I’ve never really struggled with my weight. Since college, I’ve generally hovered around the same size, give or take the fluctuation of an inch or so in the waist. In recent years, I’ve been even trimmer, being more diligent about my fitness and an increasingly more plant-based diet. Then Covid hit. And then I quit smoking.
About a month ago, I put on one of my suits for the first time in a long time. When I buttoned the pants and then went to button the jacket, I experienced something I’d never experienced before: difficulty. My suit – one of the suits I wore in regular rotation when I was dressing for the office every day until a year ago – was tight. What the fuck???
One of my older brothers likes to tell me that it’s age – something that just happens when you hit a certain number. He told me the same thing back when I turned 30, 40 and then 50. “This is when it starts falling apart.” It never happened. So I don’t totally buy that. This is the obvious result of falling off the fitness wagon and eating a lot of feelings instead of smoking them over the last year.
Please know that I’m well aware I’m not fat or grossly overweight. I do not suffer from a body dysmorphic disorder. It’s not that I feel like I look “bad” now. I just prefer the way I was, leaner than I am now. I feel better that way.
The how-to on this is spectacularly uncomplicated for me. Eat less; move more.
Along with eating less, it’s about eating better. A good rule of thumb is to stick with unprocessed foods that my grandparents would recognize, because the further you take food from its natural state, the weirder and worse it is. Keep it simple. Instead of the pint of ice cream I’m tempted to huff down while I’m watching a movie, I’ll go for my signature parfait of Go Lean Crunch cereal with non-dairy yogurt, blueberries, raisins and honey (which is fucking delicious, by the way). Rice cakes with natural peanut butter (also fucking delicious). Fresh popcorn made from raw kernels, dressed with olive oil and sea salt. Carrots and celery with roasted red pepper hummus, which I also love. Salad instead of fries. An apple. I’m not giving up my enjoyment of foods I like. I’m just pumping the brakes and being sensible. Thinking. Not eating when I’m not hungry. Not eating like an asshole.
As for moving more, my exercise regime has never been trendy or particularly exotic. I ride a bicycle and I lift weights. The goal isn’t to be a Hemsworth. I’m not training for a movie or a triathlon or anything that normal life doesn’t require. It’s about staying trim, fit, mobile and agile – and looking good (both in and out of clothes). As I’ve said: it’s not complicated, so I try not to overthink it. The more I listen and read, the more I’m convinced that it’s about consistency rather than extremity. And I can handle that.
Earlier today, I hit the stationary bike at the gym because it’s raining. Thirty minutes. Whether there or out in the wild on my Brompton, I try to ride every day. And as I conclude this entry, I have just finished a dinner of lentil/vegetable soup and a couple of those rice cakes with the natural peanut butter. Simple and delicious. Later, while I watch a movie, I might treat myself to a bottle of sparkling water and some of that popcorn I talked about, too.
Adhering to these practices, I’ve shed some pounds over the past couple of weeks. The work continues. I’ll keep you posted.
Thanks for reading.
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Love your thoughts on this, George. I totally agree that fitness is about consistency; you don’t need any exotic equipment or extreme workout regimens to get the job done. I’ve gotten by for years on just a treadmill and body-weight exercises, or simply walking outside. As for diet, in addition to your tips, I’ve also found portion control to be very helpful, because as it turns out the standard American meal size is HUGE (this becomes very clear if you’ve ever traveled to Europe). Above all else though, sometimes you just gotta treat yourself, because life is too short not to.
Thanks for your snack ideas which I’ll try. I gained six pounds over the past year in spite of drinking less alcohol, tracking calories and keeping up a consistent weights and cardio routine. So maybe it’s muscle but I am alarmed about not fitting into pants I bought two years ago. I just had my thyroid levels checked and my TSH is higher than last year and am waiting to hear back from my endocrinologist. There should also be a DEXA scan place where one can check body fat percentages for less than $100 a go!