You wouldn’t know it to look at me, but I used to weigh only seven pounds six ounces.
Guess I’ve put on a few pounds.
I wasn’t sure that I wanted to tackle weight. People tend to get touchy about the topic, and I usually address more social and cultural issues in this space. But, considering that reportedly sixty-seven percent of the population is currently, shall we say, gravitationally augmented, I figured there was some meat here.
I started out as a pencil-thin athletic guy. Then I progressed into a rather paunchy athletic guy. Then came paunchy and not entirely athletic. Then, more paunch accompanied by comments such as, “Well, I used to swim 5,000 yards per day.” Or, “Wow, can we get extra cheese on that triple extra large mondo deep dish pizza?” Eventually I hit Jabba the Hut stage with a vague recollection of athleticism long ago in a galaxy far, far away. Now, I field repeated calls from the Richter scale folks asking me to tone it down every time I hop out of bed.
I’ve known all along that I can lose weight – I’ve done it before. And since I’ve done it before, I know just what it takes. But I decided that this time around I didn’t want to spend five months locked in a six-by-six room, on a diet of water and water, watching an endless fifteen-minute Richard Simmons loop. Okay, maybe my previous regime wasn’t quite that extreme, but it felt that way.
So, how does one lose weight in a society dedicated to excessive consumption?
Liposuction? Protein shakes? Tummy tucks? Tummy staples? (Ouch!) Diet pills? Juice-only diets? Meat-only diets? Snickers-only diets? Amputation of ten ugly pounds just above the shoulders? The choices seem endless.
After several agonizing seconds of contemplation I settled on a program that involves diet and exercise. Pretty brown paper bag, but effective – I hope.
The exercise came easy. I’m a former competitive swimmer. I used to run triathlons. I coached swimming for a number of years. I knew what had to be done. It was just a matter of getting back into the groove.
Yikes! That’s the toughie. I suffer from Black Hole syndrome. Anything tasty that falls within my gravitational force gets sucked in like light into a collapsing star.
My plan hasn’t so much been to “be” on a diet, but simply to “change” my diet. Eat intelligently. No more intravenous pizza, no more deep-fried chocolate-covered Twinkies at midnight, no more – gasp! – Pepsi. That’s the biggie. Cut me and my blood pops and fizzles with carbonation. So, now I pay attention to my diet, say no to any food I might remotely desire. I even peruse the nutritional information on packaging. Did you know that a Snickers bar actually has the nerve to boast a “nutritional information” tag on its wrapper?
I looked at a frozen pot pie at the grocer. One of those gourmet brands. Just a little pot pie – 110% of the daily saturated fat allowance. 110%! Why don’t they just call the thing Pot-O-Death and be done with it? They should probably serve it with defibrillators. You know, “Hang on a sec before I take another bite. CLEAR!” VOOOMP! “Ah, much better. Now, can you pass me a couple sticks of butter ala-mode?”
I figured throwing vitamins into the mix would be a good idea, so I bought a vitamin pack at a convenience store. Theoretically, it’s supposed to contain all of the nutrients one needs for an entire day. I read the label: Vitamins A, B, B12, C, E, Magnesium, Iron, Beta-carotene – non-lethal.
Was there any expectation to the contrary? Vitamin C doesn’t say non-lethal. B12 has no skull & cross-bones in parentheses. But, beta-carotene specifically notes non-lethal. What’s the implication? That this is the one safe pill in the pack? Take one of the others and it’s bye-bye Tommy. And how do I know which one is beta-carotene? The pills aren’t labeled. It’s Russian vitamin pack roulette. “Hey, this might make you really healthy, or you might just die. Have a nice day.”
I think I’ll stick with One-a-Day.
With all of the exercise and decreased caloric intake, I figured vegetables should play a larger role in my day-to-day life. As in, I should actually eat them. I’ve never been opposed to veggies, but have probably held on to a bit of my pre-adolescent distaste for the things. It really isn’t so much the taste as the names. Case in point, what self-respecting kid is going to eat something called squash? Or rutabaga? Or eggplant? There’s never any trouble getting kids to eat candy. Why? Because these have fun names. Snickers, Skittles, Gummy Bears. I think the candy people should rename the vegetables.
“Here, son, eat your Tweedles.”
“Tweedles! Oh, boy!”
Little does he know that last week they were called Brussels sprouts.
So, I’ve taken all of the steps. I work out four days a week. I’ve radically changed my diet. I’m pretending that I no longer enjoy Pepsi. Any change? Yep. Six weeks in and I’ve lost twenty-one pounds. Feels good. Especially the exercise. Now, will someone please get that left-over pizza out of the fridge before I have a San Andreas-caliber relapse?
Thom Reese is a Las Vegas based writer whose weekly radio show, 21st Century Audio Theatre, previously aired on the 50,000 watt KDWN. Fourteen of Thom’s audio dramas will be released by Speaking Volumes Quality Audio Books throughout 2010. Thom studied comedy writing at The Second City and works in market research for CBS Broadcasting.
Copyright 2010 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.
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