Being as skinny as a skeleton was as worrisome as my two-and-a-half pack of cigarettes habit. On the one hand I had made a personal promise to myself to quit smoking if I ever acquired a smoker’s cough. On the other hand, I wanted muscular arms and chest.
During the first four decades of my life, weight reduction dieting was the least of my concerns. I had a body mass index rating of around 13–which is considered underweight. After my 40th birthday, I finally decided to join the YMCA in order to build the muscles and to help me follow through on my vow to give up the cigarettes.
Gym-going soon became the good habit to displace the bad habit of smoking. I was at the “Y” a minimum of three days per week but a typical week included four workout days. The workouts made me feel better mentally and physically. Eventually I did buckle down and quit smoking. Giving up cigarettes was one of the most uncomfortable things I’d ever done, but I succeeded. I have not had the slightest craving for a smoke since then.
A couple of years down the road, I began to develop a “middle-age gut”. It looked like a beer belly but it wasn’t–I very rarely drink alcoholic beverages. The most I have is a dry martini on New Years if I’m not the designated driver for my friends that night. However, the belly kept growing and growing. One of my coworkers even remarked on it by asking when the baby is due.
The BMI charts affirmed that I had become overweight and that I needed to do something about it. The fact that weight reduction was even necessary boggled the mind and freaked me out.
I’ve tried nearly every weight reduction plan and gimmick imaginable. I’ve been able to stabilize the weight so there is no more gain. However, losing pounds and belly size has become the stickler. My weight and size have become as worrisome as the cigarette habit was 35 years ago. I look almost like my chubby Swedish great uncles did when they were my age and older.
It’s interesting how the weight issue skipped a generation and manifested in me. That is dad and all of my uncles never ballooned out even though they ate what they wanted whenever they wanted to. In fact, dad became even skinnier as he became older. The same can be said of his siblings.
So here I am today, grousing about my weight looking like my jolly great-uncles. I’m still searching for an effective diet and exercise program. It’s time to get more serious.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes inventor, engineer, nutritionist and longevity researcher, Nathan Pritikin. “The fad diets that many Americans are on are perfect if you want to be hungry all the time and miserable.”