Eleven years ago, I had emergency open heart surgery to repair the mitral valve in my heart which had rudely blown up due to a birth defect that had gone 45 years without detection. Thankfully, the repairs were done successfully and I have had no heart problems since. Besides the emotional upheaval that such a terrifying experience visits upon you, open heart surgery tends to focus the mind. Nothing makes you appreciate life more than the prospect of losing yours.
So, after the six weeks it took me to recover from having my chest opened, I joined American Family Fitness and quickly became a three days a week work out devotee. When I began, I was 199 pounds. Within a few months I dropped down to 187 and happily discovered that no matter what I ate, as long as I worked out three times a week, my weight stayed at 187. It was like magic.
The pre-surgery tests on my heart revealed wide opened arteries, no heart disease to be found. This despite a lifelong diet that consisted of food that would give your average dietician nightmares. Among my favorites are things like bacon, sausage, steak, pizza, ice cream, donuts, bread, butter, beer, pancakes, mashed potatoes and gravy, and anything else with tons of carbs and calories. My business associates would marvel at my diet. “Dunnevant, how come you don’t weigh 300 pounds? If I woofed down as much crap as you do they’d have to send me to a fat farm!”
“Superior metabolism,” I would reply with cocky flair.
Then I turned 56.
Suddenly, as if God had been distracted by the Middle East for the past 11 years and finally happened to notice me shoving two raspberry-filled donuts in my pie hole for breakfast, everything has changed. The scale in my bathroom has begun arguing with me. After a particularly delicious weekend a few months ago, the clearly defective scale declared that I was 194 pounds. What?? No worries, I thought. I’ll just increase the intensity of my workouts, go an extra 15 minutes on the treadmill. Still 194. Ok, well, I’ll just have to add an extra workout. Four days a week will do the trick. I enjoy working out anyway, it’s a great stress reliever.
Yesterday, I put myself through a wringer of a workout. Two miles on the treadmill, ten miles on the bike, an hour of cardio that left me dripping in sweat. I had burned 1100 calories. This morning? 194.
My buddies at the office are having a field day. “How’s that superior metabolism working out for ya there Porky?” In truth, I have been warned by friends for years that at some point in my future, my body furnace was going to change and I wouldn’t be able to get away with those double steak burritos with milkshake lunches. They all said that at some point, slathering butter over seven rolls at Bertucci’s before my entrée arrived wasn’t going to work anymore. Meanest of all, they would taunt me with, “Dunnevant, I see lite beer in your future.
Blast them! It’s all true.