Like millions of Americans, I recently stripped down, prepared myself for the worst, and stepped onto the scale. Soon after, I retrieved the scale from the front yard and accepted the fact that, yes — it probably was defective.
At my wife’s suggestion, I tried our neighbor’s scale. This led to the discovery that, of the 23 scales I tested within a five-mile radius of our home, every single one was off by exactly 11 pounds.
Being a journalist, I had to wonder: Was this a widespread problem? Were we being duped into needless exercise by faulty scales?
I immediately brought this to the attention of members of our newsroom who, realizing the implications, told me to stay out of their candy drawers.
The truth is, I have no one but myself to blame for putting on these extra pounds.
This is why, every year around this time, people just like me make a commitment to start going to the gym. I know this because I recognize most of these people from last year.
We all have the same expression: grim determination mixed with a sense of purpose in knowing that, afterward, there’s a Taco Bell just down the street. We come dressed with headbands and towels over our shoulders even though we spend most of our time wandering around the gym looking for water bottles.
After making this realization, I was motivated to do things differently this time.
Never again would I splash water on my face, then stand close enough to someone to appear as though we are workout partners. It was time to get serious about fitness by accepting the fact that the closest I’ll ever get to having buns of steel is if I happen to leave the bread box open overnight.
I’m 51, married, with two children still at home; what do I need washboard abs for when I know perfectly well that my wife gets more turned on by me doing the laundry?
With these things in mind, I put together a list of goals that will motivate me because they’re actually achievable.
First, buns of steel are out. Instead, I will settle for buns of aluminum foil; as long as they can hold their shape and don’t leak, I’m happy.
Second, I understand that my metabolism is slowing down and that, as a result, my body’s fuel-burning efficiency is similar to a Humvee. Unless I’m careful, I will also weigh as much as one.
Third, I will no longer waste my time comparing my body with anyone else’s, particularly if theirs is better. This should make my workouts twice as productive since I will be avoiding eye contact with everyone else at the gym.
And finally, I will stop using the scale as my measure of success. What’s the point, really?
They’re all wrong anyway.
Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. Write to him at [email protected], or at Siuslaw News, 148 Maple St, Florence, Ore. 97439