Friday, July 15, 2011

In French, there's a term “faux ami” which means “false friend,” and it refers to French words that are so close to English words that we can mistake them for meaning the same thing – but they don't. One example, “librarie”: guess what it means in French. Nope – not library, but bookstore. The French word for library is “bibliotheque.”

Other things than words can be faux amies. Well, friends can be false friends, of course. But a host of other things can fool us as well.

The one I'm talking about today is one of my own making. Only very recently has it dawned on me just what a false friend it is. It feels like a wonderful, comforting friend, where I can snuggle down, relax, read, knit, eat, surf the Net, talk on the phone...

I'm talking about my “Nest.”

It's a big old leather recliner (it's too big for me to use the recliner so I shoved the hassock from the other chair in front of it) plus one or, often, two, TV trays parked adjacent to hold plates, or my ever-growing pile of books to be read, or today's mail. It's so big that I've had to stuff a rolled-up wool poncho and a king-size pillow at the back of the seat, and jam the two bolsters from the couch along either side, to make it comfortable.

It's also the oak side table with the reading lamp on it. As well as whatever other useful stuff/debris I allow to build up until I have to clean and reorganize it so everything doesn't keep sliding off onto the floor or into the wastebasket.

I have spent many hours in my Nest. Times too numerous to count, I've thought, "I should get up and do something," but it's so comfy, I let the thought slide on through, I wriggle down deeper into its comfort, and stay put. I love my Nest.

My Nest wants me to die.

Recent bloodwork, and a visit to the doctor, and the evidence of my bathroom scales and the condition and signals of my body, have revealed its evil purpose. Oh, nothing frightful – yet. This is the first time I've had blood sugar above the normal range...the second time my cholesterol has been above the normal range...and my BMI is Obese.

I got to thinking about my Nest, and it occurred to me that everybody I've ever known who had the tragically familiar constellation of health problems: obesity, diabetes, congestive heart failure – all of them had their Nests. Which came first? Probably varies amongst people. But I know for certain that until I had spent a few years developing and inhabiting my Nest, I had perfectly normal blood sugars, perfectly normal cholesterol levels. Since I quit smoking in 2009, I've gained some 40 pounds. That wasn't all the quitting, I'm sure. But some of it was, and some of it was The Nest.

This all occurred to me two days ago. I decided then to go home and take a photo of my Nest, write this post, and blog about it, as part of my holistic approach to changing my eating and fitness habits. But when I got home, and thought about picking up the camera and taking that picture, I felt active resistance to the idea. I didn't want to. I just wanted to get dinner, bring it out to the TV tray, open up the Internet, and bliss out. So that's what I did.

See what it did there? The Nest is evil. I shouldn't call it The Nest. I should call it The Death Trap. 'Cause that's what it is. (Sometimes my holistic approaches to changing bad habits have to back up a few miles and take care of seemingly innocuous little bits of mental debris before I can get to the big stuff.)

So at least, last night, I took the pictures. And now I'm posting this. I have 92 pounds I want to lose before the next Bastille Day (July 14th). That's less than 2 pounds per week. That's do-able; in 1994 I lost 55 pounds in 4 months, so I know it's do-able. I expect all kinds of health and mental wellness benefits to kick in way before that last pound drops off. I'm going to list them in my journal and maybe do some dumb things like put one good benefit on each of a bunch of index cards, and leave them all over the house (especially in the kitchen), to remind me that The Death Trap Is Not The Nest. It is NOT my friend. It wants me to die.

The battle is on.

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