Worldview: The Rambling Road: A matter of motion

A little over four years ago, I bought a Fitbit One. I bought the device because I was just on the tail end of having lost 65 pounds, dropping from around 340 to 275 over the course of a couple of years. That weight loss was mostly the result of specific dietary changes, especially the near elimination of soy from my diet as the result of an allergy to soy proteins.

My theory behind buying the Fitbit was to help me keep the progress of that weight loss going and to help me achieve a minimum level of fitness. Four years later, that very same device tells a tale, and its not one I wanted to hear.

It turns out, way back in 2013, I did a lot of research into what a “minimum level of fitness” would mean for me. After all that research, I concluded that around 5,000 steps a day, a mere 35,000 steps a week, would meet the goal I was trying to achieve.

Now, I know what the multitude of “experts” say. I read many of them, and I concluded that, and the end of it all, your mileage may vary as far as their expertise is concerned. My conclusions were based on me and my fitness level at the time, and I’m sure, if I had followed my own advice, it would have made a difference.

You see, the story that Fitbit tells me is that, based on my own determinations, I should have walked about 7.5 million steps by around now. Instead, as of today, I’ve walked a mere 2.3 million steps. Even allowing for the fact that I didn’t use my Fitbit at all for six months last year, the fact is that I’ve walked less than half the amount of steps I determined I should have to achieve a minimum level of fitness for me.

The fact is that I am a quintessential example of the modern sedentary lifestyle. Sure, I run a farm, but my physical output comes in fits and starts, and for a while now, not as frequently. And the fact is that this reality starts with not bothering to walk a measly 5,000 steps a day.

It would be easy for me to make some kind of grand pronouncement here about how I’m going to change all that, but I’m not going to. The story my Fitbit tells me is that the changes I need to make to be even minimally fit are hard, and what it is going to take for me to achieve that goal may be beyond my grasp right now.

But, now I know, and knowing is its own kind of power.

DLH

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Worldview: What’s my hangup? A redux

The combination of reading my brother’s excellent blog on his fitness exploits–among other things–and my own recent bout with shitty health have me thinking a lot about health and fitness and whatnot. I watch all sorts of people do things like Crossfit and run marathons and, despite the fact that I know I need to do something, I know for a fact those things aren’t it.

Why?

I already touched on some of those reasons the last time I visited this topic, but I do not think I cut to the core of them. I really have one reason that trumps all the others, I think. First, I will disclaim by pointing out that I understand that almost none of these things may apply to anyone else but me. Second, I ask that the people who may see what I am saying here as excuses or rubbish to consider what I am saying without preconception.

That said, my biggest problem with traditional exercise (yes, even modern routines like Crossfit follow a traditional model in my book) is that the effort itself lacks a necessary layer synergy that I apply to almost everything I do. By synergy, I mean using one task to accomplish as many things as possible in the doing.

For example, I see someone biking or running or carrying something heavy, and I get they’re doing it because they want to feel better and so that they’re better at doing other stuff when they’re not biking or running or carrying something heavy, yet I cannot help but think, “Where are they going or couldn’t they be using that effort to move or build something?”

That may seem like something of a trite response, but the fact is that the lack of synergy I see there is everything to me. For me, if I’m going to bike or run–actually, walk for me–or carry something heavy, I want to be creating things, not expending effort for what I see as the sake of expending effort.

So, why am I not doing that already?

Frankly, because I’m not at a point in my fitness where I am able to do so, or so I tell myself. The fact is that’s not really true. Instead, the fact is that I’m simply not doing things I should be doing out of habit, laziness, and whatever else it is that drives people to avoid doing what they know they should.

So, what?

Perhaps this mea culpa is my own effort to jump start myself by returning to this nagging conversation and to, perhaps, inspire other people struggling with similar things to see that there is more than one way.

We shall see.

DLH

Read more at my Worldview site...

Worldview: What’s my hangup?

So, I’ve been having this running battle for a while now about exercise. There are a not small number of people who have concluded, and not without justification, that I am opposed to exercise. While this is not really true, I don’t think I’ve explained myself well enough to help anyone come to a different conclusion.

In the midst of that battle, the issues I have been trying to figure out for myself have been lost in the face of the fact that I am, ultimately, looking to solve my weight and fitness goals in ways most other people aren’t. It’s helpful to layout what I am trying to do in the hopes that the dialog can help me figure out what I am trying to do.

First, let me be clear: I detest the traditional fitness routine most people follow. This is not an indictment of the fact that other people follow it, but the idea of exercising for exercise’s sake offends me on a level that has proven, given my state of weight and fitness, to be self-destructive. And this is not some kind of arbitrary revulsion. Over the course of years, I have discovered that the traditional fitness routine does not produce the results for me that it does for some people. The result has been that, for the time and effort invested, I see mediocre results, which leads to my secondary problem of torturing myself with all the things I would rather be doing instead of wasting my time with exercise that doesn’t produce results.

Now, some people will say this is a problem of the fact that I haven’t found the right routine, and I agree wholeheartedly. Hence my hangup. I realized years ago that the only way I am ever going to achieve any kind of level of fitness is if my exercise is my work and if my work is the thing I would rather be doing instead of wasting my time with exercise that doesn’t produce results.

In fact, I did that. I am now the proud manager and operator of a sustainable farm that I can assure you presents daily opportunities for activity that can meet or exceed the demands of all but the most extreme exercise routines. It’s such an effective program that last summer I lost nearly 30 pounds.

So, what’s the problem?

If you’ve ever carried a large amount of excess weight, you know that there are two problems to losing it; problems I refer to as hurdles. The first hurdle is losing enough weight that it actually starts making you feel better. How much weight that might be depends on the person and the circumstances, but for me, 30 pounds wasn’t enough yet. Feeling better is probably the most effective motivator out there, so not feeling better becomes its own special kind of demotivator.

The second hurdle is the fact that those first pounds can be very, very hard to lose. This hurdle leads directly back to my hangup: while my job on the farm offers the kind of activity I need–especially once I am more fit–my current level of fitness means that I need more activity than what I am currently able to do on the farm to see results. Achieving that level of activity means exercising for exercises sake.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

What all of these things then mean is that I need to find some sort of way to add the extra activity I need for long enough for it to matter without giving up because I hate it. As of yet, I have not discovered what this activity might be, and so I continue to struggle.

DLH

Read more at my Worldview site...