went to live on a farm" business, she needs to be prepared for the steep toll of grief. I'm not totally heartless though so I'll back over the one she likes least.

5. One Sunday, I plan to leave the house and break up with her via text from the fro-yo store, "ur nice but I got2 bounce." I'll message her sporadically as the months drag on asking "we cool?" and "thinking of u." She needs to understand that life is full of people who won't appreciate her or have the decency to treat her with respect. It's probably best if the lesson comes from the person she trusts most in the world and not from some little dipshit in the 8th grade cafeteria.

There will be a substantial decrease in hugs, compliments, and encouragement, because that shit's for coddlers. If your boss hugs you on the regular you probably need a good attorney. I'll replace phrases like, "You'll be okay, kiddo" with "Suck it up," and I should probably put an end to whatever childhood myths she's still holding onto—if she loses a tooth at her new job she can't just start going on and on about the intricacies of her Tooth Fairy trap.

It's been a really educational week for me, and I owe it all to the Internet.