Thursday, March 17, 2005

Shape Shifter

I have been bothered by my recent weight gain for a little while now. Not that long ago a bout of emotional stress brought about in me an alarming loss of weight causing concern to all who know me. Some of those people truly believed I had a life threatening disease. I was a forty year old man exhibiting a twenty year old’s body shape. Baggy-arsed jeans, underwear on partial show, (with none of the stylistic consciousness of the fashionista), protruding cheek bones, (yeah right – read on), loose collars that kind of thing. But I couldn’t carry it off. Who in their middle age can? The bone structure and skin tone just doesn’t allow for that kind of anomaly. Loosely layered and casually swaddled clothing in the 'getting on a bit' slim look, looks less trendy bohemian charity shop chic, more trampy ruffian charity shop skip. What passes as elegantly slender in the young can look like dangerous malnutrition and physical malady in those with older, less blooming features. Words like gaunt, sallow even emaciated were extracted from personal lexicons and uttered from the (almost) polite. The less polite preferred drug-raddled, terminally unwell, aids ridden for goodness sake! I learnt then - though I had little control of the events - that dramatic weight loss does no one any favours, except perhaps for the morbidly overweight. Only the young look good slim. That slim. Thin.

That was a few years ago, and, in truth before my stressful episode (such was the cause of my adipose-shed-fest), I was a little more of a porker than I would have wished. That would explain why I was, misguidedly, (though perhaps understandably) elated at the now newly exposed skinny man's six-pack, (revealed due to musculature arrangement imperatives and lack of normal surface fat rather than because of its impressively worked development.) Now, I'm a tad plumper again, put back what I lost and added a little interest. Soft belly, whither the six pack now, real or imagined, flabby chest (always a worry for those living though prime heart-attack years) and chin-sag. And if that's not enough, if the aesthetics of a once young body gone to seed is not enough, I've just had a cholesterol and blood pressure check - both of which made pretty grisly read outs. Time for a little lifestyle check.

It's not that I drink heavily, smoke too much or avoid physical exercise. On the contrary I drink little, rarely if ever smoke these days, eat very little fat and exercise (though perhaps not of late) quite a lot. Against that backdrop it's difficult to do a little tinkering. A tweak here, a minor adjustment there. Eat a little less of this, choose this over that, walk here, cycle there instead of taking the car. None of that would make any difference at all. I'm already living the life of someone who has made the adjustments, rung the changes and addressed the issues brought on by health and too many reflected mirror frights. Any changes I would have to make would need to be radical, huge - a complete behavioural makeover.

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