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watchin' ii
electric boogaloo
by adam kraemer (@DryWryBred)
pop culture

I have broken only two promises in my life.

The first promise, the details of which I cannot reveal for reasons that will soon become apparent, resulted in two women in tears, one bear with a broken leg, a slight increase in the price of marbles, and the forced resignation of a senior official for a small island nation.

The second promise was made last month when I told myself I wouldn't write two columns in a row concerning my weight or Weight Watchers.

Okay, technically, I haven't broken that promise yet. But I admit I'm about to. And you all are invited along. Don't forget to bring a jacket. And perhaps one of those boards with the magnetic cards so they don't fly away. I mean, you never know.

Anyway, for those of you who keep up with these things (and haven't been taking massive amounts of drugs), you should recall that last month I announced my entry into a very exclusive club - Weight Watchers. Okay, fine, it's not exclusive at all, but just the same, I am now a member. (Heh. He said "member.") And it's been an interesting month.

I think I explained last month that essentially the way Weight Watchers works is that you have a certain number of points per day and every food on God's green earth is given a point value and if you go over that point value for the day then you can dip into your weekly points and if you go over your weekly points, someone shows up at your house and cuts off a toe. Sometimes it's your toe; sometimes it's the toe of someone you've never met. It's the waiting that gets you. No, actually, if you go over your weekly points, you can add points on by doing activities. Turns out moving around is more healthy for you than sitting. Who knew?

So, I figured since it's been a month, I'll fill you good people in on the things I have so far observed as a Watcher of the Weight. (Doesn't that sound like an excellent Medieval title? "Sir Adam, Watcher of the Weight and Keeper of the Points." Or something. Speaking of Medieval titles, if you're not watching "Game of Thrones," you should be. Shawn Bawn is excellent.) Anyway, what I've found:

1) Losing weight feels really good. I know this is kind of a no-brainer, but it's been a while since I've done so and I'd forgotten how proud one gets of oneself. I was going to add "unless you're anorexic," but I'll bet they're pretty happy about losing weight, too, though obviously a bit more, um, crazy. However, I was hefty, and in the last month I've lost 11.6 lbs. (pause for applause)

Which means I'm still hefty, but not quite as. I've done the math, and at this rate, in a year I'll weigh as much as a 10-year-old. So it's good to have goals. In all seriousness, though, I've been losing between 2 and 2.5 lbs per week, and I really have already noticed a difference. I no longer have to hold my breath while I'm tying my shoes, for example. Sadly, I'm actually serious about that. But I was joking about the bear with the broken leg. It was actually an emu.

Overall, however, it feels great. I've gained a belt loop (well, not a belt loop, but if I say I've gained a hole, people look at me strangely). I'm awl over that (get it?). And maybe my confidence is returning a little, too. I know I still have at least 75% of the weight I intend to lose still to go, though, so imagine what a cocky bastard I'll be three months from now. Yes, you still have to come to my birthday party in October.

2) I'd forgotten how much I like fruit. Blueberries, bananas, strawberries, pineapple, watermelon, apples, raspberries ... oh, you already know what fruit is? Sometimes I forget I'm writing for people with eyes. I am a little saddened that I don't like cantaloupe or honeydew; it limits my ability to buy fruit salad. But overall, I've replaced the occasional pack of granola bars (6 points) or candy bar (8 points) with a piece of fruit (0 points) or sometimes a fruit-flavored yogurt (2 points).

I admit it; candy tastes better. I love me a good Twix. But - again, no-brainer - fruit is better for you than candy. I'm talking the whole fruits, by the way. If you're just drinking the juice, you're getting the calories without the fiber. Smarter people than I can tell you why that means something.

3) I'm doing more activities. As I mentioned above, you can add activity points to your weekly allowance in order to cover for extra indulging you might be doing. That's right; I'm exercising for beer. For example, and I'm not making this up, after an evening of reveling following work this past Friday, hanging out with literally a complete stranger (he was sitting next to me at the bar, drinking his own pitcher), I walked home, rather than take the subway or cab.

Again, not joking. That might be more meaningful if you were aware that according to hopstop.com, I live 5 miles from work. Across the 59th Street Bridge. Uphill both ways. Barefoot through snow. Well, no, but yeah, 5 miles and across the East River. All in all, an odd decision, I feel, but it added 11 points to my week. And my feet still hurt a bit.

Last weekend, in preparation for a gig (those of you who didn't come out to see me, you know who you are), I walked for two hours in Astoria Park. I'd forgotten how nice it is out there - beautiful views of the bridges and Manhattan beyond, beautiful views of young bridge-and-tunnel women trying to get their tan on. I even got to see proof positive that the East River is actually not a river - it was flowing in two directions at once, which is pretty cool to see. (Not as cool to navigate on a boat, apparently. Look up "Hell Gate" on Wikipedia.)

4) My dream job as a male escort is finally within reach. Fingers crossed, people.

5) The daily points go down as the weight goes down. I actually hadn't known this. I guess it makes sense; eat less to lose more. But imagine my surprise upon hitting my first weight goal only to find my reward was a 1-point deduction. And they're all so positive about it, too - even the Web site. "You've met your weight goal! Click here to recalculate your daily points!" Yay.

But I'm still doing it. I started at 43 points per day and I'm now down to 40. I figure this means that in a year, I'll finally be free of this silly reliance on food. That'll be a relief.

6) Schoor's pickles are awful. Really just not good on multiple levels. I mentioned above that all fruit is 0 points. Well, the same is true for most vegetables, with a few exceptions - corn, avocado, potato, for example. It turns out that dill pickles are also 0 points (sweet pickles are not). And I love me a good dill pickle. And I love me a good sale at the supermarket. So last week, when there was a sale on some random brand dill spears, I grabbed a container. And they were excellent: crunchy, tasty, seasoned well, just terrific. A couple days ago, I went back to the supermarket to buy another container. Only I picked up the wrong one.

Boy, did I pick up the wrong one. I'm not sure how someone can take a cucumber, soak it in pickle juice for however long one does that, and wind up with it having less flavor than the original cucumber. They're just bland. In addition, they're sort of, well, falling apart. Like the seeds are detaching themselves from the rest of the pickle in the same way that meat detaches itself from the bone in a well-prepared osso bucco. I'm not kidding. Some of you may be old enough to remember the Sweet Pickles Bus. The pickles I bought would drive a hearse.

So, you know, just don't buy Schoor's pickles I guess is what I'm saying here.

7) It's not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. Honestly, the hardest part is - aside from the mediocre pickles - the anticipation. The thought of "oh, I won't be able to eat everything I want at that event," or "I'll have to cut back on those when I go out," or "if I do happy hour on Thursday, I won't be able to go to that birthday party on Saturday," - those thoughts beforehand are really the tough part. The actual doing of them is really not too bad.

I'm starting to learn, for example, the difference between thinking I'm hungry and actually being hungry. Turns out when I just think I want food, my stomach doesn't rumble. Another no-brainer, but it was a big eye-opener for me just to think about. I caught a diabetes-prevention commercial on VH1 the other day in which some guy was saying (and I paraphrase), "Gaining weight was easy; all I had to do was sit and eat." Oh, yeah. Right.

And that's the thing - for years, I essentially ate whatever I felt like whenever I felt like it. I would sometimes fool myself that I was eating healthy, but getting a salad once a week is a far cry from the sea-change I've essentially made. It's not that I can't eat the things I want; I just have to be very conscious of how much of them I have. If I want to really pig out these days, I'll buy a bag of string beans. No one ever got fat by eating string beans. Well, no one I know, anyway.

As my friend Carolin put it, I'm "reevaluating my connection with food."

So that's about it, for now. I'm not at all attempting to proselytize, by the way. If you're someone who needs to lose weight and you don't join Weight Watchers, I pretty much couldn't care less. This isn't Amway we're talking about. But for me, I'm just thrilled at my progress, so far. And I didn't have anything else to write about this month.

Oh, and it wasn't an emu. It was the guy who put the bomp (in the bomp, bomp, bomp). Trust me, he had it coming.


A native of Elkins Park, PA, Adam Kraemer spends way too much of his time repeating "K-R-A-E..." He moved to New York City in 1998 and earned Master's in Journalism at NYU; don't let his writing fool you. He feels he is best known for saying the things no one is thinking, but afterwards wish they had been. He spends his free time wondering where all his free time goes and why he can never come up with a decent kicker for the ends of his articles.

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neil feldman
6.8.11 @ 2:11p

well done, adam!

adam kraemer
6.8.11 @ 3:40p

Thanks. This week's weigh-in is later today. Fingers crossed.

maigen thomas
6.12.11 @ 6:41p

I thought it was the "bomp" in the "bomp sha-bomp sha-bomp"? Is that another guy? WHO WAS FIRST!?

adam kraemer
6.13.11 @ 9:59a

I just copied it from the title of the song. Take it up with Barry Mann.

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