Old Harold is afflicted with disorderly eating. Eating too much of the wrong stuff has had me hovering between overweight and obese for most of my adult life. Paralleling this, my subcutaneous fat has gradually gone on holiday leaving my abdominal fat to sop up extra gravy calories that come with holiday meals, and other meals that start with ‘roast’. My abdominal fat cells have stopped multiplying, become engorged, gotten sick and pump out adipokines that promote insulin resistance and has me teetering on the need for diabetic drugs to normalize my blood sugar.
My disorderly eating may in part be due to my upbringing. When I was a kid, not much of what I ate would be considered fattening as lack of palatability served to control cravings. Oatmeal or sometimes corn flakes for breakfast, lunch was a casserole from dinner the night before, and dinner was meat, potatoes and vegetables followed by desert, often canned or frozen fruit from the year before. The meat sometimes included such delicacies as heart, liver and kidney, which turned off the mouth-watering taps. Include with this a timer being set to finish your meal, and insistence that fat had 9 calories per gram, and had to be eaten. Once in a blue moon, we’d get pepperoni and mushroom pizza from Tom’s House of Pizza. You’d eat one slice as fast as you could, so you could get a second slice to enjoy. The only times we’d go overboard were when we required hydration during heavy work like hauling bales and got treated to 2 and 3 litre bottles of full sugar pop.
Flash forward to moving away from home with disposable income, a healthy appetite for fast/junk food and beer, less regular exercise and the pounds soon started to pack on. The need to curb intake was never questioned as my adorable belly grew, surely a sign of health and prosperity. I didn’t know what my requirements were and how badly I exceeded them. I do know, however, that when going on holiday on full feed, I could easily gain a pound a day. Fast food meals easily exceeding my daily requirements, bags of barbeque chips and gorging on pizza and beer all led to the day my Dr checked my blood sugar and said “I think we’ve got a problem”.
Easy-peezey, all I had to do was exercise a bit more and watch what I ate….right? It takes a lifestyle change (i.e. struggle every day) that old Harold has yet to master. Exercise without purpose is difficult to sustain as our ancient genes are geared to store energy to save for times of famine or when trying to outrun a saber-toothed tiger. Runners’ highs are easily replaced by the first chip from an econo-bag, and days and weeks on the straight and narrow can be followed by drifting from curb to curb in junk food isles of local supermarkets or fast-food drive throughs. Afterall, a guy’s got to live doesn’t he, so why can’t he enjoy himself once in a while all the time?
Old Harold doesn’t have the answers. If he did, he’d have his own TV program, gym, diet book, diet/lifestyle app or YouTube channel you could log into or pay a subscription for to easily lose all the weight you need and reveal your six-pack while emptying your wallet. For now, I guess old Harold will try and keep motivated by being chased by the diabetes/high blood pressure/heart disease/stroke saber-toothed tiger and hope he never gets caught. Who knows, maybe a market crash, hyper-inflation and retirement income that doesn’t match will be just what I need to motivate me to mow and snow shovel my way back to health and subsistence.