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The weight thing

First there was this LJ post, and then there was this blog post, and then I kinda stewed about the subject for a few days while I thought about what I wanted to say about it and whether I wanted to say anything at all.

I've been fat most of my life, and I'm not going to take the easy way out and blame in on my genes. To be quite honest, for most of my life I've eaten too much (which includes some serious alcoholism ata couple of points) and exercised too little. When I was in high school, despite my weight I could do the 25-mile March of Dimes hike that my Civil Air Patrol squadron was involved in every year, and in the Army I really didn't have too much trouble doing the Nijmegen march, which was four 25-mile marches in four days. If I tried doing either of those now the effort would probably kill me, since I've tacked on another 200 pounds in the last 21 years thanks to lots of sloth and mostly consistent gluttony. I know from various bouts of Weight Watchers that I can take the weight off if I stick to a consistent program of diet and exercise. I've seen other people I know do it. So why don't I?

As I said, it would be all too easy to blame this on my genes, but that's an excuse. It would also be easy to say that the last 21 years have been largely filled with stress and depression with occasional happy times; since I eat when I'm depressed and I eat to celebrate, well...there you are. That's not the whole deal, though.

If you're going to lose weight, you have to work at it. You have to be willing to spend more money on foods that have lower carbs (including sugar) and less fat, and you also have to be willing to take more time to prepare that food, since a lot of it doesn't come in a form where you can pull it out of the freezer, nuke it, and eat it. You also have to take the time to exercise. All of these things are easier if you have more free time and more disposable cash, which explains why you see a lot of poor folks carrying around extra weight these days. They don't work out, and the least expensive foods tend to be high in fat, sugar and starches. It's true that just about all the restaurant chains these days (whether fast-food drive-throughs or sit-down casual chains) have options for people on a diet, but they tend to be more expensive than a burger and fries.

So you have to make an effort, and the zeitgeist in this country isn't about effort. It's about chilling out and taking it easy and being comfortable. It's about Miller Time. It's about doing fun stuff, and God help me, but I've always had more fun feeding my head with books and wargames and other sedentary pursuits than athletics and recreational sports. I simply don't have the self-discipline to exercise on my own. Let the record show that the longest time I was able to consistently keep my weight down and stay off the Army's weight control program was when I was stationed at Goodfellow and Karlsruhe, where I was eating relatively moderately and exercising five times a week whether I wanted to or not, unless we were in the field. I also kept most of the weight off that I lost immediately after being married because we were too damn poor for the first year or two of the marriage to have very much food arond the house.

Things will probably change a little in the next year or so, depending on where I wind up. I have some things in mind that will change my financial situation for the better (quite aside from the move) and take a lot of that stress off, and not having to juggle RL and a raft of fannish duties ought to help as well. We'll see how things work out.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
edminster
Jun. 17th, 2007 04:44 pm (UTC)
Good luck with this. In my experience, it is hard to exercise just for the sake of exercising, and there aren't that many ways to disguise it as a fun activity. So far, I have found one thing that I will do for exercise, and that is playing Dance Dance Revolution. However, since you said that the marching would probably kill you now, DDR is probably not for you.
Another thing that "worked" for me was drastically reducing caloric intake, while exercising way more than was healthy. I think at one point I was biking a dozen or so miles a day, while only consuming around 500 calories. Not a healthy way to lose weight at all, but I dropped the pounds. Probably nearly killed myself, too. Not something I would recommend other people try at all.

Anyway, again I say Good Luck, and don't be discouraged by the difficulty of the task at hand.
wombat_socho
Jun. 17th, 2007 07:34 pm (UTC)
It's funny you should mention DDR, since it's one of the two reasons I'm planning on buying an XBox. Doing DDR on the basic level probably wouldn't strain me (my heart is in surprisingly good shape considering my weight) and the exercise involved in "hardening" the pads for greater durability/longer life wouldn't hurt either. :)
edminster
Jun. 17th, 2007 09:45 pm (UTC)
One of the reasons?
What's the other reason?

Because, you see, the PS2 has a far larger titlebase when it comes to DDR.
wombat_socho
Jun. 18th, 2007 02:24 am (UTC)
Re: One of the reasons?
You can't play HALO2 on the PS2.
That's pretty much the only console game (besides DDR) that I have any interest in.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )