Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Big Picture

I'm on a diet.

By that I mean I'm on a good old fashioned I'm-determined-to-validate-myself-through-this-midlife-crisis attempt at weight loss. This has been pretty easy so far, other than those moments when friends decide to buy doughnuts and offer you one. What is it about friends that give them so much pleasure knowing you're sweating, nay staving off a nervous breakdown trying your prison camp best to keep from imploding under the pressure to reacquaint yourself with the bakery's finest lemon-filled?

Over the past nine months or so I've managed to shed seventy-six pounds, which I swear makes my doctor want to kiss me. Yes, brothers and sisters, there was a time, not so long ago, when I had to lug my way around everywhere I went. Automotive spring warranties were stretched to their limit. I considered getting a wide screen TV because I didn't know whether or not my face was getting too large for me to see the image on a twenty-seven inch job. McDonald's used me as an opportunity to teach new hires how to upsell. I was so overweight that if Moses had seen my bathroom scale, there would have been another commandment.

Now, having slimmed ("slim" being a relative term) from three-hundred twenty to two-hundred forty-four pounds, I'm beginning to find energy I never had before unless Seven Eleven was having a burrito sale.

With this weight loss comes extra energy for exercise. Approximately nine months ago I had barely enough energy to burn off fifty calories on a treadmill, which was fine with the treadmill, judging from the sigh of relief it issued whenever I finished some five minutes later, winded from being pushed to the limits of my endurance. Now I'm cranking along for half an hour, knocking off three hundred calories to top off another rigorous half hour of weight training.

And this, I'm afraid, is turning me into a bit of a brat.

"Excuse me", intones a pretty brunette as I perform yet another crunch. "Are you going to be finished soon? Because I'm planning on going to grad school and I'd like to use the equipment before I go gray and my grandchildren are retired." This irritates me; I know that she has a point. I've been on this contraption, trying, failingly, to become fatigued ever since crunch number seven-hundred sixty-two, give or take a decade. If I don't feel tired yet, have I gotten enough exercise?

And yet I know she has the better point. Climbing off of the machine, I wipe any vestige of perspiration out of common courtesy and sanitized for your protection, thank you. The look of disdain shot from her eyes (green, I think) is quite a feat; how in the world does she manage to look down her nose at me while seated?

Humbled, I head over to an exercise bike. This, as it turns out, becomes an opportunity to vent any frustration I may have had a moment earlier regarding Miss Howdareyou. Selecting the "quick start" option, I begin pedaling my way along an imaginary European countryside. I wait until I've spent twenty calories and then increase my speed to one-hundred twenty RPMs. Things are going well as my sweat increases like Niagara Falls during the spring thaw. In fact, I'm really getting into this.

So was the guy in the bike next to me, who apparently was having the same daydream I was having. In almost no time we were Lance Armstrom-ing  our way down some nonexistent mountain, each determined to see whose bike could get to one-hundred sixty-five rpm first.

Victory was mine as the strap on one of his pedals broke, sending his foot into the aisle and almost kicking some lady in the butt. In all, I managed to wear out another hundred calories.

And so the diet continues, aided by the exercise and even the occasional bratty experience. This is a growing experience for me, even if that comes off as ironic. I think I'll be lean enough one day before the swimming pools close. Strutting my stuff isn't anything I've ever done. In fact, I don't even have any strut stuff. I'm so poor that I have to strut someone else's stuff. Still, I'm on the right path, even if that path sometimes leads me into imaginary bicycle races down European mountains and riles pretty brunettes with green eyes who can feel themselves aging whenever I inadvertently hog a crunch machine. I'm going to lose another thirty pounds before I'm finished.

I'm happy with that.

I see the big picture.


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