This is How You Gain 20 Pounds of New Relationship Weight in One Year

beforeafter

October 2014. Graig and I meet for our first date on the second of the month and it’s like a total “OMG marry me now, K? K.” situation. The ensuing weeks involve frequent beer-and-wings-marathon sessions that turn into frisky all-nighters, which, as someone who requires a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night, is more than a little problematic. But I’m also euphoric at having finally found the man of my dreams, so mostly I just shout “YOLO!” in the face of my newfound fatigue. I develop a daily empanada craving, usually in the afternoons when the clock strikes four.

November 2014. We’re still riding high on our mutual infatuation, and I have officially accepted that skipping the gym and saying “fuck it” to healthy eating throughout the week will simply be my fate until our honeymoon phase starts to cool down, something I predict will happen just in time for Christmas, maybe.

December 2014. Christmas happens. Mariah Carey happens. Reclaiming my healthy eating and gym-going routine happens. JK! Instead, Graig and I go to football games where we tailgate and consume thousands of beer calories. Also, I randomly get into donuts, which is just silly. “Diet starts Monday after New Year’s!” is my new mantra.

January 2015. LOL. Who thought eating healthy would be a possibility when the Patriots are dominating in the playoffs? We go to every home game. My mantra becomes “Diet starts Monday after the Super Bowl!”

February 2015. THE PATS WIN and so this month is cancelled.

March 2015. IT’S MY 27TH BIRTHDAY and so this month is cancelled.

April 2015. Seven months into our love affair we’re still cruising high on our infatuation with one another, but I decide that I need to make a serious life change after my doctor confirms that I have indeed gained ten pounds. Which, honestly, she didn’t need to tell me because I felt like a blob of shit anyway. But the revelation serves as total motivation, as does the fact that Graig and I have a trip to Aruba slated for May. I randomly go through a deep Sheryl Crow phase and also I start running again, both of which allow me to close out the month feeling vaguely human.

May 2015. I get offered a new job as a full-time writer! It’s exciting and also a reason to celebrate and pig out for an entire month. My start date is June 1, after our decadent Aruba trip (during which I essentially eat the entire island), which happens to be a Monday. Diet starts Monday of my new job!

other

These are a few of my weight-gaining things.

June 2015. This shit is kinda stressful. It’s longer hours and a more difficult commute than I’m used to, so I start sleeping at Graig’s most nights because it’s closer to work. Of course this means that a) having a routine of any kind is basically impossible, and b) I can’t even pretend to go to the gym, because the one I’m a member of is literally fifty miles away. I start eating bagels for breakfast every morning while simultaneously contemplating a self-reinvention as an unapologetically overweight BHM, or big handsome man.

July 2015. It’s summer and I’m fat! I avoid the scale but I am so sure that I’ve gained at least a total of fifteen pounds by now. Clothes are getting tight but I can still more or less fit into them after I empty myself of the tears that go along with realizing my clothes are getting tight.

August 2015. Graig and I are at my best college friends’ condo for a fiesta of sangria and pasta and cigars. As we absorb the beautiful sights from their nature-y back porch, I get up to go to the bathroom. In doing so, a button literally pops off from the waist of my shorts and lands on Graig’s lap. It’s so fucking symbolic I could write a novel (and/or blog post) about it.

September 2015. You know that line in “Summertime Sadness” where Lana Del Rey is all “Nothing scares me anymore”? THAT’S HOW I FEEL. Except replace “scares” with “fits,” as I keep destroying my clothes simply by trying to, like, wear them.

What I’ve learned from this journey so far is that I’m such a (hungry hungry) hypocrite! If you’d asked me in 2014 why I kept a strict diet and gym routine, I’d have probably said, “Because I care about my health and it makes me feel good.” But, well, LOL, nope. It was really just to catch a dick. Humans are basic!

piantz

Those jeans ripped while I was trying to get into a car. It was cute!

October-December 2015. There is an end in sight; maybe we’re not so basic after all! Graig and I moved to a new place together in Jersey. The building has a very nice gym, which, combined with the stability of having a constant home, has allowed us to settle into something of a routine that involves whole wheat english muffins and morning workouts. So here’s to a 2016 that’s, like, healthy or something!

