Arlo Mudgett: Squeezing the most out of a hidden benefit

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I've been taking medication to reduce the frequency of migraine headaches and it has been quite effective. It has had some side effects, but we've adjusted the dosage and I seem to be tolerating it much better, and it remains effective. The unexpected thing is that it has caused a greatly reduced appetite. I just don't feel like eating as much.

As a result of the reduced appetite, I have dropped about 18 pounds. My blood pressure is now at teenager levels. I'm still overweight, but in my own estimation, not that bad. I figure that if I lose another 9 or 10 pounds I'll be at an ideal weight for me. I've lost more in the past, and I looked as if I were starving to death or having serious health issues. I didn't feel good, either. So now I'd like to lose 10 more pounds and call it good. This from a guy that spent his first 30 years on the skinny side.

When I was 27 I noticed a bit of a gut. Yeah, it looked like a beer gut, but I don't drink. I attributed it to my discovery of bagels and cream cheese at a local deli. Come to find out it was my time to have a slow down of my metabolism. That was the beginning of a very slow but inexorable march up the scale. Within 30 more years, I reached a peak and it wasn't pretty.

I can recall being taken to the Ellsworth Clinic in Chester as a four-year-old because my mother was concerned about my skinny little physique. She was assured by the doctor that I was just a scrawny kid and I was perfectly fine. The scrawny kid thing stayed right through high school and beyond. I remember visiting my childhood friend Roger one day at his Chester home and he remarked that no one was gonna call me scrawny anymore. It was a sobering moment. I was in my late 30s at the time. My ribs had stopped showing through some years before that.

The thing about growing up skinny is that you take that mindset well into adulthood, long after any semblance of thin is gone. I probably walked around for a good six or seven years thinking I was svelte when in fact my weight for my height and age was definitely in the "obese" range.

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A couple of people who really wanted to insult me called me fat ... well, they added some expletives along with that, and I thought it was funny. Come to find out it was no joke. I have now spent as much of my life overweight as I have underweight. One extreme to another. Here's the thing: If I cared all that much about it I would have had issues with it, but I haven't. The only reason it shows up on my radar nowadays is that excess weight can multiply health issues as we age. I don't really want that. I figure if I'm not going to be wealthy in my old age I might as well try to be as healthy as possible.

So now I've been inadvertently handed a very easy solution to being somewhat overweight and I'd like to take advantage of it. If I can somehow level off the weight loss at my desired goal and maintain that, I have a rare opportunity to keep my good health for a longer period of time than I could have expected had I done nothing. In a life where I have gotten very few breaks or stretches of good fortune, I'll take it. But it could have a price.

Like having to buy a bunch of pants with smaller waist size and corresponding belts. I'm already feeling like I'm swimming in some of my clothing. I don't like buying clothes. If I could wear the same thing day after day I'd be perfectly happy, but life doesn't work like that. Every so often you have to reluctantly go out and buy something new.

I have shirts that I purchased in the last millennium that are just fine. I've gotten 20 years out of some shoes. Seriously.

So I'm trying very hard to squeeze the most out of this hidden benefit. Yes, it is one of those situations where I was handed lemons and fell into a vat of lemonade, and to find out that its low-calorie lemonade is fat-free icing on the cake. I'll do my best to make it work.

Arlo Mudgett's Morning Almanac has been heard over multiple radio stations in Vermont for nearly 30 years, and can be tuned in at 92.7 WKVT Monday through Saturday mornings at 8:35 a.m. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.


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