Lately I’ve been slipping a bit with my exercise and health practices, and even writing this blog. It reminded me of When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, a book by American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron. I can’t recommend it because I’ve never read it; it’s sitting in a box in storage. At one point I may have even owned two copies. But the title speaks to me now after a mostly pretty shitty day and last few weeks. Even within the Tibetan Shambhala community, things fall apart. As with many religious, business, and entertainment leaders with unchecked power, last year their figurehead was accused of and apologized for sexual misconduct. It went on a while, but he’s still there.
However, reports suggest that Chodron as a senior leader and teacher may have enabled or ignored it. She even told a woman reporting abuse years ago that she didn’t believe her. So she’s not perfect, and she has resigned in protest but maybe also as an act of contrition although she wasn’t the abusive male with all the power. Point is, life doesn’t always or even often go the way we want it to. Defecation passes. We’re all humans here, right? Certainly there are more important things than fitness goals, but like the saying goes, “At least you have your health.” Well, what if you don’t, despite your best efforts? I guess you do your best.
The body is wise. It will tell you when it needs to eat, sleep, evacuate, and stream the latest cool show. The trouble is we — our brains, minds, egos — often ignore these signals. We’ll skip breakfast, or have second helpings when we’re really just thirsty. Instead of a nap, we’ll drink caffeine to power through the afternoon lull. We stay up late looking at our blue light screens, not go to bed early. The unhealthy, too early start to the school day, working late or the swing shift, fitful sleep nights with a new baby, hospital helicopters, asshole dogs — we’re constantly bombarded by noise during what should be our restful hours. We’ll push through a workout because of the intense societal pressure to be thin and stigma against fat people — even though we’re the majority! No wonder so many people, at least in urban areas, are out of rhythm. The world keeps spinning, as do I with my legs and wheels. Inertia is not a good option, injured or not.
Fat — the word — makes a lot of people uncomfortable. If it’s in your food, it’s delicious. But too much of it on a human body is not cool. It’s stigmatized by many, from celebrities to cyclists, and even in the nutrition field, even though it’s one of the three macronutrients along with protein and carbohydrates, and our bodies need it to survive. (Don’t EVEN get me started on carbs. I’m a carbon and water-based life form; how about you?) But back to fat. (Made you think of back fat there, didn’t I?) So we use euphemisms like overweight, heavy, chunky, plus-sized, big, cuddly, and my favorite because it’s Yiddish: zaftig. I like fathlete (fat + athlete), even though I didn’t coin it. And as Strava told us in my post before last in their MEDIA ALERT: Announcing Strava S.O.F.T., “If you sweat, you’re an athlete.” If I may paraphrase Kermit the Frog, my point is this: It ain’t easy bein’ lean.
Hey, America: You’re fat! Two-thirds of us are overweight, obese, or as I prefer to call it, I’m undertall. (The condition applies to people of girth in many other countries of Earth, too.) Weight loss is a mult-billion dollar business, and one of those companies offering some help is MyFitnessPal. According to a 2019 study, those who track what they eat really do lose more weight. I used it diligently once a while ago in concert with a diet and dropped a lot of pounds. But after a while I got tired of measuring everything and never going out, so I stopped. With stress and easy access to processed foods, over time, I gained it back. Even after biking 6,666.66 miles and walking 611 miles last year and continuing to choose only grains that are whole (basically no flours since January 1, 2018), I’ve had no significant weight loss. But it’s a new year, so now I’m trying it again.
Unless you’ve been living under Iraq and haven’t read my stuff before, you know I got into using a fitness tracker at the same time I began this blog. A look at my list of post titles will show many with numbers of miles I’ve ridden the day before, that week, month or year. And while my Garmin vivoactive 3 music watch and the Strava application have certainly helped motivate me and keep me accountable, there are also some negatives. Aside from the data and privacy concerns, who’s the servant and who’s the master? Welcome to the Dark Side, Luke. And by Luke, I mean you.
Nothing. That’s right: bupkis, nada, niente, zero, zilch. I lost 0 pounds of weight. In fact, I’ve gained a little lately, more from knee pain caused by biking my ass off (metaphorically — see my post coming up Wednesday). But after foregoing all the tasty treats, delicious delights and amazing amuse bouches out there for an entire effing year and a half, I really have nothing to show for it. It’s really quite unfair. Perhaps there are other health markers that are a better gauge, but the point was to reduce simple carbs to virtually nothing and eat whole grains. Of course I wasn’t perfect with it, and still have a major problem with sugar, but it’s no where near enough to make up for all the bread and stuff I used to eat. So, I’m gonna kvetch about this.
Survey Says: Fat Could Help You Live Longer
According to an article in the May 25, 2018 Austin American-Statesman a new study finds obese patients are more likely to survive certain conditions and illnesses when hospitalized. It originally appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and is by by Najja Parker. It says that while of course being fat is bad for your heart, blood sugar and more, “the extra fat could have some benefits, according to a new report.”
Today, May 2, 2018, I quietly observed my 18th year anniversary of moving back to Austin. It was also the first day of the rest of my life since being laid off / liberated from my job of 11 years, the last day of which was six months and a day ago, on November 1st. Accompanying those two milestones is the end of the first four months of the year. With all of that, it seems like a good time to reflect upon where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m heading. Get out those oranges and reading glasses, because A Dude’s a-fixin’ to do some navel gazin’! (Note to my non-US followers: If you are not in the US, navel oranges are a common variety here, because they look like they have a belly button, aka navel. And navel gazing — staring at one’s belly button — is a metaphor for self-rumination. We don’t actually stare at it.) Orange you glad I explained that? Continue reading
Well, I’ve done it! I’ve made it to the mythical 100th blog post. It’s my 69th of 2018, and I’ve totalled over 102,000 words since I began blogging on January 1, 2016. It’s been an interesting, fun, exhausting experiment telling my story as a bicyclist as well as exploring other topics like health, politics, culture and more. In this post I’ll review my progress thus far this year and look at what I still need to work on. I stayed in today and unpacked more, organized alot, and cooked, and so I’m itching to go on at least a metaphorical ride. Got your helmet on? Good, let’s go! Continue reading
Gettin’ Bloggy Wid It
I began this year with the notion of blogging daily for a month. Checked that box. Now it’s a week after Groundhog Day, and I’m still going strongly. (I thought my post from 2/2 was fun and whimsical, but it was not read by many, so here’s another shot at that post). Since 1/1, my followers have doubled to 50 – including 11 new ones just today! Other stats of views, comments and visitors are way up. What does it all mean?
It’s all very interesting to me, and awesome. Thanks, everyone! I can see how having good content is important, as is engaging with others. I’m still learning, and yet, I am feeling like I am not doing my job, because I am not riding my bicycle very much. My medical challenges are holding me back and have me feeling like a sports player on the bench – really wanting to go in and play, but unable to. This is hard pour moi. Continue reading