All We Wanted Was to Watch Some Damn Golf

On Saturday my boyfriend Graig and I went on a beautiful eight-mile walk along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. It was scenic, serene, far removed from the city, and this is apropos of nothing but I’m currently writing this blog post from the train and the man to my left is eating a very aromatic banana.

ALL I CAN SMELL IS BANANA RIGHT NOW.

Waiting for it to be over.

Keyshia Cole.

Okay, he’s done.

So after our walk, we ended up at what is steadfastly becoming my favorite bar/restaurant ever — a picturesque, waterfront tavern in a park where wealthy middle-aged humans like to hang out and heterosexual couples like to get married. (Why this recipe somehow spells out “Comfort Zone!” for me is its own sad problem, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Everything was going great at first. I had a Landshark Lager in one hand and a lobster roll in the other. There were also many oysters involved. We were watching the Masters on the bar’s only television, and I was inexplicably invested in every nuance of the event.

Love shocking my friends.

Love shocking my friends w/ my golf knowledge.

Things took a dark turn later in the day, though, and by the end of the night we ended up in a weird situation where our bartender hated us and wished us dead in her head, and yes, I just rhymed.

Something to note here is that I am cripplingly afraid of confrontation and/or ever saying anything that could even vaguely paint me as an asshole to a waitperson. I don’t say things like, “I’ll have some more water,” as my subconscious seems to believe that only a total dick would make such a demand. Instead I say, “Um. So. Can I have some more water, p-p-please?” in a very high, mouse-like voice. It’s embarrassing for everyone involved and really I’m sure waiters hate me even more for making it weird than they would if I just asked for water outright like a normal citizen, but whatever, this post isn’t even about water, so let’s just move on, Jesus.

Somewhere around Jordan Spieth’s seventh hole of the day, the lunch bartender decided that “nobody cares about golf” and changed the station. This caused a panic between Graig and I, but luckily with a very polite/awkward request (see above paragraph) we were able to get him to put the golf back on (and also bring us more oysters, which are delicious and bring me joy and should really just be called joysters IMHO).

joysters

But then.

An hour later we were forced to close out our tab with the lunch bartender and start a new one with his replacement, a sassy blonde girl with crunchy shoulder-length hair and baby blue nail polish. Immediately upon starting her shift, she grabbed the remote and proclaimed, “I don’t wanna watch golf!

“Bitch, you got some neeerve!” is what I absolutely did not say to her but should have.

Luckily, the outgoing bartender did the dirty work for us and whispered to her that we were invested in the men on the screen in the pants and the shirts with the metal rods and the balls. (I should have known that writing about golf would swiftly turn into erotica.)

She looked annoyed but changed it back, and then proceeded to pretend that Graig and I didn’t exist for the rest of the evening. Like, she was being a total gem to everyone else at the bar — engaging in friendly small talk, smiling, generally being a non-dick – but every time we tried to flag her down for another round it was like getting the attention of an angsty teen in possession of a smartphone and very severe resentment issues.

We managed to get the bar-back to get her to get us drinks when we could, but overall we just felt vehemently hated yet entirely invisible at the same time.

Once the final hole of the day was shot, we decided it was time to vacate and go somewhere where we weren’t de facto lepers. We tried for ten minutes to get the crunchy hair bitch’s attention—in what was not a crowded bar at all, I might add!—but she kept avoiding our hand gestures and actively sought out patrons to engage in lighthearted banter with instead.

“What’s wrong with us?” I asked Graig. “Are we THAT hate-able?”

“Apparently,” he said. “Should we just do a dine and dash?”

Before we could fully contemplate the option, a spunky woman in a mini jean jacket randomly approached us from behind.

“Hi guys,” she started as we turned around. She was pointing to another girl across the bar. “Do you see my friend over there? What do you think of her?”

“I don’t know her personally, so I ought not to form an opinion based purely on her physical appearance, because to quote alt-R&B songstress Janelle Monáe, who will tweet this two days into the future, a woman’s body is ‘not for male consumption,'” is another thing I did not say in response but should have.

“She’s a dish!” is yet one more. (Because Titanic.)

