Losing weight is tough when you’re old

On my 28th birthday, I lost my ability to lose weight without trying. Hell, I’m just guessing the second part – it hasn’t been confirmed I’m able to lose weight at all.

Conveniently, my birthday falls on Dec. 29. That means it’s sandwiched between Christmas and New Year’s dinners, which are preluded by Thanksgiving. This isn’t to mention the days of constant snacking amid the two-month celebration of gluttony.

Oh yeah – my dad’s birthday is Jan. 2. I usually consume 3,500 fatty calories for that as well.

“As well?” you ask. Yes, kids … as well. I generally enjoy 4,000 calories in one sitting for my birthday.

A few days after my birthday, I went to the doctor for a routine checkup, where routine blood work was performed and routine weight was measured. I actually weighed about 20 pounds more than I did the last time I tipped the scales (probably at a doctor’s visit; I don’t own a bathroom scale) and found out I had high cholesterol.

A bunch of 30-plus-year-olds are probably wondering why this shocked me. Three days later, for instance,

I ate blackeye peas cooked in grease from a pound of bacon, collard greens cooked in grease from another pound of bacon, sour cream and real butter seasoned with mashed potatoes and homemade cheesecake that smelled like 2,000 calories. My weight and cholesterol level were results of eating like a bulimic girl used to.


But I was barely 28. A year earlier, I weighed 20 pounds less than I did this year, meaning the holidays hadn’t added an ounce to my waistline or breasts. (I still don’t have breasts. That was a joke.) I was finally convinced I was getting older. I will not live forever, I realized.

Then came the Lipitor commercials. The asshole who invented the Jarvik Heart. The infomercials for weight loss products that made my living room ice cream taste like crap. This programming was everywhere, and suddenly I was the guy it was speaking to.

So I stopped eating food that wasn’t good for me. I also switched from Schlitz – beer that is just lovely, but full of flavor AND calories – to Milwaukee’s Best Light.

A week later, I had added two more pounds. Then I stopped eating as much as I had been … and lost two pounds before adding three a week later.

What the Hell?

Here’s what happened: two weeks into December – sidelined by my third cold of the winter – I made the choice to stop riding my bike to work. When that occurred, I stopped riding my bike altogether, including weekend voyages of 20 to 30 miles. Since cycling is the only exercise I do, when it’s gone from my life, I engage in no regular physical activity whatsoever.

Therein lies the problem. On or around my 28th birthday, it suddenly became necessary to burn the calories in order for them to go away. Not taking them in anymore may stop the bleeding, but it does nothing for actually healing the wound.

Running, welcome back to my life. I hated you in high school and hate you today. Piss off.

Despite my desire to commit a hate crime against the activity known as running, jogging – or “turkey legging,” as the Native Americans never called it – is exactly what I started doing last week. Twenty minutes per day of keeping my heart rate up. That’s all I’m after.

Now, my first love will always be cycling – but it takes more than an hour on the bike to get a productive workout. Running takes you to the point of hearing Rocky Balboa’s burglar-hat-wearing trainer yelling at you within minutes. That’s how it goes for me, anyway.

Saturday – today – was day three of the endeavor. My legs feel like crap. My quadriceps are more unsettled than a social networker from Egypt right now, and whatever muscle is around my Achilles tendon is pissed the Hell off.

My left calf is having a cow.

Is it worth it? Probably not. I went to the movie theater with Kalista today and, as luck would have it, the little turd chose seats in the back and up a flight of surfboard-size stairs for us to sit. I looked like Christopher Reeves Mike Utley C-3PO climbing those things.

I do know, though, it felt amazing on the first day – the only I’ve been able to go 20 minutes straight without walking for at least 30 seconds – to touch my car parked at the end of the walking trail, knowing I’d survived something that felt at times like an experience sure to lead to very public death. My lungs had been opened up, heart rate slowed and I slept the best I had in weeks.

Possibly the most significant perk that came from running was the desire to stop putting toxic substances into my body. Imagine how much easier running would be if I stopped smoking crack, I thought.

I sincerely hope I can keep with the jogging thing – if not for seven days a week, five or even three mixed with cycling. It’s not as easy as it was 10-15 years ago (wow – I am old) because I have a weaker body pulling more weight than ever and a belly acting like a sail, but it sure feels good to get it done.

Hopefully, though, it’s lost me some weight. I’ll let you know the next time I step on a scale. I still don’t have one.

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