But I suppose I should flesh out that concept a little bit.
I have never been the type of person to be overly concerned with the aging process. When I saw a guy like say George Clooney just seemingly getting more handsome as he went through his 30s and 40s, I said bring it on. Even Richard Gere pulled it off until he was darn near 60. So I was thinking that age wouldn’t be something that I would be bothered with.
My hair has been slowly turning gray since I was in my 20s. I think it is still mostly brown, but whenever I visit the barber and see that pile of trimmings I do wonder why it seems disproportionately gray compared to my head, but that is probably just a trick of the light or something. I have been forming little wrinkles on my face for nearly the same amount of time. Unfortunately spending a decade at a job that I really hated gave me some rather menacing ones that really amplify when I frown, but at the same time I also have the typical laugh lines and crows feet well established so that I can just imagine them all a bit deeper to see what I will look like in another decade or so. Still, this doesn’t bother me.
What I really, really hate about getting old is my metabolism. As recently as my 30th birthday I was still able to eat damn near anything I wanted without gaining much weight. I was (and still am) very active at work, so I did (and still do) burn a lot of those calories off, but it was just so much easier even just a few years ago. In fact the leanest I have been in my adult life was in early 2005 (making me just shy of 31) when I was down to just over 170 pounds. I wasn’t eating right, I wasn’t exercising, I wasn’t really doing anything that I should have been doing to maintain that weight, I just wasn’t eating. This, of course, was shortly after I had quit drinking, so my body was used to an extra 1500 or so calories a day from beer, so when that was cut off the weight started dropping faster than I could keep track of. Of course having had a chance to look over my eating habits at the time, I was still in the habit of eating a piece of beef jerky for breakfast/lunch (real jerky, not a “beef stick”) for about 120 calories, then a largish meal just before bedtime which I would estimate to be around 1000 calories. No snacking, nothing else, just 1100 calories a day.
Of course as anyone who has starved themselves knows (and mind you I wasn’t doing this consciously) you don’t really feel all that well. I was hungry a lot of the time, I felt weak a lot of the time, and worst of all I had these random blackouts -which generally lasted only a second or two, but would happen in all situations, be it driving, walking, sitting on the couch, whatever. For a time I thought I might have something seriously wrong with me, but once I actually started eating they went away. But so did that slender (ish) build.
Since roughly my 35th birthday, I have been in constant struggle with my weight. Being ~5’10” and 190 puts me smack dab in the middle of average on both height and weight for my age range, but I just don’t like it. The useless Body Mass Index would put me as “overweight”, but not into the “obese” category. All that is well and good, but I just don’t like the way I look at 190, and it is getting harder and harder to maintain this shit body. As recently as April, I weighed myself at 200.3 pounds. That is the spot where I have to do something about it; I made a deal with myself a long time ago that if I ever got to 200 pounds I would do some dieting and exercising to get myself back down into the 180s. It took me about 5 weeks to do it, but I got myself back down to a much more reasonable 187 pounds. My dieting wasn’t really a diet at all, but just portion control -one of the things that has haunted me my whole life is overeating. I think partially as a result of having been brought up to always clean my plate, and partially just from going through some pretty tough times when I didn’t know when I might have another good meal, I tend to gorge myself. It takes me a lot of discipline to keep from doing that, and discipline is a hard thing to come by.
So today I was feeling particularly fat, and I made the horrible mistake of stepping on a scale. 201.9. I have gained 15 pounds in under 2 months. What the fuck? The wife has been helping with the portion control on the days we have dinner together: 3/4 of a pound of ground turkey in the dishes as opposed to just over a pound of ground beef, frozen meals that I can fit on the plate in one trip instead of two enormous mounds, my meals are actually not that bad. In theory… In practice, of course, trying to control my portions leaves me hungry, which then leads to me cooking an extra burrito, or an extra corn dog, because my brain thinks I need more than usual since I am hungry. That is where the discipline is hard to come by …Well, that and the god damned Doritos… Why the hell do they have to be so delicious?
But that scale reading 201.9 means that the deal I made with myself is in effect again, I have to get back down into the 180s. So lunch today was a 340 calorie french dip (no sauce) and dinner will be 700 calories worth of frozen chimichangas (plus a bit for some grated cheese), and that’s it. I dusted off the elliptical machine tonight for a 22 minute go (1.6 miles it says, although I think think their math may be a bit suspect. And 22 minutes because that is how long a tv episode is on Netflix). But damn it, even 5 years ago I wouldn’t have to be paying such close attention to the calories I am taking in and exercising every day just to maintain the shitty form I have always had… So I say agin, Fuck I hate getting old.