One of the gravest of concerns I had prior to retiring was whether my belly and bank account would each meander in an inverse direction from the other. Just to be clear, I am speaking of a fat belly and a thin bank balance. It therefore came as somewhat of a surprise yesterday to learn that I have actually lost weight in recent months. How this actually happened is a bit of a mystery.
Prior to moving from Oregon last September, we had quit our gym and began eating lots of take-out food instead of the amazing meals that Gorgeous usually makes. We really had no choice because each area of our Portland loft, including the kitchen, needed to be packed-up and the contents sold or donated. When I started the process of finishing my long career, I realize now that my caloric intake increased as I pondered all of the new changes I was about to face.
The later meals and snacks on our cross-country drive to Florida can be charitably described as “fuel.” When we finally arrived to our new home, it was clear that I had put on some pounds. For the classic rock lovers out there, I was more David Crosby than Mick Jagger.
I have been fortunate for most of my life not to struggle with any weight issues. As a boy I was always skinny, and even during my college years with the starchy dorm food followed by the de rigueur 11:00pm nightly pizza, I was still quite trim. I recall being naively bewildered by other people who got full and couldn’t or wouldn’t eat again till the following day. I saw food intake as an evolutionary process that existed outside the established rules of biology or nutrition. Information on the food pyramid merely served to make me want to consume all of the recommendations rather than follow its dictum.
When I hit my mid-forties, I developed the first actual onset of a middle age spread. Suddenly I wasn’t able to inform calories that they were allowed only overnight visits — they seemed to be enjoying extended vacations. I began having a personal relationship with the tailor at my neighborhood dry cleaners; his children in turn sent me thank you notes for the school tuition that was paid for from my many visits to have pants altered at the waist.
By age 50 I reached a critical mass and declared actual war on my belly. It was a battle in which I never lost complete control, but there were periods of hand-to-hand, shock and awe combat. I became a permanent gym rat.
Since settling in our new Florida home, my struggle has continued unabated. Although daily walks are a part of my routine, so is night-time eating in front of the TV. Our snacks of choice are popcorn, chocolate, crackers, and glasses of wine to wash it all down. Each morning I do recall putting on a belt, but for some reason it’s not been visible as I look down to my shoes. I blame Perry Mason and Jon Stewart and their late night cajolery to my cravings.
As recently posted, we joined a local gym early last month. Our start was earnest and disciplined– for exactly one week. Then, sadly, Gorgeous caught a very bad cold followed by an unfortunate-timed colonoscopy procedure. She understandably lost her mojo for about three weeks, and we didn’t return to the gym till just a couple of days ago. I am happy to announce that we’re back on the proverbial wagon again with both of us agreeing to a near-daily commitment.
I haven’t stepped on a scale since our move here. I just have not been interested in knowing just how bad the damage is. Our new gym doesn’t even offer a scale, which I think is the kindest act of benevolence on their part.
Recently, however, someone whom I had previously thought of as a friend, guilt-tripped me into downloading an app for my phone called “My Fitness Pal” (Hi, D.). The purpose of the app as best as I can tell is to allow peer pressure to determine your success or failure in staying fit. Each time you work out, you are required to enter the type of exercise (i.e. elliptical, stationary bike, etc.), calories burned, and mileage achieved. Your friends who also use the app can monitor your activities. Once again I am not pleased with the advent of social networking — to hell with all of these nosy bastards.
In addition to entering aerobic information on this app, I am also encouraged to post my weight. I did this initially by not even bothering to get on the scale because I just didn’t want to know. I put in an estimate instead. Today, however, I finally got on our scale at home. It’s a new scale, a top of the line model that cost a pretty penny at Target shortly after we moved here. I was shocked when I saw that I am only three pounds over a long-established baseline from my California days. Only three pounds????!! I was baffled enough to want a second opinion, so I drove over to the local supermarket and got on what I’ve always assumed is most likely a faulty scale. Nope… same weight. I am apparently not overweight after all. I’m no Jack LaLanne (which comes as some relief since he’s six feet under these days), but I am pleased to be in a familiar looking place again without even knowing it. It turns out ignorance truly can be bliss.
Clearly our nighttime eating habits need to be improved. Study after study show that people really shouldn’t be eating much after dinner. A scoop of ice cream? Okay. A cookie with a hot beverage? Fine. But my late-evening “Gorging with Gorgeous” should be altered a bit for the sake of smarter eating habits. It would be nice to shed those three pounds and get back precisely to my baseline. Or even — GASP! — a pound or two under.
Anyone seen my belt?