Friday, July 24, 2009

The New Program (Pound One)

Sorry I've been away. I'm afraid my brain hasn't been working quite at full levels due to a new nutritional regimen I've embarked upon. (Actually, I was out of town for a week and that's just an excuse for being lazy.) In other words: a diet.

Yes, indeedy, Fatty is tired of buying progressively larger sizes of clothing and is, once again, going to do something about it and not just say he needs to and then have another Frito Chili Pie. (Sonofabee, I could use me a Frito Chili Pie right about now.)

I've struggled with my weight for much of my life and have had Oprah-esque crests and troughs with it on a few occasions. I didn't really consider myself to be "fat guy" per se, until college, after the Freshman 15 and the Sophomore 16 set in and I found myself at what I thought then was the enormous weight of 235. Even facing that number on the scale, I was still in denial until my dad pointed out that I weighed the same as he did--and he was a fat guy. Even then, while I did exercise by walking around my neighborhood, I never really committed to any sort of hard core exercise or diet until my scooter broke.

See, somewhere around my junior year (or maybe it was my second junior year) my Honda Elite 250 scooter began acting funny due to something within it having gone amiss. The major symptom of this amissment was that it felt like there was a cement block loose somewhere within the scooter's housing, rocking back and forth, causing the balance to be thrown off with the slightest turn of the wheel. No sir, I did not like this. Turns out, it was something wrong with the front axle, but at the time I felt that I couldn't take it in for repair because A) the one motorcycle place in the area was located three miles outside of town, B) I didn't have a trailer to tow it on, and C) the last time I'd been there as a customer my dad had shown his ass over the difference between the price he'd been quoted on two tires and the price of those tires plus labor, and I suspected my face would not be welcome.

Instead of risking my life further by driving the scooter, I started walking to class instead.

My school was only around a mile and a half away, so it wasn't too much of a hassle to get up half an hour earlier to make the trek. Within a couple of weeks, I began to notice that my clothes were getting loose and I was getting smaller. Not long after this, I did some math and decided that if walking alone was good enough to shed around a pound per week, walking plus eating right would do more. So I adopted a self-styled low-fat diet based on no nutritional foundation whatsoever. I basically ate lots of salad, carrots, celery and chicken. I eschewed dairy products and any food item that had more than 5 grams of fat in it, (though plenty of carbohydrates, I note in retrospect) except on rare occasions when I would take a night off and eat pizza with friends. I went from around 220 lbs when I started to around 170 at my lowest. I also grew my hair out to shoulder length, began wearing contact lenses and Rasta hats and became something of a faux hippie for a couple of years. The whole thing made for a pretty dramatic shift in appearance over a relatively short period of time, so much so that people who hadn't seen me in a few months usually didn't recognize me immediately and would often carry on conversations with mutual friends I was standing next to for upwards of 20 minutes before it finally hit them who I was. And, just like ladies who undergo hooter augmentation often receive more attention from people who otherwise paid little to them before, I also found that people treated me differently, or seemed to pay very different kinds of attention to me than previously. This was deeply satisfying for my ego.

The major problems with my new healthy attitude were twofold. Problem One: I became something of a food Nazi when it came to where I was willing to eat. Again, I was operating from NO nutritional information whatsoever, but became an enormous pain to all my friends all the same because of my unwillingness to eat in places that didn't have a salad bar, or the guilt funks I sank into whenever I did consume fatty foods. (Oddly, I usually dropped weight after eating pizza.) While I probably never quite achieved it, I'm sure there's some sort of eating-disorder I was actively cultivating--not a dangerous one so much as an annoying one.

Come to think of it, a frightening side-effect did crop up once. I once went so long without eating dairy products (my step-mother had stocked the frige with some sort of Vegan fake cheese slices that had never even seen a cow) that something very strange happened to my body chemistry. Within the course of about two days my teeth all began to feel as if they had become very brittle and were about to fall out of my head. It's hard to describe, but that was the feeling I had; as though my teeth were becoming hollow and fragile and might break if I ate a low-fat Bavarian pretzel. I was completely terrified. My friend Joe suggested I might have a calcium deficiency, so I immediately bought a bottle of calcium pills, a full gallon of whole milk and spent a weekend eating cheese. The problem cleared up almost immediately.

Now, I've told that story not only to my wife but to dentists and other medical professionals who should know better and to a one they have all given me a decidedly suspicious look in response. They have also, to a one, gone on to inform me that what I was telling them was pretty much impossible, and then, to a one, they redoubled their suspicious look to imply (or at least be inferred) that I was probably on drugs at the time. As this was not the case, I guess I still have no real explanation for what happened with my teeth--only that it has not happened since.

Problem Two: I began to see how I was becoming prejudiced against overweight people in my own thinking. After all, I thought, if I could lose all that weight, what excuse did anyone else have? I was soon to learn hard lessons in this regard.


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