Is it a coincidence that those ominous 3-letters kickoff one of the ugliest 4-letter words in the English language?  I submit it is not. I believe the word 'diet' is a term derived from the combination of the words 'die' and 'dammit'.

They say to love life is to embrace its offerings and revel in its gifts.  One of my greatest joys in life is to enjoy a delicious meal of flavors comfortingly familiar and excitingly new.  Yet the irony is, many people who are food lovers, life lovers, and lovers of drink and mirth, like myself, often find out that such a lifestyle can and will kill them. 

Enjoying Life = Risking Life

What the hell kind of joke is that?  Obviously anything in excess is a bad thing.  Anything: Food, drink, work, play, religion, logic, risk, caution, structure, spontaneity.  You name it, it's all bad in excess.  Except drugs I think, I'm pretty sure they're ok across the board.  But for arguments sake, let's say that even drugs, in excess, are a bad thing.  How is it that something so intrinsic and necessary for life, like eating, can often be so bad for you?  I know, I know - A lot of it has to do with WHAT you're eating (leave aside the excess part for now).  Yeah, I understand that a hot dog, delicious as it is mysterious, is not exactly an organic product and should be approached with caution.  Throw in a few chemicals, a few poisons, and a handful of rat feces into anything and suddenly it's hard to come up with too many arguments supporting its merits as one of life's treasures.  Make no mistake, a hotdog is a treasure...a salty, feces-riddled treasure.  But I'm not so naive to ignore that Enjoying a Hot Dog = Risking Life.

But let's look at a more natural ingredient: Butter.
Few ingredients are regarded with this level of fear and decadence. 
"Oh my god....this is so good, it's like butter!"
"What, did you use a whole stick of butter?"
"The only thing that would make this better is if we were slathered with butter!".

What is butter but simply churned milk.  Milk!  What's more natural than milk?  A baby's first staple meal...mother's milk.  (Although, I'll be the first to admit that the thought of churning breast milk into butter is revolting...on so many levels).  Throughout childhood, milk remains a staple.  "Drink your milk!".  That was pretty much the only option in the cafeteria when I was in school.  I'm sure that's changed by now...but that was it, then.  Whole milk or skim milk.  'I'll take the red-labeled whole milk carton please, and leave the nasty blue-labeled skim milk for the teachers and weird kids with allergies and general social awkwardness'.  Of course, now I play for the Blue Team.  But throughout childhood, the benefits of milk were pushed down your throat.  The calcium.  Gotta get your calcium.  But butter, which is simply a concentrated form of milk, is EVIL.  Sure, they've added some salt to it, but there are plenty of things with salt or sodium in it that aren't as reviled, or more accurately, guilt-inducing than butter.  Now I'm not trying to deny that butter is in fact bad for you (in excess).  I just don't get it.  It seems unfair to me.  Again - Eating is one of life's most instinctual and necessary functions.  The fact that such a staple food product can be so bad for you seems ludicrous.

"No!!! Stay away from butter!!!!  Here, we've created a butter substitute using oils and chemicals that's much better for you". 
Phew! That was close.

But then I love the hypocrisy of the over-protective parent, or health nut who goes to the movies and orders popcorn only to ask "Is that real butter?  I don't just want flavored oil".  Oh really, your body is a temple so you want butter?  Make up your mind world, is butter good or bad?  Is margarine, Parkay, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, Olio, etc. a substitute of evil, or another evil substitute?  What I'm trying to say it, it doesn't make any goddamn sense.

"But that's just because it's an animal bi-product.  Animal bi-products are never good for you.  If you want a healthy heart and low blood-pressure you have to focus on fruits & vegetables and all natural ingredients". 
Oh really? One word: COFFEE.  Thank you - Shut your mouth.

Anyway - I write about all of this today because I have to go on a die dammit.  For a number of reasons.  First, but not foremost, I am over-weight. There's no two ways about it.  I haven't weighed myself recently, because the last time I tried the scale broke....thank you, I'll be here all week.  No seriously, the last time I weighed myself, which was a couple months ago, I want to say that I was 235 pounds.  Well...not that I want to say that.  Nobody wants to say they're 235 lbs, except maybe the human Volkswagons on The Biggest Loser.  But for lack of any more updated info, let's say I'm 235 lbs.  That's way too fat.  Unless there's some new study I missed about the benefits of Guitar Hero and peanut M&Ms.  But assuming I haven't, let's assume I'm still in the fat neighborhood. 

The other, and more pressing reason that I have to lose weight is because my blood pressure is awful.  AWFUL.  I was sick last week and went to the doctor to get some antibiotics, and while there I had my BP checked and the first time it was 150/110.  I don't know what these numbers mean exactly, but I'm learning that they suck.  I had to go back to the doctor for some more meds a week later and my BP that time was 160/115.  This was bad enough to have the doctor give me an EKG and blood tests.  And I think he even put a mirror under my nose at one point to see if I was still alive.  I found this to be of questionable taste and borderline unprofessional. 

