Like you, I’m sick and tired of all this COVID-19 stuff. Thank God, and knock on wood, that I haven’t been literally sick with it.
This novel coronavirus is a real thing. I can’t believe the many people I talk to on an almost daily basis who remain skeptical about it. I know people who have died from it, most recently a law enforcement friend in an adjacent county who was a healthy man in his 50s. He fought it hard for weeks, but just couldn’t shake it.
It’s gotten me to thinking about my own mortality this week.
I’ve tried to be very transparent with you since the first column I was encouraged to write, which dealt with my personal Battle of the Bulge, so it’s time for an update.
When I first joined the Rome News-Tribune in November of 2009, it was just a couple of months later that then-editor Charlotte Atkins started a campaign with the YMCA to help folks lose weight.
I started keeping an Excel spreadsheet with my daily weight, what type of exercise I did and what I ate. I’ve done that every day for over 10 years now.
I actually won that weight-loss competition, which lasted for nine months. Since then, I found virtually everything I lost in 2010. And then a couple of years ago, I realized that if I wanted to live longer I was going to have to take it off and keep it off.
I lost over 100 pounds and remained under 200 pounds, something I could never have even wildly imagined, for about 14 months. My lowest was 186 and I know that was not realistic for someone 6 feet 5 inches tall.
Over the course of the last year it’s crept back up to 225. Actually, my scale said 102.2 Thursday but that’s in kilograms. I have no idea how my scale changed from pounds to kilograms but I haven’t been able to get it back to pounds.
Actually, a good bit of that is muscle weight. All the walking I do and the tennis I’ve played in the past 15 months have hardened me up to a degree.
But I will also tell you that I have added back a pants size and I’m not at all happy about that.
One of the reasons I’m slamming on the brakes right now is that holidays are coming up — and even though these won’t be your grandmother’s Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday gatherings, food will be involved.
Another reason for slamming on the brakes is pure and simple fear.
I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes in February of 1999. With 20-20 hindsight, I understand that was the result of The Bulge.
When my doctor made the diagnosis, all I could see was losing my sight. My grandma Ruth Cook was blinded the last few years of her life by diabetes, which was dubbed “sugar diabetes” in those days.
That fear of blindness has always been in the back of my mind and almost ran away from me during the run-up to recent cataract surgeries. I was scared to death that issue might have been something else.
I thank God it was just cataracts.
So now I’ve put a few pounds back on, but 225 is as high as I’m going to let it get.
The timing of another family health issue drives it this time. My father died of a massive heart attack when he was 67 and about 10 months old.
Guess who turned 67 a month ago?
Dad had a little belly but he was not someone I would ever have referred to as obese.
This is a time when I’ve got more of my mother’s family genes. My mom and three of her four brothers lived well into their 80s, two of my uncles into their 90s.
Everybody on both sides of my family likes to eat. There was nothing quite like a family get-together, most of which involved going to a restaurant and waiting for a table for who knows how many on any individual holiday, usually 16 or more.
Virginia ham biscuits have always been a big favorite. The saltier the ham the better. The thicker the biscuits — think cathead — the better. Ham biscuits were a breakfast, lunch and dinner meal.
Turkey was a staple at Thanksgiving, of course, whether eating at home or eating out.
Christmas was a little unusual, given that much of the time I was at my mom’s parents’ in the mountains. Oyster stew was the annual meal at Christmas.
I love seafood, especially shrimp, crab and, nowadays, salmon. But I despise oysters. They look like large mounds of mucus. Don’t like ’em in stew, don’t like ’em fried and don’t like ’em snuck into dressing, which is what mom used to try to do occasionally.
I survived Christmas on the scale much better than I did Thanksgiving.
So, while this is going to be a different Thanksgiving for a whole lot of families, my prayer is that it will be a safe one for you and your family. I hope you eat lots of turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and pecan pie.
My plan is to enjoy some moose, thanks to my good friend Norman. I haven’t analyzed it fully but I am of the opinion that it may be a leaner meat than turkey, but don’t hold me to it.
And when it’s all done, I plan to go out and walk it all off.
My ultimate goal is to get back to about 205 and float to no more than 210. Ever again.
It’s a nice thought!