Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The hunger

I miss that time in my life that I could eat anything I wanted (in moderation) and I stayed skinny as a rail. And even if I gained a few extra pounds, it was a simple matter to shed them.

Those days are gone.

I've always been fond of food. My mom would tease me because at the beginning of every meal, I'd ask, "What's for dessert?" I don't think I was ever really fat as a kid, but I remember one time some kids in grade school watched me wolf down my lunch and then called me "Tim H**** the Big Eater." Then the same kids started calling me "Tim H**** with the spare tire." I freaked out.

When I started junior high school and entered puberty, my body changed dramatically. I was very skinny. I generally got by each day eating a single hot dog for lunch. My favorite dinner was Kraft macaroni and cheese or a cream cheese omelet. That was about it.

I was skinny throughout most of my early adult life. I started doing aerobics when I was 29 because, no matter how skinny I was, I still saw "Tim H**** with the spare tire" in the mirror.

By the time I hit 40, the spare tire started to inflate for real. I was still doing aerobics, but the weight didn't fall off the way it used to. And as I've crept into middle aged, I've also had to deal with high blood pressure, high cholesteral and aching joints. Work started cutting into my workout time. Although I've always been aware of fat content and nutrition, I caught myself backsliding and endulging. It is amazing how easy it is to justify a burger and fries as an occasional thing until you catch yourself justifying them on a weekly basis.

It was my decision to quit my deteriorating downtown gym and buy a stationary bike that has launched me on a new crusade to trim the fat and get myself to a point where I don't cringe at the reflection in the mirror. It has almost been three months and I ride the bike for 45 minutes a day. In addition to fat, I have forced myself to now take into account calories, portion size, processed foods, starches, carbohydrates and other factors that affect weight.

I'd like to say the pounds are falling off. The reality is that they are inching off not unlike a glacier in Alaska. I am committed, though I really miss just eating. It is a challenge not to grab a sandwich and a bag of chips at lunchtime without calculating what the calorie cost is.

I think I'm doing pretty good. But occasionally, just occasionally, I want to run into a KFC and scream, "Give me a bucket of extra crispy, a cartoon of mashed potatoes, gravy and a pie." I don't know why I would want to do this. I haven't eaten in a KFC since I was in my 20s. I imagine it is just the ghost of the big eater telling me to do eat bad things.

I'd better quit for now. It's time for lunch and I have a well proportioned, low fat and low calorie meal calling my name.


Alex Pendragon said...

I began to notice my belly swelling about 8 years ago. I run to the scale......125. It gets bigger.....125. Today, my son-in-law made fun of my "dunlop" in a picture of me leaning against the sink washing dishes. I check once more. 125.

Hell, I AM getting older, but my metabolizm hasn't changed a bit, it's just moving around. I still eat relatively healthy and not alot, so that helps. Haven't had anything with animal fat in it for years, with the exception of ice cream. I'm sure if I quit smoking, all bets would be off.

Maybe you should switch to weights. You'll direct your caloric intake towards muscle, which will in turn burn off more as you tone up, and that should shrink the spare tire quicker. It worked for my wife.

Naughti Biscotti said...

I've been doing the diet thing now for months and have managed to shed 24 lbs. But, through the process lost all energy and motivation to exercise so things may look smaller, but not better. I recently dusted off the old stair climber and have started to work out now as well as diet. Keep it up Tim.

I think we all have at least one memory from our past that haunts us and causes low self esteem about something.

Time said...

THE Michael,
Yeah, I should throw some weights into the mix. Muscle burns fat. My calves are getting buffer, thought, since I started the bike every day.

Shandi, That's great that you lost 24 pounds. I want to lose at least that much. Thanks for the encouragement. When is the big date for your hike?

Lights, you are a genius. Of course typing burns calories. And I can eliminate tons of weigh with Photoshop. Calling a hamburger a salad though seems a bit like putting lipstick on a pig.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Time said...

Thanks Cherish. I feel pretty motivated!

Hayden said...

boy do I hear the craving thing! Years ago I went on a "doctor supervised fast." Went to the office daily, had my ketones read, was weighed, got a shot. Vitamin B, they said. Lost a lot of weight - you do that at 500 calories a day - and when I was finished I had a roaring craving for things I hadn't wanted in years, and couldn't remember ever having a CRAVING for. The big one was a banana split. I don't know why. I'd never had one before, or much cared. But suddenly it seemed life wouldn't be complete until I did.... I craved and fought and craved and fought and eventually, naturally, went and ordered one. (and a few days later, another).

it was a wierd lesson in deprivation and craving. I didn't learn any answers, I just learned to be careful not to allow myself to build up a big-time jones for stupid food I don't even much like.

Time said...

That's so true Hayden. There is nothing like depriving yourself of something to make you crave it. I remember trying a 24 hour fast while I was in college. I couldn't sleep just thinking about breakfast in the cafeteria the next morning. And dorm food was about the lowest form of food you can get.

R. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
R. said...

I like to stay a little hungry. It helps to keep me in touch with my body and keeps an edge on mentally.

Time said...

R. Staying a litle hungry as a motivator applies to much more than just food.

Hayden said...

"methinks he has a lean and hungry look" or was it "hath a lean and hungry look?"

Time said...

I believe Cambell's Soup said it best when they said, "How do you handle a hungry man? The Manhandlers!" Got to love advertising.

darlingina said...

ugghhh, the dreaded DIET! But is sounds like you're doing Great Tim. Keep up the good work. I'm rootin for Ya! :o)

Time said...

Thanks Gina, Hopefully you'll be seeing less of me soon!