I have gotten miserably out of practice at being healthy.
You remember how excited I was about going to the gym? That was a nice time. An excellent period of about three months or so, where I always had a water bottle in my car, and if I ever saw anyone wearing Reeboks I shared with them a subtle nod of understanding. “Oh yes,” I told them silently. “I get it. I also do some physical activity every day.”
The stint at the gym was finally broken by a stomach flu that knocked me over for about three days. I had been feeling pretty good until I woke up at two in the morning, aching all over. I prodded Taylor awake and told him I was going to take a shower, because I was taught that a good shower will heal all problems, physical, mental, spiritual, mechanical. When I got out of the shower (feeling arguably worse than before) Taylor was sitting in the living room trying to decide if he should take me to the emergency room.
That is when I threw up into the bathroom trash can, and the puking continued for a solid nine hours, well into the morning.
Needless to say, I didn’t go to the gym that day. Or the next. Or the next. In fact, I just needed some good recovery time, so maybe I should wait until the end of the week. But the next week Taylor was sick, and I had to get home after work to gingerly spoon chicken noodle soup into his mouth and open his sleeves of Saltines. The week after that was busy at work, and really, I was just too tired, wouldn’t you know it, and the week after that we had to do some house cleaning.
This continued for…oh, the next seven months or so.
Missing the gym made me feel a little guilty, but Taylor and I still had a healthy diet of chicken, fish, and plenty of fruits and veggies, so I still felt like a rough percentage of a fit human being. In the past month or so, though, this has completely disintegrated into a haphazard hodgepodge of fast food, late-night grocery trips and poor choices.
Let me just say that I haven’t gained or lost any significant weight in the past four years or so. I’ve held about steady where I am. At times I look in the mirror and think, hey, I’m doing pretty good here. At times I look in the mirror and think, well, could be worse, I guess, but through it all I’ve remained roughly the same size and shape.
At least I thought I was.
One thing that the new apartment has is several large, bright mirrors. This means that Taylor has a place where he can see the entirety of his body, all at once, which pretty much never happens. This also means that prior to a shower, when I’m standing there looking at myself in the mirror, I have noticed several things that I haven’t noticed before.
Namely, a certain ballooning effect happening around my middle.
This expansion has been in the back of my mind since we first started moving things in to the new place last week. I’ve started thinking, hmm, maybe I need to be getting back to the gym. Maybe we need to start stocking more carrots in the fridge. These were all foggy ‘maybes’, though, without any promise of follow-through.
Then last night I had a dream.
I was involved in the making of a Star Wars movie with Mark Hamill and a number of my friends, plus the guy who played Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid. During a lunch break, we were sitting in a circle with Yoda and Bender from from Futurama, eating bread rolls from those tin lunch pails that coal miners have.
I reached for the last roll, and my friend Kevin (who was playing the role of Chewbacca’s nephew, Newbacca) said:
“Better watch it there, fatty.”
I looked at him, and he looked uncomfortably back at me.
“Hang on,” I said. “Was that just a joke in really poor taste, or are you actively trying to tell me that I’ve gained a lot of weight recently?”
“Well…” Kevin looked at an Ewok for validation, but nobody wanted to speak up. 1970’s era Mark Hamill cleared his throat.
“You’re really not getting thinner, we’ll just say that,” he said.
I was crushed, and I spent the rest of the dream trying to convince Mr. Miyagi (who was sometimes an old English woman) to train me. I had to wash all of his old retainers before he would even consider it.
I woke up, groggy and disheartened in the dark. I lay in bed for several minutes and tried to decide whether my subconscious had really just called me fat, or whether that dream was just a conglomeration of my thoughts and worries over the past week or so.
Today Taylor is doing the first big shopping trip for our new place. When he asked me what I wanted him to get, I told him, “Healthy stuff. We need healthy stuff.”
According to 1970’s era Mark Hamill, it’s time to get back on the wagon.
And Mark Hamill is always right.