Monday, April 13, 2009

Lard Lookers? Obese Observers? Vastness Viewers?...

Years ago, I used to be quite a bit heavier than I am now. I went to a men's weight loss program and over the course of about a year, I lost just over 100 lbs. (this is on top of over 20 more I dropped on my own). I was never svelte, but I'd gotten to "normal" for the first time in my life. My waist size was in the 30s, I could buy off the rack, and I felt alright about myself. In the years since, I've strayed from what I know to be sensible eating habits... not entirely, but enough that I've gained back nearly 60 lbs. of what I'd lost. It hit the tipping point last summer where jeans that had been increasingly tight, just didn't fit anymore. I'd like to go back to the men's group, but two things stop me. First, it was hugely expensive; over a grand for six months. Secondly, it meets on Sunday mornings, and really, I just don't want to bisect my weekends that way anymore. I didn't mind it then but for some reason, now I want to be able to get up and get going on what I want on weekend mornings. The good weather's coming up and there's damn little of that in this country as it is without pissing away the first half of a Sunday.

I joined Weight Watchers last week. I could walk to it from where I live in a little under half an hour, and once the temperature's better, I think I will. They're meeting on Thursday evenings and it's a lot less expensive. Sure, I was the only guy there; I got to hear interesting conversations about "bloating" that I just don't hear when I'm hanging with the guys; but the main thing is, I need the accountability. I need to know I'm facing the scale and other human beings will know, week to week, how I've done. That's how I made it last time.

My mother's been going for some time now and she's lost nearly 50 lbs., and it really shows. I never really thought of her as fat, but in retrospect, the way she looks now highlights the difference (and frankly I was shocked to learned she'd even had that much to lose). I'm hoping to lose something about the same by the end of the summer.

Strange as it may sound, I'm not actually a huge eater at home (though I have a tendency to nibble). I have control of the environment and I really don't have things around I can't handle (like peanut butter, say). I think I can put the weight gain down to three factors...

Firstly, I had a lot of booze around over the last few years. Weekend and evening unwinding. I rarely got 'faced, but getting the quiet mellow up and off the ground a few times a week adds up in terms of money and waist size (it also makes it easier to drown out the voices of the better angels and eat eat eat). I haven't really had much around since last November; it's largely down to social drinking now.

Second, there's "portion creep". I'm still eating, for the most part, the things I learned I'm supposed to... just bigger amounts of them. I need to measure and weigh portions again. It's distressing to see just how little a ½ cup of pasta actually is; I'd forgotten. Still, the idea is to eat to live, not the reverse.

Third, there's all the social eating I do. I live by myself so occasions where I can break out for a little while with friends are big deal to me and I really look forward to them. Where I used to work, I really didn't make any long term close friends, so I almost never had lunch out, and that, it turns out, was a big help. Where I work now, though, I tend to be out about once a week, and it's generally to a buffet I really like. I know better, but it's hard to say no and besides, I like the chance to socialize.

Relatedly, there are the quiet weekend afternoons in the pub with P-Doug. High point of the week, most of the time, when they happen. Intelligent and amusing conversation, backgammon, the sweet kiss of beer, and food of such quality and proportions as to convince you the whole universe exists just to give you an ass-rub. It's such a gentle hobby, as King Arthur might say, and it really shouldn't have any down side. But it does.

This is not to say that these social occasions have to cease. I don't intend to starve myself of companionship along with fatty food. The trick, however, is going to be in making better choices. I know the more sensible things to have, and in what proportions, at the buffet. I know I'm going to drink beer when I'm out on the weekend, but that there are things on the menu, not all that exciting, I admit, that will have to be my choices in conjunction with that. I'm not helpless and I'm not unarmed. I know how many points there are in a pint, how many I have for the day, and how to plan accordingly. I'm going to adapt these situations to fit with my realities, like I did before. I'm not going to give up the good things in my life. I'm going to change them so they don't negate other good things in my life.

Hopefully this week will bear that out. Back in the saddle again...

P.S. Of course, the first weekend Old Monk is back on the shelves, that square bottle and me are goin' dancing. That's all there is to it. :)

No comments: