In seven days, I rode that euphoric, endorphin-filled ride from 216 to 211. With a day to go, and miles of humidity-induced sweat to show for my effort, I was sure I had two pounds of water weight just waiting for the proper motivation to let go. The promised land – 208 – would be mine!

Except it wasn’t.

During this morning’s official bare-bottomed weigh in, the needle on the scale stopped itself at precisely 211.2. Like the mythical Kansas City of musical theater gone by, I’d gone about as far as I could go.

Universe 1. Me 0.
For now.
I know what you’re thinking. And you’re right. A waist is a terrible thing to mind!

But I’m not doing this to impress anyone. I’m not trying to recapture my youth. My self- esteem is not too low. (Trust me on that one!) I’m not trying to overcome an unhealthy body image.

I’m trying to overcome an unhealthy body. Diabetes. High blood pressure. Neuropathy and a host of other issues. Overweight. Out of shape. I chew my nails. (Not that that has anything to do with it. Just saying.) At the relatively young age of 52, my warranties should not be on any cosmic expiration list.

Something’s gotta give. I would prefer that something NOT be my heart, or brain, or any other vital organ.

I’ll tell you what needs to give: my long list of excuses. This morning, as my tired bones creaked down the stairs to let the dog do his business, I was reminded of something an old friend said almost two decades ago. He was, at the time, fast approaching his 70th birth- day, and on his way out for a round of golf when I’d interrupted his morning. “Jeff,” he said, “I’d love to stay and chat – believe me I would. Some days I really don’t feel like chasing a little ball across the park. It took me an hour to get up and get ready this morning. If I don’t go today, then tomorrow it will take me two hours.”

I didn’t believe him. He was in phenomenal shape back then, even before you counted his age against him. But Lord knows I understand now what he was saying.

You might not believe this, but eight years ago I walked an AVERAGE of 10 to 15 miles every day. Rain or shine. Some days I did it in 2-mile increments, some days I walked til I was done, THEN I turned around and walked back. But somewhere over the last few years, those walks became fewer and further be- tween. Eventually, not wanting to do it was replaced with not able to do it.

So here we are.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.

Don’t worry – I’m taking it slow. (Like I have a choice?) I’m following the most basic rule of sustained weight loss: Eat less and move more.

I understand that my first pounds were the easy ones, that a couple pounds this week will probably mean only a couple pounds over the next two. But even if I only manage a net- loss of one pound per week – heck, per month even, I will achieve my goal. Eventually.

And then I’ll set a new goal, and find a new, more worthy adversary. And, eventually, I’ll be right here, celebrating yet another moral victory.

It’s a solid plan. What could go wrong?

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