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The Right to Bare Arms and Other Constitutional Issues

Don't let a weight-loss setback make you give up

If you're content with your constitution—your physique, build, body, strength, and vigor—you are among the few.

The rest of us struggle with how much of our arms and bodies to bare and, in my case, how many of my personal failings to share.

Alas! I'm struggling with the fact that I'm 10 pounds heavier than I was at my target weight. Looking back, I remember gaining two pounds and telling myself that the gain was only temporary. Instead of losing, though, I gained two pounds during a self-indulgent trip to France. Shortly afterward, four more pounds casually sneaked onto the scale, probably a half pound at a time. When I returned from yet another wine-cheese-chocolate orgy in France, I weighed 132 pounds.

Trips to visit my son and his extended family in Provence are both wonderful and challenging. Instead of the rational discipline of dieting and counting calories, my French hosts promote the complete enjoyment of food consumed over many happy hours at a table surrounded by family and friends. "Food," as they say in Provence, "is life." Why don't we want to live life to its fullest?

"Why," they ask, "don’t you eat the French way to stay thin?" Then they serve me another tumbler of wine, three or four more pieces of cheese, cut another hunk of bread, and circulate yet another round of irresistible desserts.

I remind myself of some good signs in the middle of this constitutional crisis. My exercise discipline is firmly integrated into my life. Every morning, unless I'm sick or traveling, I diligently perform floor exercises. My personalized 40-minute routine combines weights, yoga, stretching, and 200 sit-ups. Thanks to the benefits of consistency and persistence, I'm exceptionally limber for my age. This is amazing, since at the start of my makeover, I was too stiff to be measured.

With this foundation in place, I haven't given up on my lofty fitness goals, even though I've lost some ground. I will not give up my right to bare arms and legs without a fight. As a sentinel guarding the gate, I have posted a note on my refrigerator door with my weight goal, and I've resumed writing down everything I eat to keep me focused and on track.

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