Diet, Me and Exercise

I knew it was time to lose some weight when I reached the Jell-O like mass of 183 pounds. How did this extra eleven pounds from somewhere out there in the universe find me?

At this point in my life the added weight is concentrated in the middle of my body and under my chin. Although this physique allows me to fit comfortably into the Marshall social life, it does not allow me to fit into pants and collared shirts with ties.


Nancy suggested I join her on a fast. Please understand I love food. I will do anything to avoid giving up food. The more unhealthy the food the more I like the food. I shave before stepping on the scales and when desperation sets in I been known to take a shower to rid myself of any unnecessary dead skin cells before weighing. Fast or chocolate cookies, or M&Ms, or German chocolate cake or you get the idea on my thoughts about fasting.

A philosophical question, “If you eat a piece of chocolate and no one sees you eat it, does it have no calories?”

I don’t know about everyone else but I do know that the longer I live, the tougher it is to lose weight. I believe this occurs because my body and fat have become such great friends over time. Moreover, the corollary to this fact is that the longer I live, the more my body discourages muscle from visiting.

Back to the fast. Our fast was a short fast: two days no food, five days with one 500 calorie meal per day and two days no food. However, at the end of nine days you are done, right? No, the fun is just beginning. It is now time to get back into the Health Club routine.

The Health Club

One of the advantages of moving to Marshall is getting to start over at a new health club. I was very self-conscious when entering our Denver club. To my knowledge no one else at our Denver club had to have a trainer rescue a client from a sinking rowing machine. Yes, I was the client.

The Marshall health center is reality. Reality in that the people look like real people not models or athletes – golfers and fishermen excepted. Where else in America can you go to a club that one 70-year-old member sports bib overalls, hay feed logo baseball cap, and a plaid work shirt rather than a young 20 something in spandex, shorts, and flesh revealing t-shirts. Furthermore, I am one of the youngsters, I haven’t had a heart attack, and I don’t look like I eat fried food three times a day seven days a week. I feel better both physically and psychologically just walking into the club.

Exercise is made up of two parts: cardiovascular and muscle building. This is better described as “here comes the big one” and “I can’t get out of bed”.

Cardiovascular exercise is suppose to strengthen the heart. I have a problem with this concept. I figure your heart is only good for so many beats, and that’s it. Everything wears out eventually. Think a light bulb, on – off – on – off – on – and finally one day off for good. Speeding up the number of times of turning the light on/off doesn’t improve the longevity of a light bulb – it speeds up the need to bury the light bulb. So how can speeding up your heart make you live longer? That’s like saying you can extend the life of a life bulb by turning it on/off more often and faster. Rest is the key to saving the heart. Conserve the beats I say!

Muscle building makes cardiovascular exercise look incredibly smart. Think about it: muscle weighs more than fat. Therefore the more muscle the more you weigh. Let me see, I am at the health club to lose weight by replacing low weight fat with high weight muscle. I don’t get it!

The health experts say you must have a plan to be successful. They say for example, a contractor can’t construct a building without a detailed plan. My exercise plan is similar to the plan that built the Leaning Tower of Pizza.

These same experts say you must have a visual record. Wait a minute Mr. or Ms. Expert. The reason I am exercising is I am too big to photograph. If a photograph could be taken of me without the use of a wide-angle lens I wouldn’t need to work out and therefore no visual record would be required.

Along with the visual record the experts recommend recording your personal baseline. A baseline is a measurement of the existing behavior and noting when and how often that behavior occurs before treatment. Examples include, how often and when a person eats high calorie foods, or uses alcohol, or displays outbursts of anger. The baseline measurement of the behavior, will help you set realistic goals and identify future improvement levels. It seems to me that I have read high calorie meals are to be avoided, alcohol is to be drank only in moderation, and isn’t anger a cardiovascular exercise?

I don’t get how this helps. I know that if I don’t have a high calorie Taco Bell meal at least once a week I get very angry. If I eat my high calorie Taco Bell meal I then have to drink to forget how big I am getting. It seems to me that if I eat I then drink and if I don’t eat I get angry. Great baseline: a lose, lose, lose proposition.
Again the experts say with any new venture or change in life style it is imperative to have the right mental attitude. For instance, winners always have the mindset that their goals are possible and within reach. OK, I buy into this last sentence but and this is a big Butt: what about us losers. How are we couch potato losers to set exercise goals that are possible and within reach. Currently the potato chips are within reach but not the barbells.

Now this next expert statement is one that I finally agree with. “Starting an exercise regimen can be physically and mentally draining, with few immediate results.” If I could only go from none to a few immediate results, I would be ever so happy.

I am not a quitter so tomorrow I return to the health club. Ten minutes on the walking machine after circling the parking lot for fifteen minutes to get a parking spot next to the door. Then ten minutes on the step master so that I can remember why the elevator was invented. A final ten minutes on the stationary bike while my $250 bike continues to rust in the backyard.

Now that I have warmed up it's over to the dead weights. “Dead weights” and exactly what exercise expert came up with this name. Shouldn’t they be called “Live weights” because if you use them you will live longer rather than die!

First exercise is barbell curls with one-pound weights. I understand the benefits of this exercise. It is the same motion and weight I use when drinking beer.

Next I will knock off a few bench presses. This is a favorite exercise because it involves lying down on your back using an imaginary bar and weight. I use the imaginary bar/weights because using a real bar and weight requires a spotter. A spotter is another over-weight and usually sweating person who leans over you and says dumb things like, “you can do it” as your chest is crushed by the weights you can no longer lift. Moreover, to add insult to injury the spotter drips their sweat all over you.

Over to the mirrors — the better to see me for a set of shrugs. This is an easy exercise, just shrug – you know, bring your shoulders up to your ears and look like you have no clue what’s going on. I do my shrugs without weights so that I exercise two groups of muscles rather than one. The shrug exercises my shoulder muscles and because I use no weights I exercise my facial muscles to look like I am using weights.

No muscle training is complete without a leg workout. I am a big fan of the seated calf raises. I find a bench, take a seat, set my feet flat on the floor, and then raise my heels off the floor. The experts recommend balancing weights on your thighs but these weights flatten and spread your thighs which in my mind is counter-productive.

I am documenting my weight loss. It is my intention to write a best-selling book on diet and exercise. With the money my book makes I will spend it wisely on good doctors who will take care of my successful but soon to become chubby, soft and out of shape body.

Nancy, where are the chocolate covered M&M’s and the TV remote?