Like many of you, I gained a few extra pounds during the pandemic. Seven pounds to be precise. I’m six feet tall and my ideal weight is 175 to 180 pounds, though I’ll allow myself to get up to 185 before I panic. But when my wife and I arrived in Florida for our winter escape from cabin fever and hypothermia, I tipped the scales at 192 – heavier than I’d ever been in my life. Overweight, according to the BMI scale.

Growing up, I was always skinny. That body type was fueled by a blast furnace of a metabolism. I was one of those people (identified by science) who could eat and eat and never gain a pound because my metabolism speeded up at night during sleep, silently, secretly burning off those unneeded calories.

Then, in my early 40s, I decided I needed to add some weight when I was training for my black belt test and facing opponents who were 40 pounds or more heavier than I was. So, I added calories (protein shakes), consumed supplements (creatine powder), and seriously hit the weight machines. After a couple of months I’d put on 20 pounds. I felt like a different person. At night I dreamed that some alien creature had overtaken my body.

After I earned my black belt, I didn’t need the extra weight, but I’d apparently tweaked my body’s thermostat a few degrees and the pounds stayed on, though they went through a slow metamorphosis from button-popping pecs to pants-tightening love handles. But overall, I thought I looked better, more in proportion to my height and build.

But then came the coronavirus. And the quarantine. And the potato chips. And the ice cream. And the second (or third) glass of bourbon. And the pizza (for breakfast as well as dinner). And thus the extra poundage.

When arriving in Florida I committed myself to losing those extra seven pounds. By skipping a few meals, walking daily and lifting weights, I managed to whittle myself down by 4 pounds, but those last three pounds refused to take their leave. I now could appreciate the difficult struggles other people have with diets. Losing weight was damn hard!

I conceived of drastic interventions. How much did an arm weigh? Ten pounds? I was strongly right-handed, so I figured I could probably negotiate the world well enough minus the left limb. Then it occurred to me that if I really wanted to get a leg up on this weight-loss business I could, you know, lose a leg. But I wasn’t right-legged and having to hop around instead of walking seemed too high a price to pay.

I looked around at my aging friends and they all seemed to be gaining weight without too much psychological distress; a few extra pounds, a couple more wrinkles, a bit less hair were simply the accoutrements of getting older. Maybe I could age gracefully if not perfectly.

Or I could just purchase a pair of stretch-waist pants.

— Special to the Telegram

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