I had a 29" waist as a teenager. I'm nearly six feet tall, so you can imagine I was pretty lanky. Add that to my nerdery, my social ineptness, my inability to get (and keep) any popular girl's attention before post-puberty, and my lack of athletic skills, and you could accurately imagine my teen years as being cruelly unremarkable.
Being super skinny did, however, not go without its benefits. Among them is the fact that twenty years after graduation, I still look mostly the same as I did back then. Yes, I've put on 40+ pounds, like most of my classmates probably have, but I really put them to good use. I haven't beefed up or anything, but I look like a normally slim guy now, not a beanpole with arms. Also, I haven't lost my hair or gone completely grey, and I've lost enough of my social ineptness to function well, so at the reunion this summer, I ought to have a darn good time, if for no other reason than seeing many people who were more popular and better looking than me in '91 as bald, fat slobs.
However, this past fall I noticed a little change. My clothes were fitting differently, and worst of all, I could see a difference in the mirror. I was gaining weight. Statistically, I was the 2nd heaviest I've ever been in my life. I wasn't large by any means, but I knew that if, in my future, I became a heavy man, I would look back at Fall of 2010 and know that that is when it all started. So I resolved to do something about it.
I couldn't, and wouldn't choose, to repeat my previous weight loss method, so I was forced to think in healthy terms. I went with something simple, which was just to reverse the thing that seemed to make me gain in the first place: I'd just eat better/less. I didn't starve myself or go on any formal diets, I only ate when I was hungry, and stopped eating when I was full. I asked myself each time I put something in my mouth if it was a thing a healthy person would eat. Sometimes the answer was "no" and I ate it anyway, but just having the thought made a difference. I actually, at one point, lost the desire to eat unhealthy foods. When I stopped getting heavier, I stopped sweating it, but kept up with my good habits.
Then, six months later, I found I could fit into pants I hadn't worn in years. I really only put them on as a desperate last resort: my regular (34" waist) jeans were all dirty, so I would be forced, for a day, to suck it in and go with the...wait a minute, these 33"ers actually fit! Really well!! I know they make TV commercials about this, so sue me if I'm being dramatic, but I really did feel the way the women in the Nutrisystem ads appear to, all without the yucky shakes or prepackaged foods.
The Wife gives me a dirty look every time it's come up in conversation. Her body type is different than mine, and so she and my middle son (who inherited her body type) will always have a harder time managing their weight than me and my oldest son and daughter (who inherited mine). Them's just the breaks. It's really of no consequence anyway, because she's so damn fine as-is, even if she wouldn't agree. And besides, she's known throughout our many years together that no matter what she looks like, or how she feels about herself, I always think she's gorgeous, and would do her in a heartbeat. To be, well, blunt.
So here's what I've noticed: the last month or so, the groceries coming into the house have had the distinct and increasing characteristic of having more sweets and goodies to my liking. More and more, she's bringing stuff home that defies that question: "would a healthy person eat this?" And more and more, I'm falling prey to it. My recently new habit of stepping onto the scale (keeping it in the kitchen REALLY helps) has shown me that this eating more Swiss Cake Rolls is not such a great thing. It isn't even really a change in the numbers or my pants size (the 33"ers still fit marvelously, thank you very much), but in how I feel.
Maybe that was the biggest change of all: how I viewed my health. You see, since I started this process, I've always allowed myself a little flexibility (because who can give up chocolate milk completely? seriously...), but I've also always kept the big picture in mind. The things I've come to believe have an effect on not just my weight, but my overall health in general, have grown on me, and now I've found myself breaking my happy new rules in just the tiniest of ways. None of these little things would break my healthy cycle on its own, but the combination of them would have me moving decidedlly in the wrong direction.
Look: I'm not suggesting she's doing it on purpose, but you have to admit the coincidence is strange. I know she's trying to take good care of me and all, but it brings to mind a story I read once (content warning on the link! and grammar warning: it's not prefectly transcribed. Bukowski is phenomenal and would never make those mistakes.) It would be a lie to say she's never told me she's jealous, but I never imagined her to be vindictive. It has me wondering: should I be worried?
I suppose I'll have to settle for a happy medium until my gustatory discipline gets back into shape. It's just the right thing to do. After all, I've got my eyes on those 32"ers I've kept around, and summer is coming, which means I'll have to be publicly shirtless at least part of the time. And, just in case, it'll keep me from falling victim to any weird schemes some people might have in mind that involve feeding me delicious sweets or other bonnes bouches.
"Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead." -Charles Bukowski