The Curse of the Belly Fat

I guess I don’t so much mind being old, as I mind being fat and old.
Benjamin Franklin

I believe it started out like this:

Once upon a time, in a quiet, small town in Canada, a boy lay asleep in his bed. Unbeknownst to him or his family a horrible ogre had slipped into the home and made his way to the boy’s bedroom. The ogre pointed at the sleeping boy with a bulbous finger and uttered a curse:

“Your stomach will grow fat and nothing you do can change that”
Fast forward 40 odd years and that boy now sits cross legged on the floor of his apartment in Japan and curses back at that Ogre, with much less fanfare:
“Screw you”
My battle with the bulge has been constant throughout my life. There have been times – coinciding with abject poverty – that I have been less fat. There have been times when I have been more fat. But there have never been times when I have not been fat. Or at least that is how I see it.
But this is a battle I am determined to not lose. So, over the past 6 months I have taken up arms again.
The problems are these:
  1. I love to eat. Food has always been a source of joy and a source of comfort. A dangerous combination.
  2. I hate sports. I have never enjoyed playing them and come from a time that in high school I actually never had to take PE.
So I have no habits of fitness. I have tried over time to develop one. I did some exercises, but it always peters out.
The thing is I know the answer to my weight problem is simple, and tackles each of my two problems listed above head on
  1. Eat less
  2. Exercise more
Exercise More
On the second count I am doing the following. 3 – 4 times a week I am doing Tony Horton’s P90. NOT the INSANE P90X program, but his older, original one (also called Beach Body, but I can’t bring myself to say that). I just do the fitness side, not the other side which seems to be all about buying supplements, etc.
This program is really good. It’s not TOO difficult, yet difficult enough. To be honest though, after 6 months I am still doing the basic level programs (1 day cardio, 1 day muscle building).
And I have not lost a pound.
That being said I am definitely in better shape and have more muscle (which is perhaps why the weight has not gone down). I can do a lot more pushups (considering 6 months ago I really couldn’t do any) and I can now follow along the whole 30 minutes, doing what I am supposed to do.
Also, in Japan I tend to walk a lot. And also when I am in Germany.
Eat Less
Oh cursed taste buds! Oh cursed yummy Japanese food!
I do try and eat healthy. Contrary to what you might have heard or believe, Japanese food is not always so good for you. Lots of fat, salt and sugar. So you do have to be careful. On the other hand the Japanese seem to all live to be around 100, so they must be doing something right.
And I think that ‘something right’ is like this:
  1. eating lots of variety – they don’t sit down to a single plate of food with 3 things on it. They sit down to a meal of many small dishes (ideally each meal has to have 10 components, perhaps across 5 dishes).
  2. Not so much meat. Meat is a little expensive here, but also it is used as a flavouring, not a feature.
  3. Seaweed. There is seaweed in lots and lots of dishes. Seaweed is full of yummy goodness, according to the internet.
So, combining that with just plain eating less and not snacking I hope will be my path to a thinner me.
Why bother?
I am not huge. Yes, I am fat. The reason I am concerned is that, thanks to the horrible Ogre in Scene 1, my fat is around my stomach. This is the worst place you can have it. That means your vital organs are surrounded by fat. And in case you didn’t know, fat is toxic. It holds all kinds of toxins in your body and guess where they are leaching out to? Yes, those vital organs.
Belly fat is also a pre-cursor to diabetes.
Extreme Decisions!
I could try for an extreme diet. I have friends who have had success with the ‘Ideal Protein’ method. Or becoming vegans.
I just can’t do it. My lifestyle isn’t conducive to it. Being even a vegetarian in Japan is bloody hard. Same goes for where I am in Germany. In the small grocery stores around me in Germany the only vegetables are green, like lettuce and green peppers. I’m not kidding. I don’t have access to a big supermarket or any sort of organic groceries.
So even though I’d like to do that, I just can’t.
And Ideal Protein also isn’t an option as you have to have a consultation with them and they are not anywhere that I am!
I know I am not alone in this battle. I know that many of you were visited by the Belly Fat Ogre.
I wish you success in your struggle.
If you have any tips please let me know in the comments!


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