Thursday, April 28, 2011

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I Blew the Ass out of My Jeans This Week

A little extra weight
Would never
Look no nicer
On nobody else
But you.

~ Violent Femmes

It is a lie that nothing tastes as good as thin feels, but consider this: I blew the ass out of my jeans this week.

When we moved to San Diego in 2006, I had a tan line and weighed 86 kilos. Five years later, the tan is gone and I tip the scales at 104 kilos. For those more accustomed to pounds and ounces, that rounds out to around two and a half new ounces each week for the last 5 years.
Cringed when I saw this printed in the local paper

The result? 230 pounds of Rowley.

Whether you think in grams or pounds, there’s no denying: I’ve grown obese.

As an adult, I’ve never been particularly concerned about my actual weight. For better or worse, I’ve always been able to define my own space in a crowd. Standing 6’ tall with size 12 shoes and broad shoulders, I can pull off 210 muscled pounds and feel confident enough to peel off a shirt while working in the yard. But let that muscle atrophy and the fat balloon? It’s no wonder my pants couldn’t take the strain.

Since childhood, I’ve wavered between husky, thick, muscled, and, occasionally, flat-out fat. My father, on seeing me for the first time in a year, recently remarked, “Looks like you’re not missing any meals.” It’s true. I’d tapered off going to the gym in 2009 and, sometime in the last year, just stopped altogether. I did not, however, stop eating like someone who worked out regularly.

In addition, work has kept me increasingly tethered to computers — and chairs. With the onset of a sedentary life, the tan faded. My waistline inched up. That San Diego is extremely casual and few meetings call for suits or ties let me easily overlook the fact that several of my suit jackets no longer close and my old shirts won’t button at the neck.

Drinking hasn’t helped. Unless it’s for work, I don’t drink alcohol during workdays. But the fact is, I write about and for distilleries and their products. Sampling spirits and cocktails at distilleries and bars is what I do. Even on an off night at home, my preference for tiki drinks — pumped with fruit juices and syrups of passion fruit, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, almonds, pomegranates, and more exotic tastes — means that I consume an enormous quantity of calories in cocktails alone. Lately, I've reverted to my old habit of after-dinner whiskey. Just whiskey.

I am tired of being fat; of snoring at night because the flesh of my neck now interferes with normal breathing; of getting winded after running up stairs; of rotating through the same four pants because only they fit; of catching despondent looks from my family who clearly worry about my health and whether I’m going to be around in five years, much less 20 or 30.

So. Spring cleaning, physical and mental.

With a deep and resigned sigh, I cleared the fridge of most of the syrups, poured them down the drain, and dropped the bottles into the recycling bin. No more homemade raspberry, black pepper, marshmallow, or chocolate syrups. Threw out my beautiful golden schmaltz and the blessed bacon fat. Tossed the homemade ice creams and 86’d the frozen coffee cake.

Because the intense California sun can cause irreparable skin damage, I got a skin cancer screening this morning (all clear) and renewed my membership at 24 Hour Fitness. Tuned up my bike. Shaved off my beard (although skinny guys can have — and look great in — beards, it’s far too common for us fat bastards to hide our spreading jowls behind fur).

There are very few things that give me such unbridled pleasure as good food in good company and I dread — absolutely dread — the cooking I’ll be doing in 2011. But I do want to be around to see the end of the year. And of 2012. And of every year after for as long as I can.

Say hello if you see me at the gym. But please don’t laugh if I blow the ass out of my shorts; I’m working on it.


Anonymous said...

Man oh man you are not alone. Shouldn't San Diego make us thin and active by default?

Anonymous said...

Own that shit.