“She’s super pretty,” is what I actually said, trying to sound stereotypically gay enough for her to realize that she was barking up two entirely homosexual trees. But somehow I failed. (I blame the golf.)

“So why have neither of you hit on her yet? Come on, guys!”

Graig then jumped in and cut to the chase: “Actually, we’re boyfriends.”

And then the girl was all, “Oh my God, really? We’re lesbians! I just wanted to boost my girlfriend’s self-esteem and also try to play you guys for some free drinks.”

…WHO THE FUCK?

“Well, even if we wanted to buy you drinks we couldn’t because the bartender is very mean…” I started to say to her, but then her girlfriend stormed out of the establishment in an emotional tizzy and she abruptly chased after her before anyone could even say bye.

I felt bad for the girlfriend, who was clearly having a rough time in this Bar of Broken Dreams. I wondered if maybe she just needed to feel sexy for a moment, as her GF obviously sucked at satisfying that need on her own. Or maybe she was dehydrated because the bartender was being a vindictive goblin to them, too. Or — wait! Perhaps the whole thing was just an elaborate ruse designed to enable THEM to ACTUALLY DINE AND DASH. You know what? Those lesbians were evil geniuses.

Meanwhile, Graig and I ended up waiting another ten minutes for the bill, which we paid, because we plan on going back for the U.S. Open.

 

I Need to Stop Swallowing Things

December 2014. ‘Tis the night before Christmas and about twenty bacon-wrapped scallops rest menacingly on a white porcelain serving tray in the buffet area of a festive celebration. They appear to be delicious. Succulent. I love succulent. I grab one with my dirty Christmas-Eve fingers and quickly pop the whole thing into my mouth, enacting a sort of self-inflicted reverse five-second rule. And, oh! It is delicious. It is succulent.

At first.

But then I notice that the bacon is extra, extra tough. Jesus, I think to myself as I vigorously chomp my way through the remaining shred of it that just won’t budge. Is this bacon or is this, like, really fucking old beef jerky?

Jesus doesn’t respond, presumably because it is approaching midnight on his (His?) birthday, which means he’s probably busy pre-gaming with some sheep/shepherds/disciples and is drunk on homemade wine/Fireball shots/whatever the good shit is that they only serve in heaven.

So I finally get that last piece of extra-hard bacon down a few minutes later and go back to enjoying the company of family and friends. Some time passes before I return to the scallop tray. They still look delicious and succulent, but are now tainted with the recent memory of having had to chew on a single piece of stubborn-ass pig for minutes on end, so I’m almost like, Ugh, not worth it. But then I’m like, Eh, fuck it. It’s Christmas and I should be grateful to have a bacon-wrapped scallop in the first place, even if the bacon is absurd and requires inordinate amounts of chewing.

As I reach for the new one, I notice something I didn’t before. The scallops all have TOOTHPICKS in them! Short, inconspicuous, bitchy little toothpicks that barely peek out from the hors d’oeuvres in which they dwell. Short, inconspicuous, bitchy little toothpicks, ONE OF WHICH I have most likely just EATEN!

But I have to be sure. So I remove a toothpick from a new scallop and eat it, and guess what? The bacon is as tender as a fucking Babyface song from 1996. It goes right on down with minimal chewing effort, thereby confirming that I currently have a chewed-up toothpick wreaking havoc inside my fragile little 6’3” body.

toothpick

In the past, if someone were ever to have asked me how I’d react if I found out I’d just accidentally ingested a toothpick, I’d definitely have said, “Well this is an irrelevant question; only a total dumbass would accidentally ingest a toothpick.” But I can now say that a) I am a total dumbass, and b) my natural reaction to finding out I’ve just accidentally ingested a toothpick is to freak out in the car with my mom as she treats the whole thing with an alarming amount of nonchalance.

  • Me: “How are you so calm right now? Your son just ate a piece of fucking WOOD! What is this going to do to my insides?!”
  • Mom: “First of all, it’s not wood. And second of all, you’ll be fine.”
  • Me: “How do you know I’ll be fine?”
  • Mom: “It’s a toothpick! People have shit out diamonds before and survived.”
  • Me: “Have you ever shit out a diamond?”

