I’m a big geek, both figuratively and literally. As of last month, I tipped the scales at hefty 372 lbs. Hefty, chunky, rotund… pick your wince-worthy adjective for fat, and it fits the bill. I’m a big boy, and I have been for almost all of my life.
Being overweight sucks, and I don’t have a convenient excuse. I can’t claim that I’m big-boned. (I’ve seen too many of my own x-rays.) To the best of my knowledge I don’t have a thyroid issue. At no time in my working memory have I been held at gunpoint and forced to over eat. Alas, I have only myself to blame.
Being addicted to food is a real bitch, and I’ll tell you why. If you are an alcoholic, quitting the booze is possible. Ditto if you’re a smoker. You can, at any time, choose to throw Joe Camel aside and carry on sans nicotine. But eating isn’t optional. Not eating is, as the medical professionals would say, a condition that is not compatible with life.
So I don’t have the option to quit. Instead, I have to learn to moderate. To make better nutritional choices. Can you imagine asking the same of an alcoholic?
“Bob, you can only drink three beers a day, and try to make them light, OK?”
I’m guessing the success rate on that would be lower than ideal.
If going cold turkey (excuse the pun) on eating is out, what’s left? You’ve got your quack remedies. To me, these are absurd on their face. As I often tell my wife, if it worked, they wouldn’t have to buy late night infomercial time to sell it. People would be storming their offices to buy it.
On the slightly less shady side of the street, you have a variety of over the counter diet drugs. They supposedly suppress the appetite while giving the dieter plenty of energy. I’ve tried them. I’m not a big pill guy, and I’m even less of one when I can discern no difference in my appetite with or without the pills. And while I can’t speak for any energy gain, they did give me a noticeable caffeine headache.
At the top of the respectable pharmaceutical food chain are the prescription drugs. They come with fancy names, lots of peer-reviewed studies, and the nasty habit of causing various fatal side effects. I sometimes wonder if ambulance chasing attorneys pay to bring these drugs to market just so they have something to sue over.
That leaves us with the classics: Diet and exercise. Allow me to start with the latter. Did you know that a pound of fat contains about 3,500 calories? And using a little of that College Algebra I so despised, I am able to calculate that in order to lose a pound, you need to burn about 3,500 calories.
Another fun fact: Did you know that a runner that weighs 200 lbs will burn about 3,480 calories running a full length marathon? That means that if that person wanted to lose 5 pounds, they’d have to run 5 marathons!
Friends, allow me to assure you, I am not in marathon shape. And given my need to lose about 185 lbs, just finding that many marathons to run in would prove problematic.
So, that brings us all the way back to where we started. Food. Diet. Damn…
I’ve tried doing diets on my own with little success. I do well at first, and then I get to looking at all the wonderful food choices I’m abstaining from, and I give up. Or worse, I stick to it, but the scale refuses to move downwards.
But life is short, and my weight is making it shorter all the time. So this time I’m doubling down on a diet. First, my wife is doing this with me, step by step. I will sacrifice many a snack or treat not to let her down. Second, I’m doing a sound, medically reviewed and recommended diet. That way I have someone to sue later. (Kidding!)
That’s right, friends and neighbors, Angie and I are on Weight Watchers.
We both signed up for the Weight Watchers Online program. No meetings, and cool apps for the iPhone that make sticking with it dead simple. And unlike any diet I’ve ever been on, it has a clear and defined plan for teaching you what and how to eat long-term. It is quite interesting, and I plan on writing more about it in the future, if only so I have someplace to grumble.
We’ve been on it for a little over a month, and thus far, it’s been very good. I’m down 11 pounds, which is nothing to sneeze at. I’ll keep you updated. And with any luck, there will be a little less geek around here. I promise, that would be a good thing.