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Demo Mode

“What if I were a vegan, and I insisted we only go to pure vegan restaurants together? At least you’d still have the opportunity to grab a chicken sandwich with a friend, and you’d do it, often. But what if we got to the point where ate all of our meals together, and you were stuck eating vegan? You’d go crazy. You’d pull in to some random McDonald’s, order five Quarter Pounders with cheese and bite the shit out of them.”

“We taught a lion to eat tofu!” – Futurama (again)

Day 35 – Sunday July 3
Breakfast – 6 eggs, spinach, coconut butter
Lunch – salmon filet, red cabbage slaw
Dinner – green curry chicken with cauliflower

Day 36 – Monday July 4
Breakfast – spinach frittata
Lunch – spinach frittata
Dinner – green curry chicken with cauliflower
Afters – 1 bottle wine (or close to it)

Day 37 – Tuesday July 5
Workout – 75 kettlebell swings @53lb (54, then 21)
Breakfast – green curry chicken with cauliflower
Lunch – iron grilled chicken breast with broccoli slaw, 2 hard-boiled eggs
Dinner – salmon filet with red cabbage slaw
Oops – piece of chocolate chip cookie cake (followed by 3-mile walk of shame)

*** WARNING: EXTENDED METAPHOR ALERT ***

An eight-year-old cousin of mine once bought a video game that he thought would be fun. He spent $20-30 bucks on it, cash that he had saved up through some fairly hard work. He did his research; he skimmed through some of the reviews online that said it would be enjoyable, not the best game of the year, but a fun distraction nonetheless. The cover of the game had some great shoot-em-up graphics and explosions, which got him even more excited. As soon as he got out of the car from the electronics store, he parked himself in front of the TV, put the disc into his PS3, and clutched the controller nervously in hand, ready to unleash havoc on some unsuspecting aliens in a dystopian wasteland.

He started playing. The graphics weren’t perfect, but they got the job done. The sound effects were spectacular, and the storyline was complex and involved. He was pretty thrilled about his investment, all those afternoons toiling in the sun with the lawnmower or with the squeegee, getting his dad’s car extra shiny and waxed. Then, as he was about to head into some dark cavern carved into the cliffside, the screen flashed “DEMO MODE” and the game would not go any further. He stared at the TV in silence for a few seconds. He picked up the box and looked at it, read every word. Nothing. He pulled the disc out and looked at it. Nothing.

What the hell was DEMO MODE? Why couldn’t he play the rest of the game? He googled the name of the game online, and after browsing through a couple websites, found that the game company’s owners had gone bankrupt and had no further plans or resources to program out the full storyline they had promised. So they put a bit extra into the demo, made it as intricate as they could, and sold it for a lower price, without telling anyone what they were paying for, really. So my cousin figured that he might as well make the best of this game, play with it for another hour or so until he got bored of all the iterations of killing the same monsters in the same landscapes, and put it away for good. He felt a bit deceived, but realized that dwelling on his bad luck wouldn’t purchase him another better game anytime soon. He need to start working again.

And that is how I felt last night, with the lingering scent of peach mango shampoo on my neck and my shoulders, when The Novelist told me she was, er, “saving herself.” As in “no rock, no cock.” Our concert had been rained out, so I had invited her over to my place. We drank a bunch of wine and talked about (among other things, ironically) our worst dates, we watched a movie on Netflix, and we made out on the couch for a bit. She dropped the bomb on me (and not in a cool Gap Band sort of way), and at that moment I had two options:
1) Tell her to get the F out, since our relationship, as it was, had just plateaued and was irrevocably about to head downhill and fast, then watch the fireworks alone.
2) Take her out to my semi-secret roof-of-the-parking deck enclave to check out the fireworks and make out with her some more, knowing I wouldn’t be seeing her naked, but at least I could grab her ass a couple times and she probably wouldn’t mind.

(The fireworks were cool. Some guy parked his truck on the roof of the garage and blasted “Proud To Be An American” on continuous loop as we watched.)

