January 4, 2017 10:39:41 AM
An editor for whom I worked at Mississippi State University told me this day would come.
Armed with a styrofoam "to-go" tray from Perry Cafeteria -- stuffed so full it wouldn't quite close all the way -- it became something of a daily routine to recite for this lady the five entrees, two starchy sides, two desserts and only the occasional vegetable I called lunch. Fried chicken Wednesdays and fish Fridays were my particular favorites.
This was only a year ago.
I answered with smirks and eye rolls my editor's warnings of "this will all catch up with you." My metabolism is a fast-moving, fiery furnace, I'd reply, that shows no signs of slowing or cooling.
I hope she's reading this.
By the end of 2016, I'd popped a button off a pair of slacks and was forced to take three other pairs to a family member to see if she could let them out an inch. Two pairs -- both of which were practically brand new -- were unalterable. I can still wear them, but they feel around my waist like an angry python trying to choke me to death. It's only a matter of time before one of these buttons I can barely get cinched goes suddenly flying across the newsroom one afternoon. I'm sure that will be fun for everybody.
Just buying new pants has crossed my mind, but there's nothing really wrong with the old pants except that I got bigger, and they stayed the same size.
So as the ball dropped to ring in 2017, I didn't just make any old, run-of-the-mill resolution. I uttered that resolution. You know the one.
"I'll lose 10 pounds and keep it off," I said.
So, now, to the how.
My gym membership is in-hand, though I haven't been yet. I've bought lunch meat, cheese and bread to make sandwiches for lunch each day at work instead of eating out so much (I'm hoovering two, triple-deck sandwiches a day and have already burned through an entire package of salami this week).
I've even started daydreaming about running a few evenings a week. It's a nice daydream where I even start getting in good enough shape to finish a 5K race with a respectable time. Then I break from the daydream realizing I am eating pretzels while lounging in my recliner and watching Netflix.
Though I'm making somewhat light of this, it's brought some hard lessons home to me. I've lost the discipline I once had in taking care of myself, and my body let me get away with it for easily a decade. Now that I'm approaching my mid-30s, my once great metabolism is no longer going to cover for my lack of willpower.
It's sobering. It's also hard to make legitimate lifestyle changes for your health. Old habits, as they say, die hard, and there are people facing much steeper climbs than losing a few pounds this year. I wish them luck, and I certainly don't envy their journey.
But one thing is for sure: Nothing motivates me more than an opponent. In that spirit, there are four pairs of khaki pants I'm coming for, and they're hanging in my closet, not on a store shelf.
Zack Plair is the managing editor for The Dispatch.