The difference an "X" can make

When I was a teenager, anything XXX would have delighted me to no end. Now I am much older, one X short, and not thrilled at all.

I work in information technology. We get free t-shirts regularly. It’s a way for us to recognize each other without having to go around sniffing everyone’s breath for caffeinated mints. Recently I got another t-shirt, an XXL because that’s all they had left. I put the t-shirt on the stack and didn’t think much about it. Just the other day, I finally popped it off the stack and put it on. My first impression was that it was a nice, well-fitting shirt. That’s when it hit me. It’s an XXL shirt.

I haven’t really had a problem wearing an XL shirt. To my mind, that is pretty much the size that every man wears. Men’s sizes smaller than that are just a marketing ploy to force you to pay adult prices for your kid’s clothes as they start to grow up. But now I have gone from extra to extra extra, more than more, jumbo.

All sorts of things have gotten me to this point — two weeks on steroids, eating to cheer up when I was depressed and single, eating to celebrate life now that I am happy with my squad. Still, I am the one who has gotten me here. Extra extra read all about it. I’m fat. (I could be PC and say overweight, but I’m saving bandwidth just saying fat. And it’s about me anyway and I know I’m fat.)

I have a good friend and coworker who is in a similar situation. He is unhappy to be buying new pants seemingly more often than he buys new video games. You have to give him credit though. He has just quit smoking after many years. The weight is not healthy for him either, but he has taken a big step by quitting smoking. I think he will take the next step and work off the weight.

How does one take that step though? And how does one keep on stepping? Dinner of a sliver of boneless, skinless chicken breast, brown rice and a broccoli floret is all well and good, but if later that night you are scarfing down cheese dip or the next day it’s pepperoni pizza with extra cheese for dinner, it’s just not going to work.

Man does not live by bread or boneless, skinless breast alone. I am certainly not going to give up variety and excitement in my diet, and I’m not going to ask the squad to. I know that I can create healthy, delicious meals. What I can’t do, so far, is do it regularly. What does it take to stop saying, “man, I don’t feel like cutting up fruit this morning. I’ll just drive thru for a biscuit.” What does it take to keep dinner from being a knock at the door?

I think the key is to keep my eyes on the prize. First I don’t want to outgrow all those t-shirts I have hoarded. How will my geek compatriots recognize me without them? What really matters though is Squirrelly, Jr. I want him to grow up healthy. Plus I want to be healthy during my time with him. Best of all I just may add years to my life and be around that much longer to torment him. That should be motivation enough.

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