Moment of truth: Size 38 pants

The above title is what appeared above the print edition of my N&R column this morning.  The online edition, however, is entitled “Eat less and excercise more“.  Both are appropriate but the latter title captures the wisdom of my brother Keith in Kentucky (who got his simple weight loss plan from a radio station disc jockey in Louisville).

It’s time to start changing my ways, but I know myself well enough that I will only set myself up for failure if I try to change too much at once.  So the first thing I’m going to do is again fit into all of the size 34 pants that are lanquishing in my closet.  They’ve hung so long now that they are back into style riding the 20-year cycle of fashion.

The size 38′s that Jinni bought me are going back to Macy’s this weekend.  As for the rest of it, I’m going to attack things one at time.  Next up: complete physical.  After that: quit smoking.   Way down the list: Bourbon.  Here’s the column…


“If I’d known I was going to live this long I’d have taken better care of myself” is a self-deprecating statement I have jokingly delivered for years. As 2008 starts up, however, and at the age of 52, now is as good a time as any to stop joking and start making up for past lapses in tending to my personal well-being.

Matter of fact, now is the only time I can start fixing myself if I’m to have a reasonable expectation of bouncing future grandchildren on knees that are already starting to creak and whimper with the slightest over-exertion.

Events of this holiday week provided me with the motivation to start moving away from long-standing practices toward self-destruction and begin moving toward self-preservation.

It started with a new pair of size 38 pants; a gift from my Jinni.

In my denying mind, my waistline is still the same 32 inches I sported in college, despite the fact that I have been buying size 36 for the past decade; which, I now freely admit, has been about seven over-stuffed years too long. So when I received those new trousers on Christmas morning with a 38-inch label, I was, as they say, conflicted.

On the one hand, I knew I should accept them gracefully because they would be the best-fitting pair of pants I’ve worn since 1998. If I’d only resign myself to the fact that age has caused my butt to migrate to the vicinity of my navel, I could finally clear my closet of all the size 34s that have been aging gracefully, waiting for their owner to either accept reality or lose some weight.

On the other hand, I knew those 38s could serve as a turning point in my inexorable march toward semi-obesity. I could defiantly return them from whence they came and finally start to rage at the dying of the lithe physique I used to have. Perhaps I could even exchange them for … (shuddering as I write) … running shoes.

Much of our holiday week was spent traveling to see family in Kentucky. While visiting my brother, who has transformed himself from a couch potato to a half-marathon runner during the past five years, I queried him.

What miracle diet book did he purchase? Which spa did he join? What exercise equipment did he obtain? “Tell me, big brother,” I implored, “what secret formula fueled your transformation?”

“Eat less. Exercise more,” he replied, matter-of-factly.

“Excuse me?” I questioned. “I’ve never heard of that weight-loss program. Who authored it? Does Oprah endorse it? How many carbs are you allowed per day?”

Looking at me with the exasperation all big brothers have for little brothers, mine was patient nonetheless. “No, David,” he said, “just eat less food and get more exercise. You will look and feel better in no time. It really isn’t complicated.”

He’s right, you know. We just tend to over-think the thing.

It seems we have come to a place in our evolution as Americans where we are convinced that $100-per-month club memberships, self-help books with “War and Peace” page counts, metabolism-altering pharmaceuticals and pre-prepared meals in a bag are required to wear our clothes sizes of years gone by. All we really need, though, is a simple plan and some old-fashioned self-discipline.

So here’s my plan for 2008 and beyond: Eat less. Exercise more. Exchange the 38-inch pants for some running/walking shoes. And consult my wise brother more often.

This entry was posted in My N&R columns. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Posted January 2, 2008 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile, while I’m hardly an athlete I’m happy to announce that I now weigh the lest I’ve weighed since the age of 19 while eating all I can stand. My secret: shovels, rakes, pedals and post hole diggers.

    And while I do eat far more than I should the vast majority of my diet is vegetables.

    But alas, I haven’t gotten any saner.

  2. Tony Wilkins
    Posted January 2, 2008 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    I bet many of us can relate to this column Hogg.
    But can you explain how I went from 36′s to 40′s completely skipping over 38′s? Imagine that great exhale I finally had, after relieving myself of those 36″ girdles.
    My “when I get down to 38′s” are hanging in the closet with the tags still on them.
    “Eat less. Exercise more.” Who would’a thunk it?
    I believe I’ll try that.

