Wednesday, August 23, 2006

You Used To Be My Fat Farm

With my only once-a-week record of posting these days, you might be thinking that I've run out of things to say. Not true! I think about writing all the time, I just don't actually do it very often.

Blogging is surprisingly stressful, and it takes away energy from other things I'm supposed to be writing to keep my job. And that makes me feel guilty in ways that just blowing off time does not, because I'm using "writing time." I'm also shocked by how anal I am about each post, to the point of editing them even days afterward. There are posts that I still don't like very much, and it hurts me inside.

I guess I'm not a born writer, because in my spare time I feel much better watching... let's pull something random out of thin air... ok, High School Musical and The Making of High School Musical. Not that I actually watched those things last night, but if I did, and then listened to the soundtrack afterwards, twice, that would feel good. Because ultimately, we're all in this together.

So anyway, I had this theory that Amsterdam was the perfect fat farm for me. In Amsterdam, to eat you have to walk a significant distance, and then carry your food home on your back. For me it's a good 10-minute walk each way, and due to my soda addiction, it's quite a heavy load. (During the worst days of the heat wave, I nearly made love to my cold cans of Diet Coke, like Flo did in Vietnam on The Amazing Race). And you have to make the grocery trek at least 3-4 days per week, because there's only so much you can carry, and fridges are tiny. Food choices were also quite limited, so it was easy to eat smaller amounts and limit bad foods.

Amsterdam also forces you to walk pretty much everywhere, which is good exercise. The city is pretty, so you often choose to walk even when you don't have to. Willingly. Then there were all the Dutch people staring at me, because I am the fattest person they have ever seen in person. So there was constant reinforcement of my need to get ahold of my physical self.

Bad foods, in turn, just weren't that attractive. The grocery store, Albert Heijn, is like the contemporary wing of The Museum of Junk Food. Remember in 1991 how you thought cookie dough ice cream was so rad, and so did everyone else? Remember cans of Pringles, which your mom bought you to wash down with a glass of Sunny Delight? Those are basically the junk food choices, neither of which any American has consumed since 1993. Oh, and about 47 kinds of pudding, and chocolate pudding gets old after awhile, even when it is only 18 cents.

So my theory about Amsterdam being my personal fat farm. It seemed like I had free will, but in reality the city was conspiring to make me thinner. Then it rained for four weeks straight and Amy gave me pneumonia, making me really grouchy and a little homesick. So I bought the Pringles and the cookie dough ice cream. I have no idea what happened to Pringles and cookie dough ice cream, because they are awesome. My sinuses cleared, the sun beamed through the clouds, and for the first time, I felt truly loved.

Bub-bye, fat farm.


At 10:10 PM, Blogger slskenyon said...

Congrats on finding evidence of home somewhere over there. Here in the UK, we are seriously at a loss for anything that is truly the equivalent of the American hot dog, and we also have to walk a long way to get anywhere. The problem on this side of the channel is that the amount of fat in anything "normal" is tremendous. Cookie bar from Marks and Spencers? Yeah, looks innocent, but it's 26 grams of fat. You want a latte? Sure, but they'll make it with whole milk unless you make the skim request and then watch the barrista like a hawk. Surprisingly, the Subway diet has worked well for me thus far, given the grams of fat translate between British and American English.

At 11:50 PM, Blogger Kris said...

re: The Pressure of Being a Blogger. Yes - I experienced this as well during my brief stint as an author in the blogosphere (for those who don't know me, I kept both a private "Friends and Family" blog of a work trip to Vietnam and a public blog of the same trip, shared with a very reflective colleague). I felt like I had to be witty, clever, and ironic, even at times when I was feeling overwhelmed, homesick, and earnest. Mike, I'll be interested to talk with you when you're back in the Mitten State about the blogging experience. Meanwhile, eat all he stroopfwaffles that come your way - we've got nothing that tasty back here.


At 3:52 PM, Blogger amy said...

Oh Mike, I feel your pain. A similar thing happened to me in Germany in 1990, when I lost a bunch of weight because I was a picky eater and the food sucked (creepy heavy sauces and the main signature dish is VEAL). Add on the extra burden of seeing how excited your mom was when you got off the plane, and then the light in her eyes die as you promptly devour all of your favorites for dinner and you re-balloon right before her very eyes. Ah, the awkward teenage years and the maternal frown of disapproval. I really don't miss either, like, ever.

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