Monday, September 11, 2006

I Saw My Feet at 199

For the past 10 years I have been engaged in a nutritional experiment of sorts. Scientifically, I hypothesized that a 23- to 33-year old man, of otherwise normal health and fitness, can eat as much as his stomach can hold for 10 solid years without any side affects to his health, his fitness, his longevity or his lifestyle. I wanted to prove without a shadow of doubt that I wouldn’t gain a single pound by living this way and I would still be able to run the quarter-mile in the same 52 seconds that I did when I was much younger.

To facilitate this experiment, I just needed to eat what I wanted…all the time, with no regard to any consequences; rather my life has been a free-for-all cafeteria of indulgences, knowing neither boundaries or limitations of what I will eat, when I’ll eat it and how much of it I’ll try to ram down my gullet at any given sitting. “All You Can Eat” was a personal challenge to best any previous record I had set. Since I’ve been married and somewhat responsible for my own nourishment, I’ve slowly expanded, ballooning up well past my optimal weight for my height, settling well into the 200-pound range.

I’ve been hovering around 210 pounds for nearly a year, and if you were to compare a picture of me now to one taken 10 years ago (don’t worry, I’ll spare you), it is as if I’ve swelled from some kind of exotic bug bite.

Something is going to give: Either I will die early from gluttony or I will drag out a most unpleasant life filled with illness, disease and geriatric ailments that plague the unhealthy.

Therefore, it has been decided that the free-for-all is winding down to a close. No longer can I, in good conscious for my own well-being, can I keep up this way of life. The kitchen is not longer a come-as-you-are kind of place where everything is free for the taking without regard to nutrition labels, quantities or content. No longer can I eat 10 scrambled eggs for dinner, nor can I snack on a box of Teddy Grahams dipped in cake frosting. A mixing bowl full of cereal topped with a quarter gallon of milk and a half-cup of sugar is a thing of the past, as is 32 Little Debbie cookies in two days, a bag of chips, two rolls of Ritz crackers, a carton of Pringles, all 24 Twinkies from the box, a whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s, a large pizza, three hamburgers, two Double-Doubles (and fries…and a strawberry shake), five Taco Bell bean burritos, 18 inches of Subway sandwiches, two-liters of Diet Coke/Pepsi a day… you get the idea.

Did you see lettuce or carrots or spinach in that list? Nope, nowhere to be found. How about a garden salad? Nope. A bowl of mixed vegetables? Not even close. Frankly, I’ve learned to be lazy, as it is easier to pick up the phone and order a pizza than it is to microwave a bowl of veggies or toss up a salad in a bowl. I like salads; I always order one when I go out to eat, but I rarely eat them here.

Since Kara’s been working on her weight, every pound she drops (and she’s cruised by the 25-pound mark) makes me look a pound fatter. Am I inspired to follow in her footsteps? No, I don’t like to be told what to do and a rigorous regime such as her program is too fastidious for my tastes. I plan to cut out the garbage in my diet, maybe see what it is like to take a walk around this neighborhood and start feeding my body some food that’s good for me… for a change.

I’m sure Elsa would appreciate getting out of the yard.

I’m tired of being tired. Either I’m asleep or I want to be. I’m sick of waking up in the middle of the night because of some horrible food I ate (in mass quantities) is turning south on me in that slick, greasy feeling of eating a seagull pulled from an oil spill. I lack energy; I’m lethargic, sluggish, sloth-like… but with an impeccable ass-groove on the couch where I while away the hours staring into the idiot box (at reruns, no less).

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a born-again epicurean by any stretch of the imagination, but the increased nitrates consumption that I enjoyed last week really checked my views of my own mortality. Sure, I’m not old, but I’m not getting any younger. Given my family history, I’m about a third of the way to the finish line. Being sick last week, made me realize that food—in great amounts—can actually kill you (they don’t write that on the package), so I’ve decided to lose some weight, nothing drastic, just enough to get down to what I think would be a good weight, 190 pounds.

The good news is that I’m halfway there. This morning, much to my surprise, I looked down at the scale and it blinked on 199. It was an eye opener, as I haven’t seen the number 199 on the scale in a number of years…as far as I can remember at least.

It was good encouragement, but as the day wore on—though I only had a couple glasses of Pepsi—I gained two pounds, perhaps I sapped moisture from the atmosphere. I don’t know. So, wish me luck, and this is the first time in my life that I’ve actually wanted to lose something.

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