And then I realized that I had just asked my mother if she’d ever shit out a diamond, which is usually a pretty clear indicator that a conversation has gotten a little off track. (For the record, though, she never has shit out a diamond. Though she did give birth to me, which I’d like to think counts for something since everybody knows that I shine bright like a diamond and also am many a girl’s best friend.)

I texted my boyfriend (of three months; I promise I’ll post something with more details for you guys REAL SOON because he’s amazing… but right now this story must be told) when I got home and explained my dilemma to him. He too was convinced that this was not a big deal, saying that he swallowed much worse than a toothpick during his wild college days, and for a second I wanted to be all, “TELL ME EVERYTHING,” but then I was like, You know what? I actually don’t wanna know.

So I just went to sleep.

The next morning the BF and I talked a little more about my situation and then I sent him a bathroom selfie in which I stood sexily in front of the mirror in my cute little boxer briefs, with the caption: “About to confront my toothpick problem!”

And then I realized that I had basically just sent my boyfriend a selfie saying “GONNA GO SHIT [OUT A TOOTHPICK] NOW,” which is always a great way to set the mood with your significant other on Christmas morning.

He didn’t respond for about fifteen minutes, during which period I wondered if I had officially crossed the gross-line with him, but then he responded with the IPhone poop emoji and a thumbs up, so I figured I was fine.

So anyway, enough about poop! The moral of this whole story is that I survived. The toothpick came, the toothpick went, and now my life has resumed to normal and I’m blogging about having eaten and digested a toothpick on Christmas Eve, and I’m pretty sure this is the “Circle of Life” that Elton John sang about in The Lion King. Happy 2015.

 

Help! I Was a Total Asshole to the Girl Who Works at My Favorite Sandwich Shop

I have this routine where I eat healthy-ish throughout the entire week and then reward myself by getting ratchet on Friday night. Then I’ll wake up on Saturday and go straight to this delightful little neighborhood sandwich shop across the street from me and order a bacon, egg, and cheese on a whole wheat bagel with a medium iced coffee, and the ritual of it all (or maybe just the bacon) fulfills me in ways that the unconditional love of another human being a healthy, balanced breakfast never could.

So this past Saturday I hobbled into the sandwich shop at about ten o’clock. Please note that I barely slept the night before, so I was tired and weak and generally struggling to not sound like Christian Bale’s Batman.

  • Me: Hi. I’ll have a bacon egg and cheese on a toasted whole wheat bagel, and—
  • Girl taking my order: A medium iced coffee with milk only? I remember! [Smiles warmly.]

In my head: Oh! This is the moment in which I befriend the girl who works at the sandwich shop because I’ve been here so many times. If this exchange goes well, my future visits will involve her being all, “Hey Nic! How was your week? Getting the usual today?” and I’ll be like, “Yeah, girl!” and we’ll probably live happily ever after (or something).

I wanted to answer her with a self-deprecating and light response to ensure the above fate, maybe something like: “Haha, yep! That’s me. I’m boring and my order never changes. [Chuckle/smile.] Thanks.”

But on this particular morning my brain wasn’t working, because as stated before, I was tired and weak and generally struggling to not sound like Christian Bale’s Batman — so while I tried to formulate a sentence like the one above, I just couldn’t do it on such short notice, and so, fucking THIS ended up happening:

  • Me [Dryly]: Well, I’ve only ordered it about a hundred times, so… good.

WHO SAYS THAT TO SOMEONE? I’m sure this is exactly what I looked like in that girl’s head at that moment:

bageldebacle

After the dust settled, I gave an awkward half-laugh/half-look-of-disgust as I realized that I had responded to her in the way a total asshole – a total asshole for no reason, nonetheless – would have.

Meanwhile, she gave me a look that was half-shocked and half-“Ew, your attitude is fucking gross,” which, really, was generous. Because if the shoe was on the other foot and I was working at a sandwich shop and a customer talked to me like that, I’d have totally been like, “GET OUT OF MY KITCHEN, DICK. AND MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN ICED COFFEE.”

I spent the rest of my time in the shop waiting for my sandwich in what can only be described as a severely uncomfortable state of debilitating embarrassment and shame, which is yet to wear off entirely.

