Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Will Power

My last several weeks have been mostly sedentary.  Not much in the way of exercise beyond the physical therapy requirements which burn some, but not a whole lot, of calories.   One of the short term side benefits of having the surgery was that I dropped about eight pounds that were doing me no good.  In addition to having not my usual voracious appetite I had something called night-sweats. I've had these my whole life whenever my body has experienced some trauma. Fortunately there have been few of these episodes, but when they have occurred I awaken two or three times a night completely drenched in my own perspiration. The bad news is, of course, I am cold until I get dry duds on and the washing machine works overtime.  The good news is that the sweating has therapeutic effects, plus weight flies off of me.  I went into work just before the break, was admired by colleagues for my svelte appearance and besides was able to get into a pair of pants that had, previously, limited my ability to exhale to one breath every hour so.

But I am back to not sweating and my appetite has returned.  Which brings me to this issue that I think is, if not universal, applicable to many.

I decided to take my folders and computer to Panera this afternoon.  A new one opened just about a mile from the house.  Plenty of tables, free wifi. Good coffee and aroma.  I've been here early in the morning and it is better than a library then. Quiet with sippers working on their computers or reading the paper. It is a little more rowdy now, about 330 in the pm.  A group from either Brandeis or Bentley has gathered here to welcome each other back.  And they are loud.  They are entitled. This is, after all, not a library.

Still, even with the noise it is a good place to come and work on projects.  There is no coffee in the libraries at least the ones in my hood.  So, the coffeeshop/bakery is a good place to hang and think.

I digress.  What has spurred this blog post is what happened to me as I approached the counter for my cup.  There staring in front of me was a blueberry scone.  Panera and other establishments of this ilk have taken to doing something that seems to me to be bad business--at least for bakeries. They post the calories of any item you might want to purchase.  I am (I thought) committed to return to my post surgery weight.  It felt good. I looked better. And I like the pants that previously had required no breathing.  So, when I saw that the blueberry scone was 470 calories I was taken aback.  It takes me 45 minutes on the elliptical to burn 500 calories. And I cannot get on the elliptical for that long at this time. Yesterday I went to the gym for the first time since the pipe was placed in my leg.  I was able to do the elliptical for ten minutes.  If it takes 45 minutes to burn 500 calories, then in 10 minutes I burn 112 calories (I have just thanked John Duffus, my tenth grade math teacher, for my ability to make this computation).  This means that if I indeed do go to the gym tonight and spend 10 minutes on the elliptical, this blueberry scone is costing me about 358 calories.

I did not figure this all out while I was standing at the counter, but I knew the scone was trouble generally speaking.  The thing is that the customer before me was taking her sweet time musing about the virtues of pumpernickel or rye and discussing the advantages and disadvantages with her teenage daughter whose kisser all but screamed, "whatever."  Nevertheless the mother had trouble making up her mind. So, I had ample time to just go with the coffee.

But I did not. I am now as of this writing 358 calories in the hole assuming I go the gym tonight. And I could have easily rejected the blueberry scone which, one could see, was glistening with sugar.

So much for the wisdom of a college professor now eligible to collect social security.  Below is a picture of guilty me at Panera post-scone.

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