A gay man looks down on his belly and declares, “This has got to go!”
By Tim Curfman
I am undressing, getting ready for bed. Jim, my husband of 20 years, watches me with growing horror. He bites his tongue, he bites his tongue, he bites his tongue, and then he declares, “My God, how much weight have you gained?”
“…About 10 pounds,” I lie.
“It’s more than that!”
I duck into the bathroom and close the door. Then I make the mistake of looking at the vanity.
The mirror is unkind.
We had spent the previous week with friends in a rented beach house. As any conscientious host might do, I had toiled away at perfecting my piña colada recipe. I turned out gallons of the glorious stuff, while imbibing sample-after-sample as part of rigorous quality control.
It turns out that the average piña colada has more calories than a McDonald’s cheeseburger. Really? Really? This one cruel fact makes me question the existence of a benevolent creator.
“Why?” I find myself shaking my fist at an uncaring world, “Why?”
I creep up to the scale, needing to evaluate the damage. I put a toe on it, and jump back in fear. There is a weight that each of us refuses to pass. I call it the Oh-Hell-No! number. I step on the scale and the needle speeds past my Oh-Hell-No! number, and I know I’m in trouble. Can you get so fat that you actually explode?
My husband, Jim, is naturally thin. He has not gained a single pound in our 20-year relationship. He says things like, “I was so busy today that I forgot to eat lunch.” I grind my teeth. I’ve never missed a meal in my life.
I talk to my friend Carolyn and wait for her to agree with me that my husband is being unreasonable. She replies, “You’re not that fat.”
“Not that fat…” The words echo through my mind like a cannon blast. Once again I look in the mirror, and I hardly recognize myself. When I was in my 20s, I wanted to look hot. When I was in my 30s, I wanted to look “Not Disgusting.” Now that I am in my late 40s, I want to look “Not That Disgusting.”
I want to walk without lumbering. I want to pick up things from the ground without groaning. As I reach for the last potato chip from the bonus-sized bag, I ask myself, “How did I get here?”
I face the unflinching truth. I’d like to believe that everything happens for a reason, but I’m pretty sure the reason I’ve gained so much weight is because I’ve been gorging myself for years. Someone has been terribly irresponsible, and I’m afraid that person is me.
But what are my options?
The Carbohydrate-Restrictive Diet
In 2001, I went on the Adkins diet and stuck with it for two years, adopting a humorless carb-restricted lifestyle. I dropped 25 pounds during that time, and was disappointed by the fact that you can lose 25 pounds and still not have six-pack abs. I was not offered any modeling contracts. People did not start to universally love me.
Then one day I fainted, and when I regained consciousness I was in a donut shop and there was powdered sugar smeared across my face. I learned a hard lesson: a life without baked goods is not worth living.
There’s this new technology called “Cool-Sculpting” where they freeze your belly fat away without damaging the surrounding tissues. What could go wrong?
I have several co-workers who have joined a Cross-Fit “box,” and they are in great shape. But then they start talking about “burpies” and “air-squats,” and I’m pretty sure you have to do chin-ups in front of other people. That’s a deal-killer for me. My arms could tear off from my body!
Wait for New Technologies to Arise
There must be rooms full of scientists working on a pill that will make me thin without any effort on my own part. Yes… Yes… I just have to bide my time…
Change My Attitude about Food and Exercise
So here I am, staring at the New Year, with all of its hope and choices. And I know what I need to do. When my hand reaches out for food, I must be conscious that I am making a choice.
My life is like a rowboat and my choices are like the oars of that boat. Every time I choose a piece of food, I’m pushing an oar into the water, moving my boat one way or the other. Am I rowing toward crippling obesity or toward a more healthy future? Am I in control of where my life is heading, or does the hand that reaches into the basket of tortilla chips really have no master?
No diet is going to give me the waist of an 18-year-old. No pill or regimen is going to make be beautiful. But I can change my priorities. I can choose health over gluttony, exercise over naps. I can drive by the three McDonalds between my home and my work.
My God, I could even make a salad.
Tim Curfman contributed the article Don We Now Our Gay Apparel: How to Throw an Epic Gay Holiday Party to the December online edition of OutSmart magazine. He and his husband, Jim Rolewicz, own and run Scenic Hill Vacation Cabins in Brenham, Texas (scenichillvacations.com). Read all of his OutSmart articles here.