Well, a while back you may recall that I told you folks out there (if there are any left - it's been a real long while since anyone made a comment. It's OK to do so, people, I won't bite!) about my weight loss, and while I still weigh considerably less than I did in the summer of 2009, I am ashamed to say that during the recent festive season I did, ahem, put a few pounds back on. Don't worry, it's not a major catastrophe - the weather should start to warm up anytime soon, meaning more outside active time (I believe it was Morrissey who once spoke gushingly of the joys of sitting watching an old black-and-white movie on the sofa, underneath a blanket, mug of tea and thick slice of toast at the ready, on a wet and rainy afternoon, saying something along the lines of "that to me is life lived to its fullest" - and who am I to argue with such a luminary as The Moz?), and I do walk to and from work three days a week, and sometimes more, and my pants are still the same waist size, so there is hope. I did, however, find myself prodded to step on a bathroom scale this morning, and what I had suspected was confirmed - I am 17stone 2lbs, which in US parlance is 240 pounds. Considering I was tipping the scales at almost 300 lbs about 18 months ago, I'd still call that progress, wouldn't you?
I was asked today what I would consider my ideal weight. That's a tough old question, really. I replied with a question, which I do a lot and people find it to be one of my more infuriating habits. My question was "By ideal weight, do you mean the weight I would like to be or the weight that most doctors and nutritionists etc. would consider to be an ideal weight range for a man of my height and age?"
Because the thing is, I've been walking round with this ideal in my head and it conflicts with what I'm being told by every available authority on the subject. I have heard many people talking on the subject, and the 12-stone mark gets bandied about a lot. Most doctors and dietitians have a handy-dandy sliding scale for this sort of thing, usually in the form of a chart, something like this:
So let's see - I am 5 feet 11 and 3/4 inches tall. So for the sake of argument, let's say 6 feet. What's a quarter of an inch between pals? Well, it depends where the quarter inch is and what it's made of, I suppose. But heightwise it don't really count for much, do it? Anyway, 12 stone seems to fall in the Overweight range on this here chart.
The ideal I always carry around in my head is the weight I was when I first got married in 1990. I was 10 stone, which comes to 140lbs. Now that seems underweight, doesn't it, when you just say it. but what is the chart telling us? That actually falls within the healthy weight range. So my ideal is actually not that unrealistic.
When we look at my current weight of 240 pounds, or a smidge under 109 kilos, that actually means I am on the cusp of Obese and Severely Obese. Does that seem right? I know I have a bit to lose, but those of you who know me - answer me honestly, now - do I look like an obese man?
I was reading some alarming factoids on MensHealth.com (the US version) earlier, and in particular the Eat This, Not That sections on the Worst Foods in America (quite a lot to choose from in there). Some of the shocking reading, concerning foods I've eaten, some of which were purveyed by restaurants I used to work at, was quite an eye-opener. The UK version is here.
So that's it. I've got some weight to lose. And experts seem to agree that weight loss of the permanent variety cannot be achieved through diet modification alone. I am going to have to take some form of exercise, beyond that of walking. It needs to be something low-impact, as my knees have begun to feel their age. If I was a younger man, and actually enjoyed running, I'd run. But I do not enjoy wearing earbuds and cannot think of anything I could possibly wear that would perform the function of carrying whatever radio or MP3 player I would inevitably have to wear in addition to my keys (quite an extensive bunch) and phone without it jingling around annoyingly and drawing attention to the old fat geezer huffing and puffing and wheezing his way down the street. I don't want to go to the gym for two reasons. One, the reason I just mentioned (other people go to the gym too, and they will judge me), and secondly, because I'm a tightwad.
I also do not feel that I can safely exercise until I am slimmer and weigh less. I know how back-to-front that sounds, but I'll feel more like exercising if I have less bulk to carry around and I am pretty damn sure I am not the only person in the world who thinks this way. Of course all the exercise-addicted fit people will regard this as just procrastination, but even though I am not averse to making myself look foolish in front of people by singing or dancing round the supermarket, strapping on an armband radio and sweating my way down the High Street is one way of looking like a complete prat that I am not prepared to do, mate.
Speaking of exercise-addicted people, it seems there are two types. The first type will go to the gym or jog or whatever religiously and won't talk much about it. The other type will do exactly the same except they will talk about nothing else but their pilates class or how far they ran yesterday or how they managed to find the time to fit in 500 extra fraptoid stretches or some crap. I can talk at length on many subjects, but I'm afraid 'what-I-did-at-the-gym' should be available on prescription as a cure for insomnia. And it doesn't help that every time you turn on the damn TV some twat in a spandex outfit is trying to sell you the latest workout cardio turbo rambo zumba jambocise or another stupid gadget guaranteed to give you an ass of steel before you even get it out of the box.
Alright, people. I am going to make an effort. I will attempt something approaching exercise. And then I will get on the computer, provided I have the energy, and moan like buggery about it. You have been warned.