Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The "Blimp Watch" Begins

When I got out of the army reserves in 1961, I had a 33" waistline and weighed a lean 165 pounds. As with most people, I got wider and fatter as I got older, with the last ten years or so probably being the worst. I now have a 39" waistline and tip the scales at tubby 215 pounds, a full 50 pounds heavier than when I was keeping the world safe for democracy in San Antonio, Texas. Although I can still walk 18 holes of golf, and shovel the miserable winter snow that all seems to blow on my side of the street, I don't look or feel as well as I could.

Taking off that extra poundage used to be easy, but keeping it off was another story. I've been successful in the past with various diets including Slim Fast, Atkins, and Weight Watchers, but the pounds always creep back. If I could add up all the weight I've lost over the years, I could make up my own golf foursome, with enough left over for a skinny caddy. Extra weight affects not only your appearance, but your health. Billy Crystal's Fernando Lamas character on Saturday Night Live used to say: "Dahling, it's better to look good than to feel good." As you age, that's definitely not true. Excess weight contributes to high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, lower back problems, and a general lack of energy. I want the loss/gain cycle to stop, and I am declaring war on fat!

I get a kick out of all the diet ads; after extolling how well the diet works, they always add" "....with proper diet and exercise." Here's a newsflash Skippy, if we ate properly and exercised regularly, we wouldn't need your dumb diet. It's no secret that diets like Jenny Craig and Nutra-System work because they limit your calorie intake and pretty much restrict you to foods that are nutritious. Anyone who faithfully follows these diets is bound to lose weight. The problem arises when people go off the diets and gradually return to their old eating habits. Ask poor Kirstie Alley who slimmed down to 145 lbs. and was a celebrity spokesperson for Jenny Craig, only to bulk up again and lose her job. No knock on ain't easy folks.

Some people eat to live (curse them); the rest of us live to eat. As we get older, two things happen regarding food, both of them bad. First, our discretionary income goes up so we eat out more. When we were first married and times were tough, an occasional family trip to the Rustler Steak House was a real treat. Now we eat out frequently, and restaurant meals tend not only to be super sized, but accompanied by wine and dessert. Second, we're not as active so those extra calories don't burn off as quickly as they used to. More calories in, less daily exercise is a formula for disaster.

Here's my plan, the one I hope will work when all others have failed. I will try to eat smaller portions of the delicious and healthy meals my thoughtful wife cooks for me. No second helpings at dinner, no sneak trips for chocolate, cookies, or ice cream after dinner, and always a doggie bag to bring home half of every restaurant meal I eat. I love food too much to give up my favorites, so I will just try to be content with less of them. I also plan to watch the fast food; I'm not a Big Mac junkie, but I do enjoy fast food breakfasts which are not as healthy as home made.

Regular exercise is a must for this plan to work. I get into a routine with exercise that I follow for a time, and then slack off, especially in winter. Too cold for golf or any outdoor activity, so I will try to walk every day at our indoor mall, They open at 7 am and all the seniors are in there trying to do something to keep fit. I now proudly count myself among them. I am also going to try to use weights at home 3-4 times a week to tone up. If I can stay on this schedule, it will help me not only to drop the extra weight, but to keep it off.

I don't ever expect to see 165 pounds again, but I've set a goal of 185 pounds (30 pounds lighter than I am now) by the end of the year. One thing I found that worked for Weight Watchers was the weekly weigh in....just knowing someone else would be looking over your shoulder. And so, I will bravely (and stupidly) be posting my weight with every new Braindrops blog. The image at left will appear at the bottom of every Braindrops blog, regardless of the topic, to mark my progress. I have too many good things in my life to run the risks that come with extra weight, so wish me well as I officially kick off the "Blimp Watch". With any luck, you'll be seeing a lot less of me in the future!


LOOKING FOR A WORTHY CHARITY? TRY THESE FOLKS: Children's Craniofacial Association

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