There are a lot of people in this world who spend so much time watching their health, that they haven't the time to enjoy it.
~ Josh Billings
One Corpse Too Many
TODAY on DVD
the end of The Deerhunter...
The Young and the Dead
TODAY on TV
Queer as Folks
WHO AM I KIDDING?
27 April 2004
I asked at the bottom of my journal page yesterday, "Who am I kidding? I havent weighed myself in weeks."
Walt saw that and pointed out how close I was to the scale. "Its just a few steps from where you are sitting," he said, sarcastically.
I confessed that I just really didnt want to know. I wanted to live in that blissful ignorance which is the "43.5 lbs lost" point I reached several weeks ago and which I know is now a distant memory.
For a moment, Im going to play the "oh poor me" game and then try the "kick in the butt" game.
I lived my entire life, up until about age 58 or so, as a real sloth. I ate what I wanted and didnt move a finger if I didnt have to. Even as a kid, my mother frequently pointed out how lazy I was. Oh, I could be energetic when it suited me, but things like physical movement were avoided like the plague.
Funny, when you consider that my father, in his youth, wanted to be a physical education instructor and that his basement was filled with weight lifting equipment, body-building magazines, etc. I was the antithesis of what he aspired to be. Never walk when you can ride. Never stand when you can sit. Read or watch TV instead of playing a game. Sit on the beach instead of swimming. Watch instead of dance. Name your activity and I could find a way to avoid it.
At the same time, I never met a calorie I didnt like. Dont give me low fat when I can have high fat. Dont give me salad when I can have bread. Dont give me fruit when there is a chocolate alternative. Dont put the "I cant believe its not butter" next to the butter.
So, as you know, all that changed around age 58 when I decided to become physically fit. The long-range goal was to be able to keep up with Peggy when I went to Australia and I kind of groaned that I "had" to do this, but I had to do it for me and because I wanted to, not because anybody was forcing me to do it.
But then a funny thing happened. Those mornings I forced myself to go the gym became fun. I had this group of people that I enjoyed seeing each morning and it was something I looked forward to. Then Olivia got me on a bike and riding with her and Haggie was fun, and Cindy started dragging me out on our morning rides and that was fun too. It was nice to come back to the driveway each morning and see if we had broken our time record and to feel energized to start my day.
When your endorphins are pumping, somehow its easier to eat good things. You are fueling the system and not just satisfying mouth hunger or emotional cravings. And when you feel depressed or stressed or whatever, you have an option--you can go for a ride on your bike to work off the demons that are attacking. Life was good.
Things began to slip a little when the gym closed and I lost the fun of working out with all the old timers that met each morning at the crack of dawn. I joined a new gym, but hadnt developed any camaraderie there and felt uncomfortable among all of those physically fit people I had shunned all my life, so I didn't go as regularly. I set up a meeting with a personal trainer, who never showed up and that was discouraging too.
Haggie went way beyond Olivia and me in her biking abilities (she is young enough to be my daughter, of course, so it was inevitable) and we were holding her back, so I lost that biking partner, and then Olivias body kind of gave out and she had to give up biking too. I was left with just Cindy.
Then it all came to a crashing halt when I flew over the handlebars.
Even then, I was determined not to lose too much momentum. I moved in an exercise bike, but then discovered I couldnt get on it, so it just sat there while I sat in my chair looking at it. I was sticking with the healthy eating plan until the days got long and I couldnt get out and do anything and then the pounds began to creep back on.
Worse than that, the cravings began to creep back on again. I had cleansed my system of the cravings for all my trigger foods with all the dieting and exercise, and now I was eating those trigger foods again.
When the immobilizer came off, I and I could move again, I discovered the residuals. Not being able to use the upper body machines eliminated Curves (even before I discovered that my exericse dollars were funding anti-choice organizations). The knee problems made walking uncomfortable and I had to push myself to do anything. If I had been a seasoned athlete I probably would have worked through all of this and not let anything keep me from getting back on track, but I was a johnny come lately in the born-again physically fit world and it was just too easy and convenient to slip back into old habits and too hard to start the whole routine again when I was doing it with some (admittedly slight) physical limitations.
While I was unable to get out at all, Cindy started biking with her husband. who quickly was able to challenge her more than I ever had and for Cindy the whole point was challenging yourself to go longer, harder, faster. On our one attempt to bike again, I was such a drag on her that she never called to arrange another session, so I lost the morning rides with Cindy. I wasnt as committed to it to do it by myself, or to take Walt up on his offer to ride with me--it was nicer not to have to get out into the air on cold mornings.
I wasnt as physically fit as Id hoped and planned when I went to Australia, but our forced marches all over Western Australia helped a lot. My stamina improved, and I even got back on a bike again, once. I came home determined to continue what I had re-started there in preparation for returning to Australia in 2005.
But now Peggy and I have decided to postpone my return, if I go back at all. Shes about to retire, sell her house, and move out of Perth and its just not going to be a good time for me to go back, so the goal of getting re-fit for more tromping about Australia has gone away.
I lost my job and that put me back at home again, with not only food around, but with a bit of a damaged ego at the job loss (and no income to pay for a club membership). And then about the time my arm was starting to show signs of actually maybe possibly in the distant future coming back to normal again, and I decided it was time for me to get past my fear of riding the bike again, I developed the varicose vein in my leg which prevents me from bending my knee and makes riding my bike too painful.
So here I sit. Ego deflated. Bike unused and unusable. Somewhat depressed. And all the excuses in the world for stuffing my face and sitting on my butt all day long....and a scale which has become dusty from disuse, and which I am afraid to step on.
Oh poor me, poor me, poor me.
So this morning, Walt came in waving a brochure Id picked up at Joans health club a month or so ago. "Do you still want to do this?" he asked.
This health club is the new club by the guy who owned the club that I used to belong to, and which had to shut down. The new club is bigger, better machines, but still the same comfortable feel to it, I discovered when I visited with Joan a couple of weeks ago. And all my old cronies have joined this club too, so there should be familiar faces again.
The club, I discovered, has a "Senior Couple" membership option and Walt and I could join together for just slightly more than what it would cost me to join by myself. It looks like we are actually going to join a gym together. This will be a whole new world for Walt and I hope that if I kick the endorphins into action again, it will click that little switch in my head which allows me to start doing all the good things again.
Im taking the scale off the bottom of this page for now. And if I can actually get serious about fitness again, Ill start from wherever I am at the time and start with .... 1 pound lost.... 5 lbs lost... etc. Time will tell. And it is time.