Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I was a fat boy growing up. In fact, I was a fat boy until I was almost thirty. I'm just a sliver over six feet tall, and at one point I tipped the scales at 230. That might look fine on some steroid-pumped muscle man, but it just looks like, well, a lot of fat on a frame that hadn't been in a gym since escaping the state-mandated high school phys ed requirement.

But around the time I was bearing down on my thirtieth birthday -- a time when I was also coming out and embracing my Inner 'Mo -- I started dropping weight. It was actually fairly easy... so easy, in fact, that I'll share my tips with you:

1. Beer is more fattening than scotch. (That may not be technically true, but scotch gets you drunker on less, so it still works.)

2. Alcohol suppresses your appetite. The key to weight loss is a healthy diet.

3. If you have a limited back account, get your priorities straight: Food costs money and alcohol costs money. You can only choose one. Choose wisely.

(Damn, this is starting to sound like TMFTML... I'd better move on.)

So I got my weight more or less under control, down into the 180-185 range. So far, so good. Then, yet another decade later, I finally started hitting the gym. I did gain a tiny bit of muscle, of course, but -- on the scale -- it was more than offset by the fat I lost doing cardio. Which was fine with me. Cardio is crucially important if you don't have any immediate plans to quit drinking and smoking.

But a new problem developed: at 165 pounds, people told me I looked too thin. And let me tell you: my ego is too fragile to absorb frequent references to Skeletor.

The sad fact is that when I try to create a leaner body for myself, my face develops a jawline and cheekbones that could cut paper. But putting on weight for a fuller, more healthy-looking face means that I'll also be putting on weight for a fuller, more... uh... comfortable butt. (And kids, let me assure you that even under the best circumstances, I don't have a lot of leeway there if I'm ever going to see a beach again and not get harpooned.)

So here's my dilemma: I've now been out of the gym habit for a while, but I'm thinking of going back. Do I go, and be healthy? Or do I stay away, and look healthy? Or is there a third option (e.g., grafting my healthy-looking head on Toby's body)?

As always, I eagerly await your advice, which I will then probably ignore.