Better Than Atkins

Monday, May 18th, 2009, 10:22 am

I had a plan, you see. I wanted to drop a few pounds before the 7-week WSOP grind and I wanted to deal with a few of the nagging aches and pains that’ve plagued me lately. So about six weeks ago I stopped playing volleyball (ending the crushing punishment to my hips and knees) and ramped up the aerobic exercise and stretching. I started really watching what I eat and even cut down on my beer consumption.

But the Penguins, bless ’em, made the playoffs and then kept on winning, which meant that every other night my friends and I gathered at a bar to watch the game and consume wings and pizza and suds. Some nights I did a good job and managed my intake; some nights I lapsed. Still, when I’d get on the scale the number on the display, while still appalling, kept ticking downwards.

My goal was to weigh XXX pounds before I left for Vegas (the precise number is a closely-guarded state secret). With two weeks to go before I left I was four pounds above XXX, and it looked like I’d probably come up short. Especially as the Penguins kept on winning and Primantis kept offering slices of pepperoni pizza for a $1.25 during the game.

It was during the Penguins’ glorious 6-2 victory to close-out the Capitals that I knew something was wrong. I’d felt kinda oogie all day, so washed out that I almost didn’t care whether the Pens won or lost. Once the puck dropped the adrenaline stoked my bloodlust but once the game was out of hand I started to crash. I drove home, got under my comforter, and felt all warm and cozy as I drifted off to sleep.

When I woke up at 3am I was cold. Shivering. I was curled in a ball with my arms wrapped around my chest. OK, I crawled under another blanket and waited to warm up. I didn’t. I pulled on a pair of sweatpants. They helped, a tiny bit. I dragged a sweatshirt out of my dirty laundry and pulled it over my head. That, and a pair of socks, finally warmed me enough that I could huddle under the blankets and not shake. “Uh-oh,” I thought. “Tomorrow might not be fun.”

And it wasn’t. Of course it didn’t start well–I woke up at 3am freezing, and I woke at 7am pouring sweat. I took the longest, hottest shower of my life and staggered to the couch. Where I remained, immobile, for about 16 hours. OK, I got up a few times to use the restroom and get myself more water. Beyond that, I was on the couch, staring at the TV. Sometimes even seeing what was on the screen.

There was a lot of talk about swine flu lately, though it didn’t become the global pandemic everyone was hoping for afraid of. But your run-of-the-mill seasonal flu is bad enough as it is, it kills tens of thousands of Americans every year and makes hundreds of thousands of others feel like utter crap. I don’t know if I have swine or “regular” flu and, frankly, I don’t care. I felt horrible enough that the culprit was irrelevent. I didn’t have all the usual flu symptoms–no sore throat, wasn’t really that congested, wasn’t coughing all that much. But I had a fever (or I assumed I did, as the chills/sweats yo-yo tormented me) and I felt like I’d been hit by a train. Didn’t want to move. Couldn’t move. Every time  I stood up what felt like molten pig iron sloshed around in my skull. It was like the worst hangover in the world, concentrated solely in my head. Mated with stupefying body aches and utter lethargy. Awesome.

So Thursday I lay on the couch and felt horrible. Friday I lay on the couch and felt horribler. Saturday I lay on the couch and felt less horrible, but horrible still. Sunday I actually was able to get dressed and go to the store for desperately needed supplies. I was actually hungry, for the first time in days, and as I craved a Frosty I stopped at Wendy’s on the way home. Ate three bites of my burger, which tasted horribly salty and soon found its way into the trash. Frosty was good, tho.

And so today I woke up and felt…better. Not 100% yet, but above 25% for the first time since last Wednesday. Penguins play Game 1 tonight and chances are I’ll be watching it from the same place I’ve spent the last four days–on my couch. Keep drinking the orange juice, keep taking the Advil, stay warm.

After I got out of bed and took care of some, uh, business, I got on the scale. Which said that I weighed exactly XXX pounds. Hey, I reached my goal, with more than a week to spare! Sure, I had to lie around in misery for four days to get there, but…I lost four pounds! Woo-hoo! Last year I lost 8 pounds during the WSOP without really trying; this year I’m hoping to lose ten pounds with some minor adjustments to my Vegas routine. Fewer buffets, fewer “free” beers while losing at video poker, the occasional bit of exercise. I’m glad the four pounds I lost to the flu came while I was home and not there–being this sick while in Vegas would’ve been Hell.

Now I’m gonna try to claw back some of the weight I lost (from what I understand the flu really isn’t a sound weight-loss strategy) with another glass of orange juice and some peanut-butter toast. Maybe by game time I’ll be up for a turkey sandwich.

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2 Responses to “Better Than Atkins”

  1. Pauly Says:

    Feel better, bro.

  2. TheVegasFlea Says:

    Hi Gene-

    Long time lurker, first time responder and originally from western PA (Kittanning/Freeport area).

    I’m telling ya man, it’s the gym. The notorious home of whole slews of viruses and bacterium.

    Most people don’t have the common sense to stay home when they’re sick. Some even try to “sweat” out their colds and other sicknesses at the gym (true story).

    I’m sure you know this, but be diligent about using those alcohol wipes on the machines (if your gym provides those) and not touching your face or mouth while there. And of course, washing your hands very, very well after a workout, even before the shower.

    Glad you’re feeling better. Hope you have fun out here at the WSOP. Welcome back.

    – The Vegas Flea

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