My doctor has a deft machine called a “Human Body Composition Analyzer.” It is a technological wonder whereby the patient stands on special foot plates while taking in each hand what is essentially a digital ski pole. In these plates and poles are copious electronic transmitters that radiate ultrasonic waves through the patient’s hands and feet.
When the scan is complete, the analyzer reports to the patient exactly what he or she is made of; this machine measures what percentage of the body is water; what percentage is lean, fit muscle; and what percentage of the body is nothing but heart-smothering, artery-clogging fat.
After my recent experience with this device, it spit out my numbers and I was aghast. I protested. Vigorously. “That can’t be right,” I said. “Last time I had a similar test it was much better. I can’t be in the old-old-fat-man category!”
So my doctor, sympathetically, ruminated a moment. Then he asked, “When was that last analysis taken?” I stumbled around a moment and finally said, “Not that long ago. It was when I was 28.” The good doctor flipped a few pages in my medical record and said, “That was 15 years ago.”
Doing the math oh so easily, it became apparent that I had gained only one pound – only a single, solitary pound – but I had gained that pound every year for 15 years. Apparently, a pound a year over a decade and a half is enough to turn a lean, muscular twenty-something into a soft, lardy forty-something.
The change in my body – like most change – wasn’t immediate. I didn’t go to sleep one night, with the body of an athlete, and wake up the next morning resembling something like a nicely marbled piece of veal. Change occurs incrementally, step by tiny step (No doubt, losing those 15 pounds will occur gradually as well, but hopefully they will fall away quicker than they arrived).