A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

13 December 2006

Belly-Busting Bull

It's always been difficult for me to expound on my feelings about fitness.

Fitness is, to me, as much or more an economic issue as anything else. That is, we all benefit from a healthier society. And this is true even in those uncivilized places that don't believe in socialized medicine, or have been trained by the medical industry not to. These days it's a profit-making fad.

But it's also quite personal. Especially right now. Six months ago or so I shifted from a very physically intense job to desk work. How intense was the old job?

Each oil filter drum averaged about 130 kg (270 lb), anti-freeze weighed about 150 kg (300 lb). I loaded between 20 and 30 of them on average, mostly wrestling the drum along on its rim without mechanical help. Four days a week, ten hours a day.

I lost 25 pounds in my first three months. Then muscle gain met the weight loss coming the other way and I stabilized around 105 kg (230 lbs).

Six months after quitting that job I weigh the same. But now it's starting to hurt.

There are millions of daft ideas out there. You can restrict calories, control portions, or take speed, cocaine, what-have-you. But the most important thing is that they're all fads.

The Men's Health Belly-Off Club is better than most, but like most of the weight-loss industry it has no new ideas and often contradicts its own advice. A great example is on this page. Note the two titles:

"Don't Mess With Your Metabolism" and
"Fire Up Your Metabolism"

It's all faddy crap. The only long-term solution is to eat less and/or exercise more. Given that I'm no fan of the sort of exercise that forces you to waste time at a gym, and even less of a fan of the sort of exercise that involves pushing yourself out the door into the winter wonderland of my home town at 6:00 AM, my options seem a little limited.

I read somewhere lately that the decision to live fitter isn't about improving your young life, nor your mid-life. Rather, it's about how you will live the last twenty years of your life. I'd like to make mine as pleasant, and involve as few doctors, as possible.

I also feel that life without beer and pizza would not be worth living.

Wonder if I could find some sort of miracle diet on the internet?


At 10:34 a.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

Get down to the second hand store in January or February and buy yourself a barely-touched Nordic Trac or stationary bike. The Nordic Trac is better by far, but not everyone likes them and you can't read on them. Half an hour, three times a week minimum. Add some weights when you feel like stretching yourself, two sessions a week. Your basement is plenty big, and if you stick a zebra head on the bike it'll go with the tiki bar.

Diet: Don't eat any prepared foods with fat, oil, or sugar in the first three ingredients. I always like it when my friends ignore my advice and go on the Atkins diet instead; not only do they reek because their bodies are rotting from the inside, but also, they get even fatter!

At 10:52 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:58 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

Zebras and the tiki bar? Which south seas island did you so not grow up anywhere near?

Presumably they got there the same way the camels got to Australia--by clinging to driftwood?

And have you any idea of the price of a barely-touched piece of exercise equipment following our annual guilt-fest?

I am considering a number of options. Mme Metro pretty much has a lock on the diet thing already.

And I should note that I have friends who have lost 30-40 lbs on the Atkins plan, though I have my own opinion as to why.

Really, what I have a problem with is the overarching self-obsession that "fitness" implies.

I'm pretty healthy. I dislike feeling porky and I think the weight is starting to affect my back and knees, but my heart and cholesterol and all that good BS are fine.

The trouble is, I'm too highly evolved. Were I still tilling the fields or weaving cotton--or even pounding pavement for the Post Office like my ancestors, I'd be better off.

The truth is that the only one-size-fits-all solution is "ELEM".

10:52 AM

At 2:14 p.m., Anonymous PJ said...

You still walking to work and back? That should help...

At 10:52 p.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

I, also, have friends who lost 40 or 50 pounds on the Atkins plan. And now they weigh 80 pounds more than they did before. Also, how are their kidneys? And how is their breath?

The reason the Atkins plan works for the duration you can stick to it (not very long, according to studies) is that instead of being digested the nutrients essentially rot in your system. You aren't getting fat, but you are decomposing. I can go into the microbiology and chemistry AT LENGTH, but get yourself a copy of Fit or Fat and save me the trouble.

I shall always treasure the memory of a meal I had out with two of my friends who were great advocates of Atkins. At the end of the meal, during which they'd both harangued me at length about it, I looked at them, looked down at my marathon-running self, looked back up and asked, "If it works so well, why are you both fat?"


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