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Beautifully Zaftig

08/30/2006

Beautiful Readers,

I am often experimenting with my weight. Sometimes I gain a few pounds (not all too hard given my intense love of sugar and food in general) 3, 4, 5 maybe, just to see if I enjoy the larger size, but generally I am watching each pound I put on pretty carefully, and know exactly from whence it came.

I have explained in previous posts, that my life tends to be pretty routine making it easy to stay on top of this sort of thing. But recently, with my kids still home from school, their camp over, my new interest in wine, and trying to get to know the new boyfriend better, I lost track of the eating habits there for a little bit (though, by average standards, I don’t get all too far off the wagon even when I stop thinking about it) and now I have gained a little weight that I am not entirely happy about.

It’s not a lot of weight, just a few pounds, but enough that when I see myself in the mirror I think ‘Damn. I gained some weight’. I am, to be honest, a little disturbed. Not by the minor and momentary affront to my striking vanity, but rather that, with just a minor change in eating habits (like eating out a little more and drinking at all) *poof*, there it was.

There’s a lesson in this. The average American diet that includes eating out, really does conspire to keep you pretty fat. I have been ordering relatively light meals (you know, salad, vegetables, and fish mostly) in occasional restaurants for several weeks now, but that plus a little wine which I don’t usually drink, a little full fat cheese at a few friend’s houses, a handful of french fries, plus a little ice cream (like, twice), and even with my quite active lifestyle, I can tell that if I kept this up–I’d get downright fat, fast.

So that’s the end of that for me. Back to six small meals a day, and goodbye to eating out for a while. No more ice cream. Maybe a little wine every now and then. And now I have to go. I’m heading out to the gym.

And for you?

1)Beware eating out–I think it is nearly impossible to do properly unless you eat nothing else in between

2) Even one glass of an alcoholic beverage really does have a lot of calories, of the the fat-making kind, as unreasonable as that may seem when you are in a bar or restraint fully of good looking skinny people.

3) Ice cream, while clearly invented by the gods, and one of my favorite things on earth, is really just all fat and sugar, and the more of those ingredients there is, generally, the better it tastes. Yes, it has calcium too, but so does skim milk. Or Tums.

4)  If you want to keep the good times rolling at all, dietetically speaking, you have really got to exercise regularly, and not just a little, to avoid weight gain.

Cheers! (And may that be seltzer tonight.)

Alix

Tanning Booth Virgin

08/18/2006

Beautiful Readers,

A while back I received a flier from Pacific Tanning, a chain tanning salon that recently opened up in my neighborhood. They were offering two tans for the price of one. I wondered what sane person would pay to go stand under UV rays and invite skin cancer and wrinkles just so that they looked a few shades darker for a week or so.

My little Brooklyn neighborhood (Park Slope) is famous for it’s self-conscious intellectualism, and caters to a kind of neo-yuppie type who eats organic food, wears little makeup, and doesn’t let their kids play video games. If you know anyone who came of age at Swarthmore or Wesleyan, say, more than five years ago, you know what I’m talking about, so I was a little surprised when Pacific Tanning popped up on the corner around here.

So today I went. I had a few hours, and couldn’t really settle down at my desk, and so I got my first (and probably only) tanning bed tan just so that I could could tell y’all about it. Frankly, it was kind of fun, but I swear I could just feel the skin damage.

As I came through the door,  a 20 something quite darkly tanned, and white low cut shirted, Michele (pronounce Mih-kel) greeted me from behind the front desk, the effect was something like walking into a doctors office. She handed me a pamphlet detailing the various tanning options. There were four machines to choose from so I was instantly confused.

There were also all kinds of tanning packages, for each of the 4 kinds of machines…bewildered I asked Michele to recommend one for me, she explained that the ‘Entry Level" machine ‘wasn’t that good’ and that she recommended the ‘Mid-level’ one, the High Level one (called The Evolution) was clearly out of my league. So I filled out the waiver, which, despite my usual rigor with paperwork I did not bother to read (could I really rightfully sue them for choosing to burn myself to a darker shade under high UV lights?) .

Then Michele handed me two translucent plastic comes that she peeled like  stickers off a paper backing-"Eye protection" she said. She told me that if I really wanted to I could pay $3 for goggles but that I really didn’t need to. "They’re totally safe, and you can get a line on your nose with goggles." I didn’t want a line on my nose, so I took the little plastic cones.

Then Michele led me to the ‘Lounge’ (the name for the mid level booth) and opened up the doors of what looked like a round refrigerator with lights inside it. Inside the machine, there was another set of doors that contained a place to put your clothes and belongings. Bathing suits were optional, but I wore mine because I find tan lines very sexy.

To the left there was a panel that allowed you to set the length of time. This was an important decision and there are stickers all over describing different skin colors and tendencies to burn, that recommend various ’starter’ and advanced tanning times. For a first tan with olivey complexion, Michele recommended 8 minutes, which turned out to be a little too long because I got slightly burned. Six would have been better.

Then you close the door, put your clothes away, stick the cones over your eyes, the music comes on inside your booth, the lights brighten, and you begin to bake away. Eight minutes later, I have tan lines, and feel like I have been in the sun for a couple of hours.

The whole experience was fun and interesting for eight minutes, but with the combination of knowing that it’s bad for your skin, a little claustrophobia, wondering if I should have put sunscreen around my eyes where I am a little prone to sunspots, I’m glad it wasn’t ten minutes, and I was happy to pop open the doors at the end.

Michele was cheery and thanked me and said that I could just give them my name when I come back for the second free tan.

Reading the tanning salon literature later–they say that people look skinnier and feel better about themselves when they are tan. Bunk, of course, but I must admit that the darker shade does even out some stretch marks and looks a bit more svelte when I inspect myself naked in the mirror. Not bad entertainment for $15, but not one, knowing the risks, that I will probably choose to repeat.