By Joe Rector

The holiday season took a toll on me. I’ve never been good at refusing sweets and other items that appear on kitchen the table. Holiday meals are times when I overeat, and not doing so is hard when everything smells and tastes so much better than at other times of the year. As a result, the pounds have piled on, and my goal is to lose them before warm weather returns. It seems as if this is a never-ending battle.

Even as a child, I was “healthy.” Mother cooked plenty of food, and since I never wanted to hurt her feelings, I dutifully ate the fried chicken and biscuits and pancakes and pies. Before long, my body ballooned. My appetite grew ever stronger, and I kept cramming stuff in my mouth at meals and in between. My brother Jim developed a case of hepatitis in elementary school. Mother took us both to the doctor to make sure I didn’t have the illness too. The doctor looked at Jim, gave him medicine and prepared a B-12 shot because he knew Jim would lose weight as his appetite ebbed. He looked at me and told Mother, “This one needs to go on a diet.” How ironic that one twin was going to be too thin and the other was too fat.

Some of the weight disappeared while I was in high school, but not enough to make much of a difference. At the beginning of my senior year, I began my own diet. Each day for lunch, I ate a peanut butter, mayonnaise, and mustard sandwich. The rest of the time I substituted food with a coke and a cigarette. In no time, I’d dropped 30 pounds and several inches from my waist.

During college I managed to keep the weight off. Of course, a steady diet of bologna sandwiches helped. My sister-in-law cooked meals for me several times of week, but the walking across campus to classes provided plenty of exercise to burn those calories.

Marriage put some pounds on my frame. I weighed 145 when Amy and I said our “I do’s,’ and before I could blink my eyes, 10 pounds jumped on me. That was all right since it didn’t add to my waist size. However, as the years went along, I gained weight in the cold months, only to lose it when summer arrived.

With each successive year, the losing of extra pounds became harder. I discovered that more hours of work in the yard or on some project were required to melt the weight. At one point, I left the teaching profession for about 3 years. I sat in the car traveling to accounts or sat in an office and called clients all day. Before long, I looked as if someone had stuck an air hose in me and overfilled my body.

Not long ago, I worked at a job three days a week. During those days, I averaged between 10-12 miles of walking. I could eat anything I wanted and never had to worry about gaining an ounce.

It’s been several months since I worked at the place. Now, I do some walking, but much of the time, I sit in a classroom and watch students. That sedentary lifestyle allows the pounds to once again pile on. My clothes feel tight, and lethargy, aching hips, and creaking ankles only make exercising more difficult.

I’m back on the Weight Watcher diet. It works as well as anything I’ve ever tried, and I like being in control of what I eat. I hope that by spring I will have once again lost the extra weight. One things for sure: I feel like a yo-yo with these gains and losses.