Wednesday, March 9, 2011


205.2 lbs. Well, Mr 205 has started begging for forgiveness and keeps saying things like: "Oh I am nothing but water weight really" and "You know I bet that last tiny piece of Key Lime pie won't set you back a bit!" It's all so very sad.

I keep dropping weight because I am able to resist temptation even when the temptation is overwhelming. Last night I went to the Suns game with my friend Lee and let me tell you the smell of fried food and the demonic scent of vanilla flavored Cold Stone ice cream permeates the air of U.S. Airways Arena. It always has; even when it was called America West Arena - us locals just call it the Purple Palace because God only knows what it will be named tomorrow. Anyway, I am pretty sure the simple act of breathing can cause you to gain weight even though it seems you are walking around half the game since the place is ginormous.

Yesterday's game was more interesting than normal because Lee had this crazy contraption on his hand because he had shattered the first joint in his index finger - while playing basketball. Lee was in a whole different world of pain after having had surgery on his shattered finger. I love the guy and I felt so bad for him but Lee's love of the game knows no bounds, he was going to go to the game even if he was a double amputee and had to drag bloody stumps behind him to get to his seat. So we had to be very protective of his fickle finger of fate. He could have just had the finger joint fused and been on the mend quicker but he went the more painful route. Why? So he can play more basketball. You've got to admire the dedication.

I have always loved basketball though I was never really any good at it whatsoever. I played in junior high and would get involved in pick up games when I could. It also seemed that a lot of my friends in life loved the game as well. I remember my friend Chad had the poster of the picture at the top of this post hung on his wall in high school, George "Iceman" Gervin of the San Antonio Spurs sitting on a throne of ice in all his regal glory. Chad and I also loved the song in this post and would blast it out of his green VW Bug as we cruised Douglas in Wichita. I still have such a fondness for Kurtis Blow and those nights in the city.

Once around the summer of 1996, basketball proved to be my weight loss savior. Another friend, named Joe, and I would go to the middle school near his house and play basketball in the afternoon. Anyone who has lived through a Phoenix summer can attest to how foolish this is. 106 degree heat on hot concrete is not ideal pick up game weather. But Joe and I soldiered on and played sometimes upwards of two hours straight. We weren't completely foolish because we always brought a gallon of water each. By the end of each basketball escapade, those gallons would be drunk dry. We did this a lot since we both had jobs that started incredibly early and we were girlfriend-less at the time. But it did mean we could eat pretty much anything we wanted that year and the weight would keep dropping off. As I mentioned before in another post, Joe's eating ability was one for the record books. I was not far behind, I have yet been able to make a binge day match what I was able to choke down in those days.

Another basketball connection that worked for me at the time was "Abs of Steel". I can hear you saying, "What?". Let me explain.

I always thought work out videos were crap and I pretty much still do. They are overpriced, overproduced and monotonous after the 2nd viewing. I once had a drill sergeant in the military who had a side job at an electronics store and he was very fond of the Jane Fonda workout at the time. So, as you can well imagine, he made us do the Jane Fonda workout on the drill pad each day. I do not hate Jane Fonda for her political posturing but I definitely hate her for that stupid freaking workout. Now, I can actually look back and laugh at the fact that there were 150 military men prancing about as if they were in a Monty Python skit.

Having said all that, there was one work out video I did like and it was incredibly effective - "Abs of Steel". I even converted the damn thing from VHS to DVD, I liked it so much. Despite the cover of the thing, there was not some half naked oiled up Adonis goading you to prance about in a homoerotic fashion. Instead, there was a rather smallish normal looking man dressed in a t-shirt and gym shorts guiding you through stages of the short workout. That man was Kurt Brungardt, physical trainer for the San Antonio Spurs. Moreover, the whole thing actually worked without being arcane. Within a month I had cuts (the good kind) that I had never had before. Nothing has worked that well, with so little effort, since. I can't speak to any of the other "of Steel" series, I just know this one was effective and it had a real honest to goodness sports trainer to walk you through the finer points. It was one of the best discount rack buys I have ever made. That $1.97 gamble paid off.

I learned some important things from that tape. As much as I hoped that my $1.97 would turn into pure comedy gold - it just didn't. I think that tape was also responsible for keeping me in relatively good shape up until 2000. Yes, I would forsake the tape for the gym (such a horrible monetary trade if you think about it) but it showed me that you could get results if you actually stuck with something. It was one of the mantras Kurt said on the tape, just do this for a month and you will feel and see the results. Kurt was right. As I hit another burst of workout mania about 6 years ago, I made sure to go back and rediscover the tape. It was not nearly as effective the second time because I was not nearly as motivated. I was nowhere near the 240lb-250lb mark that I was in 1995. Still, sometimes it helps to go back to a time that something worked for you. It means you don't have to start from scratch and you might have already traveled part way down the road without realizing how close you were to your destination in the first place.

There will always be something new to catch your eye, a trend, a diet or a workout but in the end what works for you works for you. As you watch late night cable commercials try to put a new spin on every diet and every piece of cheap exercise equipment that you can find previous variants of at a Goodwill, remember this - the key to your future success might be in your past.

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