Good-Bye Pizza. Hello Kale.

trader Joe's watermark

Shhh. Can you hear them calling my name?

Most days for me begin the same: the iPhone next to my head comes to life at 6:05 and I struggle to remember – for the millionth time – what I need to do to make the thing shut the fuck up. Generally, I tap the screen to snooze it and promptly fall back to sleep. This happens another three or four times until I see that it’s almost 7:00 and need to get downstairs to make breakfast for my dear children. If I have snoozed away valuable early-morning minutes, there’s no time to brew a cup of coffee and get back into bed to write in my journal for a spell. I do like to squeeze this activity in a few days a week and take a very Bridget Jones-approach to documenting the amount of alcohol I’ve consumed the day before and my perpetually stagnant love life.

But if I’ve frittered those precious minutes away, I begin the day by first ascertaining like Nicole Kidman in “Before I Go to Sleep” where the hell I am (I don’t know why I must begin each day disoriented) and, once I’ve realized that I am in the same bedroom I’ve been waking up in for the last 12 years, I get up to use the toilet and – most mornings unless I just can’t handle the truth – get on the scale.

This is always done after urinating but before drinking anything and always while wearing the tank top/underwear combo I sleep in. Scientist that I am, I like to keep all the variables not only consistent but also as lightweight as possible. Every ounce counts.

When I am being really good about what I’m eatingsaying “yes” to Greek yogurt and kale and “no” to all the beautiful, salty things sold at Trader Joe’s – I am anxious to see if my weight reflects my culinary sacrifices. I mean, if I am resisting the siren call from the plastic tub of Whole Foods chocolate chip cookies in my pantry, there better be some fucking payoff. If I can’t make love to each and every one of those gorgeous cookies, I need to know my ass somehow just got a little bit smaller.

I am the kind of person who needs to weigh myself daily to help keep me honest. I need something to reign me in when I am standing in front of my pantry and eyeing the open bag of Trader Joe’s honey sesame cashews. When the news on the scale is bad, I am more apt to move away from the pantry and just eat some baby carrots instead. However, when the scale tells me I’m moving in the right direction, I sometimes tell myself that I deserve a reward, like I am a good doggie and just sat on command. Slip me a treat, wouldja?

But mostly, knowing how much I weigh helps me stay on the right track.

But if I’m premenstrual – which I have been for the last two months (if you don’t understand this phenomenon, please discuss with any woman you know in her mid-to-late-40s/early 50s while slowly backing away from her if she’s holding anything remotely sharp) – all bets are off. I not only need those TJoe’s sweet-and-salty nuts but a cookie chaser to wash them down and don’t even think about getting in between me and those snacks or I will press my thumbs into your eye sockets and crush your skull Game-of-Thrones-style.

The other element that usually helps keep me on track that’s been missing lately is the now-famous Girl Whisperer. For a couple of years he sat on my couch and encouraged my girlfriends and I to cut out the sugar and add the protein yadda yadda yadda while we squatted and lunged around the room. He’d arrive on Monday mornings and ask us about our weekends while assessing – subtly, I’ll give him that – our bellies. And then he’d ask us to tell him what we ate. Since I am a terrible liar, I would generally refuse to tell him the extent of my naughtiness. Maybe I’d admit to a cookie after dinner but I’d never let him know about the bag of veggie sticks I ate in bed. I just hated to let him down.

But, as many of you guys know, my friend The Whisperer has been out of commission for months undergoing treatment for cancer and we’ve been left to our own devices for staying in shape. Actually, we’ve been great at maintaining our workouts a couple of times and week but my eating, which I really kept together for a couple of months, fell apart somewhere around March. Going to Hong Kong was kind of the beginning of the end. I still drink yogurt smoothies religiously for breakfast but I ate a sandwich for lunch on Friday and devoured a bowl of chips and guacamole at dinner that night. I never would have eaten any of those things a year ago.

So in a come-to-Jesus-moment, I hopped on the scale Saturday morning in an attempt to get back on track. I got up and peed and stood on the scale while saying a little prayer and when I looked down, I saw a number on my scale that I have not seen since the second trimester of my last pregnancy. Or when I was a sophomore in college.

It was a sad, sad day in Amyville. Just in time for swimsuit season, I am fat as can be and cannot fit into shorts or button down shirts and am currently relegated to wearing stretchy exercise clothing and old skirts from The Gap.

But here’s the good news: The Whisperer is coming back, like Lazarus from the dead (but that’s not my story to tell). Starting tomorrow, he will be back on my couch and talking about the evils of sugar and joy of protein. And egg whites. The dude is always talking about egg whites. But I can’t wait.

