Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Not all scales stand for justice

I think I might have made a fatal error. Now that I am well on the “closer to fifty than to forty” side of the demographic charts there are things I am supposed to do in order to be sure I stay in good health. The fatal error I refer to is I have started to do those things. I now hurt.

I’m getting ahead of myself. It all started soon after the New Year. No, I did not make a resolution to be healthier but it seemed like everyone one around me at work had. They were all discussing diets and exercise plans and a bunch of people threw some money into a pot to see who could lose the most weight over a period of time. I stayed strictly on the periphery of these activities. Until one day, out of a curiosity born of hearing all the healthy talk, I decided to actually get on a scale.

Now, I am sure I am not alone when I say I prefer my weight to be some sort of theoretical number like something Fibonacci would work with or Euclidean algorithms or the number of fully rational, well-read individuals sitting ringside at a professional wrestling event. I harken back to a time when I was getting a new driver’s license. The DMV lady asked for my weight and when I paused, not so much out of embarrassment but more from genuine ignorance, she smiled and said the blank on the form did not, in fact, say actual weight. So I made up a semi-reasonable amount and that is the number on my license to this day. It was closer to being “actual” at that time, but today, not so much.

Anyway, I got on the scale and was surprised. I mean this was a number I won’t even represent in print using Roman numerals. It was a number larger than I had ever seen before in these circumstances. Don’t get me wrong. Richard Simmons was not going to show up on my doorstep with a work crew dedicated to cutting a hole in the wall big enough to winch me out of in order to get me to a clinic.

The charts for a person my height indicate my weight put me into the overweight category, not the “obese” category nor the “apply for your own zip code” category. However, when I looked at the optimum weight category for a man of my age and height it made me downright nostalgic. I remember being that weight. I was that weight when Bush was President. OK, it was the first George Bush. OK, it was when he was Vice President, but I can still remember it. So back off Jack Lalanne.

While I realize it is quite likely true that a much higher proportion of the general population of the United States is overweight there seems to be too much of an obsession with it. There is a blitzkrieg of marketing aimed at losing weight. There are exercise gurus, diet foods, diet programs, diet supplements, healthy foods, pharmaceuticals, and even a reality television show all revolving around going from bigger to smaller. Doctors have also gotten into the mix. Personally I am convinced they all got together a few years back and added a new sentence to the Hippocratic Oath. After all the “I swears” and “I wills” they stuck in the following: “and, oh, by the way, tell them they’re fat.”

After I saw my weight I decided I needed to just be smarter about things. I drink way too much soda pop. Yes, I know it is bad for you. Both of my daughters have done the science fair project where you put nails in dishes of pop and watch them get eaten away by the corrosive materials. Usually, I just told my kids I wasn’t held together with nine penny nails so I was fine. So the first step was to cut down on consuming the fizzy drinks.

Next I decided to get some purposeful exercise. I am bored with exercise machines and walking miles a day is not easy in Kansas weather so I started playing basketball. I do it by myself but since I am such a crummy shot it is very aerobic because I spend the majority of time running, chasing the ball after it caroms off the backboard at odd angles.

Now that I am so healthy can someone explain why my legs hurt and why I am always hungry. It might just be easier to be fat.

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