Worldview: The Rambling Road: A time to run and a time to not

Some of you may recall my post from a few months ago now about what I termed “medicinal running”. Granted, I said I was going to provide regular updates, but didn’t, so I figured I would provide them all at once.

From a therapeutic standpoint, I believe the running was doing what I intended, albeit slowly, just like everything else about my current ordeal. I got to the point where I was slogging (jogging very slowly) about half a mile 3-4 times a week. Not spectacular, but it was something.

You’ll notice I said was. While I was able to maintain the 3-4 times a week for about two months, I proceeded to develop an injury in my left foot that got progressively worse until I stopped. I’m okay to walk, and once it stops hurting, I can run 2-3 more times before it starts hurting again.

The moral there, I suspect, is that I’m just too heavy to run right now. That said, I have more than tripled my walking steps average over the same period, and I’ve lost 9 pounds during the same, so this hasn’t been a total loss. If I continue to lose weight, I plan to try running again at some point and once I have better shoes.

DLH

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Worldview: The Rambling Road: A wheeze on the wind, or the sound of a fat boy running

So, it turns out that, after years of trying to ignore it into going away, the simple fact is the best way for me to jump start the process by which I’m not going to be perpetually fat, tired, and sick is by running.

Yeah, I know, running…

To be fair, I used to run. For a few years in my 20s, I ran 2-3 miles nearly everyday. Then I stopped. That in itself is a long story, but one that likely helped set the stage for where I am now. Now, 20ish years later, I’m going back to the thing I once did, I guess.

One day, perhaps even soon, I hope to document the research that led me to that conclusion so that, at the very least, it’s out on the internet for anyone else searching for answers to judge for themselves, but for the moment let’s suffice it to say that running engages the specific biological pathways that help reduce fat around the liver, which fat is likely one of the main culprits of my complaints.

In several important ways, this running is going to be, lacking a better way of describing it, medicinal running, and the best way to describe this phenomenon is to do so by what it’s not going to be. Unless something in my own psychology changes, this running isn’t going to be about 5ks or marathons, not about PRs or ever increasing distances, and not about proving myself in any other way but one.

Along with a controlled diet and plenty of walking to complement the running, this effort will be about weight loss. It’s a ham-handed standard, I know, but the fact is that at my current weight–295lbs and counting, for those keeping track at home–it’s the single most effective way for me to measure whether what I am doing is achieving my primary goal.

I appreciate every piece of advice I’ve already received about this undertaking, and I always want to hear more of it, but please understand that I hear and evaluate any of it through the filter of what I already know I am trying to do. It may be that something you say helps me advance that cause, and I want to hear it, but please don’t be disappointed if I decide it doesn’t fit with what I am trying to do. It’s not that I haven’t listened. It’s that I am very focused on what I am trying to do.

To that end, I also plan to post a weekly update documenting my progress so that interested parties can keep track and so that I can have a log of what I’ve been doing for my own use. If you are keeping track and don’t see that update, please ask. I need the accountability.

For now, this is what it is: a fat boy running for his life. Literally. Stay tuned to see how it works out.

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Worldview: The Rambling Road: And now, an update

So, it turns out that I haven’t updated here for a while, but it turns out that’s a good thing.

Over especially the past month, my health has remarkably improved in a lot of respects. I am able to be more active than I’ve been in months, I have more stamina, and I am able to maintain my activity over days instead of hours.

Granted, I still get stung with bouts of fatigue, and I’ve managed to gain back all the weight I lost, but those things are currently manageable.

My current view is that, as long as I keep focused on improvement and don’t settle for a steady state, the improvement will continue. For the first time in a while, I believe it may be possible to undo most of what led to this being necessary and maybe even improve on it some.

Let’s hope so.

DLH

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Worldview: The Rambling Road: Discontentedness

It’s no secret to those who know me that I am a discontented person. As far back as I can remember, I never recall a time where I was satisfied with anything I’ve done, known, or been involved in. That discontent is what has driven me to pursue education, experiences, and even entire careers.

Knowing that, it then surprises me that my otherwise discontent never seemed to apply to my physical state. For most of my adult life, I’ve accepted weight gain and the creeping malaise of health that goes along with it for what it seemed to me to be: an inevitable sign of aging and poor luck. I’ve even gone so far as to argue against fitness in some absurd justification of being less than what I could be.

Yet, now that I have been laid low by illness, my discontentedness has come into full effect. I am not satisfied with anything. I want to fix it and fix it the best way possible. The issue now is that I’m not quite in a position to act. Ironic, isn’t it?

Nevertheless, I believe my discontentedness will be the thing that drives me forward. As hard as it is proving to be, I will not be satisfied until I master this thing.

