Essays on Technology and Culture

On There Being Less of Me

All my life, as far back as I can recall, I’ve been on the heavier side of things. Blame it on what you will, though I assign it to the dangerous combination of easy access to large quantities of tasty food, ((My mother is a wonderful cook, and as she often had to cook for a family of 7, often made far more food than an appropriate serving would be for one growing young lad. Living on my own, I’ve had the same issue of quantity cooked versus quantity to consume.)) and an often sedentary lifestyle. For most of my adult life, I’ve fluctuated between 200 to 215 pounds depending on the season and my mental state. Since moving out on my own in November of 2008, however, my weight has gone up to over 230 pounds at my highest point. This brings, of course, downsides. It’s unpleasant to feel like the wind is being pushed out of me when I bend over to tie my shoes in the morning. It is uncomfortable to feel my belt dig in to find a hold for my pants. It presents a situation to be rectified.

My weight hasn’t been a dire health hazard. My most recent checkup proved as such, as the doctor evaluated me to be in pretty good condition. ((Blood pressure good, cholesterol on the highish side (195), but still reasonable, and every other basic test showing me to be in little danger of keeling over and dying in the near future.)) Over the years, I’ve actually maintained a very philosophical attitude towards my spare tire. I’ll joke about it when talking with thinner, healthier friends, and damn it, it’s sincere humor. If I can’t laugh at myself, then who can I laugh at, anyway? This would seem to be the first year I’ve bothered to take the whole weight loss enterprise with a bit of sincerity, and with a legit approach beyond simply “eat less, move more.” ((This approach, however, is the foundation of how I’m trying to shed the pounds.))

Eating less is the bigger part of it, which is translating into keeping track of calorie consumption. Thank whoever for the [Lose It! app for the iPhone]( Lose It! calculates the number of calories per day one would need to consume to lose _x_ amount of weight, with a plan of losing _y_ pounds per week, based on age, height, and other basic factors. ((In my program, I’m looking to get down to 180 pounds, losing 2 per week. Right now, this is allowing a daily budget of about 1800 calories a day.)) Combine this with a database of food and calorie information, it allows me to keep tabs on the things that pass through my lips. There have been some shockers. ((One little chocolate covered donut hole is bloody 80 calories!))

The other thing I’ve decided to do differently is a promising myself joyous rewards at different milestones. I’ve decided on the following:

1. Below 215 pounds: Purchase a six pack of St. Bernardus Abt 12 beer.
2. Below 200 pounds: Allowed to order an absurdly bad for me meal. ((I’m not sure if I’ll make this pizza and wings, or a cheesesteak and wings.))
3. Hit 180 or below: Go out to a really nice restaurant for a really nice meal.

It’s early yet, but I think I should be able to buy myself the beer by the end of the month. It’s a start. I’ll be evaluating whether I can afford to get a gym membership next, but even if I can’t, I’ll probably step up the exercise end of things soon. The [Two Hundred Situps]( plan sounds like an appealing start for home fitness.