Blubber: a story of staying pudgy

This follow-up to my non-viral post, the most vulnerable thing I’ve ever written to people on the Internet, is really more of a prequel, which makes this a lot like whatever happened with the Star Wars movies.

How did I get to the point of not loving me? That sounds too inclusive. It’s not all of me, just the physical me, so no big deal.

It took a while to get here, but let me let you join me on the journey.

I wasn’t always pudgy. No. There were pre-pudge glory years of an eon past.

Domination to Deflation

The year was 1990. The place, my hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. The setting was the Knox County area elementary field day. You can sense the excitement and anticipation in the stands, filled to overflowing with hundreds of kids stupefied by classmates hopping around in potato sacks.

I didn’t participate in an honorable mention event, though, people of the Internet. I was fast. No lie. Like a Nick Cage movie to DVD fast.

My event was the 100-yard dash. I owned it, probably due to the stellar coaching of my PE teacher who was none other than Kenny Chesney’s dad. I never met Kenny. But, add 100ish pounds to the blue chair sittin’ fella holding the pirate flag and chilled rum concoction, and that’s Kenny’s dad.

A slight slip on some loose gravel at the sound of the starting gun meant I had ground to make up. But I already told you. I was fast. I won that race in 1990.

I’d never win another one (until I had kids and totally dominate).

The following year at our school field day/qualifying meet of the now-defunct Giffin Elementary, I came in third place. I didn’t trip or even go down it sprinter ESPN 30 for 30 style with a pulled a hammy. I just lost because I was slower than other people.

So what happened? How was my glory so short-lived? Were my socks too high (not possible, it was ’91)? Was my shirt tucked too tightly into the elastic waistband of my shorts? I need to know why!

It’s pretty simple, actually. Corn dogs.

Corn dogs and mashed potatoes and chicken-and-dumplings and Dr. Pepper and Cheese Wiz and copious amounts of banana pudding.

My heart didn’t quit on me that field day. My metabolism did.

That may not be 100% accurate, scientifically speaking, but it feels right, so let’s run with it.

I was an active kid. Riding my bike around the hood, playing basketball, baseball, 1.5 years of football (apparently it’s full contact, not a fan), tennis. But such frivolous activity couldn’t compete with my soul-deep desire for biscuits and gravy and milk…always milk.

Fashionably Unfit

My speed faded as fast as MySpace. But something else happened, an inexplicable phenomenon that was beyond my control.

Silk shirts happened.

Button up silk shirts, to be exact. I was given a couple as gifts, probably along with socks and a serving of gravy at Christmastime.

I wore them. Proudly apparently, since, living on in my parent’s house is a school picture of me in the multi-striped silky of fifth grade rivaled only by Joseph’s coat of many colors. That shirt, as fly as it was, couldn’t hide a couple of new features I was sporting.

  1. A less defined chin. Sure to capture the admiration of all lady people, my neck was growing upward. Strange.
  2. A mysterious case of gynecomastia.

In other words, my face was getting chubby. Also, what’s gynecomastia, you ask? It’s serious, people.

Maybe you know this condition by its street name…man-boob. What causes this mystery illness? Turns out it’s the same root cause of slowness.

Corn dogs and mashed potatoes and chicken-and-dumplings and Dr. Pepper and Cheese Wiz and copious amounts of banana pudding. Did I fail to mention that there is no cheese in Cheese Whiz? It’s just whiz.

Some dudes put on weight in their bellies and it never hits their chests. Others carry the excess in their posteriors or thighs–if only, my friends. My stowaway luggage fits nicely into the ever-so-obvious pectoral region, not to mention my face and tummy. Such is the pattern my fourth-grade self experienced for the first time.

Want proof that I’m still pudgy? My lovely, supportive, sensitive wife just professed her love the other day saying, “I’ve never even seen an ab on you.”

Just one. That’s all the poor girl wants. She isn’t greedy.

I’d like to give her that ab show–just the one. No more, lest I become vain and call down the Lawd’s wrath.

For Better or Fat

To be fair, I wasn’t ripped, as they say, when my bride and I said our death vows. I wasn’t fat, but I wasn’t svelte. I was pudgy…say it again with me – pudgy. Even the word sounds fat.

Early on in our wedded bliss, we moved to California where people tend to be fit. If not they just own it and wear tighter pants. Kudos to you, California.

I was in seminary and working at a church. Seminary is code for, I’m putting on 30 pounds and you can’t stop me. At 6-feet tall, I was a soft 225 pounds. It wasn’t handsome, burly, or any other manly adjective. The buttons on my shirt were sweating, and I was sweating. Lots of sweating.

Something had to give, mainly because my wife had a hard time looking at me. Mind you, when she did look she couldn’t miss me. So I started running and not eating crap. What happened?

I lost 40 pounds. My gynecomastia was cured! It’s a miracle!!

Yes, science is a miracle. Does that make me a doctor? I don’t know. You be the judge of that.

As a doctor, I discovered that the secret to not being fat is exercise and an appropriate diet (not a crazy can’t keep it up diet, just a healthy way of eating and being). **Disclaimer** Yes, there are actual medical conditions that make weight management difficult.** End disclaimer.

But, even after dropping the weight of a 3-yr-old, did Lindsey see that ab?? Nope. Pay closer attention.

What Now?

I’m working on the pudge purge. Persistence is the name of the game. I’ve made so many plans and set so many lofty goals that I don’t care to do either again. Persistence, though, she’s a gift. Show up each day. Say no to the kids’ scraps from dinner and from eating one of everything that goes in their lunch because that’s eating four extra lunches.

I don’t even like the saying “progress, not perfection” because then I feel crappy that my progress isn’t progressive enough. That’s why I say persistence. I’m becoming the guy who shows up each day. Who says no to the doughnut, even after taking a bite and feeling the shame that leads to spitting it out.

Here’s to the journey. Of course, you’ll be at the top of the list of folks I let know when the elusive abdominal comes out of hibernation.