A Weighty Problem

America is NOT the fattest country in the world. We’re the ninth fattest. We got beat by a slew of Pacific Island nations and (strangely) Kuwait. We are, however, far and away the fattest Western country. Greece weighs in at 16th fattest and you won’t find another European nation until you get to Andorra, the 27th fattest.

Fact is, compared to our European brothers, we are some seriously fat fucks. Well, I am sick and tired of being beaten by the Europeans. They have better food, better health care, better cities, better schools, better infrastructure and better looking women. We have a long way to go before we have as high a standard of living (and health) as those Euro bastards.

I can’t build cities or schools or make our women prettier. What I can do, however, is bedevil the Europeans by losing some weight.

Five years ago, I was in the best shape of my life. I was running 4-5 days a week. I weighed about 170. Suits looked good on me.

I loved running. I enjoyed the solitude and the personal challenge. We need struggle in our lives, or we become empty. Rather than dread running, I eagerly strapped on my Asics and hit the trail. The smell of the rain forest, the strobing of sunlight through the leaves, the hypnotic music of footfalls and breaths – it was the best ‘me’ time imaginable.

Then one day, I went on a long hard run with friends. After the run, before I could stretch, everyone wanted to run off for sushi. I never skip a stretch. But this time I did. The next day, I couldn’t walk. Pain radiated up and down my right leg. The doctor made a quick diagnosis: sciatica.

After three days, I could walk a bit. After six weeks, I could walk normally. A few months later, after some easy walks, I had a short run at my “slow” pace. I stretched normally. I felt tight, and my back was hurting just a wee bit. The next day, I had to haul myself into the shower. I could not walk.

Six weeks later, I could walk normally. My physical therapist got me doing stretches and back exercises. They were awful, but I got much better. Yet every time I did any kind of heavy physical exertion, my lower back would send me a warning: “I felt that, asshole! Stop it or I swear to Christ I’ll put you in the fucking hospital”.

I gave up. No more running. No more long hikes in the woods. No more roofing. No more chorus lines at the gay bar. Nothing.

Can you guess what happened in the intervening five years?

I put on about 30 pounds or so. I’m far from obese, but I’m certainly overweight. Typical male paunch. Being a silverback, this isn’t a big deal, but it bothers me that some Andorran bastard is walking down the street all trim and slender and reading a Catalan newspaper about how fat and stupid Americans are. It just boils my hide.

I could go on a diet. But in my experience, modifying your diet to lose weight is stupid and counter-productive. Unless you plan to live the rest of your life behaving like an anorexic/bulimic retard, you’re better off just eating reasonably healthy food and getting some goddamn exercise. It’s the only thing that works.

So a few weeks ago, I started walking. And then I jogged – just a bit, and REAL slow. Then I stretched. Next day – nothing! I was sore, but I could walk. Every other day, I’ve been adding slow jogs in careful, measured amounts. I already feel better, and my back is fine.

The way I figure, keeping my runs low-impact and avoiding boxes of Pepperidge Farms should get this 30 pounds off my frame in about 10 months. Slow and steady will win the race.

Then, in 2010, I am going to fly to Europe, buy the slimmest looking suit they have and walk up and down the town square tsk-tsking all the fat Europeans I can find.

Either that, or I’ll blow out my back and return to Cheetos and European films. Time will tell.

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