I’m hiding out in the pristine lockerroom at the posh Sports Club/LA Boston when it hits me: a faintness in my limbs, an uneasiness in my stomach so strong I can hardly stand.  I’m sweating more than I have in two years, cumulatively, and in my paranoia imagine the dude across the aisle knows what’s up. I’m going to be sick. The question playing over and over in my head is not why but how did I get into this situation?

The truth is pretty simple. It’s my own damn fault.

* * * * * * *

THREE YEARS AGO, I moved from Santa Barbara to Boston for a change of scenery and a change of pace. I’ve since found both, and the short story is that I’ve settled into Boston quite happily, found myself feeling more and more at home here. I can’t say it was that way from the beginning, however. With change comes tumult, and that tumult meant a new job, new commitments, new friendships, and new projects. In my excitement to cultivate this new life, I lost sight of how I was living.

First, my eating habits: somehow they deteriorated further and further over time. There wasn’t a junkfood I didn’t know and love, a fried thing I wouldn’t eat (save for a few, esoteric exceptions). My diet began to look less like a well-balanced pyramid and more like a flat-bed truck chock full of cheese, carbohydrates (of the starch-y, white-bread variety!), cups of coffee (nearly six a day), and, in the spirit of honesty, an awful lot of pie. Lemon meringue. Apple. Strawberry rhubarb. I didn’t really care. If it had sugar and some sort of pastry crust, I was game. And I’d eat an entire damn pie by myself. In one sitting.  I’d like to say this only happened while watching Jane Austen film adaptations and crying to myself about my inevitable spinsterhood. Sadly, that was only some of the time.

In short, I was putting my body through a Sally Struthers sort of hell. And while I only gained maybe ten pounds in the course of three years–a softening of the midsection widely known as muffin top or, during the holidays, Santa belly–the effect on my energy levels was decidedly more dramatic. What was once a seemingly endless supply bordering on hyperactivity has steadily dwindled, settling into sluggishness. I have attempted to counteract that shift with more, and more, and more coffee. And RedBull. In combination. Each and every day.

And then there’s the smoking. An awful lot of that. Because, you know, I work in fashion! And it’s sexy, right? Not so much. But it was a steady habit, around a pack a day. NYFW or photoshoot days meant a far greater intake, and while NYFW is only a few weeks a year, as time passed I found myself doing more and more editorial shoots, both for styleboston and freelance for other publications. Basically, I was smoking a lot. A LOT.

Much as I’d like to, blaming my bad habits on an intensely stressful workload–between sixty and eighty hours per week–is taking the easy way out. How I parcel out my time is a matter of priorities, and at some point about half a year ago I realized that those priorities needed to include my health. Make time, I told myself.

Months passed. My habits remained.

* * * * * * *

My long-overdue change came just a few weeks ago, in the form of a challenge.

Terri, the Creator of styleboston, had told her friends at The Sports Club/LA Boston of my less-than-exemplary lifestyle, but what should have been simply a watercooler joke manage to metamorphose into an offer: The Sports Club/LA would provide a complimentary membership if I’d commit to a comprehensive program they’d devised to get me back to a healthy lifestyle.  Good luck, I thought.

Those who know me know I always accept a challenge. And I decided to write about it because a) I knew it would be damn funny and b) while I don’t know exactly what is in store for me, I do know that if it can help me, it can definitely help you, too.

I mean, honestly, when was the last time you ate an entire lemon meringue pie by yourself and chased it with a bag of chips? Yeah. Thought so.

The Trials and Tribulations of a Health Hater
Near-daily installments of my journey back to health at The Sports Club/LA Boston.

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