|An American soldier escorts a German crewman from his wrecked Panther tank during the Battle of Elsenborn Ridge (Signal Corps Photo)|
This one -
|2014, Your Rotundness at Shakespeare's in Sandy Eggo|
Tuna's post regarding exercise struck a chord with me. For many reasons.
As many of you know, I spent 24 years in the Air Force. When I went in, Basic Training (while nowhere near as tough as Army ROTC) was at least, invigorating. Morning calisthenics, running as a flight (in combat boots and fatigues, none of this PT uniform crap, we ran dressed as we might be during a real world scenario) and other physical activities.
I went into the Air Force a little on the heavy side. I came out of Basic Training fit and healthy. I wasn't going to run any marathons but I was fit for the rigors of life on the flight line. Until I got to tech school.
No PT program, no incentive to be physically active. While I didn't fatten up (much), what weight I did gain was sweated away on the Kadena flight line.
One of Tuna's points in his post was that he didn't recall his parents exercising. Well, they did, they just didn't do it in the same way people do it these days.
Many jobs back in the day were physically demanding. Your exercise was what you did at work all day. I'm sure there are any number of stay at home Moms (which mothers of my generation tended to be, more on that later. POCIR...) who will tell you that chasing after the offspring all day, making meals, cleaning and doing laundry is a fairly decent exercise regimen.
No, you're not going to be able to run a marathon with that sort of work out. But who the Hell cares? Is there any need for the average person to run the distance between the battlefield of Marathon and the city of Athens to bring the news of a Greek victory over the Persians?
Nope. None at all.
Those folks who enjoy long distance running and triathlons are a special breed. But they are not superior to the rest of us. No sir, no way.
Yes, they're fit but do you know the sheer amount of time required to maintain that level of fitness? Yup, a lot. Almost to the exclusion of all other human endeavors. (I'm sure someone will think of someone who does do lots of other things. I'm sure that person either doesn't have a job nor any familial responsibilities. Just sayin' - I could be wrong, I often am.)
Anyhoo, I'm not here to rant and rave about "fitness gurus," it's just another way to harvest your hard earned dollars. Yes, there are benefits, otherwise all those gyms would go bankrupt.
No, I'm here to talk about weight, specifically my weight.
After I quit smoking, I ballooned up to around 240+ pounds. Which is pretty staggering on a 5' 8" frame (more like 5' 71/2" now, all that weight I guess caused me to "settle" somewhat).
That picture of me up yonder was taken when I was perhaps at the heaviest I had ever been. Here's a pictorial representation of my heft and girth over time...
|This was Yours Truly Korea, circa 1981|
(Yes, I have since acquired a comb and lost the hair which required it.)
I can see by my visage that I probably weighed in around 185 pounds. Which given my neck circumference kept me off the "fat boy program." I'd also like to register my extreme dislike for that term. I had a first sergeant hint that I should be on the "fat boy program" because he thought I was too fat, regardless of what the regulations said. I told him that I thought I should kick his ass as he was a whiny no-load office jerk. When he started to bluster I pointed out that his "regardless of what the regulations said" comment had led me to believe that our little tête à tête was "off the record." Ah, I've ever been something of a rebel.
|Moi, in college. The spectacles will tell you it was the Eighties.|
This picture was taken in college. Damn, I looked good. This is around 1985 or 1986 I do believe, based on other pictures from this session. The WSO (our youngest) was then somewhere around 1 or 2 years old. (Don't ask about the uniform, that is a very long story which I might, or might not, tell someday. Again, my rebellious nature was a player.)
|2006, The Nuke's commissioning|
As you can see, I'm getting a bit pudgy, you can always tell by the face. You'll see a striking example of that a bit further down the page.
|2012, Yours Truly at the Vatican|
My last year as a smoker by the way...
I've lost a couple of pounds in this photo simply by marching all over Rome.
|2013, VFA-2 Ready Room, USS RONALD REAGAN|
My first year as a non-smoker...
Still maintaining a far too heavy frame, I've already gained about 25 pounds. Climbing up and down ladder wells on a carrier was, shall we say, an adventure?
|2014, at the Wharf Tavern in Little Rhody.|
Yes, Guinness from a can, don't judge me, it's all they had. Still tastes good to me!
Now I'm starting to look, yes, ridiculously obese. (I seem to have a lot of pictures of me in that shirt. It's a favorite. Yes, The Missus Herself has rescinded authorization for me to wear that shirt to work. She says it's faded...)
|Your Humble (and rotund) Scribe in Washington DC, at the Smithsonian in early 2015|
|March 2015, The Sarge, looking all pensive. Again at Shakespeare's in Sandy Eggo|
Now in that photo I was seriously overweight. Big time! The kids, my Mom and The Missus Herself were most concerned. As was I. I was reluctant to go to the beach, not for any embarrassment regarding my fatness, but due to my fear of Inuit in a kayak spotting me and trying to harpoon me. Yes, I made whales look svelte.
So what did I do?
Joined Weight Watchers. (And yes, that is a plug for that organization...)
From a high just north of 240 pounds I am now tip the scales at around 205 pounds.
While a few friends have mentioned my new found "skinniness," I knew I still had a ways to go when one of my nurses, on her first shift with me, upon examining my surgical wounds asked if I had been "this bloated since the surgery?"
"Why no my dear, I am not bloated due to surgery. I am, simply and truly, fat."
She and I both got a chuckle from that one.
|August 2015, the grimy, creepy (skinnier) old man I have become.|
(Yes, I needed a shave.)
While surgery will help you shed the pounds, it's better to do it in a more methodical way. Ask me, I know.
My wife says I still need to get rid of my "big gut." While that would be nice, here's the history on that appendage...
As a boy of six, the Doctor's report says I am in good health, at a good weight for my height yet I have a "protruding abdomen." Too young for a beer gut, but that's what I had. Perhaps it was a root beer gut?
As a young lad playing high school football, practices alone would cause you to shed weight, I was known by my friends as "The Professional." As my buddy, our fullback, Nick would say, I looked like a miniature NFL offensive lineman. In good shape, but there was that gut.
Martial arts, Korea. My instructor, young Master Oh, would often ask how I could work out so much and still have such an impressive stomach.
I dunno, genetics? Well, Dad was kinda skinny, Mom has always been robust. Of the two kids, The Naviguesser and The Nuke tend to be slight like their Mom. The WSO? Poor kid, she inherited my metabolism, love for fine dining and fine ales.
She too fights the Battle of the Bulge.
Diet and exercise are the key. I used to belong to a gym, but one of the instructors was always bugging me. I couldn't get him to lighten up. I don't like advisers. A friendly tip now and again? Sure. But constant, you should be doing this, you should be doing that...
Nope. Turns me right off, causes the rebel in me to wake up and go straight to defiance mode.
But walking works for me and watching what I eat. Moderation in all things, that really is the key.
In my youth I enjoyed sports that involved a ball and semi-violent physical contact. Though my German friends said that soccer wasn't like that, I couldn't help myself.
Now I only run if something is chasing me. Then it's only until I can find a place to lay an ambush. But that's just me, YMMV.