February is, of course, the shortest month, although this year it does get an extra 24 hours. This February Beth and I celebrate our 25th anniversary, our daughter turns 23 (yep, we went old school – marriage, then child), and during February of 1086 William I (William the Conqueror) who had been touchy about his weight was on what may have been the first fad diet.
Although described as strapping and healthy in his earlier years, William apparently blimped out later in life. William had become so corpulent that he was unable to get on a horse, a major drawback at a time when that was a key means of transportation and regal honor. It is said that King Philip of France likened William to a pregnant woman about to give birth. According to some accounts, the corpulent conqueror became so dismayed with his size that he devised his own diet, consuming only wine and spirits for a certain period of time. For the better part of a year, the king attempted to subsist on nothing but alcohol. Amazingly, this worked better than you might expect and, eventually, he was even able to get back in the saddle. Unfortunately, this also led to his undoing. Not long after losing the weight, the king was riding his horse when it reared, driving the saddle horn into his gut and causing internal injuries that killed him shortly thereafter.
To add insult to fatal injury, when it came time to load William into his casket, it turned out his diet hadn’t worked all that well, Courtiers still had to squeeze him into the box. As priests tried to stuff William into a stone coffin that proved too small for his bulk, they pushed on his abdomen, causing it to burst. At his funeral, William’s body apparently exploded. Mourners supposedly ran for the door to escape the putrid stench.
Yes. Diets can stink.
I am not as large as The Conqueror. I’m 1.89 meters and on the last day of January weighed in at 92.5 kilo, which is also 14.57 stone. For those of us struggling to convert, that’s 6’2 1/2″ and 204 lbs. Not too small for a corner back, much too small for a linebacker, pretty large for a soccer star, gigantic for a gymnast. Bigger than the combined weights of all those living under our roof (1 wife, 3 dogs, 1 cat).
My goal is to get and stay below 190 pounds. In recent years I’ve weighed as much as 220 (about 4 years ago), and have been as low as 190. If I had my druthers I’d like 176, just seems like a nice number, though I haven’t seen it since the beginning of graduate school back in 1978 or so.
In our next exciting episode I’ll let you know the battle plan. It’s not too complicated. It’s just something that I’m pretty sure will work for me, will make me complain and is not likely to cause anyone else to get hurt too badly. Isn’t that what we all want?