Like many people, my wife and I were fond of Game of Thrones. Well, I was fond of it. My wife … was full fangirl. The “searching the internet and watching all of the YouTube videos describing the history of Westeros” type of fangirl. The “if Kit Harrington stopped by and proposed marriage, she would leave me immediately” type of fangirl. And for the last season, our little group of friends would have watch parties, with each of us taking turns hosting.
These were mostly standard house parties with beer and wine and hors d’oeuvres. But one couple got even more into it and served us a spread of GoT themed dishes. They included things like Sansa’s Lemon Cakes or Red Wedding Dip (I don’t want to think about what was in that) or Ramsay’s Minced Sandwiches (I really don’t want to think about what was in that) and of course, Theon’s Favorite Toy, which was plateful of Vienna sausages and peanuts. And now I can never eat Vienna sausages again. Not that that’s a huge loss.
But one of the offerings was a bowl of green punch called Cersei’s Wildfire Punch, named after the green, fire-starting substance from the show. You know, the stuff that Cersei used to commit an act of genocide and blasphemy by blowing the temple and half of her rivals to roasted, green, crispy bits.
I couldn’t resist partaking in a couple of these, but I needed to stop drinking at 9 o’clock. I had a doctor’s appointment the next morning and needed to fast for 12 hours in order to not screw up the test results. I had my last piece of Theon’s Favorite Toy (something I regret to this day) and sat down and watched the show. It was hard to not eat while surrounded by carousing friends dosing themselves with food and beer. Now I know what a Mormon feels like at a party. But I behaved and woke up the next morning for my appointment.
So days later when the results came in, I was surprised when the triglycerides came back high. Like really high. Drinking a lot can cause those to spike, and when my doctor called with the results he asked if I’d had anything to drink rather pointedly. I explained to him that I’d only had a couple of drinks and stopped at 9 o’clock. So he figured the sudden spike was something else, possibly genetic. I needed to immediately go on a diet and try to bring this down.
So I did that. That’s the moment I began my “weight loss journey”. A phrase which makes me gag every time I type it. It’s annoyingly trendy. Anyway, I’d been planning to get healthy ever since a friend told me about various apps one can use to lose weight (MyFitnessPal, Cronometer, etc) and this incident provided me with the impetus to stop procrastinating and finally do it.
A month later at my follow-up appointment, the numbers were back down and I’d lost five pounds. Apparently, the whole thing was a false alarm. Brought on by my somewhat mischievous friends and Cersei’s Wildfire. I discovered that the drink my pals put together was almost as dangerous as the green incendiary device it was named for. The couple had just emptied their liquor cabinet into a bowl, including some high powered stuff like Everclear, and added green coloring and some ginger ale to cancel out the alcohol taste. So even two drinks were probably the equivalent of five or six. No wonder the triglyceride reading was high.
Later that week, my weight loss motivation was reinforced by an incident with my father. When he and my mother came to visit, I took a nap in the recliner. My wife and mother were getting dressed, so I had about one to three hours to kill (sigh, women) and decided to catch up on lost sleep. Which is a common affliction for CPAs, especially only about three weeks after the end of tax season. It was May 5, 2019. Yes, I remember the date.
Anyway, I began snoring obnoxiously. I was roused from my slumber by Colonel Dad’s “order-giving voice” which is a startling combination of George Patton and R. Lee Ermey. He was loud. He’s ex-military, so he bellows a lot. I mean, a lot. And that day he bellowed “You’re snoring like a damned animal! You need to lose weight.” And so I did. I mean, I already was, but this bit of fat shaming added to my motivation. Don’t let anyone tell you fat shaming doesn’t work. When friends and family do it, especially when they can bark orders in an ominous voice that sounds like it emanates from the ninth circle of Hell, it does work.
But the harsh language from Dad wasn’t the primary reason, although it probably did help. The real reason was that I had a health scare. In my case, it was a false alarm brought on by a noxious Game of Thrones themed brew, but for some people it’s not. This happened to Bill Clinton and Simon Cowell, just to name two famous examples. Sometimes a health scare is what it takes to set you on the right path. The same way hitting bottom can cause an addict to straighten up, a health scare can get us to start eating right and exercising regularly. If you’re wiser than me, you’ll be proactive and start developing these good habits now. But if you do have a health scare, take that as a sign, and start taking better care of yourself.