  3. Gene Hoggard
    Posted January 2, 2008 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    David-A word of advice from your old man. Before starting any kind of an exercise regimen, contact your family doc and get a physical. As you may know, I have been on a work-out schedule since my heart surgery in 1990, and all of this is with the ok of my cardiologist. Because of this regimen, my physical condition has contributed to the successful outcome of various surgeries that my body has been subject to in the last years. In fact, the surgeons who have done the cutting stated this in several instances.

  4. Gene Hoggard
    Posted January 2, 2008 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Forgot to mention that brother Keith is correct about the food intake. Body care begins with mind care-a matter of priorites. Love you, Dad

  5. Posted January 2, 2008 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed the column, David. If you want to start an Aycock jogging club — I’m in. There are lots of good routes through downtown & Fisher Park.

  6. Posted January 2, 2008 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Give up bourbon? No sense in going completely crazy!

  7. Sandy Carmany
    Posted January 2, 2008 at 2:49 pm | Permalink


    Your brother’s advice is right on! Following that same regimen — putting less food in my mouth and concentrating on veggies and green leafy stuff plus exercising more helped me shed 25 pounds (and keep it off so far) during the Mayor’s Weight Loss Challenge last year without too much pain. You can do it too — but please don’t quit cooking Hogg’s barbecue — can’t survive without that!

  8. Posted January 2, 2008 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    So true. The only diet I have ever been on is a beer diet when I lived in Germany-lost 15 pounds on beer and pretzels alone-but also walked everywhere my feet would take me. Marriage, baby, grad school and a stressful job have taken their toll. You should host a challenge on your blog for those that want to participate and meet a weight goal in 4 months time. Then on the last day of April we could meet for a bourbon celebration.

  9. Jim Rosenberg
    Posted January 2, 2008 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Solution: don’t wear pants. Next.

  10. Posted January 2, 2008 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Very dangerous. You go first. I’ll follow your lead. Several years ago Susan and I together lost a total of 70 pounds on the Atkins diet. But like all weight-loss programs, you can’t stay on it forever.

    “Eat less. Exercise more,” is what my Dad did after he retired and it helped him weather a quadruple bypass with few problems. In fact, he was so healthy he didn’t know he was sick until the doctor told him he had blockages.

    If we could only retire now…

  11. nICKGSO
    Posted January 3, 2008 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    Great column!. I am fighting my own battle of the 38′s now pushing 40. Inspire us with your progress.

  12. Tony Wilkins
    Posted January 3, 2008 at 3:03 am | Permalink

    Natalie has a great idea about the 4 month challenge. I’ll play. Just don’t make me take a “before” picture looking like a sumo wrestler.
    We can call it “Hogg’s Hogs: Coming Out Of The Trough”.

  13. Posted January 3, 2008 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Based on your N&R article and the posts here, I am programming an on-line software application that will allow folks to enter their ‘resolutions’ (i.e. loose weight, quit smoking, exercise, etc.) and post follow-up progress reports. I have already programmed the foundation for this on-line application and just need to code the different ‘resolution’ quires. Hopefully allowing for enough flexibility to cover most of the demands that might surface. I anticipate completing this by the middle of next week or blow up my server…I’ll keep you posted.

  14. Posted January 3, 2008 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    That is an awesome idea Hathaway. I got a jump on you guys already. Went to tae kwon do last night and even watched a workout video while eating lunch today.

  15. Posted January 4, 2008 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    The thing about the 38s is… the back pockets are so damn far apart. And when you hold the things up they really look like fat-guy pants.

  16. Keith
    Posted January 6, 2008 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    OK, here are a couple more comments…er, maybe a dissertation…from the older, (questionably) wiser brother….

    Lots and lots of people are prone to make New Year’s resolutions for exercising more, losing weight, stopping this, and starting that. I see hoards of them at the gym every January. Then for some strange reason by mid-February the gym population is back to the usual suspects, plus a small handful.

    Why? Well I think it’s a couple of things….people over do it in the early stages…..and most people just have a hard time changing their habits unless something (usually something bad) forces them to do it.

