I am healthier than I have ever been, and still not healthy enough. It’s funny when you go from slug to performance engine (over about 5 year period, and I am still just a Chrysler vs a Pinto, doubt I want to be the Ferrari, but maybe a Tesla)….
Screw “fitness” as a concept for managing weight / health. There’s a bunch of fat marathon runners out there. A lot.
I mean, bootcamp is epic, but it wasn’t until 4 years in that I understood the real difference between “fitness” and “health” or that sort of global nutrition thing. I rarely worked out at the time, and Lauren and I were on vacation with her brother. She said “I don’t think I will work out today – it’s vacation!”. Her brother offhandedly said, “You can’t take a day off from health”.
Like being hit with a 10 ton semi truck. I immediately realized that, whether I am healthy or fit or not doesn’t matter, because my health was happening without my involvement. Total catharses. Whether I wanted to work out or not, health and nutrition was happening. I always thought of it as “OH great – I got to the gym today. +1 for me!”. But that’s not it…. it’s that being healthy and fit, like we were running around as caveman, means that the baseline is that you are getting fitness constantly every day, and if you don’t, that is a -1, not a +1. Fitness is the baseline. I thought it was a choice.
If we don’t just completely cripple our bodies with cancer and disease, I am sure we will breed ourselves into idiotic oblivion, at least. So there’s that.
But, those awakenings take a long time, and there are multiple chapters to that health awareness.
Fitness keeps you strong and cardio healthy enough to fight stuff off, be agile, coordinated, able to function. BUT, NUTRITION – damn. That’s the only way to manage your weight. It takes 3 hours of mountain biking to work off about 9 M&Ms. LOL That realization was a powerful, powerful thing. So I am strong and fit, but health? Still working there. I drink way too much… never really drunk- ever. But a cocktail or two a night are big cocktails…. and that’s where I am going with this:
When you start looking at your body as an engine, you realize that we were built to, quite effectively, starve efficiently, but our body has absolutely no idea how to handle and process an overabundance of calories, right? Hence, cancers, diabetes, all that. But what’s AMAZING to me is that my caloric intake, for YEARS was just stupidly giant, and I was unaware. When you stop looking at food as comfort, or a “meal”, or a lunch at work, etc…. and just think of it as fuel, it is a profound difference. I would eat a huge sandwich for lunch, a huge burger for dinner. Huge Burrito, then too much sushi at dinner, or whatever. Now I eat a few leaves of lettuce and just sort of “feed the meter” through the day – some juicing in the morn, nuts, dried berries, etc.
I have *FINALLY* reset my portion control, and I think that is all this is about. Apparently, Mad Men had to create glassware for the show because all modern glassware is too large compared to the 60’s. When they had a drink at work, or a coca cola, it was like 2-4 ounces…. now a movie theatre soda pop is your caloric intake for the day.
I am rambly. Point is that resetting your portion control isn’t even enough, and I am still almost looking at it as a daily struggle, on a decision by meal basis. But it feels very good to have this awareness. Andy mentioned, in the past, that he wants fitness and to be healthy, but he’s not giving up beer to get there. Would I give up sweets? I did. Would I give up wine or liquor? From my cold, dead hands. So balance is important. We could all be incredible looking old people just miserable as all get out. There’s a point fat and happy will be just fine. Life is crazy enough without kids, on our side, that we aren’t willing to go there yet…. just keeping a routine of fitness is hard enough without friends not understanding the import or vital aspect of your commitments. And it’s a commitment – we basically treat it like a job, and not a choice. We still have fun, but as soon as it’s a choice, you slip. Bootcamp is basically what “playing” was as a kid. Jump rope a bit… have some fun. But it has to happen. Play every day!
The realization that isn’t so fun is this:
You know when you hear a sound in your car, then get it fixed, and then you hear a new sound that was covered up by the other sound?
I hate that the nature of fitness and health is that the more fit and healthy you get, you realize it is an infinite learning curve and you could ALWAYS be healthier. A friend’s family stopped an alcoholic family member’s drinking- then the family focused on the butter, then the salt, then the ice cream, then the soda. Now he is doing well, and drinking diet soda, and the family is trying to take that away from him. I am not sure what that is called in psychology, but it’s basically peeling away layers of an onion that never ends. Now he’s healthy and totally miserable.
Something else that I found fascinating is why diets don’t work. I never believed in them, never tried any, and always knew they were BS. But there is *only* nutrition and diet. Dieting is only good for the yo-yo, because it isn’t reducing calories. It’s just doing it over a short period of time, because those inevitable calories come back when you say “Got to my weight”. YOU NEED A NET LOSS OF CALORIC INTAKE. That freaked me out. I could whittle my way down to a weight I liked, but then crawled back… I just now understand that it’s a NET LOSS… FOREVER. You can’t have those calories back. So I started thinking deeply about the mindless intake I had throughout the day, and made sure it would be almonds vs something crappy. I don’t let myself get trapped in stupid decisions, etc.
This Economist article was illuminating: http://www.economist.com/node/21526789
But this Robert Lustig lecture really was a changing point – understanding that sugar is poison (over simplified) helps me make incredibly more informed decisions.