I chose #2. She didn’t mind. But yeah. Bad luck. Let me pause now, to take off my sneaker, raise it high in the air, and send it flopping to the ground. *CLUNK* Done. She still *likes* me (she sent me a friend request on Facebook), and I still “like” her (in the way that one would like a co-worker with whom you share a couple of interests), but like I said, we’ve peaked. Oh well. It’s hard not to feel distraught and not to blame myself for all of the events of last night, but there’s no crying in baseball. I’m going back to work. I can do better. I will do better. On the agenda for this week: a couple more Art Museum and Young Professional-ish mixers, and my friend Paul’s birthday bash (the perfect situation for me to act like myself.) Next week: I recon with The Hebrew Tattoo at the gym on Saturday and invite her out for drinks. Also, I stalk The Grease Fire at the coffeeshop Tuesday and Wednesday, in order to do the same.

Alright, time for a 4-Hour Body update. It’s five weeks in, and when I look at the global difference in my before-and-after pictures, I’m rather thrilled. I had a feeling that the program would work slower for me (an experienced athlete with good conditioning and a strict diet) than someone carrying an extra 50 pounds and sucking down 2-3 large McFlurries a day. But my discipline has helped me stick with the program easily, not giving into temptation on my non-cheat-days. And I can afford the supplements, which I’m taking a break from next week, then switching to buying them wholesale from the website (a good deal cheaper than getting them individually from Whole Foods, I imagine, plus I can’t find policosanol ANYWHERE.)

Week 0: 168.4lb, 18.6% body fat, 137.1lb lean mass, 31.3lb fat
Week 4: 166.2lb, 16% body fat, 139.6lb lean mass, 26.6lb fat
Week 5: 162.6lb, 15% body fat, 138.2lb lean mass, 24.4lb fat
TOTAL: 5 wks, 5.8lb wt lost, 6.9lb fat lost, 1.1lb muscle gained

My initial lofty goal (still my goal, I guess) was 2lb fat loss per week, but I’m more than happy with 1lb/wk. And I *lurve* kettlebells. Do them! You won’t regret it! My goal is to get all 75 reps unbroken before I head out next weekend on a beach/vacation trip somewhere to show off the fruits of my labors, to get a nice tan, and to drink heavily in the company of equally inebriated single women who I will hopefully talk to.

Other random 4-Hour Body and nutrition thoughts:

– I was *really* skeptical about working out 5 minutes a day, twice a week (aside from the 30-40 minutes I put in for my weight-lifting, which is itself only once a week.) Definitely not what I had planned on. But I can’t argue with the results from this week. Less really *is* more.

– A new book just came out, which has some comprehensive recommendations about the absolute best dietary modifications for long-term healthy and vitality. Written by physics researchers at Harvard who did rigorous studies on biochemical pathways (although in truth, you can’t beat the anecdotal experience of a group of people who actually try a given thing – your body doesn’t work like a petri dish, but instead, like a warehouse full of petri dishes, all of which are interacting with one another.) Anyway, here’s the Perfect Health Diet.

Things that made the difference between success and failure for me on the 4-HB diet:
– having lots of snacks available, like nuts and veggies and COCONUT BUTTER
– spending my Sundays cooking big pots of Thai green curry chicken and apportioning them into Tupperware containers for the week
– eating like a man possessed on Saturdays, and not letting any indulgence go unindulged (next time, I plan to go all Martin Berkhan on a cheesecake.)
– putting my supplements into an organized pill case
– when i cheat, i just acknowledge it and move on; i push extra hard with my next workout, or go super low-carb with my next day of eating

– Ladies, lift heavy. Guys, lift heavy. Aside from a metabolic conditioning exercise like kettlebell swings or burpees, if you can do 15 in a row, the weight is too light. To them beanpole dames in the magazines, you ain’t it, Miss Thang. (Unless you’re flirting with me, in which case, I will gladly, tongue-hangingly overlook a temporary lack of curves.)

Next time: I solicit your advice on how to create a match.com profile that will weed out religious fanatics, gold-diggers, people who use the word “irregardless”, people whose best friends are their cats, and virgins.

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