It's odd, and disturbing somehow, to see how punctiliously my fat deposits stand upon the order of their going. For a couple weeks my face and thighs slimmed down, while my waistline didn't budge a millimeter. Then suddenly last week, apparently, the order went out to start releasing the belly fat. My jeans are suddenly loose: my suspenders are not ornamental, now, but deadly practical. It's one of those times when I become aware of my body as a self-regulating machine, making complex operating decisions that it doesn't bother to consult me on. The bozo up there in the cerebral cortex doesn't have the slightest idea how to run a body: he's like one of those vapid network anchors “commentating” at the Olympics. Yah, like you know what it takes to throw a javelin!
I have to remind myself again and again that I am not trying to lose weight: I am trying to eat in a healthy and reasonable manner. There's a risk to all this meticulous measuring and recording: the tools threaten to set the agenda. The scale and tape measure readings are so sharp-edged and unambiguous, and such universally accepted arbiters, that it would be very easy to let the numbers start to drive this process. I did use a supposed “goal weight” – loathsome concept! – to set my initial caloric intake bounds. But that was just because I needed to start somewhere, to have some landmarks. I remind myself, again: I am not “driving to 160 lbs.” I am not headed for some mystical ideal goal weight. I am just trying to eat a reasonable amount of good food, and to follow the CDC's quite sensible and up-to-date minimum exercise recommendations: half an hour's exercise per day, two resistance-training sessions per week.
I am already at my eating and exercising goal. I'm not going anywhere. This is it: I'm succeeding. I can feel good about myself. I have developed considerable intellectual curiosity about what will happen to my body, and I have some hypotheses I'm testing, but that's not the real point. The real point is to eat well, to move around a lot, and to feel like I and my body are on the same side. The war's over. My body gets to weigh whatever it wants to.
Birthday. I'm fifty-five years old today. An improbable number, from all points of view.
I went for a walk this morning, south along 86th Avenue, and about a mile down, discovered a line of big, burly conifers, totally unknown to me. Four or five in a row, standing between the sidewalk and the street. Their needles weren't in bunches, but in clusters something like flower-umbels. Huge, dark, powerful trees, with this madcap arrangement of needles. I adored them. I wonder what they are? Walking back, I saw two more individual, younger trees of the same species. Have I been seeing them all my life, without seeing them? Probably. Whatever they are, I'm taking them as my totem.