The Return of Jethroe the Fitbit

Welcome back, Jethroe!

It’s getting hotter by the minute in old Praha and this means casting aside jeans for some light khakis or linen pants. And so I dug around a drawer that hasn’t been touched since I moved into my new place, and I found a pair. After a trip-up with the cat that almost certainly had to be purposeful, I pulled them on.  

Well, mostly. See, they were tight. Really tight. Oh I could button them, but children and midgets walking against me would possess the very real danger of being plugged in the eye with my button, which could spring out like artillery. Plus the visual result of the pants on me was something akin to an overpacked sausage.

My God. I’d gained weight!

Like any real man, I ran to my mirror in tears. I removed the infracting pants and turned to the left and the right, admiring (uh, I mean, analyzing) my rear end and my belly. There wasn’t a hugely noticeable difference, maybe a little on the belly and it seemed it was business as usual for my butt, on which some naught kids could land a drone helicopter. Otherwise, it wasn’t terrible.

I hate scales. Hate. From what I gather, scales are devices that collect dust under a bed or bathroom sink until its owner either feels there is a good or a bad reason to employ it. They pull it out from its sleeping place like it’s the Kraken, step on it, and then, I can only guess, the majority of humanity lets out a curse word so loud that the scale bitterly weeps. It is a device whose sole purpose is to put its owner into a bad mood. And, no less, it is a thing they paid for. Who exactly talked us into actually spending money on this?

This is why I mostly use pants to gauge my weight losses and gains. If pants are loose and sitting down doesn’t result in the loss of feeling below my waist, then things are OK. If they’re tight and a month ago they weren’t, well then, pants do not lie. And it’s time to act.

And act, I did. I cancelled my day’s appointments, put on a muumuu, laid on the couch, fell into a deep depression, and wept. And then I fell asleep. But when I awoke, I was filled with questions.

I work out five days a week and a good deal of my diet consists of vegetables and fruit. I walk up and down steps and a recent doctor’s visit has suggested that my health is quite good. So in an attempt to explain, I pulled out some oldies but goodies. Winter weight. Too many carbs recently. And (my personal favorite) the pants had been sitting in a drawer for a year and had shrunk.

For almost three months I have lived in a new wonderful flat in Prague 6. If you are a sometimes reader of this blog, then you no doubt have noticed that probably 50% of the last three months’ blogs have been dedicated to extolling the joys of new found convenience. My last place was atop one hill and at the bottom of another one. It was a 10-15 minute walk to any grocery store. And it was 15 minutes to the metro.

My new place is situated the proverbial stone’s throw to a grocery store. And if I stood at that grocery store and threw another stone, I’d hit a supermarket. In my last place, getting a bottle of ketchup involved 30 minutes of walking, now I stumble across the street in my pajamas and if I’m cooking, I leave my stove on.

Additionally, I can see the entrance to the metro from my bedroom window. It’s about a 3 minute walk at most. The tram is about a 5 minute walk.

After I moved flats, a lot of the everyday walking I had done for the last 13 years was cut out of my life. Whether I liked it or not, every workday started with a 15 minute walk, about 2/3 of a mile. And then there was walking through the train station and a park to connect to the tram. By the time I got to my office in the morning I had already walked almost a mile and a half. But now I walk about 5 minutes to a tram that brings me directly to the university. Sometimes I take the metro because that involves a connection and I feel too fidgety to spend 45 minutes sitting still.

In all other ways I am thrilled with my new living situation. But it’s undoubtedly a partial culprit in the expansion of my ass. I know others who have faced similar problems. A friend who’s a biologist used to work in the field most days. He’d have to bundle up in the winter, sweat his ass off in the summer, and deal with poison ivy and sore feet. When he got moved from the field to an office, he traded all of that in for a huge beer belly and much larger belts. Same goes for my brother, who has worked in a warehouse for 20 years where for many of them he spent most days walking and being active, lifting and carrying things. When he got promoted to an office job a few years ago he was elated, until the thirty-five pound weight gain. He has since moved back to the warehouse floor and those thirty-five pounds have disappeared.

Though I continuously work out, my incidental walking has been cut out. Action had to be taken. I dug around boxes and bags from the move until I found an old friend. My Fitbit.

There was a heroic aspect to finding old Jethroe. He’s quite beat up. He doesn’t have legs anymore and he’s a bit scratched up. But when I plugged him in and he started charging, I was overcome with the feeling that I was being joined by a comrade in a fight in which I was getting my chubby ass handed to me.   

On top of Jethroe, I decided that I would reach between 12,500-15,000 steps a day. I developed a walking plan which forced steps into my everyday life rather than heading to a park. And so everyday to attain my step goal, instead of stepping out of my office and getting on a tram, I will walk for thirty minutes (about four tram stops away) before getting on the tram. If I don’t reach my goal then, I will do an hour walk at a park local to my house. On top of four workouts a week, I have added two days of intermittent run-walks.

Oh and if none of that works, I’ll just get another muumuu and let those kids land their helicopters on my butt.

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