Are You There Abs? It’s Me, Mariana

Teenagers are the worst. They are moody, selfish, and always hungry. Oh wait, that’s just me on a diet. Correction: teaching teenagers while you’re on a diet is the worst.

When you’re thirty-something, teaching high school is a constant reminder that your metabolism has retired. Everyday, I am surrounded by tiny waif-like sixteen-year-olds who eat a jumbo bag of hot Cheetos for breakfast and who think Big Red is a real juice. My jealousy knows no bounds. Just a quick little sniff of secondhand Cheeto dust,  and I immediately gain five pounds. Damn you, Chester Cheetah. Damn you and your sunglasses.

You and your Cheetos can suck it, Chester

Sometimes the only thing that gets me through the work day is knowing that these young, fast metabolism having kiddos will soon feel the wrath of the Freshman 15. Do you remember the Freshman 15? It all begins with a few beers at your first college party, and it ends with you only being able to fit into sweatpants by midterms. Then  your mom calls you fat over Christmas break, so you immediately sign up for that 5k your healthy friend has been bugging you about. It’s the true American college experience!

For me, that 5k turned into years of running 10ks, half marathons, and full marathons as a means of fat prevention, until I discovered Crossfit. Crossfit is great: not only has it saved me a crap load of time (a 1 hour class vs. 3 hours of running is definitely the way to go) but it also gave me muscles. Muscles = more calories burned = more queso allowance. Unfortunately, lately I’ve been steadily surpassing my queso allowance, hence the dieting angst I’m currently experiencing.

Crossfitting like a boss

However, the thing about muscles is that people notice them. All. The. Time. Especially if you’re a female. Not one day passes by where a comment (usually borderline inappropriate) about my buffness isn’t made.

Student: Miss, you look buff

Me: Thank you. I am buff.

Student: No, I’m serious. At first I thought you were fat, but you’re seriously swole.


Student: I wanna get fat. Then I’m going to turn all that fat into muscle at the gym.

Me: I don’t think you understand how science works.

Student: That’s what my cousin did! He was super skinny. Then he started eating a ton of sandwiches and began working out at the gym. He got so swole that now he’s a stripper.

Me: I’m so glad your cousin is a contributing member of society.

I know what you’re thinking: this kid’s future is so bright he should probably steal Chester Cheetah’s shades. But my sweet, albeit scatterbrained, alum and his Magic Mike cousin aren’t the only ones obsessed with getting all the muscles. I’m not sure how alternative this fact is, but I bet the fitness industry is larger and more profitable now than it has ever been in the history of mankind. Heck, I just spent $10 on what was supposed to be a healthy version of meatloaf but I suspect it was really just a piece of cardboard covered in kale. Cue the hangry mood swing.

Anyway, back to the diet. I miss the days of yore when I could eat a cheeseburger and french fries everyday for lunch without the repercussions of mushroom top and cellulite-filled thighs. I recently tried to re-live those days (oh, it was glorious time filled with gluten and starch) and ended up gaining 16 pounds in a matter of months. Bye bye abs. The constant comments from my students about my muscularity has shifted into offerings of desserts. Seriously. My students, who can barely remember to bring a pencil to class, are now feeding me on the regular. When I was at my prime weight, not one child ever brought me any sort of sugary sweet. Not even a Tic Tac. Now it’s like a dang bakery in my classroom. One kid gave me an entire cake! They are probably plotting against me. If I’m too busy stuffing my face, I won’t notice they didn’t turn in their homework.

But alas, I’ve been officially back on a diet for an entire week. Today, a student asked me if I started working out again. “Again? What do you mean again? I never stopped working out!”

“Oh,” the student said. “It’s just that you look like you’re trying to lose weight.”

“I’m trying to go back to consistently eating healthy,” I replied as diplomatically as my inner rage would let me.

“You’re lucky,” the kid said as he opened up a bag of Cheetos. “I’m trying to gain weight and no matter how much I eat, I am still skinny.”

“I bet you see major changes in a few years when you get to college…”

As that little darling munched away and I reveled at thought of the massive beer belly he will soon acquire, a spec of Cheeto dust floated in my direction. Before I could scream for help, it had found its way up my nostril and new fat cells were already forming in my back side. Thanks a lot, Chester. You’re a real jerk.





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