Alka-Seltzer, 1972. I know that man--and not just from the commercial. I see him every day. In the mirror.
I guess it's time to write about the Balrog of my life--my Voldemort--my Smaug: food.
Throughout my school years, I ate with impunity. I was very active, and testosterone was surging in torrents through my body, consuming everything in sight--including those parts of my brain that were supposed to be observing some sort of moral code.
But when I got to college, I began to notice that eating was having consequences. I was not as active as I'd been before (though I was on the tennis team), and my body chemistry was changing again. My waistline became a storage warehouse for unused calories. My pants sizes, uh, changed.
My first few years of teaching I didn't have much of a weight problem--mostly because I had no money and couldn't afford food. (I'm not kidding.) Often, those first few years, I ate no breakfast or lunch (no money) and then ate a lean supper (no money)--never went to restaurants (no money), had virtually no dates (no money). I looked at women with a variety of hungers in those days.
When I got married in 1969, my income soared (Joyce had a $2500 teaching assistantship at KSU, and that meant FOOD!). Suddenly, I was eating more once again. My body celebrated by storing virtually all of it, and my weight soared to over 190 lbs. I didn't help matters by (a) smoking, (b) drinking beer, (c) not exercising--at all.
Once I topped 190 and was moving swiftly toward 200, I, in 1970-71, for the first time in my life, went on a diet. I cut calories to 1000/day and in a matter of months was back to 150. And feeling really, really, really virtuous and superior.
It didn't last.
Since 1970 it's been up and down and up again--mostly up, though rarely into the 190 range again (though I've been there--and was near there a month ago). Exercise helps, I guess, though it alone is not sufficient. If I eat what I want and burn 1000 calories a day exercising, I will put on weight--presumably indefinitely, eventually exploding like that guy Mr. Creosote in that Monty Python movie The Meaning of Life. Here's a link to that supremely disgusting scene: Monty Python: Exploding Man!
Right now, for the past week or so, I've been "watching it"--i.e., keeping away from the granola, with one disastrous falling-off-the-wagon event last Friday night.
Saturday morning, I woke up, sat up, swung my legs over the side of the bed, slumped over in an archetypal posture of profound self-loathing, and grunted, "I can't believe I ate the whole thing!"