Day 1: It Begins
Nobody ever accused me of being thin, but the sad fact is that moving back to Santa Fe after years in California played a major part in letting myself go. For the first year, it was hard for me just to get up in the morning, let alone exercise, but all that's going to change. I'm excited and dedicated, and my first step is the vow to eat nothing but salads for a month.

Day 4: Whole Foods Market
I love jicama, but these dried-out cubes just about make me quit until I realize nobody said I had to include them. I throw my favorite veggies into one cacophony of crisp greenery and attempt to feel OK about the $8 price tag. Man, this salad could've used some jicama.

Day 7: Atrisco Café
My mother and brother are wrecking the New Mexican food, and it isn't doing me any favors. Sour grapes aside, throwing a chicken breast on this mélange takes some sting out of the stuffed sopa that's now giving me that "come hither" stare. It's been odd getting used to my new restrictions, and I come perilously close to cheating this very morning, but the support of my family has certainly helped…ish.

Day 9: Whole Foods Market
I literally can't think of any other place to go now that cheese is no longer part of my life, but I've discovered I can reduce costs by picking up broccoli separately. I crunch away as visions of The Shed haunt me, and I will forever remember the anthropomorphized enchilada from the previous night's nightmare. "Eat me, Alex," it said in a ghostlike fashion. "I'll make you feel good."

Day 12: Santa Fe Baking Co.
My dining companion assures me that I don't want heated steak on my salad, but I can't help but feel that the cold meat on this thing isn't helping. "I miss hot food," I announce. "Well, then you shouldn't have become gross," my friend says. The rest of the meal is eaten in silence.

Day 16: Lucky Bean Café

Maybe the cute girl who works here will see that I've forsaken burritos to become a salad guy, and she'll want to ask me about how my mission is going. This doesn't happen (not even close), but at four bucks, I've discovered just about the best salad deal in town. I love me some bell peppers, and it's high time somebody used them liberally. It's become much easier to eat salads, especially since the thought of choking down globs of melted cheese now scares the hell out of me.

Day 20: Whole Foods Market
My second job is next door to this place—sue me! I stand at the salad bar for eight minutes, mulling over red cabbage versus cold peas, but I am weak. I need a change. I whine to myself in my head and rationalize the walk to the build-your-own-burrito counter, and though I steer clear of the meats and the sour cream and the various other items—items that I'd probably kill my own family to get at—I still feel like total crap an hour after my bean and rice burrito. It's like my body is punishing me for being a cheater.

Day 27: Home

Can I eat cereal? I don't mean sugary cereals, but one of those healthy ones with commercials where women go to the beach and laugh and smile and wear bikinis while slurping down spoonfuls of some sort of flake while feeling healthier than Charles Atlas. I can't? Eff.

Day 30: Lucky Bean
Maybe the cute girl who works here will remark that I sure do like salads. This doesn't happen (not even close), but when I hand over my four bucks and get at those delicious bell peppers I can't help but feel much better than a month ago. I think I'll keep it going. As I sip on my tea and think about tomorrow's salad, I come to one inevitable conclusion: I hate being a salad guy.

SWEAT 2012

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