Thursday, December 30, 2010

Champagne and Hamster Wheels

If you are at your ideal weight, raise your hand.

Thought so.  Saying "I could stand to drop five pounds" is kind of like saying "I could stand to comb my hair." 

I feel fat.  Have for about a month.  Must be all of the egg rolls, bacon wraps, crab cakes and mini hot dogs I've inhaled since Halloween. 

We all feel fat this time of year, don't we?  And we resolve to hit the gym.  Right after the New Year.  Or Presidents Day.  Or the next commercial. 

Americans love their cars, guns, TVs and fantasizing about looking younger and thinner (waist not hair).

Most of all, we love to eat.  Nothing like grazing the buffet trough four or five times.  And who needs a buffet when servers lay portions on us the size of phone books?

I keep active, mind you, by swimming several days a week.  Chasing my kids helps keep the pounds off also, I guess.  Still, sometimes I feel like a float in the Macy's Thanksgiving parade.  Seen the ad with the "exploding" pants buttons?  Keep me away from windows and large pets.

There was a time when I could eat, and eat, and eat.   Then I hit 40, and my metabolism, like Spike Lee's speech to the Republican National Convention.

I don't look heavier this time of year (wishful thinking?), just feel that way.

So I swim, but nobody will confuse me with Michael Phelps, or Bo Jackson.  I am reminded of sportscaster Dick Schaap's reaction to Bo's physique.  "Once you have seen Bo Jackson coming out of the shower," Schapp said,  "you will never want to shower again."

Exercise has always been vital.  My time.  No phone, no kids, no screens.  

Swimming is my gig.  A friend does triathlons. Often I will hear from him after a weekend biking up mountains or running through the forest. Me? I get tired hearing about it.

I used to workout at night but switched to (early) mornings many years ago for two reasons:  1) We always control when our day starts, but rarely control when it ends and 2) No matter how my day ends up (trust me I've had some doosies) I know I did something right.

And I'm not into diets.  Always felt like to go on a diet means by definition you will go off of it.  So I try to eat well, consistently.  But we certainly are bombarded by them. Personally I am waiting for the cigar, Mountain Dew and Combos diet. Maybe I'll commission a study.

As an aside, my wife is forming a militia to harm the radio lunatic who claims, "Studies show women over 40 have to work out an hour each day just to maintain their weight."  Applications pending.

So with the new year comes the rush to the gym and annual ritual I call the "hamster chase." 

Regulars know November and December are light gym months.  Then January hits and suddenly the locker room feels like fraternity rush week.  For about three weeks, people are being guided around as if visiting a foreign land, sans the cameras and fanny packs.  You see the newbies either flailing in the pool or hitting the treadmill in dress socks. 

At least they're trying.  I heard at my local Y over 75% of gift memberships aren't used even once. 

See you at the gym. 

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