DLH

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Worldview: The Rambling Road: Time calculus

There was a time when I was that person who claimed I didn’t have time to exercise. To me then, exercise was a waste because the other things I was doing with my life seemed far more important. In fact, I was that person not all that long ago. But today, as I was walking, I came to a sudden epiphany that my view was myopic in a specific sort of way.

The fact is, for the year and a half before I ended up in the hospital, my health was deteriorating whether I was willing to admit it or not. I lost some or all of many days to illness and fatigue to the point I was no longer able to do the things I needed and wanted to be doing.

If we imagine that state resulting in a loss of four hours of productivity a day as an average, I lost something along the lines of 2,190 hours of useful time due to bad health. And that was before I ended up in the hospital.

In that hospital, I lost six full days, an additional 144 hours, and since I have been home, my productivity has been minimal to the tune of a couple of hours a day, meaning for the last 30, I’ve easily lost 240 more hours beyond that.

In total, since the true beginnings of this current episode, I’ve easily lost as many as 2,574 hours of productive time, and that’s probably a conservative estimate.

In contrast, since I have returned to walking again, I’ve spent about an hour each day. If I were to simply stick to that amount of time, it would take me more than seven years to “waste” the time I’ve already wasted walking.

And, as anyone exercising knows, fitness is not a waste. Rather, since I have returned to walking, I am getting stronger, my head is clearer, I am less fatigued, and I am more certain of my recovery than I have yet been.

So, even when I reach my eventual goal of two hours of exercise a day, I will really be gaining hours more of productive time rescued from what once had been the time waste of my poor health.

I get the logical explanation isn’t for everyone, but the nature of this realization makes me even more eager to continue. I will improve because of what I am doing, and that can never be a waste.

DLH

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Worldview: The Rambling Road: Natural motion

One of the ways I am increasing my daily activity is by using a concept called natural movement exercises. You can research the internet on the topic, but basically put, the process involves repeated sets of transitional actions like getting up from laying on the floor, standing up from a chair, and the like.

You might think these would be easy exercises and wonder what the point is, but if you’re at all out of shape, you’re likely to discover they’re not easy at all and are going to be the first step toward fixing the problem.

I have started a routine wherein I do about five minutes of these exercises every hour (I use a timer on my phone to keep me honest). My goto exercises are getting up from a laying position on the floor, crouching and standing, and walking up and down my stairs. The number of repetitions I do varies depending on my stamina at the time.

I can already tell the difference in the fact I am doing them in two particular ways: first, I am more mentally alert that I would otherwise be, and second, my back does not hurt as much as it normally does.

Granted, these kinds of exercises are not a replacement for dedicated exercise like walking, but throughout the course of the day, they help teach my body to be more active and, therefore, to use energy better. In the long run, especially as I am more able to do other kinds of exercise, these activities will help promote overall health.

DLH

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Worldview: The Rambling Road: Abnormal weather can mean a new normal

I have to admit that I am looking forward to the weather coming at the end of this week and next week, even if it as abnormal for this time of year and represents what will likely be an early spring and hot, dry summer. Selfishly, warmer, dryer weather means better chances to get outside and walk, and that’s something I really need to do.

The weather also has me thinking about my garden and the springtime activities on the farm. We have a lot of work to do this year, and the earlier we get started, the better.

What kind of things does the arrival of spring make you think about?

DLH

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Worldview: The Rambling Road: Moving bull

No really, we moved the bull we share with another farm back to ours today. This is the first significant work I’ve done on the farm since I got out of the hospital. With the much appreciated help of friends, it was a smooth load, but I am amazed at how tired I am after what is usually just a short excursion.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures because I was working, but that’s the price of self employment, I suppose.

DLH

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Worldview: The Rambling Road: Brainersize

One of the things I think we often miss in the course of physical recovery is how important it is to keep the brain engaged as well. It’s amazing to me how fast the brain can get lazy and soft, perhaps even more so than our bodies, and how that lazy, soft brain can hinder physical recovery in ways weakness and pain won’t.

I have been fortunate in my own recovery that I am surrounded by family and friends who will not let me degenerate into a pile of mental goo. Whether it’s people physically close to me asking what I’m working on or friends at a distance taking the time to engage me, I owe a lot to these people for keeping my brain active.

Beyond the social interaction, it’s important for me to keep my brain active with the kinds of things that keep me engaged under more normal circumstances. As such, I keep reading though my attention span still suffers. I play computer games because there are few better ways to keep a wandering mind moving. I’m slowly starting to work on art and writing again, though those things are going to take longer to happen than I thought they would. Eventually, I’ll get back to my tech tinkering.

Overall, what I learn from all of this engagement is that, when my brain is engaged, I actually hurt less and am more likely to commit to the other activities that will make me feel better in the long run. If there was any ever doubt the brain is the master of the body, the reality of what happens when we keep it engaged should put that to rest.

DLH

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