So these results, and his honest reactions, made me quite nervous.  All the other tests came out fine.  My cholesterol is fine, the other things he checked for were right on point.  The EKG showed good liver and kidney functions.  It all came back to the elevated blood pressure.  And, in my defense, I'm currently a little stressed out since my November unemployment-status, and had 2 cups of coffee (and nothing else) before going to his office...not knowing that my ticker would be under such scrutiny once I got there.

"So what are the causes of high blood-pressure?", I asked the doctor.
He went on to explain that it can be a combination of a few things, including a bad diet, lack of exercise, and genetics (i.e. family background).

Well, to be perfectly honest, I really don't eat that bad.  I keep away from high-sodium foods, I make good balanced dinners, and I'm not a big sweets guy.  I'm not a saint, but I would hardly make an example out of my eating habits.  I have small breakfasts, if I eat breakfast at all ("But it's the most important...", please - shut up).  Although it's not uncommon for me to have bacon and eggs on the weekends.  And a day doesn't go by that I don't have a cup of coffee or two.  And I often skip lunch, or will eat something small, but not overly healthy (leftovers or sandwich typically).  So I really don't think my eating habits are the culprit.  They're not without fault....but let he without fault cast the first hot dog.

Exercise?  Now we're talking.  I've been, for lack of a better word, stationary for quite some time.  About a year and a half ago I was intent on losing weight because I was in a competition with friends.  A competition that I won (but have yet to receive my winnings....don't think I've forgotten). Anyway, I get bored working out.  I stopped going to the gym near us because trying to find parking at the hour that I would get home was infuriating (that's right - no parking lot in an over-populated area = parking wars...and a good excuse not to workout), and, more than anything else, I'm generally a lazy person.  Judge if you must.....but honesty must count for something.  But in all seriousness, there's no reason that I shouldn't be doing more in the exercise department.  I have plenty of excuses, and some are even legitimate, but I also have the love handles that dismiss any legitimacy of these excuses.

And so finally we come to genetics.  A-HA!
Basically, if the limbs of my family tree were arteries, they would be clogged with sap.  The medical background of my family is one fraught with heart disease, high blood pressure, and general cardiatric shittiness.  A venerable Broken Hearts club.  From grandparents to parents to aunts to uncles, I have many examples of faulty, high-maintenance tickers.  Some kids are lucky enough to inherit cool old cars, vacation homes, stock holdings, or trust funds.  I've inherited the likelihood of a shortened life-span, should my most vital of organs go unchecked.

So because of this shitty hand-me-down, existing warning signs, and a lifelong adoration of the almighty hot dog, I have set-up an appointment to meet with a cardiologist tomorrow to start getting everything back to a healthy balance.  I'm sure this visit will lead to the prescription of medication that I will likely be on for the rest of my life, the recommendation to start exercising and losing some weight, and if I play my cards right, I'll get an early enough start so I can make it to this great hot dog place I know of in the area for lunch.  Either way, it should be an interesting day.

I plan on using this Blahg! as a forum to keep track of my (hopefully) improving blood pressure levels and decreasing fat-assedness. 

So for record keeping purposes:
January 25, 2010
Weight: 235 lbs
Blood Pressure: 150/110 (Let's agree to consider the 160/115 a false, or isolated high)

But to be perfectly honest I am a stubborn person by nature, and resentful of having to cut things out of my life that I get real enjoyment out of (I'm looking at you bratwurst), and I don't believe that I will ever cut anything out of my diet completely.  I'll absolutely cut down on stuff, and minimize treating myself to things too often.  But, I believe it was Gandhi who said "I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints".

So wish me luck as I enter into the World of Cardiology, and do what I can to not die.....dammit.

Until later,
Blah Blah Blahg!
Lindsey's Side Piece
1/25/2010 09:58:58 pm

235??? Lies. Are you owed a cash payment for winning that contest?

1/25/2010 09:59:45 pm

Yes, I am one of those health nuts that ask for "no butter please" on their popcorn. Matt had high cholesteral a few years ago and was able to get it down to normal with just diet and exercise. Good luck! You can do it!

Lisa Piccolo
1/26/2010 02:30:04 am

OK - you need to submit the things you "blah, blah" about to a magazine or newspaper - you really have an incredible talent for writing - who knew ???? So - get off of your 235lb ass, and get these submitted somewhere - xoxoxo

1/26/2010 05:52:12 am

Bill I know how you feel about the weight thing, genetics can be a bummer ...especially when you have slim siblings!!!

1/26/2010 09:26:04 am

Yeah--Adam forwarded me your blahg (I'm glad you are using the authentic German spelling--ach tung). Why wasn't I on the list??
Anyway, welcome to middle age. And I thought NATE was the premature baby! (Did I say baby??)
Hopefully, you'll just lose flab and not your mind (although it wouldn't take as long).
Hey---maybe your blahg will be turned into a movie like Julie and Julia (which is one you shouldn't see while you are trying to ignore FOOD) Good luck.
Learn to love peeled carrots...........

1/26/2010 10:36:43 pm

Hey Bill,

I agree with all on here that the writing is very good, even if the blood pressure is not. And as for Sharon's post I can't help but thinking that she could have left off the words "while you are trying to ignore FOOD" and I would have been fine with that.


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