Sunday, April 6, 2008

Fat Like Me

How Did This Happen?

Well, I'm fat. Again.

218. That's what the scale said this morning. I'm always shocked, even though I know exactly what happened. Day by day I make a series of small decisions that add up to a big, fat belly.

Take yesterday for example. It was a Saturday and I didn't have much to do. So, I dropped my car down at the shop early for new tires. That was exciting. My wife and the kids picked me up, and we stopped at the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru on the way home. You know, for the kids. Once we got home I took a well earned nap for the rest of the morning. Then I got up and microwaved some of the early morning coffee that had gone cold, and decided to go work out. I've been meaning to, you know. But then I remembered that I didn't know where any of my sweatpants were. After considering this obstacle for a few minutes, I grabbed a chocolate donut and headed for the tv room. Then I took an Alli pill to even things out.

Maybe those sweatpants will turn up some day.

On the couch, watching tv, I was forced to realize that there are a lot of shows and "infomercials" about working out and losing weight. And I mean a lot. The people on these shows really look great. They don't wear sweatpants. I wouldn't either, if I looked like that.

So now I realize that I'm exactly the type of out-of-shape loser that these ads are aimed at. The people who really exercise aren't sitting in front of the tv at 1:00 pm on a Saturday afternoon. Only lethargic fatties like me. And we are the ones most likely to call in with our Mastercard numbers for the new miracle machine that will give me six-pack abs in just 5 minutes a day! That's way easier that getting off my ever expanding buttocks and walking down the street and back a few times.

But of course I'm way too smart to fall for this. So, I do neither. I think, "If only I had more energy I'd go exercise." Maybe I need another nap. I think about the number on the scale again.

Some people don't like to share their actual weight number, feeling that it's too personal. I understand this, but to me it's just a number. But it's the single metric that best measures the problem. I suppose that body fat percentage is really a better measure. But when you're over 200, the body fat number's not going to be good.

I catch an ad on the tv for The Biggest Loser, and I'm thinking, "They don't look that fat to me." Then I realize what a bad sign that is.

I mentally review my personal metrics. I've been the same height since I was 15, 5 feet 11 1/2 inches. Weight upon high school graduation: 148; college graduation: 162; one year out: 185 (I could finally afford food). I stayed at 185 for the next 10 years, when I was 33 years old.

I've been fatter. My all time heaviest was 233. And boy did I look like crap. My wife got me on weight watchers, on my doctor's advice, and I lost 45 pounds. And boy did I look good. It also cleared up several health issues I was having. And I kept it off for several years.

But then it came back.

This time, my wife got me on South Beach Diet. That worked, too. I was back down. The two diets have similar foundations, but take different approaches to get you there. They are both basically low carb, low sugar diets.

Also, alcohol is very bad for dieting. For several reasons. First, it is fattening. Second, it degrades your judgment so you are more likely to decide to go ahead and eat the cake, or drink more. Third, it degrades your sleep quality, making you tired and less likely to be enthusiastic about exercising.

This is tough for people like me, who grew up equating drinking with relaxing.

But I do know the key to success. The key is deciding that losing weight and being healthy is the most important thing that you can do for the day. Of course, knowing and doing are two very different things. One must have the will. I'm trying to work up the will.

I'm almost there.