Friday, January 22, 2010

The Writer's Curse

This is supposed to be Fiction Friday, but today we’ll call it Fat Friday instead, and there’s nothing fiction about it. Besides, I can’t afford to head off down to Ellen’s and smell all that good food. Fictional or not, I’m sure those visits are adding inches to my waistline.

Why Fat Friday? You guessed it; I’m fat. Yeah, I know you can’t tell it from the picture, but as Richard Mabry noticed when I went to one of his book signings last year, I’ve put on a few pounds since the picture was taken. I haven’t changed the picture because I keep telling myself that I’ll get back down to that weight again. And I intend to, but the last couple of years haven’t been conducive to that and here I am trying to be a writer. That doesn’t help either. I spend my days sitting in front of a computer screen and I hardly get up. These days, I may be sitting there for twelve hours each day. Then I get up and go home, where I sit in front of another computer, trying to complete a book. The result, I’m overweight, my resting heart rate is about 70 and my blood pressure is slightly higher than it ought to be. This is the curse of being a writer.

I know you’re probably wondering how much overweight I am. The picture at the top of the page was taken when I weighed about 205. It may have weighed less than that, but I’ve determined that 205 is about the right weight for me. I’ve been down as far as 190, but I looked ill at the time. My current weight is about 265, so I need to lose 60 pounds, but that isn’t my peak. My top weight was 280. As bad as that sounds, I really don’t look that fat, but keep in mind that me weighing 265 is about like a woman who ought to weigh 100 tipping the scales at 130. Even so, seeing 280 got my attention and I did pretty well the first couple of weeks. I dropped ten pounds the first week and three the next. Then it stopped. It didn’t go up much and it didn’t go down much. At this rate, I’ll be stuck at 265 for a long time, but I’ve got a plan.

The first time I saw 270, I was in college. I bought a pair of jeans with a 40 inch waist and they fit. I didn’t want to wear them ever again, so I changed my diet. But being in college, I walked across campus frequently. When I moved to Texas, I started riding my bicycle, in part to get me out of the apartment, but it helped keep my weight in check. My weight seems to be closely tied to my bicycle. When I ride it, my weight drops. When I don’t, my weight gets out of control. I’ve seen the numbers. Though I reduce my calorie intake and eat healthier foods, if I don’t find a way to regularly get on the bike, I’m never going to see 250 again, much less 205.

So, I got back on the bike this week. I’ve been leaving for work before sunrise and getting home after dark, so I’ve got it on a stand, but I got back on it. I hate riding a stationary bike, but I’ve found that I can read a book and still pedal enough to get my heart rate up. I’m even able to ride for thirty minutes without looking at the clock too much. I even have an added benefit because the handles don’t cut off the circulation in my hands when I’m reading. We’ll see how it goes and maybe I won’t have to change that picture until I have one that looks better.