Archive for September, 2011

going nowhere, not too quickly

So I go to my doctor for a routine follow-up visit and the nurse makes me get on the scale. I hate doing that, but I’m thinking that the last few weeks of improved eating habits should have my weight down a little bit.

“Oh,” says the nurse, “looks like you’ve gained ten pounds”

Son-of-a-bitch! The nurse offers to take me into the other room to try the digital scale which is more accurate, but with my luck it would show I weigh even more. Besides, I know that the only way I will weigh less is if I strip down to my skivvies, and I ain’t about to do that. No one likes to look at a fat man in his skivvies and I have more heart than to subject anyone to that.

So, the change in eating hasn’t made a scrap of a difference in my weight. Might just as well eat whatever I want, whenever I want, if I’m going to gain weight anyways, right? Well, no, not really. I haven’t changed my eating habits because I want to lose weight (though that would be nice), but because the way I was eating was making me feel like crap and I’m not about to go back to it.

I believe I know the cause of my weight gain and it’s the same old nemisis I have been fighting for years now, with the fighting becoming particularly intense lately; I have to get up off my ass and do something. It hardly matters what I do, as long as I keep moving. Sitting on my ass all day and coming home to do the same all night doesn’t burn off any calories. Obviously.

Man, this shit just gets harder as you get older. No wonder people just give up and die.

ongoing battle with mass snacks

Since the end of August I have been trying to eliminate unhealthy snacking from my diet. By that I mean that I have been trying to eat only regular meals and avoid all snacking, but when hunger defeats me I try to have only “healthy” snacks like yogurt, fruit or nuts, and only small amounts. While I have been largely successful in this attempt, I have fallen a couple of times.

Thursdays must be a breaking point for me, because the only two times I fell off the wagon have been on that day, including yesterday. I had to stop at WalMart for some hand lotion and the chocolate chip cookies that had been on my mind for a couple of days wound up in my shopping cart. True to form, I couldn’t eat just one, or two, or three . . . it was all twelve or nothing, and I wish it had been nothing.

I woke up this morning feeling like crap, which reminded me why I have been trying to change my eating habits. My only consolation is that I have only failed twice, and each time I had to almost fight with myself to do it. I didn’t really want to fail but something in my screwed up head made me feel like a zombie, eating my loved ones in spite of myself. I have to say, though, that each failure has driven home the reason for changing my diet, and each failure has made me stronger. I believe that I can make yesterday the last day that I have eaten that way.

The next step in the process, and a step that is actually harder, is eating good regular meals. I used to love to cook, but for some time now I just don’t want to be bothered so I wind up eating fast food a lot. I know that isn’t helping my health at all but knowing alone doesn’t necessarily engender change. I console myself with the idea that if I eat less fast food than I have in the past (like skipping the french fries) that it will be healthier for me, but “healthier” doesn’t mean “healthy.” If I ever get the rest of my life to the point where I care about it maybe I can change that, but for now it’s more a matter of minimizing the damage to my health than rebuilding it.

firing it up

I just finished changing the air filter in my furnace and lighting the pilot light (yes, I still have a dinosaur of a furnace). It is supposed to get down into the thirties tonight and I am not willing to wake up seeing my breath. I delayed turning the thermostat up but eventually the house cooled off to the point where it needed a little boost of warm air, and I also had to make sure that everything was working right before I really needed it. Once I turned it up, I heard the familiar “whoosh” as the flames came alive and soon after the fan kicked on, sending up that burnt dust smell of the first firing of the season.

Sigh, autumn is here. I’m trading in the cost of the electricity running the air conditioner for the cost of the natural gas running the furnace. That’s just the nature of the climate in which I live. The weather forecast does say that it will be warming up over the next several days. I would be very happy to have many days where I need neither the air conditioner nor the furnace. I love it when Mother Nature sticks it to the utility companies.

chicago perks

Politics as usual in Chicago. Mayor Emanuel has cut former Mayor Richard Daley’s police bodyguard contingent down from six officers to only three. Only three? What the hell? How about none? How about living like any other private citizen in Chicago? Maybe then we would really see how Daley feels about having a gun around. Assuming, of course, that he hasn’t been talking out of both sides of his mouth all along, criticizing those who support firearm freedom while being armed himself. I’m just saying.

Maggie Daley, for whom I have great sympathy for the health issues she dealt with for years, has also been granted the boon of having two police officers available to chauffeur her around to her medical appointments. Mayor Emanual says that this is the right thing to do for someone who has served as “first lady” of the city of Chicago for so many years without compensation. I’m sorry, but this is absolutely ridiculous. Richard Daley is a very wealthy man and, if not interested in driving his own wife to her appointments himself, could easily afford a limo service. Why do the taxpayers have to provide police transportation for one citizen that no other critically ill person in Chicago could ever hope to have?

Just another sign that politicians don’t have to deal with the real world. As long as they have the power, they are free to take and give whatever they want, and if you are a former politician apparently you remain in that protected class. Sometimes I think I chose the wrong career path by not becoming a politician, but the truth is that I don’t have the stomach for it.

shades of autumn

Back to work today after the long Labor Day weekend. While Labor Day is not the actual beginning of fall as marked by the autumnal equinox, the general consensus is that it marks the end of summer. Summer vacations have been taken, kids are back to school, and the routine that fills three-quarters of the year is falling back into place.

It wasn’t until my trip home after work today that I saw the harbinger of fall that most convinces me of its ultimate arrival; the field corn has started turning brown. The lush, tall stalks that have stood solid green all summer are now shading to tan and brown starting from the bottom up. There is also a definite shade of yellow running throughout the soybean fields. It won’t be long before the corn will be all brown and rustling in the wind like a million crinoline petticoats, and the soybeans will be nothing but brown stalks laden with dry seed pods, waiting for the harvesters to arrive.

The weather has still been decent and not cool enough to feel like fall. Still, I know what is coming and though I hate winter, fall is a beautiful time of year. Best to enjoy what is at hand than to worry what is to come. Who knows? Today may be all I have.