I’m going to Colombia February 7. That gives me exactly 18 full days to lose 25 pounds. I’m thinking this probably isn’t going to happen. I know I should have thought about this you know, three months ago (actually, I thought about it a lot…I just didn’t take any action…) but here I am, less than three weeks away from Colombia and feeling a little too plump for comfort. You see, there are two body types in Colombia: Too fat or too skinny. There’s about a two pound range when you might just be deemed neither too fat nor too skinny, but otherwise, you can expect the following two scenarios:
1.) If you fall into the too skinny camp: I’ll call this the uuuyyyyy mijita porque esta tan flaca, no esta comiendo? camp. Obviously, I’ve never fallen into this camp, but my sister has (the unfairness of it all!) and it consists of grandmas and great aunts attempting to figure out what life stressors or underlying unhappiness have resulted in your unsightly, unsettling thinness (which all grandmas and great aunts will agree makes you look old, unattractive and sickly). I don’t have much (any) experience on this side of the coin, but I’ve observed that being perceived as too flaca results in elderly relatives attempting to feed you at every opportunity and if you dare refuse food you better have balls because you will be met with a fierce, concerned grandma who will want to know Y PORQUE NO ESTA COMIENDO? followed by distraught laments of COME COMO UN PAJARO or PERO PEPITA NO COME NADA! even if you have just consumed a perfectly respectable portion. (Translation: Why aren’t you eating? You eat like a bird. Pepita doesn’t eat anything!)
2.) If you fall into the too fat camp: I’ll call this the uuuyyyy mijita esta gordisima, parece que no hace mas que tragar y tragar camp (Translation: OMG you are soooooo fat. It looks like all you do is scarf food down all day). This is where I fall. Even when I was at my thinnest, size 4 jeans and all, I was constantly greeted by well-meaning elderly relatives, strangers and family friends telling me about magical weight loss massages, get-thin quick smoothie concoctions, miraculous weight loss pills, even liposuction. (grandmotherly example: Pepita Junior, la hija de Pepita Senior tenia unas piernas asi, como las de sumerce (grandma dramatically shows four foot width with her hands) pero le hiceron una lipusuccion y quedo asi (grandma holds up index finger to show how thin Pepita Junior looked after surgery) (Translation: Pepita Junior, Pepita Senior’s daughter had huge legs like yours but then she got liposuction and now she’s as thin as a stick). This is always followed by my grandmother giving my legs a meaningful look and politely offering to ask Pepita Junior’s mom about her surgeon. Then, she will offer me hot chocolate, cheese and bread but won’t fail to turn around dramatically halfway to the kitchen to give me a stern finger wagging warning me not to eat too much because I don’t want to get fatter than I already am.
Of course, fatness comments are not limited to relatives. One must also be psychologically prepared to go out in public because without a doubt, the briefest of walks will result in numerous comments about your uncommonly voluptuous, well-endowed figure. Really, there’s no escape. Click here for an example of Colombian commentary.
Anyway, it’s Monday so I’ve decided today is as good a day as any to get in shape for Colombia. I found a dance studio (just $6 per class!) right by my place, bought a Yoga Groupon (I swear, I’m actually going to use it!), stocked up on oranges, cottage cheese and water and have taken a solemn vow to avoid carbs and starches for the next three weeks. I’ve initiated my pre-Colombia Boot Camp and I’m ready for war.
But I’m already hungry.