In the weeks leading up to his return, I’ve joked with a bunch of the ladies who work out with him about how much we worried about him seeing how we’ve kind of fallen apart in his absence. We’re so worried about him seeing how we look. Of course, given the circumstances, that is ludicrous thinking. Here we are, generally fit and healthy people, fretting about what a guy – who’s just endured months of having his head radiated and body pumped with chemo – thinks about our bloated bellies.

So to celebrate his return, I am heading out this afternoon to meet an old high school chum at a very hip and trendy place that’s known for its outrageously good pizza. They even make one with Nutella. I will say good-bye to carbohydrates the proper way, with a glass of two or wine while eating every bit of crust off my plate.

And when I get on my scale tomorrow, I will know for sure that the only direction those numbers are going from there on in, is down.

It’s the least I can do for my Whisperer.

Amy shares way too much about herself at ‘A’ My Name is Amy. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter@AMyNameisAmy.



bad karma

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years trying to make sure the universe and I are on the same page.

The universe?

You know, the “universe” which, according to sources like The Secret, a certain Tarot card reader I know and my therapist, returns to you what you put out into the world. Like a great cosmic boomerang, the universe’s law of attraction throws you what you ask for, even when you don’t realize that that’s what you ordered.

Accordingly, not only does douchy behavior beget douchy circumstances, but thoughts and words can become self-fulfilling prophesies. So while I try to make it a priority not to act like a douche bag to others, it can be challenging having all bright and sunny thoughts and conversation when my default mode is self-deprecation.

So, since my divorce I’ve tried to be clear about what I want. I’ve written down where I see myself professionally/romantically/personally a year from now, five years from now and so on.

I even cobbled together a list in my journal of qualities that I am looking for in a partner. It’s kind of great, actually, like placing an order at a deli.

“I’ll take smart with a side of respectful, hold the bully. And maybe some integrity on the side. Oh, and funny. Definitely extra funny. (You can slather that on, it’s like the secret sauce).”

But as I close in on the three-year anniversary of my divorce, my still-single status is making me wonder if perhaps the universe and I are not speaking the same language. Like I’m screaming “Hey! I’d like a really good man in my life!” in the universe’s equivalent of Mandarin when I really should be using sign language because the universe is fucking deaf.

I mean even a friend who recently announced, out of the blue, that she was leaving her husband is already madly in love with someone else.

Clearly, it’s me. Maybe I’m just too happy being single.

My eyebrow girl, who has served as a sounding board for me over the years while she tends to my brows and moustache, suggested I try making eye contact and smiling at strangers, which is the opposite of my natural inclination to quickly look the other way and pretend I’m invisible.

She even helped me create a mantra, “I am open to romantic love with a good man,” to let the universe know that I meant business (witness “romantic” love and “good” man).

I briefly considered working with that Tarot card reader a few months ago after being told that my heart chakra was blocked, thus preventing love from entering my life. I was actually going to fork over a few hundred dollars for three hour-long sessions for her to help me pry that thing open. But then I got a hold of my senses and realized I’d really rather just buy a great new pair of shoes.

So it was the universe I was worried about sending mixed messages to the other day when I found myself writing my phone number down on a blank piece of register tape for the check out guy at Trader Joe’s who told me I had a nice smile.

I had thought he was pretty chatty as he asked me about my day while bagging my faro and frozen fruit, but I didn’t really see where things were heading. But then he asked me if my husband worked from home like me, and I thought, “That’s a weird thing for a checkout guy to ask.”

Still, I was blindsided when he asked, while waiting for my credit card authorization, if he could contact me some time to “talk.”

Number one: As noted, that does not happen to me every day. Check out guys hitting on me. C’mon. I was so surprised I didn’t have time to react. I had to make a quick decision and slink away before he started ringing up the woman behind me.

Number two: I don’t want the universe to think that I’m not open to love when it was so clearly showing me, right there at the cash register, that at least the check out guy thought I was. Maybe this was some kind of a test.

I kept a straight face long enough to get out to my car and hide inside until my girlfriend answered the phone and I started howling with laughter. I think she thought I was crying at first.

I mean, seriously, I make a list of like 100 attributes I’d like in a mate — everything from his height to the absence of a felony charge or conviction — and this is the best the universe can muster?

And don’t think he hasn’t already texted. And called. Twice.

But I think I’m just going to have to tell him that while I was flattered by his interest, I just can’t run the risk of having to hide every time I need to pick up chocolate covered almonds or Greek yogurt. Because love and companionship may come and go, y’all, but Trader Joe’s is forever.

I hope the universe is listening.

Want to share on Twitter or Facebook? You can e-mail posts, too. Click on those little icon-y doodads down below.