Seven months ago, my doctor told me I was a plate of bacon and eggs away from having high cholesterol.
He said he could write me a prescription.
I told him taking medicine would be admitting defeat. My resolve to eat right and exercise regularly was pretty low to begin with. Imagine what it’d be if I took his magic cholesterol pill? Instead of weighing 190 pounds and having high cholesterol, I’d weigh 290 pounds and have low cholesterol.
He laughed. He was not laughing with me.
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“Give me six months,” I pleaded. It was late August. He gave me until February.
That night, my wife Bess told me she was canceling my YMCA membership because I’d gone there twice in the past year.
That seemed like a good time to tell her that I now planned to visit the gym five or six times a week.
Bess knows better. She knows I’m a procrastinator. When we were in college, she’d worry about a 10-page paper that was due in a month. When I had a 20-page paper due in eight hours, I’d go shoot pool.
Now married almost 20 years, we were standing in the kitchen talking about a different sort of grading system.
“You can’t procrastinate on this,” Bess said.
“I won’t,” I said.
But then life got crazy. Summer break ended and our four children started school and a bunch of fall activities and I was really busy at work and Bess was busy too. Where was the time to exercise?
In fact, Bess would hand me breakfast and lunch as I raced out the door in the morning and I’d eat the breakfast in the car and the lunch at my desk. And she apparently only had time to prepare the same thing every day: toasted oat cereal for breakfast and turkey on wheat for lunch.
I had time on the weekend for exercise, but football season had started and I have a really nice smoker that can easily accommodate several racks of ribs or four Boston butts or about 20 bratwursts.
Suddenly, it was Thanksgiving and I was enjoying my third helping of cornbread dressing. And then it was Christmas and I was carving the prime rib. And then it was New Year’s and I was... you get the idea.
Then the holidays were over and once again I was grabbing my breakfast and my lunch and sprinting out the door.
And then I got the call. It was my from the doctor’s office, reminding me not to eat anything the next morning. Because I had an appointment.
To give blood. So the lab could check my cholesterol.
Holy Bob Evans! I hadn’t exercised a single time in six months and I’d probably eaten my weight in pork barbecue.
A week later, Doc burst into the examining room.
“What have you been doing the last six months?” he asked.
“Sitting on the couch eating pork products,” I said.
He scratched his head. Seems my bad cholesterol had dropped 30 points.
When I got out of there, I called Bess.
“You’re getting prepped for a triple bypass,” she said.
Nope. I told her my number, and it was no longer triple digits.
“And I haven’t done a single healthy thing in the past six months,” I said.
She thought for a minute.
“Except eat Cheerio’s every morning,” she said. “And...”
“And a turkey on wheat at every lunch!” I finished.
“Who loves ya?” she asked.
Who loves me is right.