As another Saturday approaches, I find myself fraught with anxiety over how to move on with my bagel-eating life. I’ve narrowed down my options to the following:

  1. Banish myself from this particular sandwich shop (in a dramatic fashion and while listening to that “deception, disgrace” song from the Lion King 2 soundtrack, perhaps) forever.
  2. Continue on as if it never happened and just hope that the girl forgets about it and/or has a forgiving heart and/or has better things to do than give a shit about my antics in the first place.
  3. Explicitly acknowledge the blunder the next time I come in and say something like, “Hey, remember that time I was a total dick to you? Haha, sorry. It was a weird thing where my brain stopped working and couldn’t formulate the kind of sentence I wanted it to, and again, sorry. Sorry! Sorry!! LOVE ME.”
  4. Crawl into a hole and die… ?

Please feel free to cast your vote — and/or offer a better option — in the comments below.

P.S. When I told my brother this story he was like, “Really? You’re putting that much thought into this? Nic, you have issues.” So I guess Option 5 is to agree with him.

P.P.S. When I told my friend Steven this story he was all, “I’d have spit in your bagel if I were her,” and then I was like, “Yeah but can we talk about how difficult it was for ME?! At least she had the luxury of being the victim,” and really I’m only including this exchange here because I find it kind of hilarious but also a little fucked up that it was so easy for me to use “the luxury of being the victim” in a sentence without even a trace of irony, which I guess proves my brother right in that first P.S.

 

Dude, Eat Carbs While You’re Out: The Struggle for Body Confidence

Editor’s Note: After three years in the game, this is my 100th blog post! To honor the occasion, I’m stepping outside my comfort zone of humor and posting a thoughtful essay on body image. I’m also doing this because I skipped the gym twice this week and I’m pissed at myself for being pissed at myself about it, which sounds redundant because it is.

A few years ago I had a boyfriend – let’s call him Lionel – who accused me of being unfaithful. I wasn’t, but our relationship was in the process of unraveling and I had more or less withdrawn from him at that point, so I can’t say I was surprised by his bout of paranoia.

One day it led him to Facebook-message my ex-boyfriend.

“When you and Nic were together,” Lionel asked, “did you ever suspect he was cheating on you?”

My ex replied, “Nic? LOL.”

I’m able to quote directly because I uncovered the message history on Lionel’s computer one weekend while he was away for his army reserve duties and I was staying at his apartment. By then Lionel had already caved into his guilt and told me about the exchange himself, so these initial findings were more or less expected.

But then there was something else.

“By the way,” Lionel wrote right before signing off. “Nic is in really great shape these days.

“He’s super toned.

“Hot.”

I felt like he was insecure for me.

Throughout the course of our relationship, Lionel had always answered my habitual laments of, “Ugh, I feel really fat,” with military-inspired suggestions as to how to get in better shape. “So you agree?” I’d usually snap back, channeling my inner Regina George. “You think I’m really fat?”

I was 6’3” and weighed 170 pounds – thin – but that didn’t change the fact that I had some flab on me where there could have been muscle.

“Shut up,” he’d laugh. “You know I love your body the way it is. I’m just saying that if you want to tone up, I can help you.”

I eventually accepted the offer.

I love your body the way it is. I had always believed Lionel when he said this, but his comment to my ex-boyfriend that day suggested that perhaps he loved it more after I adopted his pushup routine. I mean, the proof was in the transcript. “Ha! You had soft-bodied Nic,” he might as well have declared. “But my Nic is better. My Nic is the one worth having.”

Of course. The One Worth Having: In really great shape these days.

Super toned.

Hot.

***

I’d always known men could be shallow.

When I was eight and nine years old, a few members of my dad’s old-school Italian family violently chucked fat slurs at my mom like jagged rocks at an innocent duck after she filed for divorce from him. “That fat bitch,” I heard them say to each other. “You fat bitch,” I heard them say to her face. “You’re divorcing him?”

Sometimes I wondered how much more diplomatic their divorce could have been if she had just dropped twenty pounds before filing.

