Love Handles: Chapter Six

3.27.2005

By Bob Merrick

Out.com is proud to present the wacky and wild (and absolutely true'although some names have been changed to protect the guilty) adventures of a 30-year-old guy in Hollywood who just wants to lose a few (dozen) pounds. And find eternal happiness and fulfillment. Is that too much to ask?

Part Six: Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

I am three and a half months into whatever you want to call this diet/emotional journey/weight loss program/maddening experience, and apparently the only thing I am losing is my mind. Every morning before I step into the shower, I step on my scale. Everything that I have read regarding successful dieting says, 'You should only weigh yourself once a week because your water weight fluctuates from day to day and it is easy to get frustrated.' Frustrated is an understatement. I check every morning and it hasn't changed. It reads 270 pounds. I have to stand on one leg to get it to read 269. So I threw my scale away. I carried it under my arm and dropped it into the trash can as I left for work the other morning.

In the afternoon, I was feeling so disgruntled that I just wanted to order a pizza and call the whole thing off. The last thing I wanted to do was work out with my brain saying, 'What's the point? Two hours on the treadmill and you will still be fat!' But I forced myself after work, and made it to the gym where I met up with my workout partner and friend, Kyle. 'I don't understand,' I vented to him. 'I am going to the gym at least four days a week and the only sinful dessert I have had was a slice of birthday cake on January 28th. I'm even experiencing sobriety for the first time since I was 21. My fat should be melting away!'

Kyle smiled smugly and said, 'Muscle weighs more than fat, and you just need to be patient.' Kyle has been working out with me for the last two months. When he found out I was embarking on this mission, he signed up to join me immediately, because about five years ago, he went through the same thing. After a childhood of being heavy, he got fed up and started eating healthily and making exercise a part of his life. He lost 80 pounds and is now the kind of guy who walks into a room and people swoon. Most days I find it inspiring, but on this particular day I wanted to throw the 25-pound weight I was lifting at his face.

As I was raising the dumbbell, he added, 'I do have an idea, though. I have been doing a lot of research on colonics and they're supposed to really help clear out your toxins and help your body process your food better. I have also heard that you lose weight immediately.' My hostility evaporated and I instantly contemplated running home and hooking up my garden hose. Instead, I waited and made an appointment the following morning.

I was surprised to find out that even my most open-minded friends were grossed out by the idea of having their bowels irrigated. It made finding a recommendation on a clinic all but impossible. I researched a few places and found one in the Valley that looked clean and upscale. I arrived there first thing on Saturday morning, hoping for a miracle and dreading the embarrassment.

There is one place I feel comfortable being nude: my shower. When the 70-year-old male therapist asked me to disrobe and lie with my ass toward him, I felt like a cat getting a bath. After he had a couple of missed attempts at finding the insertion point with the tube that was to go inside me, I realized his vision wasn't that great and I probably shouldn't feel so self-conscious about the activities going on in my caboose. He had warned me in advance that when it finally went in, it would be the most uncomfortable part of the process. When it happened, I found myself holding back a smile because I wanted to tell him, 'Aw, that was kid's stuff.'

While I was lying on my side, he made sure to tell me about his wife, which I found a relief since the exposed position I was in made me feel obliged to ask him to dinner. He also explained the benefits of a colonic and how a colon works. In a nutshell, there are receptors in the colon that remove nutrients from food. Like an old pipe, the receptors get clogged with sludge and absorb less and less over time. The way he kept referring to my insides as steel pipes made me fear that Drano would possibly be involved.

The first time he filled me with water, I thought I was going to burst like an over-inflated tire. The water temperature was cooler than my body's, so I could feel the water snaking its way through me. My insides slowly filled like a water balloon and I could feel my stomach growing taut. It is very rare that you get to feel your insides at work. He filled and flushed me three more times.

Rumor has it that if you have the recommended three colonics in the first week, that eventually all of the keys you swallowed as a child and the Barbie doll head you ate so your mother couldn't take it away all get removed. Most people are obsessed with watching everything as it comes out, but I had to look away, because the mortification was too much to bear. I closed my eyes and pretended I was at a spa getting a very uncomfortable stomach massage.

When it was over, I expected to feel radiant and perhaps a bit closer to God. I also silently prayed he had sucked out 50 pounds of fat while he was up there'or at least that this would help me hurdle past this weight-loss plateau I seemed to have reached so early. As I was dressing, I noticed they had a scale in the room. I couldn't resist climbing on it, especially knowing I no longer had one at home.

The only good news is that I didn't have to stand on one leg to hit 269, but I did find myself fighting temptation to throw their scale out the window. I walked away a little disappointed and not eager to commit to the other two treatments. I have definitely felt a little better the last few days'my skin feels better and my body feels a little hungrier for exercise'but I don't feel that it has changed my life in the ways that I was hoping.

Since my current regime seems to be frustrating me instead of motivating me, I decided that I would track my progress differently and free myself from my scale addiction. I went to 24 Hour Fitness and had them measure my body fat, because, in spite of the numbers, I know I am looking and feeling better, which ultimately is what this is all about. When the trainer at the gym finished his calculation, I could see the fear in his eyes at having to tell me the news. 30.8% of my body is fat. Every chart on the Internet rates anything higher than 25% as obese. When he asked me how I felt about that, I surprised even myself with the answer.

I told him, 'I think that if I had received that number three months ago, I would have felt hopeless. But since I know that I have already lost 25 pounds and I'm well into my routine, I am going to assume that number started higher and is on its way to shrinking.' I also told him I would be checking in with him once a month to see how I am doing, since it is a more accurate way to measure my success.

I'm still on the fence about trying another colonic. Maybe I have to have the second and third ones to have that conversation with God, but in the meantime, it's a bonus to know that if someone thinks I am telling a tall tale, I can counter them assuredly that I am not full of shit.

To read part five click here.

To read part four click here.

To read part three click here.

To read part two click here.

To read part one click here.

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