    A couple of things may help contribute to the success of anyone who has made their New Year’s resolution and is moderately “resolved” to actually doing it…

    First, don’t over do it. Don’t go out the first day, having never walked more than the distance from your couch to your refrigerator and back, and try to run a marathon (or around the block for that matter). All you will wind up doing is having the initial exuberation of having done it without falling over from a heart attack, only to wind up being too sore to get out of bed the next day! Remember the old adage “Moderation in all things”! Well maybe not in ALL things but at least when it comes to exercise and eating!

    Anyway….here’s the trick….start off by going for a 30-45 minute walk around the ‘hood. It doesn’t matter when you do it but try to do it at least every other day….every day if you can. On each subsequent walk, walk a little further….to the next driveway or the next block….but try to do it in the same amount of time as your previous walk (a subtle little way of tricking yourself into exercising a little harder each time)! Yeah, eventually you’re going to get to the point where you either have to bump things up to a slight jog or you’re going to have to walk for a longer period of time. You get to decide that one.

    Another helpful hint is to find someone to join you. Peer pressure is a wonderful thing when used constructively!!

    Lastly, since you DID resolve to doing it…..don’t find reasons why you can’t do it….make it the reason you can’t do something else! It’s just a priority thing! Before long you’ll be needing a good dose of methadone on those days you don’t get to exercise!

    Oh and one more thing….as far as the “eat less” part goes….you’ll be surprised how a little exercise will take care of that, too. You may find yourself staring at the huge portions you used to order and wondering why you just can’t consume it the way you used to. Seriously! There seems to be this crazy “ménage à trois” thing going on between exercise, metabolism, and appetite!

    Good Luck to everyone!!

    As for websites….here are a couple of free ones you might want to check out…

    Track your Foods, Exercises, Weight and Goals on

    A great running/walking log and other useful information on

  17. Posted January 6, 2008 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    A fun way to keep track:

  18. Posted January 7, 2008 at 7:02 am | Permalink
  19. Keith
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Looks like someone has been eating too many donuts!!

  20. Posted January 7, 2008 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    OK boys and girls… The 2008 New Years Resolution program is ready for a test drive. You need to do two things before getting behind the wheel,

    1) Click onto this link,

    2) Click onto the Resolution menu tab and register with the website (right hand side of page).

    Once you confirm your registration you will be able to login (username/password) and create your Resolution from the Control Panel menu option. The process is fairly straight forward (that is to say…”It’s not rocket science”) and currently it will only allow one Resolution per user. There is a bug in the photo upload feature that needs some advanced TLC programming. Once fixed, you’ll be able to have more then one Resolution listing.

    I’m working on the Home Page along with the FAQs section so give me a little time to bring them up to speed. Suggestions, comments, problems or at-a-boys can be sent through the ‘Contact Us’ page.

    Ed Hathaway

    p.s. David, I’ve already sent your username/password.

  21. Tony Wilkins
    Posted January 10, 2008 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    For those of you trying to lose weight:
    Ellie Krieger ( on Food Network is hot. Giada is not. Something about Giada just grates my nerves.
    You can lose a few calories just watching Ellie.

  22. Nick
    Posted January 11, 2008 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the links guys. The battle of the bulge begins!!

  23. Old Casey
    Posted January 13, 2008 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    “If I’d known I was going to live this long I’d have taken better care of myselfâ€? is a self-deprecating statement I have jokingly delivered for years.”

    If you are going to use that line, at least give Mickey Mantle credit for it, as he was te hone that originally coined it.

  24. Displaced KY-GA Hornback
    Posted January 23, 2008 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Since everyone is waxing philosophical and piling on, guess I’ll add a comment. I was Keith’s HS classmate and my brother was in David’s class. Eat less. Exercise more. Stolen from my idea book of a few years ago. Residual payments due to Hornback. Ha. What about the MIND part of this deal. The FIRST THING you gotta do is MAKE YOUR MIND UP!! That means, at least in my case, don’t pack on the pounds recklessly in November and December using the excuse “I’ll start losing weight in January.” I lost 17 pounds starting in July and didn’t gain a pound over the holidays, because I decided to attack the problem with a vengeance.

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] by David Hoggard’s defiant refusal to accept 38″ waist pants as a gift and the fact that my own 40″ pants were beginning [...]

  2. [...] by David Hoggard’s defiant refusal to accept 38″ waist pants as a gift and the fact that my own 40″ pants were beginning [...]