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by Mark Millican


Even after I kicked off my penny loafers and sucked in my gut, the scales still registered 212.
And that was just the second indignity. As soon as I walked into the clinic room to get a sore throat checked out, a familiar nurse from years past asked me how old I was now.

“Is that any way to welcome a guy back?” I retorted. She laughed and then I gave my age — to her.

During the weighing process the nurse began by setting the heavy weight slide to 150, so  I let her know right away that wasn’t going to work — she would have to start at 200. Then she just kept tapping ...

tapping ...

tapping it up.

To 212. I felt my blood pressure rising. Isn’t that the temperature water starts to boil?

That may not seem like an immodest number to some, but it was a slap in the face to someone who has sworn for years he would do whatever it takes to get a middle-aged, out-of-shape, rugby player-like body under 200 pounds. What hurts so much is just a few months ago I had hovered around 202 to 204. Finally the goal was within grasp, I?dreamed! Just a few more reps here and there in the fitness room and some longer walks, right?

But then came a new job with a different set of stressors and more time behind a desk, and trying to find the right amount of exercise in a new environment.

212. You’re kidding, right?

Because it’s not like I haven’t tried, having cut out sodas and sweet tea years ago, then decreasing red meat consumption to an occasional barbecue sandwich or a bowl of chili at Wendy’s. But do they have to put a picture of a Frosty up there on the illuminated menu board above the counter where you order? It’s one of those visual orientation things with me, I guess, like the seafood — “see food, eat food” — diet. 

My sole addiction these days is coffee, and truth be told, at times I drink more of it than water in a day. Since one of the dictums of weight loss is drinking lots of water, it appears I’m spoiling my own efforts there since …
1) water is needed to flush fat-laden toxins out of one’s system; and 2) coffee is a diuretic that flushes water from the body. So essentially I’m flushing my own efforts.

But wait! I read somewhere that if you eat one apple a day over a year’s time the fiber you consume will carry away four pounds of weight. Well, I may not eat one a day every day of the year but during apple season I might consume three or four a day. 

Does that not compensate? 

Evidently not, judging by my increasing waistline. Speaking of which, I read somewhere that a male’s waist in inches should be half his body height. Let’s see, I’m 5-foot-10, which means 70 inches tall divided by two translates into a 35-inch waist. 

When you’re stuck on 38, those are big inches.

The way my weight loss program is going (obviously in the wrong direction), it looks like I’m going to have to subscribe to the “set point” theory of weight accumulation. That is, for an adult who’s having trouble losing pounds their body has about a 10 percent “cushion” on either side of their average weight where they go up and down but never get the loss they desire. In other words, at 200 pounds one would have a range of 20 pounds where their weight fluctuates according to environment, stress, weight loss attempts, etc.

At least, that’s pretty much the summary of an explanation given at And yet I’m stuck — er, set — on the topside of that 200!

My wife is a great cook and prepares healthy meals. So you see, “set point” for yours truly seems to be working pretty much like this — every time I find myself “set” down at the table I seem to make it a “point” to overeat. In other words, for me rather than doing pushups on the floor I should be doing “pushaways” from the table.

Oh well, there’s always New Year’s resolutions. Just wait till next year!

(After the holidays, of course.)

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