It wouldn’t be too long before my friends expressed similar attitudes, openly discussing how they could never even think about being attracted to “fat chicks.” This sentiment pervaded my small hometown. I remember being at a friend’s house one day after school and getting caught up in a conversation about baseball cards or some shit when we accidentally left the television on whatever station aired the Rosie O’Donnell Show. His dad got home from work a few minutes later and asked, “What are you guys watching this cow for?”

I was a significantly overweight kid myself while all of this was going down, so I took everything a little more personally than I probably should have.

But! I’d tell myself. This is a female problem. Sure, some kids teased me for my weight, but the teasing never suggested that my fatness made me unlovable. When it came to love, it was always the men who didn’t want their women to be fat. Overweight guys got beautiful girls to marry them all the time; they just had to endure being jocularly called a fatass by their friends sometimes.

I’m ashamed to say that this fucked up, misogynistic double standard actually gave me comfort for a few years of my adolescence.

That is, until I’d remember that I was gay. Until I’d remember that I, too, would eventually have to possess a body worthy of male desire.

***

“I’m finally starting to realize that a good ninety percent of my insecurities stem back to my being a fat kid,” I lamented to my mom over the phone earlier this week. “And I’m so sick. I’m so sick of reflexively sucking my stomach in when I look in the mirror. And I’m so sick of hating myself on the days when I skip the gym. I’m so fucking sick of having to give a shit about any of this.”

“Believe me, Nic,” she said. “I get it.”

The craziest thing? I’m in really great shape these days. Super toned. Hot. People tell me all the time. Co-workers tell me after I casually turn down the birthday cake. Friends tell me after I yell, “If I have a double chin, we’re deleting this!” when we pose for group pics. My mom tells me when I call her on the phone having typical emotional upsets like the one referenced above.

People tell me I’m too skinny. In text messages and voicemails and Instagram comments.

starvingEat carbs while you’re out. Statements like these shouldn’t feel like compliments, except they do. The validation swoops me up and flies me around for maybe a good three seconds, but then it lets go just as quickly, flinging me down into a pit where the words GET YOUR ASS BACK TO THE GYM are etched into the surrounding dirt.

If the validation is coming from a man with whom I’m sleeping, maybe the high lasts closer to six seconds. But, oh. Since Lionel and I broke up, I can’t even tell you the number of dudes I’ve gone home with only to soberly decide in the eleventh hour that we can’t go through with hooking up because I don’t feel comfortable getting undressed with someone new and contorting into sexual positions that I know would make my stomach look – oh, my God – not flat.

When I do allow myself to go there with guys, I avoid bringing up the subject of fatness altogether out of fear that if they knew how much I really cared – how anxious and conscious and aware I can sometimes be of my body – they’d scrutinize it that much more.

Plus these aren’t just any men I’m dealing with – these are men like me.

***

Insecurities make no sense, and yet they do. Depending on your mood and vantage point they can either be silly little clowns or great, intimidating monsters. Sometimes both.

Most days I’m able to just point and laugh at how utterly absurd and hilarious my fat issues are, acknowledging all the bullshit that called them into existence in the first place and saying to myself, Wow. I’m so glad none of this shit actually matters in the end.

But then catch me on a shitty day and I’m capable of breaking down under the weight of it all – sometimes even to the point of calling my mom in tears and/or writing self-pitying personal essays about the Struggle for Body Confidence.

Of course I’ve perused enough self-help to know that everything is just a choice. At any moment we can choose to stop caring about other peoples’ perceptions and start loving our bodies as they are. Right. Fucking. Now. We can claim our power. We can strip ourselves of our clothes – whatever their sizes – and stand proudly, flipping off anyone who’s ever made us feel like the shapes of our stomachs have anything at all to do with the worthiness of our spirits. We can stop letting wounds get in the way.

On my best days, I’m actually capable of this.

Because deep down I know I’m worthy and important and loved. Because I know I’m talented and empathetic and smart. Because I know just how much more than a body I am.

But also — and it fucking kills me to say this — because I’m in really great shape these days.

Super toned.

Hot.

 

How to Make ANYTHING Healthy (Yes, this Post Contains All the Secrets)

(Alternate Title: True Life: I Use Healthy Substitutions to Rationalize My Binge Eating – Part Two)

Every Friday at my company is “Wing Day!”

