Sunday, December 26, 2010

Doing with less

The first thing one usually does when confronted with news like cancer is to spiral into a confusing array of emotions. Soon enough, however, the sane individual slows down the pace and begins to recognize that this is the verdict that comes for all of us at various times in our lives. With that, a kind of peace comes—except when it comes to my daily wine!

Weeks before I found out about my prostate cancer, I had grown tired of my puffy paunch. I know it’s a sign of aging, but I also know that it doesn’t have to be.  I decided to shed some extra weight. The decision was confirmed as a good one on the day in late October that I went to see my GP for a PSA blood test. I weighed in that day at 180 pounds. Even after I subtracted the five pounds my shoes, clothing and pocket change must have registered (for some reason, the medical profession seems to have done away with stripped down weigh-ins) 175 pounds was an all time record for me, and for my frame, it is 20 pounds more than I should be carrying.

In November, I embarked on a weight loss campaign, which was quite simple: I calculated the calories I took in each day from wine and decided to cut them in half. At an average bottle a day, that meant about 450 calories daily out of my diet—more than 3000 calories fewer each week. I figured that I had to lose weight.

I was right: in eight weeks, I shed nine pounds. Last week at the oncologist’s office, I weighed in at 171 (with boots and clothes, etc. that’s about 166). As a bonus, I’m saving a little money, too, what with buying fewer cases of wine (I always buy by the case; it’s stupid not to, as it is the least expensive way to buy wine).

The paunch is retracting and just in time, too. I’m told that along with potential hot flashes, the testosterone-reducing shot I am about to get might cause my muscles to turn to fat and so I must be extra diligent about maintaining weight and tone.

My problem now is this: having cut back to a minuscule half bottle of wine a day, that avenue of cutting back is closed to me. I’ll have to come up with one or two new directions—maybe have to cut some foods out or increase exercise.

For many years, I’ve walked no fewer than two miles each day—often more. It looks like I shall have to get the bicycle re-conditioned and get back on it and add some miles that way. Of course, I can’t do that right now, as we yet again are in the grip of a global climate change nasty cold winter in the Northeast.

Come to think of it, I have more than one problem. The expense of co-pay insurance is already eating into my wine budget. That has meant a dumbing down of my wine selections. But I am lucky in one way. I am more focused on perusing the wine shelves and have been truly surprised by the volume of solid, decent wines from Europe at reasonable prices.

I find that wines produced on this side of the pond at low prices often do not measure up to the wines of Europe at comparable prices. I wonder why that is the case.

It’s been hard, I admit it, but each evening I savor the no more than three glasses of wine that I allow myself. It makes each sip taste even better!

Copyright Thomas Pellechia
December 2010. All rights reserved.

Lifting a blog entry without the author's permission (and without recompense) is a copyright infringement--period.


  1. I am glad to hear of your good news.

    I have a bit more than a paunch and it's winter. One of the ways I could cut down on food and wine is to make shitty awful food or suck frozen TV dinners through a straw and drink Yellowtail. This would work weight wise. But I cannot do that. So the struggle continues.

  2. Perish those thoughts, Marco. One can eat well and lose or maintain weight--one just needs to figure out how!

    Had a yen for chocolate today, which I fed on in truly small dose, and I like only the unsweetened kind, so even fewer calories per bite...

  3. My sympathies on the Northeast weather. I can but complain of a drenching here in Napa. (Sandbags being filled tonight! Flash flooding announcements running all day.)

    As for less wine, more exercise, I have become a devotee of CrossFit. I hated gym in school, but it's a lot like it. LOL ...What's different now is it's a lot of fun, always different every day, and the weight training has done wonders for muscle-tone and strength.

    If exercise isnt' fun, you're unlikely to stick to it. So keep searching for what inspires you (besides the wine). No Yellowtail. Perish the thought.

  4. I tasted Yellow Tail once--as the saying goes: once is enough.

  5. We could all do with watching our diets a bit more, whether faced with a health dilemma or not. But I do believe stress is worse for your health than maybe a slight over excess in the chocolate department. You do not need to be stressed right more chocolate!

  6. Vinogirl,

    Truth be told, with the exception of probably too much meat, I've maintained a good diet most of my adult life--grow much of our own produce here, too.

    Stress, however, has not been foreign to me and I agree with you; it is the worse thing for us. I used to do breathing exercises to reduce stress, and I will get back to them here in my dotage!

    I must say that the combination of our nearly criminal health insurance system plus our Balkanized health care system makes it difficult to accomplish a stress free progression through treatment.

    As for chocolate: I love the baker's chocolate that has no added sugar, but then I'm a glutton for puckering...