Saturday, August 11, 2012

In a Pinch

It's been a long time since I've felt fit.  A long time.  I'm not going to bother to draft a list of excuses as they are overly familiar to many of us and, frankly, irrelevant.  It's enough to say that I haven't been taking care of my body, i.e., simultaneously exercising and eating well, for ages.  (Looking back, it's possible that I haven't done this since I left my parents care.)

There is no time better than the present to start taking better care of the vessel that I hope, hope, hope will carry me into old age.  Why?  Because I've finished grad school.  Because I've settled into my job. Because I should establish better habits before I have children to care for.  Because it would be nice to look and feel my best.

Would I like to lose weight?  Sure.  I would like to lose 15 lbs.  I currently weigh 130 lbs.  More than five of those pounds have been put on during the last three months that I've been on secondment.  But I care more about how I feel, how my clothes fit (I refuse to buy a new set of suits), and whether I have muscle tone than the exact number on the scale.

Will I diet?  Not really.  I want to change what I'm feeding myself.  Right now, I eat whatever I feel like eating or, more specifically, whatever my employer orders in for lunch.  Yup, for the last three months I haven't eaten breakfast, but I have eaten whatever we order in, and then I either skip dinner or stop by In-n-Out during my hour-long commute home.  I don't have any fresh fruits or vegetables in my refrigerator.  It's bad and it won't take much effort to make at least an incremental improvement.  My short-term goal is to start eating breakfast and to eat at least one piece of fresh produce each day.  When the secondment ends I will be able to start cooking again.  That should help things.

What I really need to give up is regular, full-leaded Coca-Cola.  I drink a lot of it (2-3 cans a day) and, recently, I had a nightmare where I used up my lifetime supply of insulin on Coca-Cola and ended up with diabetes.  I've tried to quit it numerous times in the past without success.  It's my worst habit and I need to do better.  My short-term goal is to reduce my intake to one can a day.

Will I join a gym?  Yes, I joined a gym with the help of a discount through the firm a couple of weeks ago.  I joined mainly for the group exercise classes and because I anticipate that I won't spend as much time dancing during the week as I once did when I return from my secondment (more on that later).  Until the secondment ends I won't be able to do all that I hope to do.  My short-term goal is to take a pilates class on the reformer each week and to come in for a workout on both weekend days.  I've also been taking one or two ballroom classes a week.  So far, this has been manageable, but all of it has been happening on the weekends.

My new member package included a fitness assessment.  This is the part where some obnoxiously fit gym employee takes out the calipers, pinches your stomach, arm and leg fat and crunches the numbers. My body fat percentage is 27%.  According to the folks at the gym, I need to get that number below 24% to be "average."  (Average as in the average gym member? the average American?  It wasn't clear.)  Okay, well at least we have a target.

The secondment ends at the end of the month.  That's when I'll set some more ambitious goals.


CP said...

Good luck with your new goals. I've been trying to give up Diet Dr. Pepper -it's not good for your insulin even though it's diet, or so they say. I did ok until I went back to work. But I also like Zevia, it's a healthier pop alternative. You may want to try it!

Metal said...

I was in the same boat 2 yrs back with a 25% body fat. Thankfully with some disciplined eating and a bit of cardio it dropped down to 17%. Here are some tips:
1)Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Skipping it dramatically reduces your metabolism.
2)I swear I feel bloated even if I have a single cola in a week. Also they damage your teeth a lot !
3)Its always good to join a gym with some keeps you motivated.
4)I cut down on any fried foods, cheese, liquor, whole milk ( I did continue with my tiramisu though...some things cannot change!)
I'm sure I sound like a granpa so I'll stop now. Good luck!

Paragon2Pieces said...

CP: I hadn't heard of Zevia. Thanks for mentioning it--I will give it a try.

Metal: Thanks for the tips! You made a significant change moving that number form 25 to 17. Congratulations :)