Newton’s Curse

Meg and I both want to get out more, do more, see more, and have more fun. More activities like hiking, biking, horseback riding, and if we get adventurous, hang gliding. See the mountains. Breathe in the fresh air. Feel the sun upon our faces. Reach skyward.

There is, however, an impediment we are faced with. In short: F = G x ((m1 x m2) / (r-squared))

Newton, that sadistic bastard, is working against us.

I currently tip the scales at a generous 275 lbs. I am blessed with a large frame and decent posture, so I carry the weight around my waist. Basically I look like your average 6’2″ guy who has swallowed a harbor seal.

But have you looked into horseback riding? Hang gliding? Even riding those Segway things? Yeah, they really don’t care where I’m carrying it. “Participants must be under 225 pounds.” You probably don’t read those clauses, because you don’t have to worry about it. I do. Newton’s curse, as it were.

And I can understand. You don’t want to be out enjoying your pleasant trot through the prairie when the beast beneath you collapses due to over-exertion. It’s embarrassing to have digital display on your Segway read, “GET OFF NOW. This unit does not have a ‘hippo’ setting.” And hang gliding is best enjoyed while wafting effortlessly on a gentle breeze, not plummeting towards a grave lined with shredded nylon and aluminum tubing. In these circumstances, the purpose of wearing a helmet is to help them identify which end of you was your head.

So before we head west, there is some work to be done. The goal is to get me down to 200 pounds again, a weight I haven’t seen since college. On tap: a diet, walking, bike riding, the hotel fitness room when I’m on the road, and possibly a gym membership. If things get ugly, we may enlist the services of a death camp command— uhh, a sadistic drill sarg— err, personal trainer.

Meg, devoted wife that she is, is standing in solidarity with me on this journey. She’s going to watch her diet too, and she’s talking about starting yoga — totally not my thing. Seeing people bend over backwards to touch their chins to their ass cheeks would just piss me off. I tried Tai Chi once, but it didn’t last; I couldn’t figure out how mimicking Jackie Chan fight scenes in slow motion was going to get you in shape.

They say that you didn’t gain the weight overnight, so you can’t expect it to disappear overnight either. Any weight-loss or exercise program you start on, they say you shouldn’t expect to drop one pound or lose one inch for at least six weeks. Man, that’s almost as depressing as being fat!

But, do it we must, so do it we shall. Just one favor: when you pass that guy on the sidewalk bent over and heaving, clothes soaked through with sweat from head to toe, don’t laugh too loud. He just jogged two blocks and then called his wife to come get him. He’s making progress: last week it was one and a half blocks.

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