Dad fights battle of the bulge

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

You've got a fever. Your head feels like it's ready to explode. Your nose is running like Niagara Falls.

So you call in the cavalry. You get an appointment with your doctor.

But before the doctor can see you, the nurse has to weigh you.

You're already feeling poorly and, now you have to endure the indignity of learning that you've gained weight.

That's what happened to me last Friday.

Of course, I already knew I had put on a few pounds. I just didn't want to have it confirmed on a doctor's office scale.

I had already noticed that my pants were getting tighter. But I preferred to think that my clothes were shrinking.

At home, I've avoided the scale like a plague.

I refused to accept that it was a mid-life crisis. But I couldn't do that at the doctor's office.

The weight gain only added to my misery.

Growing up, I was a skinny kid.

Even in college, I threw calories to the wind. I could eat a whole plate of pasta without gaining an ounce. My metabolism made it easy for me to burn off calories even sitting still.

While many Americans have embraced diet sodas and all sorts of popular diets, I've merrily gone about drinking sugar-filled regular soft drinks and eating all those good tasting, fatty foods.

I've counted myself as exempt from the expanding waist lines of Americans hooked on fast food.

I figured I could eat all those burgers and fries and not suffer the calorie consequences.

But as I've aged, my body has slowed down. I don't burn off calories like I used to.

Rather, they're starting to grow on me.

It probably didn't help that in recent weeks I've taken a break from working out at a local fitness center.

But that's changed, too, thanks to my boss.

He volunteered me to be on the newsroom's Shape Up Cape team because he knew I had a health club membership.

So now I've returned to the fitness center intent on burning off a few pounds.

It's amazing how motivating a scale can be.

My wife, Joni, is amused by my newfound worry.

She spent years trying diets to slim down even as I delighted in extra servings.

I'm sure she figures it's about time I realize the difficulty of fighting the battle of the bulge.

Still, I'm not ready to give up chocolate cake or a good pasta meal. I also haven't succumbed to drinking diet soda, at least not yet.

A lot depends on how much give-and-take there is in the fabric of my trousers.

I'm hoping a little more exercise will do the trick. But I'm not ready to run a marathon or set myself on fire to burn off calories.

A stuntman in Ohio over the weekend took a flaming plunge into the Chagrin Falls to the cheers of some 1,000 fans, according to the Associated Press.

Of course this guy had plenty of experience in making such dives. He holds the world record in this endeavor.

I don't know how many calories he burned off doing it, but I'm sure there has to be a better way to slim down.

As for dieting, I'll think about it next time I grab a snack from the refrigerator.

For now, I'm convinced my best bet is to try to steer clear of doctors' scales.

Mark Bliss is a staff writer for the Southeast Missourian.

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