Chapter Four

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Should I eat before the gym? Or should I starve?

I recalled a Leafs interview from at least ten years ago. In it the star forward described his pre-game routine, which included eating boatloads of spaghetti before every hockey game: “You have to pack it in before you play. Otherwise you’re losing ten to twelve pounds in one game just from sweat.”

But wasn’t I trying to lose weight, after all?

I brushed my teeth and returned to my room. Screw breakfast, I have fat rolls to burn.

I was three weeks into January now, and a little disappointed that this Saturday morning was my very first visit to the gym. My plans had gone to Hell after pulling an ass-cheek muscle, from one of those workouts I’d discovered on the Internet. Eleanor had later explained that just because the spandex-wearing blonde in the video could do fifty “ass curls,” it didn’t mean I should too.

So why did that bitch-blonde instructor say “keep on pushing”?

By now I was free of any pain in the posterior region, so I held up my shiny membership card, comparing the photo to my image in the mirror.

I wanted the photo to be ugly, and I was fairly certain I’d hit the mark. I could barely even look directly at it, what with the greasy matted hair, fresh uncovered acne, and noticeably chapped lips.

Of course it wasn’t my own inventiveness that led to a nasty photo. That’s just how they did it in the ads for losing weight: ugly before and beautiful after. Often times the woman hadn’t even lost a lot of weight, but her “After” shot looked fabulous (with the help of bridal make-up and a spray tan). My goal was a similar one. I still intended to lose my fifteen pounds, but no matter where I stood with my goal, I would always look better than the membership card (thanks to the mascara and bronzer I applied before each workout).

The bigger goal of course, was to have a sexy gym attendant swipe my card. He’d be repelled by the photo, but then he’d raise his eyes to see my face: “Wow, is that really you?” he’d say. “Looks like you’ve been making some progress!”

A few visits later, maybe he’d ask me for a date.

And that’s how a quest for romance begins.

I put down the card and focused on my image in the mirror. My hair was only half tied up, with enough wisps falling down to conceal my “monkey left ear.”I’d never figured out if it was better to have two symmetrical monkey ears, or instead one perfectly normal ear, and another one modeled after monkey DNA. All I knew was that slicked-back ponytails were a no-no.

Next I examined my body in these brand new gym clothes. At five-foot-seven and a hundred and fifty pounds, my fat was only pronounced in particular areas of wrongness. The worst right now was the jiggling upper-arm effect. I was only a child when I’d first seen a woman with the “upper arm jiggs.” It happened on a hot summer day, when our tank-top-wearing teacher started writing on the chalkboard. As she wrote the assignment in her swift and sweeping cursive, her upper arms went wild. This way and that they rocked, swinging like a hammock in the wind. Call me superficial but I didn’t want to be a human hammock.

Besides my upper arms I was struggling to hide my back fat.

And those love handle things.

For all of these reasons I had chosen a roomy T-shirt.

On the bottom were my black and slutty workout pants. I had purchased these a week ago at Bebe Sport, and though I may not have looked like the Eva Longoria poster that was modeling the extra-extra-small-sized version, I loved what they did for my butt.

Year of the Chick (book 1 in the "Year of the Chick" series)Where stories live. Discover now