Buck Eighty Seven

I enjoy my barbeque.  Not just making it, but eating it.  Whether it’s the sauce of Gates beef on bun, the sheer size of Arthur Bryant’s beef sandwich with fries or the atmosphere of the original Oklahoma Joe’s (in a gas station…seriously) I’m a sucker for a good brisket or rack of ribs.  Those normally aren’t the problems, though; they’re not exactly the leanest of foods, but I can get through that.  The problem for me comes from my inability not to order – and more importantly pig out on – the french fries that accompany them.  So anytime you see me at a BBQ joint you’re likely to see my face covered in sauce or buried in a plate of negative-nutritional-value french fries.

And I used to blame my not-shrinking waistline on that.  I exercised (I played 20+ hours of volleyball a week for how many weeks???) and yet I still couldn’t get rid of the gut that appeared magically when I turned thirty.

Until now.

The gut’s still there but it’s much smaller.  And my weight as of this morning:  187.  BBQ is still on my menu, as are those fries.  I’ll still down a dozen Spicy Garlic-slathered boneless wings on Thursdays and whatever $1.11 tacos I decide to order on Tuesdays.  I still drink (good) beer – I haven’t given in to the yellow-colored water that passes as “Michelob Ultra” or “Bud Select”; I prefer a dark Winterfest or Pale Ale or Killian’s Red.

But I did give up (most) sugar.

I don’t eat sweets, I don’t drink Coke any more and with only a few small exceptions I don’t put any of the crystalized goodness in my iced tea.  It’s killed me – folks on my team are master bakers and they constantly bring in good-smelling treats that I normally would chow down on (pumpkin bread, anyone?).  But I resist – because I’m off sugar.

I also gave up fast food – at least the kind with a drive-thru.  Subway and Goodcents are still on my list of places to eat, but McD’s is off.  Burger King is off.  Arby’s is gone.  No more Wendy’s, no more Jack in the Box, no more Hardee’s.

It’s been tough – I will go without eating a meal if I only have time to hit a drive-thru fast food joint, and I’ll take a walk if seeing the results of the culinary prowess of my team become too tempting.  But it’s all been worth it, but not for the reason you might think.  I wasn’t worried about fitting in my clothes (no problem there), and I wasn’t worried about my blood pressure (118 over 76, pretty steadily) or anything else like that.

The whole reason getting to 187 was worth it was because I decided to do it.

There’s nothing special about 190 except I was at 204 when I set the goal.  OK, 190 is a round number.  It’s not any kind of magic number, it doesn’t represent any kind of health gate  or anything like that.  It was just a number that I put out there as something I’m going to get to by the end of the year.  That easy.  That simple.  That, well, boring.

But the whole goal wasn’t to lose weight as much as it was to prove I could do it.  I could have just as easily said “lift 300 pounds” or “run a 6-minute mile” or “eat 38 hot dogs in 9 minutes” or whatever.  The point isn’t what the goal was – it was all about proving to myself I have the willpower to actually do it.

And I do.

I need goals to keep me moving.  If I get lazy and just “roll with it” I may be the same Pauly outside but I’m a mess inside.  I need things to keep myself challenged.  That might be write an app, could be build a Magic rat deck, could be learn how to speak Russian.  Just like hitting 190 pounds the “what” isn’t as important as the fact that it’s there.

So now it’s on to the next challenge…who knows where that will take me.  I picked up The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life so we’ll see if that yields me any ideas for conquering the world.

Until then I’m just going to keep not eating sugar, skipping the fast food and enjoying my barbeque.  Because giving that last one up would just be too much for any one man to deal with.

(post image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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