Wherefore art thou, Treadmill? (The Diet, Day 9)

If you tuned in to yesterday’s episode of the Diets of My Life, you know that after one full week of dieting I lost exactly nothing, according to my bathroom scales. By mid-morning I was at Bed, Bath, and Beyond purchasing new scales. Clearly there was something malfunctioning.

My scales are quite suspect. They are old. My floor is uneven. They give different readings depending on where they are positioned on the floor. No amount of attempting to adjust the balance changes that fact. It seems likely they are unreliable.

So I got some fancy digital scales that laid claim to being “highly accurate.” Maybe they are since they say exactly the same thing no matter how many times you kick them over to a different spot on the floor. The problem with that high accuracy, however, is that they say I weigh ten pounds more than the other scales did. What a double-whammer of a day to first lose nothing and then find an extra ten pounds.

My friend says I should take the new scales back for a refund immediately, but I suspect they might actually be more accurate than the old ones. I think I’ll try a two scale system for a while and see what happens.

I don’t know. This is just too harsh to sort out right away.

The end result, though, is that the only way I’ve been able to live with myself is to pull my treadmill out of hiding. I did 30 minutes on it last night. I’ve done 15 so far today, but I plan to have another round before long.

I’ve been walking in the mornings with Patricia of next door. We walk for about 25 minutes on average, I think. We may be doing a whole mile in that time, but I wouldn’t guarantee it. We take dogs with us and stop a lot.

Because I’m feeling desperate, I couldn’t leave the results of that to chance. I had to do some calculating.

You have to burn off 3500 calories to burn off 1 pound. That means you need to burn off 500 calories per day in order to burn off 1 pound per week through exercise. If you can burn approximately 100 calories per mile from walking, you need to walk five miles per day to meet the 1 pound per week goal.

I won’t be doing that. The best I can walk a mile right now is in about 20 minutes. Unless there is some sort of new math involved that I don’t understand, that means I need at least 1 hour and 40 minutes worth of walking per day to meet a five mile goal. I actually need a little longer since the first mile is a more leisurely mile.

I’m about to start back to work, and I do understand my personal limitations–physical, temporal, and otherwise. I’m going to set a goal of walking 2.5 miles per day. I’ll count the mornings as 1 mile. That leaves me with thirty minutes of treadmill time remaining.

That’s somewhat depressing when I consider that I’m setting a goal of walking enough to lose an average of 2 pounds per month. It would take 20 weeks of that just to burn off the extra 10 pounds I found on the new scales.

I’m going to try not to think of it that way. I’m going to attempt to fill my head with a bunch of yammering about heart, lung, bone, and joint health instead. If anyone would like to give me a sales pitch on that, I’m listening.

Julie and Julia and Sharon

I watched Julie and Julia last night. If you are trying to diet, you really should watch a movie that features butter as a main character. Maybe it’s a test of your own character if you don’t go microwave a vat of it and slurp it down before the movie ends…or at the very least slather up some popcorn with it.

But no…I watched the movie and didn’t eat through it. I only yelled a little at Netflix when it bumped me out of the movie three or four times. I’m going to quit trying to stream during peak hours, I think, but I’m trying to quit so many things now that streaming movies seems low on the social order.

I loved the movie. It’s a cutesy feel-good flick that made me wish I had my own blog. What could I write a blog about, I asked myself, as Julie asked herself the same.

I was somewhat annoyed, though, that the act of blogging and the act of taking on a major creative project was portrayed as self-centered. Is creativity self-centered? Is writing? Is art in general an ultimately self-centered act? I don’t know. Maybe art is mission work in its own way because it brings comfort and pleasure to others.

That’s what a friend told me when I said that I felt guilty over writing a fantasy novel because it wasn’t about anything important to the world. It was just something that gave me pleasure to do. She said, “If it brings pleasure to anyone, it’s important. Offering people even a brief time to feel good in a world full of struggling and pain is the best anyone can do.”

Maybe, and maybe it is still selfish. I don’t know.

I was enamored enough with the movie that I thought I’d read the book. I’ve read the Julia Child book My Life in France, but I haven’t read the Julie Powell book Julie and Julia. I went over to Amazon to look it up. That’s when I noticed that Julie Powell has a newer book called Cleaving.

Also autobiographical, evidently much of the new book concentrates on the fact that she has an affair.

Now, after butter and Julia and Paul Child, Julie Powell’s husband was my favorite character in the movie. He was beyond supportive.

So, of course, if she’s going to go and cheat on him after the end of the movie when finally after all of his support she catches her big break and gets rich, I don’t want to read about it. Just finding out that’s what the next book is about makes me not want to read the first book either. It makes me suspect that the problem all along was her, that blogging wasn’t a narcissistic pursuit, but that she was just a narcissistic person, and that this was all toned down a bit for the sake of the movie. If so, I don’t want to find out. I don’t want to have my experience of an enjoyable movie ruined by reading a book in which I find out I don’t really like the characters.

I would have for sure purchased Julie and Julia if Cleaving didn’t exist, but now I’m not going to buy either.

That leads me to wondering if I’m being too judgmental. Possibly. I understand that people who do selfish things aren’t always in control of themselves. I read just the other day about the neurology behind high levels of alcoholism in writers and artists. You know those inner censors you have to turn off in order to use your imagination? Well, they are censoring a lot more behaviors than just dull-mindedness. When you turn them off and keep them off long enough, you really don’t know what you are doing. Add to that excess adrenaline and other whacked out bodily chemistry, and you have a real disaster in the making on your hands.

It’s easy enough to understand how people, who aren’t really total jerks after all, make unfortunate choices when they are physically and emotionally strung out.

But you see, this is my blog, and it isn’t about Julie Powell. It’s about me.

However I rationalize it, I just don’t want to read a book has the potential to ruin my experience of a movie I’ve already seen.

That’s that. Moving on now.