Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Diet? WTF?!

I was a skinny boy until after puberty, at which time I was a skinny man. I am 5’11” tall now and that was my height in 8th grade. Back then I weighed 150 pounds and stayed at that weight well into my twenties. My normal adult weight through my thirties and early forties was just under 180, which is normal for my height. For much of the past five, OK ten years I have tipped the scales near 200, sometimes a couple of pounds over that magical, frustrating number with zeroes in it.

During that same ten-year period three different doctors told me to lose weight, ideally twenty pounds. Three times I lost ten; three times I gained it back. This year I will lose the twenty and keep it off. You can hold me accountable to that statement. I will.

I made this promise to myself a few weeks before entering the New Year’s resolution zone and did a fairly good job of not overindulging during the holidays. Now I have resorted to reading labels. Ugh. Low sodium, low fat, low cholesterol blah blah blah. I now have to actually understand what that means and more than that, I have to know what really is “low” and not just the word “low” on the package.

This sucks. I sometimes still think of myself as that skinny man but there are mirrors in my bathroom so I know better. I am not obese but I am twenty pounds overweight and I will do something about that. I have a few goals related to this. First, the pound number, of course; I will lose twenty pounds by May 20th, the beginning of outdoor country music concert season around here this year. Second, my waist size will be down by one, from a sometimes tight 34 to a comfy 33. Third, the result of the fitness part of my process will be an obvious improvement in physique. I’ll stop and do a few more curls while you’re laughing at that last one. Lah de dah, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm, umpff, eight, nine, grunt … TEN. OK. Fourth, somebody will notice the physical changes and comment on them. I don’t know who or when, but I am already high-fiving myself in anticipation. Fifth, I’ll photograph a shirtless me and post the picture on this blog. It won’t scare away any children. It won’t scare you away either.

This is all about health and fitness, but there is obviously also a bit of ego involved. Too many boomers are flabby because they’ve given up on fitness. I was on that path but I’m not on it any more.

I am still doing this my way, making up my own diet based on stuff I read and things my doctor has told me. If that doesn’t work, a cousin of mine is a retired doctor who is now a consultant for Weight Watchers and I can turn to him for help. I also believe it is possible to lose weight without giving up some of the goodies. I will still eat pizza sometimes. I will eat sweet potato fries when I visit North Carolina and beignets when I visit New Orleans. (I am proud to report that during my recent nine-day road trip I only ate a McDonalds meal once rather than my previous once-a-day pattern on road trips). Portion control is key. And I am on the wagon for two weeks by choice, but after that I will resume my nightly glass of wine. And I will still lose weight and look great.

New Year, new focus, new confidence. It’s really that simple.

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