By DAVID GREEN
My wife and I are in a battle of epic proportions—epic as in sharing an entire pint carton of ice cream at one sitting. But it's much heavier than that.
Colleen recently gave me a hard time about being too skinny. She does that from time to time. She says I need cancer weight—a few extra pounds to burn while recovering from cancer so I'm not just eating up my body.
No, I don't have cancer that I'm aware of. She's just taking precautions. Preparing for the worst. Be ready to face the beast with a good-sized belly.
I never agree with her too-skinny assessment. I seem to hang out at the same weight, give or take two or three pounds, so by my assessment, I'm at my ideal weight. There's no great reason to change, other than her cancer belly.
I'm a little above my weight as Morenci's 140-pound fullback in 1967, but I know that I grew some after that era. I have a memory of approaching 160 pounds sometime in my past, but I'm not really sure of that. It was probably a weigh-in fully dressed and wearing some kind of boots to boot. More recently I hung around 150, but again, that was with clothing.
One day Colleen announced the contest: I would try to grow to 150 pounds before she shrunk to 140. The competition got off to a quiet start without much discussion. Now and then one of us would send a simple text to the other: 145.3, for example. When I started to climb, she would accuse me of not being naked on the scale. I was offended. I had very tight controls on my half of the contest. I don't know what she does, but my weigh-in always preceded a morning shower, following two glasses of water and the elimination of anything that was ready to leave the body. No variation.
It went on for two or three weeks when I concluded that it would end in a draw. I moved up and down around the 145 mark while she—well, let's say we would make great teeter-totter partners. It would be a long process of minor up-and-down variation and no one would win.
We were out of town one weekend when Colleen saw a display of Three Twins ice cream, a variety that she enjoyed on a recent trip to California. In her mind, this was really good stuff so she decided we should split a pint. I didn't need much convincing. It seemed like a good treat, even knowing that we had to finish it all off since we were on the road. And besides, I had the contest in mind. This looked like something that would give me the boost I needed.
It wasn't what I expected, but I was into the 146 range for a couple of days. Unfortunately, it seemed to have little effect on her, and I soon dropped back down.
I started adding a spoonful of almond butter to my oatmeal, along with some pecans. I began eating a dozen lamb's quarter leaves from the compost pit every morning.
And then came the magical day. It was the following weekend when, lo and behold, we were in another town where Three Twins was sold. We did it again, and Colleen said that she wasn't all that hungry so I was mostly doing two spoonsful to her one. I looked forward to standing on the scale Monday morning, but only found puzzling disappointment as I was in the upper 145s. But the following morning I reached a modern-day record of 147.2.
"It's like the ice cream needed an extra day to take effect," I wrote in an expanded text. "I thought we would end in a draw, but now victory is in sight."
"Ha ha!" she answered. "I often say that it is not 'eat it today, wear it tomorrow;' it's 'eat it today, wear it the day after tomorrow.'"
But the next day brought a hectic schedule and rushed eating. The following day was even worse. By Friday morning I was back in the 143 range and so was she. I knew I would rise again, but I also knew I wasn't going to win. We were back to a long-range tie.
My only advantage—and I'm going to use it if threatened—is that I can control her weight by suggesting that we go out to dinner more often or take a trip to Ann Arbor.
In that case, she's going to win by losing. I might get the Family Weight Challenge title; she gets me to spend more time in restaurants.