Friday, June 20, 2008

Tipping the Scales...

The other day, my boss affectionately patted me on the stomach and said: "Puttin' on some weight there, Roland..."

Aside from obliterating any pretense at professionalism in the American workplace, it highlighted something that I'd suspected for the last couple of months - that Tina wasn't the only one growing a little rounder in the Hulme household!

My boss suggested it was because Tina was expecting - apparently fathers-to-be gain a little baby bulge in sympathy. Hopping on the scales this morning confirmed it. Over the last six months, I've gained six pounds.

The question is - what am I to do about it? Ironically, since the beginning of the year I've been trying to lose weight, not gain it!

Unfortunately, living in America is not conducive to staying trim. I have a sedentary job, I drive to work and there's really nowhere to walk to, like there was in England. New Jersey is the dominion of the strip mall! In fact, with a heavily pregnant wife to look after, it's not unheard of for us to actually drive from one end of the strip mall to the other...

In fact, the most exercise I get is when I'm working in New York city, where I get a brisk two-mile walk every day as I yomp from Penn Station to Avenue of the Americas. This is why very few New Yorkers are overweight.

I've been considering this situation and haven't quite found a solution yet.

Suggestions have included 'get your ass in a gym' and to give up alcohol / carbohydrates / sugar / food. None of these really seem very sensible - because in all honesty, short lived diets and exercise regimes simply don't work.

There's a simple reason I've gained 6 pounds in six months. Over the last half a year, I've consumed 21,000 more calories than I've expended - and those surplus calories have added up to six pounds of body weight (it takes 3,500 calories to gain (or lose) a pound.)

This isn't actually too daunting. Breaking it down, that means I'm eating about 150 calories a day more than I'm burning. If I can just tip the balance from surplus into deficit, I'm going to reverse the bulge-building and head towards a slimmer, trimmer Roly! [In theory - Editorial Bear]

And that doesn't sound impossible! I mean, what does 150 calories add up to, anyway?

A can of Coke? A packet of crisps? A half pint of beer? A bread roll?

Or, looking at it another way, 25 minutes riding a horse, 40 minutes strolling in the park or less than 20 minutes of vigorous weight lifting (or, using this Conservative calorie counter, 1 hour and 45 minutes of praying in church!)

Unfortunately, living in a quiet street in New Jersey's equivalent to Mexico City, horses aren't all that common (except in the 'carne' section of the local bodega.) And while we've got a lovely park just yards away from our front door, Tina's far more interested in moving furniture and dousing everything in bleach than going for a stroll with me at the moment.

In order to lose my gut, I've got to come up with a practical, realistic way to change my lifestyle and get some exercise in...

I could bicycle to work (1,400 calories burned) but that would take four hours - assuming I survived the sociopathic drivers on Route 1. Plus I don't have a bike.

Joining a gym is too expensive and, being brutally honest, I'm not sure I'd go regularly if I signed up. The trick to losing weight is to integrate a calorie burning activity with your regular lifestyle - not fork over cash with good intentions, but over-ambitious demands on your time/laziness.

Cutting down the calories is an option - although I honestly don't tend to eat a huge amount in the first place - and considering how grumpy I get when I'm hungry, I don't think my marriage would last a week if I cut out dinner!

There's the idea of giving up alcohol - although I'm with Dean Martin on this one. 'I pity the guy who doesn't drink. When he wakes up in the morning, that's the best he's gonna feel all day.'

A glass of wine with dinner is, sadly enough, one of the highlights of a dreary working week and I don't feel any shame in admitting that.

I've lost interest in people criticizing those who drink every day. Is it more sensible to self-medicate with Vin de Table? Or accuse virtual strangers of borderline alcoholism while scoffing prescription mood-enhancers like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft or Xanax?

In all honesty, I'm not sure what the answer is - but I do know this. In just a few days, Tina's going to pop a baby out and after that, my lifestyle's going to change dramatically whether I like it or not. Perhaps I ought to hold off plotting any domestic enhancements until I've found out what life with the lil' tyke is going to be like.

But that being said - when I unpack my sandwich for lunch today, perhaps I'll reach for a 'diet' soda instead of the regular stuff. That's 150 calories - and my daily surplus - right there.


Sukhaloka said...

Relax. You have a year of sleepless nights and walking/rocking/swinging a baby ahead of you. That should take care of the six-odd pounds! ;)

Ben said...

Thanks for complimenting the pooch at OHL. He is awfully cute. I'll restrain from telling him so lest he develop an even larger ego.

As for weight gain and loss? Wake me when someone will pay me to be good-looking and work out all the time. Until then...shhhh...

Jodi said...

If you don't drink 64 ounces of water a day, work your way towards doing that. I once lost a pants size by drinking 64 ounces of water every day for a few weeks. I assume that is how I did it, since I changed nothing else in my life.

WW worked well for me, it's a reasonable diet that works with what you already eat, in a lot of ways. Changes are small. Writing down everything you eat helps you realize what you are really doing.

Anyone who pats you on the belly and tells you you've gained weight, and ISN'T your spouse or your mother, should be punched in the face.

April said...

Six pounds? You're whining about six pounds? Get a haircut. There you go.

Actually there is something to the diet over regular soda. My husband did that a few years ago, switched to diet because he was watching his calorie intake. He has managed to maintain his weight since. And Jodi is right about the water. That helps.

But you are correct about the timing. In a few days or more your life is going to turn upside down. In a good way. Give it a few months to get too critical on your weight.

I hope the baby has your red hair. :)

Unknown said...

Sugar free iced tea. Or you could go for my living room dancing exercse method. Either way I wouldn't worry about six pounds, suki is right :)

The Maid said...

I would suggest lots of sex for excercise (I can't believe I just said that), but that is entirely up to the PG wife. And if you haven't had the baby are soon going to be cut off for 2-6 weeks. Talk about putting on weight! LOL

I guarantee that when you see Mini will quickly forget about the six pounds.

Good luck...and tell those freaks at your work to keep their hands and their comments to themselves.
(I mean freaks in a nice way)

The Maid
PS - I think diet soda makes you fatter...that is my theory. It couldn't be the Little Debbies or the mini donuts.