As October approaches I am filled with dread. Not because of the dropping temps or the falling leaves, not even the smashing of our pumpkins. It is the biometric test I get in October that makes me long for November.
Biometric testing is a lot like a yearly inventory that collects a number of markers. Height, weight, HDL, LDL, Triglycerides…. basically if there is an index the indulgences of my life can affect; they’re all measured by this one test. The sad thing is that it’s not a pop quiz, my doctor gives me a cheat sheet covering what I need to focus on to score better marks each time but for some reason I just can’t seem to improve my results.
I guess much like algebra, I just don’t get it. The x’s and y’s of self-health improvement get outlined for me each year but 12 months later I appear to be as off track as the time before. Sure after getting the death and damnation talk from my doctor I am good for a couple of weeks, sometimes even a month but then the fear fades. I mean it doesn’t feel like I am slowly killing myself and I really do love pizza.
Don’t get me wrong, I want to be healthy. I ride my bike to work, every day. I take my dog for a walk, every day. But it would seem even these measures are small potatoes compared to a voracious genetic stew I seem to have driving my waistline. Is that a cop out? Sure but if I decide to take the blame for my present portly state that will assuredly depress me and that will lead to more eating. It is a vicious cycle.
This year I really tried to get ahead of the curve and started preparing early. It seems like each decade since I turned 20 I have put on 10 -15 pounds… this decade it has been more like 20 and I am not even mid-way through it yet. I was concerned because a lot of that weight had shown up in the last half year so I made an appointment with my G.I. Doc to try and find out why the gain had been so sudden. It went something like this:
“So how is everything going?” the doctor inquired.
“To be honest I came in because I have had significant weight gain in the past 6 months and I feel bloated all the time” I lamented.
“Well let me take a look,” he said scanning my charts, “No wonder you feel bloated, with the weight you’ve gained it’s like you’re carrying a baby around in there…. your body needs time to adjust.”
He did the rest of the talking as a tear rolled down my cheek. It was the same stuff I get every year from my other doctor, “… less carbs, more lean meats and vegetables, cut out beer, pizza and every other food you hold dear in the world and you should be OK. I think that is where the problem lies, I don’t want to be “OK”. If I am going to sacrifice all the foods I love and spend my free time sweating to the oldies with Richard Simmons I want to look like Channing Tatum in Magic Mike. But it seems that I only become a less doughy version of myself with cleaner blood.
This thinking starts the mental dominos of self-defeat and self-doubt. ‘It not me it’s my genes, I’ve always been husky. The BMI is based on an index from 1832, have you seen doorways from that era, everyone was skinny.’
Then my mind starts running through before and after shots of “stars” that have lost and regained weight with the heavy versions of Oprah and Jonah Hill narrating… they just seem happier, right?
Just when I get that shut down the Jiminiy Cricket of my gluttony starts getting louder and louder.
“Hey big guy, you look famished. You know what always does the trick for me?” he prods. “Pizza! I have never eaten a pizza and ended up hungry. Diet schmiet, you’re a man, you need man food!”
It happens every year, sometimes multiple times in a year. I really want to say this time will be different but statistically the deck is stacked against me. I think next year when I go to the doctor for my yearly admonishment I’ll stop him before he can even get started and say, “Look doctor, if they can put a baboon’s heart in a man and make it work, it should be no problem for you to find me some thin genes to swap out with these thick ones.”
It probably won’t change what he has to say but at least I’ll get a chuckle in before I cry.