“I’m having trouble making out what you’re trying to say, you sound different. Are you from Boston?” – Woman serving me in a store on Monday.
I have mentioned before in a previous post that I have been trying to lose weight and since October of last year I have dropped about 10kg (22lb), going from 108kg (238lb) to my present weight of 98kg (216lb). We’ve been in New York now for about seven weeks now and the weight loss has continued for both Anna and myself, but besides the enormous portions, this is what we’re up against while we’re here. Seriously, click that link, it’s disgusting! And now the “Healthier Choices” food industry is taking a pounding (no pun intended) with Jared from Subway’s recent charges. Sure, there is a lot of good food here, too, but where is the fun in posting that?
The main reason we’ve managed to lose some weight is that we’ve changed our diet. We bought an industrial strength blender and generally only have about a litre (33.8 fl. oz.) of fruit juice a day for lunch, usually containing some berries, avocado, vegetables and some kale. Aaaahhh, kale…
As opposed to being one of those obnoxious douchebags that are pretentious about trying to eat healthier, I’m merely doing it to drop some extra kilograms, not because I think it makes me a better person.
Trying to lose weight in the land of the deep-fried isn’t my only problem at the moment; I haven’t really had many decent nights’ sleep since we’ve returned from Germany unless, of course, I’ve had a big night out. When we flew back from Germany to Singapore in mid-June I had a seizure about halfway into our 11-hour flight. We were going to be back in Singapore for a week and while the first few days were spent recovering from the seizure, the whole trip was spent dealing with jet lag, struggling to keep our eyes open at 2:00pm, but then being wide awake at 4:00am. After our week in Singapore it felt like we might finally be adapting to the local time and it was also time to catch our flight to New York. A hellish 21 hours in the air later and we were here with another two weeks of jet lag as our reward.
Fast-forward to the current day and sleep is still not my friend. I’ve always been a restless sleeper, but it takes me several hours to eventually nod off and when I finally do I also tend to wake up several times throughout the night. I get a little worried when I don’t sleep properly, because that is when I’m prone to seizures. So, what could possibly help both situations, the desire to lose weight and the sleeping problems? More exercise, so we joined a gym.
I’ve never really been one to go to the gym. When I used to play basketball I had free access to a gym, but I never used it for several reasons:
- I have a ventricular septal defect and as a result I can’t do weights.
- I didn’t need to do any cardio work because I was playing basketball or training daily
- I’m just not one of those guys.
The gym around the corner from our place charges $19 per month to use all of their equipment, however, although it is a franchise, I can only go to that particular location and I have to supply my own towels. Anna paid more because she wants to do pilates classes as well, but I decided to give that a miss because last time I accidentally flipped a middle-aged German woman’s boob like a pancake.
Now there’s another predicament: I don’t own any gym gear.
Tuesday was going to be our first day of going to the gym, because Anna’s pilates class was that night, so I intended to buy some shoes during the day. I’ve reached the age where purchases like these are now all about substance over style, function over form, plus I didn’t want to blow too much cash, so the plan was to go to TJ Maxx, a factory outlet on the corner of West 19th St. and 6th Ave, about a half-hour walk from our place. I love walking, but especially in New York, just for the people watching alone. I was outside for maybe 10 minutes before a bald transsexual with bright pink eye-shadow, ruby-red lipstick and wearing a pink, sequined dress flew past me on a mountain bike. Soon after, a homeless man had to interrupt his call on his mobile phone to ask me for cash. I don’t really think that guy is struggling too badly…
I finally arrived at my destination and completely forgot about “The HIV Guy”. TJ Maxx is in the same building as a place I hate going to, but is necessary to visit when setting up an apartment in a new country with a woman, Bed, Bath and Beyond. Last time I went there, there was a beggar out the front with a sign stating he was HIV positive and needed money. He was also rocking back and forth, talking to himself and crying, but he managed to summon the energy required to throw a glass bottle at me. Luckily for me, his aim is as poor as his lucidness.
HIV Guy was there again this time, still yammering to himself while rocking, but not crying and I managed to make it past undetected. However, upon entering the store, although there was an abundance of men’s clothing, I couldn’t seem to find any men’s shoes at all. I guess I’ll just have to check somewhere else. There is a Nike Running store a few blocks over so i thought I’d check that out. Upon entrance I was greeted by some stereotypical, beefed-up frat-boy, no doubt named “Chad”, to whom I repeatedly had to tell that I didn’t need any help. After about 30 seconds I came to the conclusion that there was nothing under about US$140 in the store so I made my exit. “Chad” looked at me completely dumbfounded and asked with an attitude, “What, we don’t have what you’re looking for?”, to which I replied, “Yeah, affordable sneakers”. “Chad” wasn’t happy and muttered something under his breath as I left with a smirk on my face. Strike one up for Tim.
I eventually found a cool pair of Nikes in my price range at Modell’s, had a fun chat about tattoos with the guy who was serving me as I waited for a pair in my size to be brought over and then I was on my way home. Besides being stopped for the second time by some random guy who was trying to sell me his CD and not leaving me alone until I gave him some money (the first guy took “no” as an acceptable answer), I made it home unscathed. One small problem: Just in the effort to get some shoes I had already walked 14.5km (9 miles) and still had to go to the gym that night! At this rate I’m going to appear how the National Enquirer believes Angelina Jolie looks (right) soon! Upon arrival at the gym it occurred to me that it didn’t matter what shoes I was wearing, or anything I was wearing for that matter, because everybody only had one thing in their sights while working out: Their own reflection. Yup, those guys. Anyway, I made it, did a one-hour cardio workout, albeit one where I got put to shame by women twice my age doing the same thing, while Anna did pilates and then we both wobbled back home on our gelatinous legs for a night in front of the TV.
Yesterday followed an extremely similar pattern. Not only did I have a few errands to run, I also realised I had very little to actually wear to the gym. I should’ve taken care of this yesterday, but hindsight is never 20/20. Back to TJ Maxx. Fortunately, on this particular trip HIV Guy wasn’t there, I got what I needed, but after I achieved everything else I had set out to do I had walked another 14kms (8.6 miles). I went to the gym again, but could only last half an hour, it just wasn’t physically possible for me to do anymore.
I guess I’m going to have to ease myself into this whole exercise thing.