It’s kind of like Casual Friday, except instead of wearing non-professional attire, employees come to work dressed up as winged creatures – bees, pterodactyls, slutty angels – anything, really, so long as it can fly.

(Side note: Can we talk about how I just managed to spell “pterodactyl” right on my very first try? I swear. This kind of thing never happens, and frankly, I think it means I’m brilliant.)

Okay, so actually, I’m lying. (About the dressing-up-as-creatures thing; the getting-pterodactyl-right-on-the-first-try thing is completely true, and I’m standing by my brilliance.)

Wing Day is, in reality, just an excuse for everyone in the company to pig out on Buffalo wings for lunch, as they are the Friday special in the cafeteria.

And so here’s a conversation that occurred in the lunch line between my coworker JaJa (this pseudonym was her choice, by the way, and that tells you pretty much everything you need to know about how much of a delight she is) and myself the last time I indulged in this obesity-fueling ritual:

  • Nic: I can’t believe I’m doing this. I have a date tonight. A date. I’m now forever going to be The Guy Who Ate Wings for Lunch On the Day of a Date.
  • JaJa: Oh, stop. It’s fine.
  • Nic: Hold on! [Dramatically sprints to the salad bar. Returns ten seconds later, panting.]
  • JaJa: What did you just do?
  • Nic: I had to grab some fresh baby spinach.
  • JaJa: OMG.
  • Nic: Yes. I am having my chicken wings on a bed of spinach.

In related news, I sometimes add broccoli to my macaroni and cheese:

IMG_20140302_134134

I also like to add about a third of a packet of additional shredded cheddar, but that’s neither here nor there.

Did I mention that the macaroni is made with fifty percent whole grain? I mean, this meal is basically a power smoothie. That is, if power smoothies were all carb-y and cheese-laden, which, aren’t they?

STOP LOOKING AT ME THAT WAY.

Am I doing power smoothies wrong?

P.S. In case you missed Part One of this series, because apparently my reprehensible eating habits are steadfastly becoming an epic trilogy similar to The Godfather and/or Star Wars (and/or the nineties horror gem The Leprechaun… that was a trilogy, right?) you can find it here.

P.P.S. The folks over at Kashi have actually read Part One, and they told me to eat their cookies “in moderation.”

Screen shot 2014-03-05 at 10.18.57 PM

FOOLS.

Initially I was super offended by this tweet, but then that wink-face changed the game. So I’m willing to brush it off. Also, does the wink mean that they’re asking me out on a date? Because… yes. Kashi, I’ll date you. I mean, I’m already in a borderline-sexual relationship with your cookies (PUN!) anyway, so everything about this scenario just feels right. And yet so wrong.

True Life: I Use Healthy Substitutions to Rationalize My Binge Eating

Actual conversation that recently occurred between myself and two dude friends at a bar:

  • Dude 1: What did you guys do yesterday?
  • Dude 2: Well, I texted Nic at seven and he was like, “Uhh. I just ate an entire large pizza all by myself. I’m in for the night.”
  • Nic: Yes, that’s what I did. And it was glorious.
  • Dude 2: Where’d you get it from, by the way? That place down the street with the best pizza ever?
  • Nic: No, I went to the one with mediocre pizza that’s a little farther away.
  • Dude 1: Why would you do that?
  • Nic: Because they have whole wheat crust.
  • Dude 2: …And yet you still ate an entire large pizza.
  • Nic: Hence the need for whole wheat crust.
  • Dude 1: That is ridiculous. That’s like me saying, “I’m going to order a greasy bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, but it’s okay because I’m getting it on a whole wheat bagel.”
  • Nic: You just described my Dunkin’ Donuts food order.

Indeed, I have an immense talent for justifying epic food binges by making random healthy-sounding substitutions on a completely arbitrary basis. But I mean, it makes sense, right? If I’m going to give in to any of my myriad pregnant-lady-esque cravings anyways, I might as well try to sneak some essential nutrients into my system along the way to nourish the fetus mitigate the damage.

