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April 20, 2005

Oh The Shame of It All

My Body Mass Index is 30.4099. It's official. I'm obese. This time next week, I will not be. I swear to God.

I figured out how to calculate this number (pounds/inches ^2)* 703 from the NYTimes article which tells us that the CDC has changed its mind about the overweight. Evidently, they have been juggling methodologies and have determined that the one they use for cancer survival rates is the best one for predicting the effects of weight on mortality.

The breakpoints (18.5, 25, 30, 35) mark their five categories, underweight, normal weight, overweight, obesity and extreme obesity. As you can see, I'm in the fourth bucket, which is not so healthy. What is interesting about these new findings is that they confirm something a I've thought true for a long time which is that when I was 168 pounds, I was too skinny. I wanted, like most young men, to be bigger, stronger, faster, sexier, and 168 just wasn't cutting it for me. Even though I cycled 70 miles a week and played at least 5 hours of beach volleyball every Saturday & Sunday I wanted to be as fit as a special forces Ranger.

When I landed my first managerial position I had just turned 31 or so, and I knew it all. But somehow I didn't think I possesed the authority I needed. So I embarked on my 'Huge Project'. The idea was simple, get big & buff. So I changed my eating habits. The first time I had this idea was with my best friend when we were about 27. We were both programmers in a highly geekified area of LA, El Segundo. (He was by far the superior programmer, but I was the better beach volleyball player). We thought it would be extremely cool idea (after drinks) to become the twin bouncers of the South Bay. We would buff up, shave our heads, wear a single hoop of gold in our ear and wear gold lame shoes with pointy toes. It would have been a great second source of income. Unfortunately we sobered up before we could get our piercing.

Jack LaLanne said something famously. You can eat double cheeseburgers every day, that doesn't matter. What matters is that you exercise. I remember him like it was yesterday, he said diets just don't work. You have to feed the body, but you also must work the body.

The Huge Project turned out to be a moderate success, but I didn't get huge, I got ripped. My basketball game rebounded and I got all kinds of twitchy nervous energy. All it took was about 20 minutes a day on that old 'Body by Jake' rig and a couple good games of hoop. Within 2 months I was done, but that was 40 pounds ago.

The last time I got in shape was about 18 months ago when I was dead broke and smokin'. I did some pretty good blogging back then too, and I went to the gym on the regular for court volleyball and cardio kickboxing. I dropped about 10 pounds and got my breath back, but I pretty much destroyed all of that during the holiday season when I got work. Since then I haven't done much exercising at all and food has become an adventure. So now I'm at an elegant yet elephantine 215, and I have to yell stop.

Today, I'm going to Payless and Champs. I'm going to get some gym shoes and some shorts. Now is the time. Plus, my XBox is broken so that will help too. The spousal unit is on notice to alter the menu and we're going to get some results. I love the pressure.

Posted by mbowen at April 20, 2005 08:43 AM

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"...gold lame shoes with pointy toes"? I cannot visualize this!

My Sohnle (prounounce THAT!) glass top digital bathroom scale broke, so I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond with one of their monthly 20% off coupons and got a Tanita scale that measures body fat also. 277.8 lbs, 36.7 percent body fat.

Maybe it's all about the exercise. But I bet eating a pint of Haagen-Dazs ice cream before bedtime didn't help me tonight. *sigh* Another friggin' 12-step program now, I guess :(

Posted by: Scott Ferguson [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 20, 2005 10:13 PM

A Harvard Business Review article titled "The Making Of The Corporate Athlete" (I think it's sold on Amazon here but you can get it as a free download here from a co-author's site) was useful to me and might be relevant. The authors have built quite a business flogging this one idea, so they've gotten some resonance on it.

Now, actually doing the stuff the article says, that's a different question.

I have a similar issue about oscillating weight/health and workload--but it's opposite; with nothing to do I balloon.

Posted by: Chap at April 21, 2005 10:48 PM