I am new – real new – to the blubber burning /slash/ body building /slash/ workout /slash/ nutrition scene. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve worked out a day in my life (okay, maybe during high school P.E. and Army Basic Training). Yesterday I joined a fitness club and went to a kickboxing aerobics class… Wait, let me start further back.
Can’t See The Future Through All That Smoke
Last year I was 48, the same age my father was when he died from smoking related lung disease. I started smoking at 15 or 16. It was shortly after my birthday that I got real sick from a respiratory infection, which has been a regular occurrence for the last several years. My doctor wanted to put me in the hospital this time. I guess it was considerably worse than previous years, but I felt I couldn’t because I had a flooring business to run. He made me promise him I would stay home for a few days and take his stupid medicine. You’d think I would be acutely aware of the consequences my father paid at this age. But in the back of my mind, what little there is of it, I knew I would continue to smoke at home.
I had smoked for most of the last 32 years and have been up to 3 packs a day for several years now. In recent years, I’d been seen installing some flooring and would swim about twice a year, but I didn’t get much exercise otherwise. Hell, I don’t even have sex on a regular basis, so I’m really outta shape. I get winded climbing the 4 steps into my house. I wasn’t really blubber fat at 190#, but my muscle tone was pitiful. It took almost 3 weeks to get over the respiratory infection this time. I had to change, or die like my father did.
Quit Smoking Attempt Number… I Lost Count
On June 10, 1998, I spent my first day without a cigarette (Tareyton – I’d rather fight than switch). I used nicotine patches and some pills my doctor prescribed. This wasn’t the first time I quit. That was while I was in Vietnam, just a few years after I had started smoking. But the addiction is tenacious and I tried quitting many, many times. My doctor prescribed these same pills and patches a couple years earlier. He and I were friends and we quit together that time. But I made it a contest and tried to rush the process and failed; went back to smoking for another year and a half.
My best buddy or one my “girlfriends” would go bike riding with me nearly every day. They all complained about my jeans so I bought some shorts, then they made me wear them damn girly socks – how humiliating. Still, I did eat more and the local grocery couldn’t stock enough suckers. I almost got thrown in jail for wrestling in the isles with some 8 year old kid over the last grape tootsie-roll-pop until I explained how much I truly needed it and that I would never again sponsor the Sheriff’s Children’s Christmas Fund… jeesh, you’d think they’d be reasonable about bloodyin’ a kids lip fer cripes sake. Well, you can see what happens when you quit smoking. It can make you a little irritable.
Anyway, what happened is, it got cold. Snowed actually. My friends couldn’t come over any more. It wasn’t that I turned into a manic-depressive, unstable bastard, you know, it wasn’t that at all. Honest. So, I leaned my bike up against the porch and it stayed there. I found Adam’s 100% Natural Peanut Butter. MAN that’s good stuff! Smear it on toast, wheat bread, sourdough, raisin bread (them little raisins’ gotta be good for ya), even on celery sticks, or just stick your finger down in there. MMMmmmmmGood!
Here Comes The Blubber
Whoa! One morning I woke up and found all this blubber attached to my body. Jeez, it’s all over the place. I couldn’t fit into my pants, my belt wouldn’t buckle, it hurt to tie my shoes and I could swear I was gettin man-boobs. I’m now a billowing 235 pounds in just a few short months. I’m only 6′ tall, I can’t weigh that much. I don’t want to weigh that much.
That’s when I joined the gym. I about died during that kick boxing class. I asked a staffer about 50 questions, which I could see irritated him to no end. I embarrassed the heck outta myself trying to do this one weight-liftin’ arm-curlin’ thing. I kept farting. My skin is raw from those tiny little sandpaper towels they give you. But hey, I looked as good as a fat boy could. I bought a few hundred bucks worth of shoes and sweats; I was a stylin’ blubber boy.
Check out this related post: I Want My Old Body Back
Oh, I almost forgot why I decided to join the club (other than all the cute girls that go there). I needed structure, inspiration and support. But there was a problem. This place, the only one in 80 miles, has no trainers. The staff ain’t even in good shape. They’re all either overweight like me or look anorexic and are only good at explaining how the TV remote control works, not much else.
Can You He’p a Guy Out?
I need some help. It’s got to be important to know what kinds of exercises to do and foods to eat (or not), but I don’t want to be anal about it. I mean, I ain’t gonna go buy no heart monitors or other high tech gadgets – unless they match my sweat suit. I don’t want to buy no fancy pills or bizarre drinks. I gave up drugs an’ alcohol almost 14 years ago and don’t want to hear, “Ya gotta drink this and you should pop that,” unless of course, it tastes just like an old fashioned chocolate shake or grandma’s fudge brownies and will instantly turn my fat blubber into muscles, smooth out my wrinkles and give me a longer, thicker penis. Meet that criteria and I will drink and pop 3-times a day.
Anyway, if you made it this far without hittin’ the back button, you might be able to help me out. I want to spend a little time – oh maybe the rest of my life – getting in shape. I want to eat better (I’ve managed to abstain from peanut butter for 3 days now). I want to have more stamina for things like riding the bike, working harder, dancing all night and… you know (wink -wink) – it. I want to get stronger and have the kind of body that looks good in a t-shirt and jeans, but not the kind you can see the bulges and glistening oil from six blocks away; something that will make women quit saying, “Let’s just be friends.” Know what I mean?
Can you give me a few things to start on? Point me in the right direction? I need to make getting healthy and in good shape a habit like I made puffing those smokes and woofin’ down that peanut butter and all those other bad things I did years ago. I have an addictive personality, so this should be easy for you. The only criteria? It’s gotta be fun, natch.
That Was Then, This Is Now
That was posted on a CompuServe health related forum back in the late 90s. I did manage to abstain from cigarettes that time. I got some decent advice from other members of that forum and I tried to follow it. But life got in the way and I didn’t stick with a balanced diet or exercise. The result was a mild heart attack and the discovery that I had developed severe emphysema (COPD). Now I walk around tethered to an oxygen tank, suck on inhalers several times a day and take a handful of pills.
Don’t let that prevent you from commenting to that 49-year old who wrote this. There’s bound to be someone else reading this article and your comments at some point who can use that advice. What would you have told me back then and what might you say to someone else reading this that is trying to quit smoking or lose some weight or just develop better, healthier habits? It’s not too late for someone.