Birth of Venus.

Jennifer Hudson sang to me tonight.
Right in my hotel room.
A personal serenade!

She looked great: slim and trim, her buttery skin a perfect deep brown, dressed all in black and white.
And she was singing this gorgeous song, a sultry Nina Simone tune called “Feeling Good.”
(I’m not ashamed to admit I like Michael Bublé’s version the best. Yes, I am 55 years old on the inside.)


Of course, I only imagined she was singing to me.
It’s an easy mistake when you’re swimming in an endorphin haze from an embarrassingly laborious mile and a half on the hotel fitness room’s treadmill.
Really, she was singing at me.
From my TV.
In a Weight Watchers commercial.

In said endorphin haze, which quickly exploded into blinding body dysphoria as soon as I hit the shower, I was signed up and ready to get started within 20 minutes.
Bring on the points and the portion control.

Last year, I was browsing a consignment shop and found a pair of Paige Denim jeans in just my size. Okay, just my size about four years ago. But they had my name already on the tag! Embroidered.
And they were DESIGNER.
Even better: They were $20 at the consignment shop. Which I could afford at the time. So I bought them, even though they were too snug to walk in comfortably, and told myself they could be my goal jeans.
(What a cliché! What a load of hooey!)
Now, as I prepare to move those goal jeans into their third new closet on the same hanger, still unworn, I realize how damn ridiculous that is.
Both that I’ll have lived in four different apartments in one calendar year — did I just say that out loud? — and that those sad designer pants are one season away from having a permanent crease along the mid-thigh instead of some wicked stories to tell from nights on the town.

It’d be nice to wear those jeans embroidered with my name.
Those jeans are my destiny.

But it’s not about fitting into the goal jeans.
And it’s not about new year’s resolutions either.
This is not that. Really.

It’s about abandoning my sense of perverse glee when I polish off an entire burger at Kuma’s. Because that’s happened too many times. Because it’s not just the burger; it’s the handmade waffle fries and the beer and the food coma that stops me from being active for the rest of the day. Because it’s gross.
That’s not what they mean by the phrase “satisfaction of a job well done.”

It’s about liking myself better because I know I have the self-control to take home half the food I’ve ordered in a restaurant.

Maybe it’s about learning to crave lentils and quinoa first, pasta and bread second. Fresh fruit before chocolate.
Well…baby steps, anyway.

Someone on Twitter asked me last night, after I tweeted about having a salad and some toasted ravioli and chicken parmigiana and then some goddamn cannolis because I cannot turn down cannolis, if I had a hollow leg.
Which is still cracking me up. I won’t lie.
But I don’t want to be known as that girl who eats like a schlubby bachelor and still thinks she can bat her eyelashes and be a flirt.
It’s about not being the “coy fat girl.”

Curvaceous is the far end of my spectrum, and I feel myself rapidly approaching voluptuous.
Birth of Venus: acceptable. Odalisque: …no.
She’s lumpy.
God, I don’t want to be lumpy.

Eating less of all the delicious foods I eat doesn’t make them any less delicious.


In the end, I probably don’t need some paid service to help me reach this goal.
But I have this thing with shame. And guilt.
But I have this thing with numbers.

I think it’ll help having to track something every day, something to keep me conscious of myself, something to keep me honest.
We just…won’t mention that time I said I’d write every day in the month of December but didn’t because I was too busy doing holiday things.
Like eating.

It needs to be.

Blogging every day is a nice exercise, yes.
But keeping an eye on my weight and learning to be healthier? That’s for life.
And, okay.
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a little bit about the goal jeans.



13 Responses to “Birth of Venus.”

  1. Brian Says:

    I like the Bublé version too…
    Good for you, I think I’ll follow your lead…

  2. Andy Says:

    you’re funny..and get at it girl…find your healthy..whatever it may be. just be happy!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Voluptuous does not mean fat. Voluptuous sometimes still wears size 6 with giant boobs. Like a Barbie doll. HOT.

  4. tankboy Says:

    Weight Watchers worked great for me a few years ago. And yes, delicious food in more manageable portions is still delicious!

  5. Spleag Says:

    Good for you Paige! The times that we have spent together have been rife each of us taking shots at our own selves and really, that can only go on for so long before action is required. My start date was January 3rd, and I’m telling you, Sunday night is the hardest night in the world to behave! But not impossible. (*note: I’m not doing WW, but a different lifestyle change). Let’s help & support each other in becoming the best we can be, I hear mistakes are required. 🙂 Happy New Day!

  6. Michael Sweig Says:

    You and your writing: so up my alley. I love this piece.

  7. Gabriel Says:

    Michael Buble? Ew. Gross. Whoops– I’m sorry I just judged you– but at least I didn’t call you “Lumpy.”

    You have my full support. Does this mean I have to stop talking about thick-cut bacon all the time?

    I have a hollow head.

  8. Philip Lackmaker Says:

    Once again you write like you’ve been looking inside my head.
    After a lifetime of battling the flabmonster and collecting diabetes on the way to passing go I think that I have finally arrived at the point where I can honestly say I’m in control.
    That point is different for everyone and depends on both mind and body being in the same place at the same time. If they aren’t forget it, all that will happen us that it will be harder next time.
    As for weightwatchers, it’s a multinational corporation with a vested interest in our recidivism, it creates dependency on them instead of food.
    So all in all the goal jeans are as good motivational concept as anything.

  9. Felicia Says:

    Nina Simone is my sweet baby.

  10. Helena Says:

    I started WW last summer and did relatively well. The holidays were a touch of a setback, but as of today, we are getting back on track!

  11. Sam Sarbinson Says:

    The big problem I have is that I find it so much cheaper (and more convenient) to eat unhealthy food. There are services like Seattle Sutton (who advertises all the time during Cubs games of all things) but those are much more expensive than my target food budget.

    The liquid calories are also a continuing challenge. I knock out about 2 sodas a day and the withdrawal when I try to stop is too much to overcome. I’m focusing on knocking those out and also looking to find some vitamin combo that will keep me from craving snacks at night.

  12. Danny P Says:

    In June of 2007 I decided I wanted to go skydiving for my 30th birthday, but any sane tandem instructor wasn’t going to strap a 275-pound man to themselves and hurtle us out of an airplane (which is why they have 230 pound weight limits, apparently).

    Using pretty much only WW, and exercising diligently (but not obsessively), I lost not only enough weight to go skydiving, but kept it up for another year and lost almost 100 pounds. Now, I’ve put back on 15 or 20 pounds, but for the most part I’ve kept it off for two years since then.

    WW is just a tool — it won’t do anything for anyone, but if you follow the plan and are honest with the point counter (like it sounds like you are), then it works. It’s like effing science or something.

    The thing I love about the program is what it taught me — how much food actually IS considered a normal serving, how to think about food in ways other than “ohmygodsuchabaddayineedchickenwings” and that even if I did decide to splurge, I certainly could — it’s a journey, and though I had specific goals related to the numbers, it’s more about how I feel and being in control of that as opposed to at the mercy of it.

    Jeez, reading back on that it looks kinda preachy — I hope you don’t take it that way. I just wanted to say congrats on starting WW, give a little positive encouragement with some semblance of a slight success story and say just stick with it and it’ll work for you. Good luck!

  13. Wardell Says:

    I’m in the same boat I think, I really want to improve my health and physique which I’ve let slip a little . For me that means a lot more running this year, I’ve joined some running groups on and have already signed up for the 8k shamrock shuffle in April, if all goes well I may be bold and register for the chicago marathon in the fall.

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