Yep, its once again that time of year when I try to avoid the dreaded winter weight gain.
Its dangerously close to a death-and-taxes category for me, but this year is going to be different, I swear.
Im confident that I am not the only person who finds himself or herself in this predicament, especially if youre in that weird purgatory known as middle age.
I usually come in close to fighting weight after big-game hunting season in October. Im sure it has something to do with hiking for hours every day and being too tired to cook and eat a decent dinner.
My balanced diet during hunting season consists of instant oatmeal and coffee before daybreak, then I subsist on jerky and snack food throughout the day. (Dont let anyone tell you fun-sized Snickers arent part of a diet plan.)
I usually come out of the woods several pounds lighter than I went in, and thats usually my lowest weight of the year.
Then I come home and get hit in the mid section with a double-barrel blast of fat.
It usually starts with Halloween. Im blaming my wife for this one. She buys enough candy for a battalion of trick-or-treaters, even though we only get a few each year.
That leaves me with handfuls of leftover candy, and I have all the will power of a pre-hibernation bear in front of an oozing honeybee hive.
Then comes Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and other celebrations of over-consumption. I fall into it all like a bobsledder down an icy chute.
But didnt I say this year is going to be different?
So far, I dodged the Halloween candy curse because during our pre-Halloween grocery-shopping trip, my wife and I compromised.
She bought more candy than weve handed out in the last five years, but I made her buy stuff I didnt like.
I havent gotten through Thanksgiving yet, and my predictions are not the low-calorie kind.
Im not dumb enough to have my wife cook her delicious Thanksgiving dinner and then say, Im trying to cut back this year.
If I tried, the turkey probably wouldnt be the only thing that gets carved with a butcher knife.
Guess Im taking one for the team.
Part of the success of any diet plan is baby steps, and I will accept heading into December with a .500 batting average.
But the real difference is I am going to be more active this winter.
The couch may call, but I will make sure Im vigorously sweaty before I succumb to its cushy glory.
I set some modest goals that are actually quantifiable, rather than my usual vague pledge of Im going to be more active this winter before diving onto the couch and doing remote-control curls.
Weight control is only part of my new motivation.
I found myself doing an inordinate amount of whining during summer because I couldnt keep up with my mountain bike riding buddies, who, by the way, are nasty little cheaters.
They actually ride on a regimented, regular basis, which is in opposition to my attitude of if it feels good do it, and if not, nah.
One friend paid me a nice left-handed compliment.
Youve got the best off-the-couch fitness of anyone I know, he said.
Before I could blush with flattered pride, I realized he was calling me a couch potato.
I know I will need extra motivation, so I did what any good American couch potato does I bought it.
I dumped a pile of money into my mountain bike earlier this month. Shiny new toys, or in this case shiny new parts, always make we want to go outside and play.
The siren of sloth may keep calling, but I cant hear her if I am pedaling my mountain bike in the Foothills with my iPod blasting the new Soundgarden album.
My wife also agreed to a modest addition to my sacred toy-and-trips fund if I meet my weekly mileage goals.
Yep, I am also bribing myself. Juvenile, I know, but a guys gotta do what a guys gotta do.
It remains to be seen if this bag of cheap tricks will make me leaner, fitter and faster next spring, or if I will fall prey to my nah, I dont feel like it, demons.
Hopefully, you will see me out riding in the Foothills during the dead of winter (trail conditions, allowing, of course).
I will be the guy with a fun-size Snickers bar dangling from the visor of my mountain bike helmet.
Roger Phillips: 377-6215, Twitter: @rogeroutdoors