Dulce et decorum est

How sweet and fit­ting it is to have pants that are, well, fit­ting once again. After near­ly a decade of inex­orable expan­sion of my waist­line, the past two years have seen my mid­dle just as steadi­ly shrink­ing away. My phys­i­cal form is in a state of con­stant flux, and it is begin­ning to be a lit­tle dis­heart­en­ing.

I do not want to sound like I think los­ing excess weight a bad thing; I am thrilled to be back to a size and shape that I nev­er imag­ined I would see again in this life. But it is just pos­si­ble that it is begin­ning to be too much of a good thing.

When I arrived at col­lege I was a scrawny coun­try lad of 142 pounds. By the end of the semes­ter there was six­teen pounds more of me, and the trend con­tin­ued in the indul­gent years that fol­lowed. By the time my son was born I tipped the scales at (drum roll, please) 217 pounds. This was, I thought, an incred­i­ble fig­ure: I could not, or at least should not, pos­sess quite so much mass. But I was darned if I knew what I could do about it.

The answer came a few months lat­er. A seri­ous family/financial cri­sis led me to change my com­mute to the book­store from a ten-minute bus ride to a fifty-minute walk. At the same time our gro­cery bud­get was stretched tighter than a ban­jo string, which meant that my caloric intake plum­met­ing to very unpleas­ant lev­els. The result was what my friends at work dubbed the “less-input, more-out­put diet plan.” And the pounds just fell away. No more did my work lunch con­sist of an apple frit­ter, a glazed raised dough­nut, and a cus­tard bis­mar­ck washed down with a quart of choco­late milk; now it fre­quent­ly con­sist­ed of a half-cup por­tion of left­over lentils, or even noth­ing. More than once I sur­rep­ti­tious­ly retrieved a co-worker’s dis­card­ed bur­ri­to wrap­per from the break room trash and gob­bled the uneat­en por­tion with­in.

Things didn’t stay that bleak for very long; my diet has cer­tain­ly improved in both quan­ti­ty and qual­i­ty since that sum­mer, and I still walk to and from work every day. The weight on my driver’s license was true again last time I was near a scale, and when I tell peo­ple I have lost more than forty pounds since my son was born they are duly impressed. I have been able to put on pants that I had ear­marked to give away, since I would cer­tain­ly nev­er again be able to wear them. I am pleased.

But now it can stop. Real­ly. Just as I grew despon­dent at con­stant­ly out­grow­ing my wardrobe as my girth con­stant­ly expand­ed, now I grow weary of buy­ing new pants that fit, only to have them falling off my soon-to-be-nonex­is­tent hips two weeks lat­er. I was so thrilled the oth­er day when I came home with jeans the fit of which caused my wife to blush; now I have to cinch them up with a bat­tered old belt to keep them in place. Even my skin-tight ‘danc­ing jeans’ from my brief col­lege inter­est in coun­try line danc­ing are almost roomy. When, oh when will my body decide what size it wants to be? I feel that I am eat­ing suf­fi­cient­ly. I do not believe that I have a tape­worm. I am cer­tain­ly not exer­cis­ing exces­sive­ly (or at all) out­side my 1.5 mile com­mute on foot morn­ing and night, five days a week. I real­ly don’t care what size I am, I want to stay one size long enough to be able to afford more than one pair of prop­er­ly-pants that fit at a time. Is that so much to ask?

1 Comment

  1. Bean­er, a few weeks ago I stepped on the scale and found myself 50 pounds heav­ier than I was 3 years ago. 30 of those pounds I gained while my wife was preg­nant. My arms are still twigs, I can’t shave my head with­out peo­ple think­ing I am death­ly ill, but my gut some­how helps me tip the scale to 189. My gut jig­gles. JIGGLES! I don’t eat lunch often as my hec­tic work sched­ule doesn’t allow for it if I want to come in late and leave ear­ly to be with my new baby smelling son and love­ly wife. I have now found my prob­lem as you have iden­ti­fied it. It is my com­mute. I vow to start walk­ing all 21.4 miles to and from work every day. Don’t give up your walk­ing com­mute! Per­haps that is too dras­tic. Maybe I could just park a few miles away from work and walk (I would save on park­ing fees). Or give up the coun­try and move to the city. I look to you to inspire me!

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