Lately I’ve found myself indulging my sweet tooth with these Kashi cookies:

IMG_20140301_093847They’re basically like crack – if crack was all natural, made with seven whole grains, and contained fourteen percent of one’s daily fiber intake per serving – which I’m almost positive it doesn’t. (Although I technically wouldn’t know for sure. So if you happen to be a crack dealer and I’m wrong, please forgive me. I apologize for giving your… crop? …such a bad reputation. By the way, while I have you here, can you explain to me what exactly crack is? I get so confused when it comes to street drugs. I’m from Connecticut.)

The box pictured above, by the way, is empty – and yes, that happened within the course of a single day.

STOP LOOKING AT ME THAT WAY.

Am I doing health wrong?

 

The Restorative Power of Mountains, Oktoberfest, and Lots of Garlic

So, the past few weeks have not been ideal.

I stopped dating (and consequently, blogging), the Pats lost for two weeks in a row, and I had to deal with some other life drama that is totally blog-inappropriate (although, my definition of blog-appropriate includes some pretty questionable things — so there’s a good chance that my other life drama is actually totally apropos by normal-people standards).

In light of the above, I decided to drop everything on Friday and spontaneously join two of my best friends on a trip up to the Catskills for a long weekend of nature, Oktoberfest, and garlic — three of my favorite (totally non-questionable) things.

It was awesome and pretty much fixed my life.

Our first morning there, we engaged in an rousing session of moving wood from a big pile in the yard to a neatly organized stack on the side of a shed.

                                                      Bringing lanky back.

Yeah, I’m basically a glumberjack. (That means “gay lumberjack,” for those of you who don’t spend much time in glumberyards.)

…Or maybe I’m just Big Ang. (This is what happens when I obnoxiously try to display my buff chest while my friend struggles to take a picture that actually includes my face.)

Later that day, we encountered a random group of horses quietly standing still in the middle of a circle.

I know, right? It was weird to me too.

                     “Oh, don’t mind us. We’re just chillin’ with our saddles on.”

Naturally, I felt compelled to loudly declare, “THOSE ARE NOT REAL HORSES!” So I did.

And then my friends looked at me like I was the weird one. And then the horses moved and I stood corrected. And then I tried to explain to my friends that those horses were freakin’ bizarre — because a brilliant Mariah Carey music video from 1997 taught me that real horses, when left to their own devices, like to run wild and free with abandon into the sun.

And then they looked at me like I was weird again, and I was like, “Listen, y’all, if we weren’t in the mountains right now and had cell service, I’d settle this immediately by YouTubing ‘Butterfly’ and this whole argument would be moot.”

And then we all stopped caring about horses because we realized it was time for Oktoberfest.

After a glorious afternoon of beer and German food, we decided that the best way to end the day would be with some good old fashioned cigars while overlooking the mountains from the house we were staying in.

           Gangsta. (Or just nerdy gay man with a cigar and a chalice. Either one.)

For some reason (and by that I mean, “probably because of all the beer”), I felt compelled to try to be a tough guy and inhale all of my cigar smoke for the first time ever. So I did.

And then I proceeded to throw up three times.

Frazzled, I thought I was dying and promptly took to Google while my friends watched A Time to Kill starring Matthew McConaughey and Sandra Bullock and insisted that I was just having a bad reaction to the fact that I inhaled an entire cigar.

Thankfully, Google agreed with my friends. Turns out that inhaling cigar smoke is totally okay if you’re a chain-smoking professional. If you’re a glumberjack who only smokes on special occasions such as Oktoberfest, New Year’s Eve, and Carrie Underwood album release days, then you should avoid it at all costs. (You’re welcome for the warning, glumberjacks.)

By the way, did I mention that there was lots of foliage already and I freakin’ love being in nature?

                                         Fresh mountain air heals everything.

Our final day in the mountains involved hitting up my first-ever garlic festival. And it was heaven.

Turns out I’m a big fan of garlic burgers, garlic fries, garlic pancakes, garlic ice cream in garlic waffle cones, garlic sausage, and (non-garlic) bottled water.

At the end of it all, I feel like the trip (combined with Sunday’s incredible Pats win) really put life back into perspective.

And I didn’t even have to watch Titanic this time!

But I did have to move some wood, throw up a little, and eat probably nineteen cloves of garlic.

Totally worth it.

 

%d bloggers like this: