Friday, March 24, 2006

The first rule of Fat Club

I've been debating with myself on whether to write about this at all. I've insisted before that this isn't a weight-loss blog, per se; rather, it's a blog where I alternately bitch about and make fun of the things that occasionally penetrate my usual inattention. A mixed-grill blog. Haha.

But. I have decided, after many months of soul-searching, to embark upon a very strenuous, medically supervised weight loss and management program, offered through my gym and, incredibly, co-sponsored by NerdCo and their insurance provider. They are paying the lion's share to help me get this shit under control once and for all, and for that I feel very much blessed, and privileged, and grateful. Also, if I fail to complete the program, I owe NerdCo Health Insurance $10 grand. Consider me incentified.

So. Since the NerdCo-brand Fat Club pretty much owns me from now until Christmas, I anticipate that it will by necessity come up in the blog from time to time over the next 32 weeks. Thus, if my new Nautilus regimen renders me too sore to dress myself, or if I end up eating printer cover sheets out of the recycling bin in a hysterical bid for carbs, ANY CARBS PLEASE BABY JESUS....well, Internets, you will be the first to know.

* * * * *

To enroll in Fat Club, you have to go through quite the battery of tests. Their offices in the gym convey this odd sort of louche, Dynasty Medical Center circa 1989 vibe: plush burgundy carpet, lots of brass and faux marble accents. It's a lot like providing Nordstrom's with a urine sample. The exam rooms are equally glamorous, and I had blood drawn while reclining on a vast chaise lounge upholstered in mauve vinyl. When I give blood at my Regular Doctor's, I sit in a plastic cafeteria chair with an arm chute bolted onto it like a torpedo chamber. I guess Fat Club atmosphere is what you get for the big bucks.

This week, I met with my assigned Fat Shrink. (She is not fat; she is there to counsel me into being less fat. She does, however, bear a striking resemblance to Rachel Dratch, so I fully expected her to bust out with something zany during the entire session. This was distracting.) Together we agreed that I was already getting quite a lot of therapy and so didn't need to talk Fat every single solitary week, and thank goodness.

I also had a fitness assessment on Wednesday. I was very anxious about it, largely because I did not know exactly what it would entail and so could speculate many different worst-case scenarios. What if I registered simply as "inert" on all their diagnostic tools? What if I, like, fell over, or shot off the end of the treadmill? Or tripped on it and abraded the flesh from my lower extremities, like Mike? (Sorry, Mike.)

"You should try and get some exercise beforehand, so your legs don't seize up," my father recommended. I am not sure how incapacitated by blubber my father thinks I am, but nonetheless this statement was not encouraging.

What if they made me jog with one of those oxygen mask-and-tube rigs strapped over my mouth?

"I think tests that sophisticated are really expensive," Boss informed me kindly. Boss is of course one of the healthiest, most active women on the planet and spent her Sunday trotting up 69 flights of stairs for charity; I imagine her fitness assessment would fall somewhere in the "can lift Kim over her head while dancing the can-can" category. Still, I amused and terrified myself in equal measure, imagining a NASA-caliber series of evaluations, culminating in the part where they strap you into the G-force simulator and spin you around, jowls a-flappin'. It's scientific!

It was, for good and ill, nothing like that. For the first half hour we filled out forms and reviewed the degree to which I was signing my life away. They took my measurements and my "Before!" pictures, at which I groaned. "Everybody hates this part the most," said my assessor cheerfully. Can't think why.

I was zapped with electrodes to determine my body-fat percentage, and made to blow into a tube to check my lung capacity. I walked on the treadmill to determine how long it took to elevate my heart rate to a certain point; the hardest part of this was trying to strap on the heart-rate monitor beneath my ample bosom.

I sat on the floor and reeeeaaaached for my toes while holding onto...a little stick on a string, that magically measured my flexibility. They also measured my upper-body strength by having me stand on a platform and curl a bicep bar tethered to it; this whole thing was wired somehow into a computer to record the results. I expected to be able to actually curl the bar; I hadn't realized that the tether was fixed and simply measured the force I exerted. It didn't move, and so I nearly did a back flip with the effort I put into that first pull. Luckily, I'd schlepped a 34-pound bag of cat litter to my car on Sunday, so I don't think my arm tone is entirely nonexistent.

Anyway. All my stats were duly noted and will be provided to my trainer and my nutritionist, both of whom I start seeing next week. At the end of the proceedings, the assessor handed me back my steaming Visa card and said, "Wait, I have one more thing to give you--your $4000 water bottle!"--a 28-ounce bike bottle emblazoned with the Fat Club logo, because yeah, you really want to wave that around. Ha ha ha ha ha.

In truth, I'm looking forward to getting freaking started already, though occasionally indulging in a pie-eyed, muttered round of whathaveIdonewhathaveIdonewhathaveIdone. We'll see how it feels next week, when I'm getting up at 6:00 a.m. for the expensive privilege of toiling under the command of a perky blonde. Energy! Woooooo!


Brooke said...

Good for you! I did the short version of that program last year and after the first 3 days, I found I felt pretty good. (The 3 days I'm talking about were the pre-program ones where you're supposed to quit sugar and alcohol. After 3 days it got better.)

Good luck! You'll do great.

MeganZ said...

Go Kim! I've been there myself - stop by if you find yourself miserable and crying over nothing in the first week and need a refuge. :) After that it gets a LOT better.

Kim said...

Awww. Y'all are sweet to cheer me on. Thank you!

StevieG said...

YOU GO GIRLFRIEND! Though I will not offer the "it gets better after the first couple days." Actually, it takes me about six weeks to actually feel better, but the better is really, really better. It's good that you have a trainer to help you through the first couple weeks; for us males, we do the time without help and go through the "I'm going to vomit" phase a couple times before we regulate our regime to a sensible level of effort. It's good to avoid this phase as you have chose to do.

Kim said...

Heh. Funny you should mention this, as I had my first session with the trainer today and we talked about the "Rate of Perceived Exertion" or whatever. She described the scale as "1 is lying on the couch watching t.v., and 10 is puking in a bucket."

Thanks Steve!

Sheniqua said...

Short and sweet...I'm proud of you, sis.