After 17 years of writing a column syndicated in Northwest CA (and on this site), I will be in my first national magazine!
You can read the article by following this link.
The CDC, on its website, explains, “In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for the disease.” “Nineteen” refers to the year the virus was discovered.
Not wishing to disagree with such an esteemed, well-respected, scientific organization but, in the same manner that the “Freshman 15” refers to the 15 pounds many first-time college students gain in their first year, the 19 in COVID-19 is, in reality, a reference to how much weight most of us gain while stuck in our abodes, gulping junk food, watching Netflix, and hoping to survive until 2021. After all, let’s be honest, if the apocalypse is nigh, does it really matter how many Twinkies I consume?
So, while commemorating “south of the border night” on my couch (a celebration in which I engage several nights a week), consisting of an extra-large helping of nachos and a Margarita (or two), I had to unbuckle my belt and was therefore painfully confronted with the fact that I was becoming a tad “thick around the middle.”
“Nah, not me,” thought I. After all, everyone knows that calories consumed to medicate feelings of sadness or anxiety don’t add pounds. Clearly, my belt shrunk. Hefting myself from the sofa like a nine-month pregnant woman struggling to rise, I waddled to the scale, only to be alarmed at the number flashing before me.
“NO! Can’t be,” said I, putting down the bean dip and wiping the melted cheese from my face, “Time for a new scale.”
“Honey? Did you hear me?” I bellowed again from the bathroom scale while contorting myself into various poses on the platform to lower the number. (None worked.)
From the kitchen, the garbage disposal activates, blasting forth an earsplitting racket; my wife shouting over the din, “Sorry dear, I can’t hear you. Talk to me later.”
Faced with an indisputable truth, I – being the motivator that I am – decided to immediately commence a plan to flatten my stomach. Eating fewer chips would be a good start, but I wasn’t quite “there” yet. Instead, opting to strengthen my arms and make flat my belly by pulling out timeworn exercise equipment stored in the back of the closet since the Carter administration. I lugged the “ab flattener” sit-up machine into the guest room, blew off the dust (coughed repeatedly), and located it in the center of the floor. Next, pushing aside old moth-ridden blankets, and beyond the tchotchkes in boxes, I yanked loose my ancient pull-up bar, secured it to the door jamb, and gave it a yank or two to ensure it could support my now-heftier bulk.
First, I wanted them to be of value to you; I didn’t want to vomit a bunch of words on a page assuming that merely because it’s in print, it’s worth your time. That’s delusional and ego-centric; I wish to be neither.
Next, I wanted them to inspire when needed and provide a laugh when possible.
Finally, and as important; they needed to be honest. In other words, I would be transparent, doing my best to be who I am really am so that the person you might meet on the street is the same guy you read in print. The way I look at, if shame was transformational, we’d all be soaring across the heavens. Take a look around, it doesn’t work.
Putting all that on the table, I was reticent about this piece because it’s something with which I’ve wrestled for too long, keeping it in a dark, backroom closet. Will you think less of me if I expose this to the sun? Will you wag your finger, shake your head judgmentally, tsk loudly, and say, “I’m so ashamed of you”? Odd, isn’t it, how that perceived — not necessarily actual — reactions weigh so heavily?
Finally, I decided, “Screw it. If that’s the way you’re going to be, there’s nothing I can do about it. Stick to my truth. After all, as the song says, ‘if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.’”
I haven’t had anything with alcohol in it for a month.
There, I’ve said it. It’s in the world; no taking it back now. [Read more…]
Recently, one story caught my eye: “Weight loss surgery connected to increased risk of suicide.”
One might assume this to be counterintuitive, reasoning that if someone’s lifestyle was so unhealthy that he underwent successful major surgery to change it, he would be so relieved with the outcome, that the resulting emotions would be happiness; possibly even jubilation.
First, the details; according to a study, troubled individuals were about 50 percent more likely to try to take their own lives after they lost a lot of weight with surgery.
“While we are clear and confident about the medical benefits of weight loss, especially through weight-loss surgery, I think we’re not as attentive to the potential psychological benefits or harms of it,”
said Dr. Amir Ghaferi, director of bariatric surgery at the Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Healthcare System in Michigan.
There is a fine line between inquiring with concern how you might assist someone in her diet efforts; and braying persistent, repetitive, noisy, constant, loud-mouthed inquiries as to whether she knows what the heck she is doing.
As examples, supportive is gently and sincerely asking, “How can I help you with your diet?” Nagging is, “How’s that diet working? Should you be eating that? Wow! How many calories in that? Haven’t you had enough?”
Although well intended; polite support might still carry the risk that the answer is, “leave me alone.” However, it is a slam-dunk assurance that a series of harassing, pushy questions blasted in Gatling gun point-blank, rapid-fire succession promises one will receive that same reply, albeit with exclamation points and several choice expletives spicing up the retort.
(Don’t we all?) Nagging implies he is an incompetent, ignorant, bumbling boob — adrift without constant instruction; and since pushing someone who desires no assistance (rightly or wrongly) is a guarantee that the end result will be no place fun; might as well avoid the journey completely.
However, if requested — and therein lies the rub — nagging might have value, or so believes a website whose goal is to keep one on the straight and narrow. Requiring nothing more than a cell phone, internet connection, and a willingness to be annoyed from afar, it can send text message reminders to keep you on task.
Deciding to inspect further, I created a profile.
“How much do you weigh?” queried the on-line form.
This presents obstacle one; do I answer honestly? Even the DMV thinks I weigh 147 pounds; must I now confess to a nameless society of cyber-food-cops my most personal number? On the other hand, I am requesting guidance; if I “creatively address” the issue, recording a more complimentary weight, it might not assist me. Already, the stress is enough to cause me to eat. Brushing fear aside, I bravely answer with truthfulness: “185 pounds.”
“What would you like to accomplish?” asks the questionnaire.
Uh, duh. From the pull down menu, I select “Lose Weight.” [Read more…]