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Health: It's Not Just a Boring Class Anymore!

2003-10-22 - 9:09 a.m.

I don't wanna grow up. I've already stopped being a Toys'R'Us kid and I feel that this s going too far already.

In my defense, people have always said I act older than I am. When I was in eighth grade, people told me that I acted like someone in my thirties. When I was a freshman in college, there were people who thought I was a grad student. Last night, I went to see Jonathan Richman for a friend's birthday (he was very cool, and wished her happy birthday after the show), and she refused to believe that I was only 23. She was turning 25, and was convinced that I was older than she was. Why? Because I was someone who knew what I wanted and knew how to get it.

At which point I said to myself, "Wow, I have everyone fooled."

This tendency of my friends to assume that I am older than I really am is just one of the reasons why I fight the aging process. To retain my youthful glow, I remain a relatively irresponsible, slovenly person with no job or dating prospects. Woo-hoo! However, I have noticed a frightening slide towards maturity in the one arena where I have always vowed never to mature.

I am starting to become healthy.

Yeah, I'm not proud of it.

Now, when I was in high school I was all about eating low calorie meals and exercising, but I did so in a way that no mental health professional and few nutritionists would call salubrious to body and soul. I had my first break with this philosophy at 18, and by the time I was 20 I had embraced the "I'll eat whatever I want and exercise when I damn well please" philosophy.

I believe this philosophy is highly underrated. First of all, let me emphasize the "eat whatever I want" aspect of this system. You can have ice cream. You can have pizza. You can eat an awesome blossom and baby-back ribs at Chili's and the only guilt you have to suffer from is the fact that these people used N'Sync in their commercials (although they since have been replaced with amateur performers who harbor some sort of delusion that the exposure will somehow make their careers, as opposed to make them something of a laughing stock). All of this is great for your inner child, which remembers being told that he can have cookies and chocolate milk for dinner when he's a grown-up and has been waiting ever since then for that meal.

Also, on a psychic level if not a physical level, being fat toughens you up. Fat is the hard-as-old-boots drill sergeant and you're the candy-ass cadet. Sure, some of the other pansies might drop out and go back to the loving arms of Jenny Craig, but you're the one being all that you can be (or fit into your jeans, at any rate). And when you're out there in the shit, with the screams of the Susan Powters and the Richard Simmonses all around you, you thank ol' Sgt. Adipose for kickin' (and expanding) your ass and makin' you ready for anything.

Because, on some fundamental level, being fat says "I don't give enough of a shit about societal standards of beauty to not enjoy myself, and if you have a problem with that, kiss my ass. There's room enough for plenty of people to do it at once." And this scares the control-top panties off of the fashion industry, the make-up industry, the physical fitness industry, the plastic surgery industry, and all the other businesses that turn a profit by programming a voice inside the head of every person in a America that says, "You are not good enough" whenever someone looks in the mirror. I live in open rebellion against these businesses, and seeing as the rebellion consists of me eating tiramisu, getting laid, and feeling good about myself, I hope the rebellion never ends.

Ironically, the rebellion led me to this whole healthy thing that I'm mildly depressed about. You see, everyone and my mother (emphasis on my mother) is on the Atkins diet right now, looking at carbs as though they were anthrax-coated fusion bombs on a plate. They also felt the need to inform me that the scone I was having for breakfast was, in fact, the unholy refuse of The Devil. This was really starting to get to me, because I love bread, rice, beans, pasta, and sugar. I could almost eat those things exclusively. That's when it dawned on me that a fun way to rebel would be to become a vegetarian, adopting a diet that would force me to have carbs. I had been having some vegan meals at an organization where I did a theatre piece and felt that this was something I could handle easily.

Well, I haven't had red meat since April, and I can count the number of times I've eaten chicken. I still have fish, but no more than 3-4 times a week, sometimes less. And I feel fantastic.

I still had me my croissants and my cheese and plenty of chocolate cookies for a good long while. But recently, I've been exercising more, specifically with yoga. I alternate a 45 minute yoga workout with a 20 minute yoga workout followed by 30 minutes of aerobics. Now there's all this muscle rising up slowly from underneath the fat, which is especially cool if you're gay, because you're all "I am totally turning myself on right now." Also, I am coming ever closer to being able to do a handstand, and I feel energized and relaxed. For some reason, vegetarianism and yoga has really helped my allergies; last night I was all stuffed up in bed and I realized it was because I had skipped my workout that evening. It was all I could do not to get out of bed and get into downward dog position (which you shouldn't do in bed unless Orlando Bloom asks you to).

Now, for some bizarre reason, I don't want eggs and cheese and croissants and that stuff as much. Granted, I still have tons of chocolate and pasta and peanut butter and other yummy things, but I find myself eating vegan meals more often. To make matters worse, I'M DRINKING WATER. I HATE WATER!!! But now I drink it. It makes my skin clearer and I keep feeling better. So now I'm even getting used to the taste . . .

God, every time I think about this I need a drink. Fortunately, I had breakfast tacos this morning. True, I had to wipe some of the grease off and they were a bit too eggy and oily for me, but once they were inside I revelled in the unhealthy goodness. However, I've realized that I probably won't be doing this more than once a week from now on, because there's this whole loving my body thing now and this enjoying the benefits of healthy eating nonsense, both of which are cooler than I thought because they'll still let me fight The Beauty Myth (read the book by Naomi Wolf today!) no matter what size I am, and no matter how much I grow up.

And when the mood strikes me, I'll order the sogno di cioccolata at Carraba's, raise a fork, and say "This one's for the sarge."

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