That’s about the thighs of it

I just finished a bowl of ice cream. I feel immediately guilty, knowing I’ve gained weight over the last few months and that ice cream is not a diet food.

But I am weak. So weak.

There’s no doubt I’m getting bigger. The scale isn’t my gauge, though. I have my own test, developed over years of body image angst. And no matter how I try to ignore its telling results, the truth is plain to see.

If I can stand with my feet touching and feel my legs rubbing together anywhere along the line, I’m in trouble. Now, I don’t expect to see daylight between my thighs. I’ll give myself about halfway down to my knees before I start to panic. 

What I see now is a total eclipse from knee to waist. A small child could hide behind my legs and win at Hide and Seek. When I stand with my legs together, the cellulite makes the line they draw look like a patch of gravel road. Not pretty.

The experts say it all comes down to this: I must either increase my physical activity or decrease my food intake.

I’ve always thought I moved around as much as the next guy. More than some. I look for closer parking spots at Walmart, but I only make one or two circuits in my car before giving up and hoofing it from a distant slot. 

I go outside numerous times a day when I’m not working: To get the mail. Look at the thermometer. Briefly remind myself what fresh air feels like. 

These movements employ the use of both large muscles (legs) and small muscles (eye-scrunching against the bright light of day). That’s a workout.

When I watch TV, I’m up at every commercial. The bathroom is way down the hallway. The refrigerator is in another room. I traipse all over the house; sometimes I don’t even get back before the show comes on.

But evidently, with all my physical motion, I’m not expending enough energy to burn up the calories I ingest. 

The fact that I can no longer tell if the zipper on my jeans is closed unless I reach down and check in Braille fashion proves that my whirlwind lifestyle isn’t keeping me from padding my upholstery with extra tufting. 

So, I guess it’s time to try the other weight loss option. Eating less. I consider that the opposite of activity … it requires NOT doing things. I must quit moving my hands toward my mouth. 

I must sit and read my book with lips forming silent syllables instead of smacking over snacks. Lie on the couch like a lump and watch TV without reaching into a bowl of popcorn I prop on my hipbone like a window tray at A&W.

Avoiding the inner aisles of supermarkets (where the keep the “good” stuff) will help, though that edited shopping path will decrease the distance I walk, affecting the exercise advantage.

And training my fingers to wrap listlessly around an orange from the produce section instead of mushing my mitts into a couple crème-filled pastries from the “Baker’s Nook” seems more penance than I’ve owed for any sin.

Making choices in life has never been easy for me. But I’ve reached a crossroads that demands decisiveness. Move around more or eat less. What to do.

I already know I won’t stop eating ice cream. Maybe I could tie little quarts of Edy’s Grand Toffee Bar Crunch to my ankles and do spoon-dive toe touches.

Or maybe I’ll take up horseback riding. Not for the exercise; I want to grow a pair of bowed legs that’ll offer up a heap of daylight between my saddlebags. 

Robin Garrison Leach can be contacted at [email protected]

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