For the last 16 months, like many folks, I’ve been home more than usual and indulged myself with snacks and other treats. Therefore, I put on a few pounds, actually more than a few. It became so bad that at a routine visit to my doctor he mentioned it’s time to start shedding some of those pounds. I knew he was right because none of my clothes were fitting correctly, if at all.
Suddenly I was feeling guilty about the desserts I devoured after the wonderful home cooked meals my wife prepared for me. At home we were having three wonderful meals a day, every day. Then there were the snacks while I watched late-night TV. Yet, for some reason my wife didn’t gain a pound, but I gained many pounds. Finally, after hearing the doctor basically say I was entering a danger zone, I said it was time to shed what I called the “COVID-19 weight.”
My first experience with losing weight was my freshman year of college (1971-1972) at George Washington University, when due to the crazy new draft lottery my draft lottery number was number 19. It looked like it was going to end up with a quick trip to Vietnam courtesy of the U.S. Army. So, I decided to be proactive and asked the GW wrestling coach if I could work out with the team so that when I went to basic training I would be in shape. At that time, I believe I weighed 165 pounds soaking wet. After one week working out in the basement of Corcoran Hall with the team in a low ceiling room with the heat at 100 degrees, the coach called me into his office. He said the wrestler who was supposed to wrestle 142 pounds shattered his collarbone and then the coach asked me if I would consider losing 23 pounds to wrestle at 142 pounds, so we wouldn’t default at that weight class. For whatever reason I said I would, and sure enough when we faced American University for our first match, I weighed 141.5 pounds at the weigh in. I believe I was pinned in the second quarter of that match, but there I was wrestling for the varsity Division I college and wearing size 27 pants. I wrestled every match that season and at the athletic dinner received some sort of courage award. The kicker was due to high blood pressure that I always had, I was not drafted into the army!
Fast forward to my 33rd year when my first daughter was born. It seems as her mother gained weight, so did I, but after my daughter was born, she immediately lost her weight, and I had an extra 20 pounds. However, the 20 pounds didn’t look so bad, and I did nothing about it then, but two years later another baby daughter arrived, and again I had another 20 pounds. Now I was 40 pounds over what I weighed when I first got married. To motivate me to lose the weight, I made a goal of climbing the tallest mountain in the alps, Mount Blanc, as my incentive to do massive workouts. Amazingly enough, I lost 40 pounds and I went to France, and I summited Mount Blanc on July 29, 1994.
Living in Manhattan after I was divorced in 2000, I probably used to walk ten miles a day around the City, because I rarely used my car. Although I ate, drank, and sampled the finest foods on a regular basis, I did not gain any weight. Then I moved out to the Hamptons and for a while I maintained a nice healthy weight. It was only when I moved to Montauk that I put on a 45-pound tire around my waist. I remember getting a major part in the musical Anything Goes, and deciding that I would use my Gurney’s complementary VIP spa pass for writing for their magazines to get back in shape for the show. Sure enough, when the curtain went up, I was 50 pounds lighter and looked pretty good on stage. It was then that I met my present wife Cindi and then maintained a decent weight level for a few years. Then I fell in love with lobster rolls and was having two or three a week, sometimes maybe four a week, and low and behold, next thing I knew I was buying pants with larger waist sizes on a regular basis. Boom, one morning I woke up and I realized I was massively overweight. Again, I made a goal of returning to Chamonix to ski the famous Valley Blanche, a rigorous 20-mile trail that drops 12,000 feet and goes through about seven glaciers. Every day at the YMCA in either Patchogue or East Hampton I did rigorous workouts, and once again, in February 2019 I did the Valley Blanche successfully.
All was good until the COVID lockdown started in March 2020 and all I could do was go shopping for groceries. Suddenly I was buying fresh bagels, cupcakes, and wonderful coconut ice cream, along with vanilla cakes (a favorite of mine). After a year of this lack of discipline eating, I blew up to a number I had never seen before, nor had my doctor who told me I had two choices: either lose weight or risk dying. Of course, I chose to loose the weight. But the gyms were closed, so I had to come up with a new system to train. What I basically have been doing has been walking up and down hills and taking long bike rides, doing both on some days. Now, I am fitting back in my suits, my blue jeans, and my sport coats.
It seems there are others who the isolation of the pandemic got to their waistlines and are also now in the process of addressing that situation. Hopefully, American society will be opening up soon so that socialization can happen freely and safely again.
One thing about the East End of Long Island and its beauty is finding amazing spots to do outdoor workouts. It’s not that hard to do. I am looking forward to seeing my friends and perhaps going out for dinner with them or having barbecues with them and even having some alcoholic beverages with them. I am diligently using the outdoors to achieve an acceptable level of weight where I won’t stand out as someone who just let it all go. I feel better now with my vaccinations complete and my weight back under control. I feel ready to re-enter the new post COVID-19 world. I hope to see you all out there.