Weight … Don’t tell me

By Charles Marshall | January 21, 2009

It’s the beginning of the year. I’ve grossly over-eaten during the holidays and now I’m a fat disgusting slob. There. I’ve laid it all on the table. And it’s the only thing that’s still on the table, since I’ve pretty much wolfed down everything else.

Perhaps you find yourself in the same predicament. But how, you wonder, did we ever get this way? Is it that we were gluttonous pigs, unable to control our appetites during the holidays? Some small-minded individuals may think so, but I suggest that the reason lies in our generous natures. Could it be that we didn’t want to hurt the feelings of those who made those treats for us? Or, could it be that we were courageously sparing other family members the trauma of weight-gain? I say good for us! The world needs more people just like us.

But before I go any further, let me encourage you by stating that the problem isn’t anywhere near as bad as you think. Let’s say that before the holidays, you weighed in at a comfy 250 pounds. On January 1, you weighed about 280, so now you think you gained 30 pounds, right? Not even close.

Have you considered the fact that bathroom scales wear out? Your scale contains teeny little springs that weaken over time so that, over the years, your scale registers you weighing more than you actually do. I estimate that your scale adds about five pounds to your weight every year. You multiply that number by the 10 or so years you’ve owned your scale and that’s 50 pounds of ghost weight that you need to deduct from your total weight.

Now, let’s take a look at that holiday weight gain again. Before the holidays, you were 250 pounds. After the holidays you weighed 280 for a net gain of 30 pounds. But wait. Now deduct 50 pounds for the 10 years of scale wear and tear, and you have a net loss of 20 pounds!

Congratulations! Go have a celebratory chocolate chip muffin. You deserve it.

For those not satisfied with this indisputable logic, the question then becomes, what are you going to do about all that weight gain?

I suggest you try a balanced diet. Let’s say you have a lunch consisting of a turkey sandwich, a yogurt cup, an apple, and a candy bar. See how unbalanced that meal is? Now, let’s add two more candy bars to that meal. There you go. Now your meal is all balanced out. You have three healthy things that you’ll have to somehow force down your throat and three fun things that you’ll really enjoy eating.

You could also try exercising. The other day I heard a fitness guru suggest that I treat myself with a half hour of exercise, instead of gorging on Chips Ahoy. How about some advice I could really use? If I was the kind of person who thought that exercise was a treat, I wouldn’t be overweight, now would I?

I’ve heard people say you need a lot of willpower to lose weight. I used to have lots of willpower but my appetite hijacked it, so now my willpower is applied toward the objective of getting more dessert.

This whole topic is relatively new to me. For years I was that guy who couldn’t gain weight if he tried, but now I find that I really have to behave myself, lest my waistline expand like the federal deficit.

It’s a humbling thing, because I am discovering that this is yet one more area of my life that I really stink at managing. Like just about everyone else on the planet, I would like to think of myself as self-sufficient and capable of handling anything that comes my way, but deep down, I know that it’s not true.

Yet once again I realize that the smartest thing I can do is bow my head and ask the Lord to guide me through the complexities of something as silly as learning to manage my diet. So, don’t look for the next fad diet or exercise plan from me because I’m still trying to figure it all out.

By the way, is it just me, or does anyone else feel like getting a snack right about now?