It’s January, and I’m a little late for “resolutions”, but I’d like to go through part of the exercise anyway. That is, I want to take the opportunity to examine myself and decide what I would like to change about myself. Whether I follow through and end up in a better place next year is not yet certain, but at least I’ll have a record.
I’m now at 290, the heaviest I think I’ve been in my life. I haven’t exercised more than a few minutes total since May or June. I usually eat what I pick up at restaurants (both lunch and dinner). I’m not really “stress eating” per se, but I so far haven’t taken the time to make food for myself, and my crappy commute makes it even harder to make and execute a meal plan.
The times when I’ve been successful in reducing my weight, I have usually done it with a casual, “watch portion sizes” approach. I think I have two basic problems: one is that I wait until I’m hungry to decide what to eat, so I make bad choices simply by failing to plan ahead and running out of options. The second problem is that I tend to eat too much, and I don’t stop eating when I should.
For now, I have signed up with Weight Watchers Online so I can track my food intake and make some gradual changes. I am set up for the POINTS plan (we love upper case!) I believe I will naturally eat less just by virtue of having to write it down and report on it, and being aware of how many “servings” something is. After a week or two I will probably also make some changes, a little at a time, such as cutting some things out except occasionally, or substituting one thing for another.
I do want to lose weight, but I don’t have a specific goal weight in mind. Mostly I want to be fit, be healthy, and I want to have the ability to plan and execute to the plan. I feel like I have order, willpower and integrity in other parts of my life, but not here.
I also want to get to a better level of fitness, so that I can feel better in general and not get winded by simple things like going up a flight of stairs. I would like to find some simple exercises that I can do at home or wherever, and which I can use to measure my overall level of fitness.
I’m inspired by bradhicks, especially this post. In it he mentions the chapter entitled “What, Me Exercise?” from John Walker’s (Creative Commons licensed) e-book, _The Hacker’s Diet_. It’s a very basic calisthenics routine, where you start with the “easy” versions of 5 basic exercises: Bend, sit up, leg lift, push up, and run-in-place/jumping jacks. The idea is to do a set amount of them every day, designed to take around 15 minutes, and if you finish them quickly (like, under 10 minutes) and feel fine, move up to the next level. Looks like it should be easy to modify if needed, but for my purposes it should be fine.
As Walker points out in _The Hacker’s Diet_, exercise alone is not a good way to lose weight, though we should exercise for other good reasons. For example, a full hour of aerobics or swimming burns 400 calories, and even if I were lucky enough to find an exercise activity that I absolutely love, chances are slim that I would do it a full hour a day, every day. And even then it would not be enough to offset having a Big Mac — that would take 560 calories, or 1.4 hours of strenuous exercise. But, I want to exercise for other reasons.
Since I have high blood pressure, I would benefit from being in better shape. I’d like to be able to stop taking BP meds every day, or at least lower them… right now there are no side effects that I can observe, but it would save me a trip to the pharmacy each month.