Conor Does Whole30: Introduction

I feel like shit because, well, lately, I’ve been eating shit. As a former fat guy who shed 150-plus pounds between 2010 and 2011, even a pound of weight gained sends me into a panic. Unfortunately, I’ve panicked around fifteen times in the last year-and-a-half. My disdainful attitude towards all gym-based exercise hasn’t posed an issue for me in the past; typically I burned calories by walking. Living in New York City throughout the bulk of my weight loss, I chose to hoof it wherever I could instead of using public transportation. When I relocated to Philadelphia, I quickly secured a job providing caffeine to the masses at Starbucks––a position which resulted in walking an average of eight miles per shift. With its plethora of hillsides, living in Los Angeles introduced me to hiking; a form of exercise which not only helped me maintain my weight but also left me toned.

Now, as I approach the age of thirty, most of my jobs have me sitting either at a desk or in my car (the exception being the few opportunities I get to assist photographers on location). I’ve fallen back into the pattern of choosing take-out over a cutting board. Foods I vowed never to eat again have found their way back into my diet. With a vacation to a resort in Antigua on the horizon, squeezing into my 32-inch jeans (which at one point required a belt to stay on my body) is no longer an option. Fad Diets never work for me, and something crazy like CoolSculpt doesn’t really lay within my budget. I must once again transform the way in which I look at food; eating should not be a fun activity––it should be done purely for energy and nutritional purposes. Enter this “Whole30” nonsense everyone’s been chirping about over the last few years.

My 2010 extreme weight loss was achieved by shifting how I viewed food. I cut out fast food entirely, opting to cook my own meals whenever possible. For the occasions I did eat out, I made smarter choices, as restaurants in New York City are legally obligated to publish the calorie count of their dishes on their menu. Steamed is better than fried; turkey burger without the bun; side salad instead of french fries, and so on. If I ate something super crappy, tomorrow was a new day! From what I’ve read so far, the “Whole30” is like that, only on steroids. Seeing as I’ll be sitting on a Caribbean beach in a little over two months, my plan’s got to be super-charged.

On a recent episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, new cast member Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave explains to the other ladies that she is an “accountability coach.” This woman has literally made a living out of texting her clients, “Go to the gym,” and “No, stop. Don’t eat the cookie.” Because having to hire someone to tell me not do something would be fucking embarrassing as an adult, this blog will act as my “accountability coach.” Here I will bitch and moan, complain about wanting a cocktail on Friday night, and lament on how traveling twenty minutes each way to the gym in wind chills below-zero is corporal punishment. Should I see results, here is where I will log my excitement, ostensibly followed by a realization that I’m only halfway to the finish line, and how shitty is this?

Writing my feelings somewhere publicly will ensure I hold myself accountable for thirty days. I can’t promise daily updates but committing to bi-weekly recaps seems realistic. If a week goes by without an update, assume I’ve died on the elliptical.

Note that this is not a “New Year’s Resolution;” this is a solution to, “I’m turning 30, I feel like shit from the inside out, and I have to remove my shirt on a beach in a foreign country.”


“GIRLS;” Do I have Hannah Horvath Syndrome?

It’s Monday which means a new episode of Girls aired last night.  Yes, I’m adding fuel to your “I’m sick of hearing about Lena Dunham and her television show” fire.  Last night (Episode 27, “Free Snacks”), viewers watched as Hannah (Dunham) secured an advertorial writing gig at GQ.  In true Girls fashion, it is an opportunity that Hannah almost immediately begins to shit on.  I will spare you from a full episode summary (if you have yet to see it, or if you can’t stand to watch the show Vulture has an on-point recap) and instead provide just a brief synopsis.

The episode appeared to be a step in the right direction for Hannah; she quits her barista job at Grumpy’s and is initially overjoyed to start a job which utilizes her self-described “myriad talents.”  Her excitement quickly dissolves and is replaced with dread after realizing that her cushy new job has become a creative trap for her co-workers.  They all started out like Hannah: trying to balance work with their own personal projects in hopes of making a name for themselves in the literary world.  To Hannah’s horror, the benefits of GQ are too enticing, too comfortable.  Her co-workers have abandoned their dreams in favor of a fully-stocked snack room.  Cue a full-scale Hannah Horvath meltdown: complete with tears and a trip to the bathroom to stick her head under the faucet (An aside: Do people actually do that?  She’s done that twice, albeit one time she was high on cocaine).

“Free Snacks” was one of the more uncomfortable installments to watch.  While last night’s episode did not include anything traditionally unsettling (e.g. Dunham’s character rupturing her eardrum with a Q-Tip amidst a fit of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Adam’s mentally unstable sister Caroline (guest-star Gaby Hoffmann) suddenly appearing completely bottomless and crushing a glass with her bare hands), I still experienced bouts of anxiety.  Why?  Because I hated to admit that I knew exactly how Hannah felt.  While I don’t necessarily identify with Hannah Horvath’s obscure, borderline-unhealthy detachment from reality, I do recognize some uncanny parallels to myself within the monster character Lena Dunham has created.

Like… it’s sort of eery.  Follow the Yellow Brick Road…

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