Friday, June 25, 2004

How 180 Became Something Other Than Half a Circle...Part 2

So when I started noticing myself changing shape, I didn't really think much of for a while. In fact, at first I thought, "Wow, I really can gain weight." But in the last few weeks, I pondered it anew. But my thoughts were not specifically revolving around how large I am (most might say I am still small, with the exception of my wife and Matt).

I was more contemplating something Karl mentioned in the comments of my last post. You see, there is this mistaken notion that Orthodox fasting will in and of itself arrest this kind of transmogrification. But in fact, as Dr. Atkins would point out to us, it does quite the opposite. Erich makes this point here. No protein from meat plus lots of carbs from bread, pasta, and other fasting staples, produces a larger man.

But then I realized something in all this mental chicanery. What I eat isn't the whole problem, in fact it may be a very small part of it. What is infinitely more indicative is the amount I eat. You see, a glutton is a glutton, regardless of what he eats. Even as I'm writing this, I'm gorging myself on vegie chili and cornbread. I know I should stop (I halted a measly three bites shy of finishing my trough of a bowl out of sheer guilt), but I just keep going because it tastes soooooooo good, and as the saying goes in my case, "If it tastes good, eat it."

My body's needs were met twenty ladles ago, but I just keep right on trucking, because "hey, it's Lenten, so it must be ok.....right?" I have yet to enter in to real self-denial. My asceticism is more like aestheticism...I just change the scenery. True war against the passions...not me.

But I'm not just that way with food. I pretty much have always lived by the, "If it's not forbidden, it's good" rule. And of course, if something is good, then lots of it must be better, and too much of it is the best. Obviously I jest, but just a little. I never really realized that I really do eat until I am full, and not just full, but stuffed...EVERY time. Sleeping in...when I had the chance, I would stay in bed until I had a reason to get up. Long shower?....pretty much always until the hot water ran out.

Pretty much everything in my life fills some sort of gluttonous desire. Now if only I could somehow redirect that gluttony to desire holiness. Maybe I'd be too busy praying to care about stepping on the scale, too busy serving my neighbor to stare at my receding hairline, too involved in real self-denial to notice I wasn't gorging myself.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

How 180 Became Something Other Than Half a Circle...Part 1

It happened today. I'm a strange one sometimes. My wife used to think me vain, because she would see me looking into the mirror, almost anytime there was one nearby. I still do. But now she knows it's not vanity I am pursuing in these adventures in reflection. Rather, it is curiosity and awe.

You see, the human body is a strange and wonderful thing to me. It does really weird things if you observe it enough, and since most people would get freaked out if I stared at them for long, usually I am the only test-subject comfortable enough for such an intense observation. So yeah, I look at myself a lot.

Naturally, this has lead to stepping on a scale whenever I see one. I've never owned one myself, but in the past have never shied from stepping on someone else's when using their lavatory. My wife owned one when we got married.

Keeping in mind that from the seventh grade (a loooooong time ago), when I was only about 5'2", until about three years ago (after I had settled into 5'11"), I weighed only 143 pounds. That's right, I never wavered more than a pound either direction. I would think to myself, "How can this be? How strange!" I was the freakish anomaly in the group of friends I grew up with. Then I started a sit down office job, and things changed.....

In six months, I put on 25 pounds. I didn't really think much of it other than, "Huh...so this is how it happens." It would have been wonderful if it had distributed evenly across my rakish frame, but that was not to be. It all settled in my gut. But even this doesn't really bother me. That I now have a more ahem.....manly physique (if one defines manly as no longer looking like a twelve year old) doesn't concern me in the least. And so I went another two year putting on another twelve pounds, to my current (as of today) 180.

But during this most recent fast prescribed by the Church, I noticed something tied to my weight that does concern me, something much more sinister than the motorcycle tire I now carry around with me.

to be continued....

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