A month or so ago, I, like millions of other fans of the popular series, “The Hunger Games”, lined up to watch the first installment of the trilogy. I watched as Katniss leapt, climbed, endured burns and stings, wept from loss, was torn by love, foraged for food and shot her silver arrows with precision and purpose. In the shadows (where men in these books often hang out), were Peeta and Gale, two men smitten by our bow-and-arrow wielding heroine, yet not getting much love from Ms. Mockingjay herself. As I sat for two hours in the dark theater, a single thought kept running through my mind. . . “It’s my freakin’ cheat day and I’m eating all the popcorn, hot dog, candy, soda and ice cream that I can get my hands on!”
Yes, this is what happens when you go on a diet, people, you experience your very own hunger games. But instead of running away from a bunch of blood-thirsty kids who want to slit your throat in a simulated arena, you find yourself running from. . .food. When you are working with 1,500 calories a day, logging every morsel you put into your mouth on an iPhone application and have an accountability partner to report to, you start to get. . .hmmm, paranoid and a bit crazy. And then running away from lunatics in a forest doesn’t sound so bad because YOU have now become the lunatic and it wouldn’t really matter who was chasing you if you knew you were running towards something worthwhile. . .like a bag of cheddar jalapeno Cheetos or a giant piece of double-chocolate cake.
When you experience your own hunger games, you find yourself wishing that, like the tributes in the arena, you received little silver parachutes with gifts from above every time you did something right. “I exercised 5 times this week, please let a pint of Ben & Jerry’s fall onto my lap.” But alas, no parachutes are falling in my world. These days (when I’m not cheating), I’m having internal conversations with myself that sound like this; “How many nuts can I eat today? Is 3 too much? Maybe if I eat the salt free ones, I can eat double that!” Yes, it’s enough to make you feel like swallowing some nightlock berries just to end the misery and madness of it all.
And then you remember why you entered the games in the first place because you’ve just seen yourself in the mirror and you have a show to film for and a bridesmaid dress to look stunning in and you sigh, stop complaining to your accountability partner, resolve to pry the chocolate out of your hands and suck it up. It’s all about choices, my friends. Even Katniss had one hell of a choice to make. Even though I think she chose wrong, you gotta love a girl who can wear fire and shoot through an apple in a pig’s mouth from a 100 yards away. Now if I could only do that to my calorie counter application. . .