I’ve always been able to eat whatever I wanted and the pounds magically accrued on someone else’s hips or belly. (I’m deeply sorry for that, wherever you are.) When I was a 17-year-old senior in high school, the wrestling coach tried to recruit me because there were apparently no other boys who could wrestle at 103 pounds. And I was a lousy wrestler. (My little brother later won a letter at that same weight, and I’ve always thought that I disappointed him by not displaying an appropriate degree of envy.)
When I met My Lovely Wife 30-some years ago, I tipped the scales at a resounding 125 lbs. I’ve seen pictures.
“Skinny hippie” is how she lovingly described my musculature.
Anyway, I don’t really recall what I weighed when I started this whole fitness adventure 27 months ago, but I know that I’m up a couple of pounds (all muscle, I’m sure) from a year ago, when the P.T. downstairs weighed me, pinched the infintessimal amount of excess flesh issuing forth from the waistband of my extremely fashionable workout pants, and pronounced me to be in “average” condition. At that time, he suggested a particular regimen that would eliminate 8 pounds in a mere 12 weeks (!!!) and produce a leaner, stronger, more flexible version of myself. I didn’t take him up on the offer, of course. That would involve setting goals and, as you all know by now, that’s just not the cut of my jib.
Body image, after all, is relative. And when I’m hanging out with my over-50 pals or — better yet, my over-60 brothers — I’ve got to say I’m looking pretty good, in the sense that my belly is not spilling over my belt in a way that suggests inevitable forward motion. But, still, I’m thinking: What harm would it do to really track my nutritional input for a few weeks — just to see if I’m moving in the right direction? It’s not like I’m on a diet or anything, right? It’s just about information. It might be interesting. Like when I took that nutrition class in college, where we kept a food diary and calculated our intake of calories, vitamins, minerals and various other nutrients, and I learned that I was operating on 1,200 calories a day, about half of which originated from the consumption of a certain brand of bottled beer. I liked to call it the Grain Belt Diet.
I eat a much more nutritious diet these days (though I’m still partial to Grain Belt), but everything I read about fitness stresses that you can’t just exercise your way to optimal health; you have to fuel your body properly. So, why not start tracking my food intake (there’s a great Web site called FitDay.com that MLW has used) to see if I can’t get a little bit leaner — just as an experiment, you understand. It’s not like I’m going out for wrestling or something.