I Want to Gain 20 Pounds, and I Need Your Help

UNDERWEIGHT.

That’s the area of the chart you start getting to when you are 6-foot-2, 145 pounds. Well technically the chart only goes by units of 10 pounds, which makes 6-foot-2, 140 pound into the “underweight zone.”

jack-skellington

A file photo of the author.

But still! Five pounds is too close for comfort.

For as long as I can remember, I have been below average weight. It’s not really a big deal when you’re in elementary and middle school, especially in America where the far more pressing concern is that of childhood obesity, not of childhood emaciation. Especially for boys.

Then high school and college come, and testosterone and everything else you learned in health class. The guys got bigger and I only appeared more and more Jack Skellington-esque. When I started to buy grown-up clothes, everything from shirts to pants to outerwear was designed for a much wider America. Nothing I purchased fit me, and it still doesn’t.

It’s not just clothes, though. Even in the Year of Our Lord 2015, we tend to toss around the term “body image issues” much more with women than with men.

james-too-thin

An actual file photo of the author.

There is statistical backing to this: Women can be 10 times more likely to have body image concerns. And it runs on both ends of the scale. If I tell you I just talked to someone who has anorexia or someone who has bulimia, do you picture a girl or a guy?

The numbers don’t change the fact that I am a man (jealous?) and I have poor body image. That opinion of myself does not run my life; I am generally happy and grateful and positive about my lot. And I should be. Still, the best time for self-improvement comes when you are pleased but are not satisfied.

Furthermore, I am starting to enter the territory of a health risk. Just a few months ago, I was anywhere from 152 to 155 pounds day-to-day. But a combination of illness and appetite problems (about which I am starting to speak with my physician) have dropped me down to 145, my lowest number in years.

I am not satisfied with my weight, and my goal is to gain 20 pounds.

Take a peek at the Body Mass Index (BMI) chart from the smart folks at Harvard:

bmi-chart

At 6’2″ and 145 pounds, I am at 18.5 BMI and right on that cusp of blue numbers that mean “underweight.” At 165 pounds, I bump up to a 21.5 BMI, blessedly in the middle of the healthy weight zone.

If you remember my Write Every Day For A Year goal, you know that my ability to achieve goals is very much in the “easier said than done” category. But we all fail at goals sometimes, eh?

Here’s the plan:

  • Follow my physician’s orders. I just talked with the Doc today, and I will be following his advice on my road to optimal poundage. Never take on big changes with your health unless talking to a doctor (and not one who went to Hollywood Upstairs Medical College.
  • Blood testing. One of the doctor’s orders when I told him that my appetite has not been as strong: order some blood tests. There is some history of thyroid problems in my family, and perhaps that is part of the issue of why I don’t feel as hungry as I once did. We’ll see!
  • Eat your three squares. This may be simple for some of you, but my last five years have taken me out of the Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner habit, even when I had a meal plan and a dining hall downstairs. Blame the strange college schedule. As much as I love sleeping in, I have to force myself to wake up in the morning and start eating breakfast every day to put myself on a proper eating schedule.
  • Strap on the sneakers. I have never been the gym-going type. I loathe treadmills and ellipticals and the activities that I must do on them. But per the Doc: getting my exercise will make me hungry more often than I have been. Get the heart rate up with some tennis and basketball. Hit the weights some to help with body image. I don’t have grand plans, but I need to get out there with the Reeboks.
  • Eat! Eat! Eat! Now this is the fun part where you all get jealous of me. All aboard the Train to Caloriesville! Five Guys? Make it Six Guys! Carbs? Let me at ’em! Dessert? Just leave the cart under my nose! But I also don’t want Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. to repossess my car, so I’ll have to follow Gabe Kapler’s advice on buying and preparing proteins at home. Either way, all you friends will be getting Snapchat pictures of my large meals.

And this is where y’all come in. Like Drew Magary has, I will be intermittently tweeting out my weight. Please encourage me when I am moving upward and PUBLICLY SHAME ME if I fall closer to 140 (pounds, not characters).

In America, trying to add 14 percent weight gain is… let’s say unorthodox. But this is important for me, for my identity, for my girl, for my health.

Help me gain 20 pounds, and let’s have some fun along the way.

james-santelli-duffman

The goal is to be Duffman. Let’s do it.

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