Forgive me. I’m pretty fired up so this turned into a bit of a rant. That happens when my government starts discussing ways to track how much television I choose to watch. Seriously.
The info-babe* on the news yesterday morning touted a new study that shows we may need to change our diet… Hold your breath – Yet again.
I turned the TV off before the story aired.
Have you ever noticed that there’s a new study that comes out suggesting dietary changes so often that you can’t possibly finish the food you bought to follow the suggestions of the last study that’s been replaced by a shiny new one?
Look at coffee alone! It’s good! No, it causes cancer! No, it’s good again because they fudged the cancer study! Drink it in moderation, then a month later, as long as you’re under a gallon a day (an exaggeration of course) it’s all good! No wait, it’s bad again! Oh, hang on, now it’s great again! Coffee drinkers rejoice, at least until next week when it’ll be bad again. They need to do a study on the stress caused by their incessant changes, methinks.
Forgive me for not caring anymore.
What I missed, because the info-babe teased it as a new study, was that this was the US Bureaucracy chiming in by claiming we should be eating a plant-based diet. Of course, that’d be stupid because I am, and forever will be, on a meat-based diet. I would literally eat a horse before I would go on a plant-based diet. I would raise puppies and kittens and eat them before I give up meat. Hey, come to think of it, maybe that’s the real reason the Chinese communists eat dog…their government wanted them on a plant-based diet maybe? Point is, this isn’t some new study. This is the government laying out what they want to force us to do… BIG difference.
Look folks, I was raised by a nurse who knows a fuck of a lot more about nutrition than some damned bureaucratic mess that wants to be everyone’s nanny… Not only that, my doctor, during my last checkup, said (and I quote for you bureaucratic twits who might be reading this), “Whatever it is you’re doing, keep doing it”.
So I’ll tell you something chatting class, including all of the info-babes*, bureaucrats, legislators, ad-nauseam; you need to go on an ass-based diet. Meaning, specifically, eat my ass. I’ll even get you a silver spoon, you dopes.
Your report didn’t even take into account the more than year-old information that too little salt is far worse for the health than too much by calling for taxes on those snack foods you deem high sugar and “high salt”. Here’s an idea:
God Almighty! Keep the Change.
See America, they always get elected with platitudes: “We need to transform America”, Americans need to eat better to beat this obesity crisis”, is what they say on the stump. Unfortunately that bullshit always ends up looking like this: We’re going to force you to do what we want – and if you don’t eat right and watch too much TV (the report calls for federal TV tracking devices too), guess who doesn’t get that angioplasty. Make no mistake folks, this is the Obama Administration, Big Government at its finest and better than half of you voted for this shit. The advisory committee works under the Department of Health and Human Services, or the directing body of Obamacare. One way or another, they always come up with a way to take away everyone’s freedom. “You’re too stupid, we have to tell you how much TV to watch, and track it for you“? “You have to eat plants”? This is the best these idiots have to fight obesity?
Now, here’s the best part of the report I linked above from the Washington state Free Beacon (oh, the irony):
DGAC concluded that in order to achieve its goal of a population-wide “culture of health,” personal health must become a “human right.”
“In such a culture, preventing diet- and physical activity-related diseases and health problems would be much more highly valued, the resources and services needed to achieve and maintain health would become a realized human right across all population strata, the needs and preferences of the individual would be seriously considered, and individuals and their families/households would be actively engaged in promoting their personal health and managing their preventive health services and activities,” they said.
Now let’s look at what that last paragraph really means when you take away the fluff (we’ll just gloss over the fact that in the Bill of Rights, we are born with our rights, they are not granted by the government – it matters):
“In such a culture, preventing diet- and physical activity-related diseases and health problems would be much more highly valued than people’s freedom, the resources and services needed to achieve and maintain health would
become a realized human right across all population strata be paid for by the people who will be forced to comply by being tracked and taxed, the needs and preferences of the individual would be seriously considered though the freedom to do as one chooses must be given up entirely for “the greater good” of what the bureaucracy believes is best, and individuals and their families/households would be actively engaged in promoting their personal health and managing their preventive health services and activities, or we will tax them into complicity if they don’t do as they’re told” they said.
Folks, call your Congressman. Immediately. Especially if he or she is a Democrat… This is their fault, make no mistake.
* I use the term “info-babe” loosely and is intended as gender non-specific. I recently referred to Brian Williams as an info-babe in one of my posts so don’t head to the comments section to whine sexism. If you’re still offended after my taking the time to explain the context, kindly piss up a rope. If you’re a woman, that would be one helluva feat, though a bit messy. Wear a raincoat maybe?
This is going to be a tough topic to tap-dance around so if you have a difficult time accepting personal responsibility or if you’re one of the people who would rather lay blame for personal emotions at the feet of “society”, this probably isn’t the post for you. You’ll probably be better off searching for inspiration elsewhere. It’s not that I refuse to recognize “society” as a contributing factor, I’m just not one who places “society” very high on the importance list, certainly mountains below that which I can control. For instance, “The dog ate my homework” would be way easier for me to use than “society made me feel bad about myself”.
With that out of the way, someone whom I care deeply about recently told me about a “problem” she had that kept her from going to the beach on a recent vacation of hers. She didn’t go down to the water because she felt “self-conscious”. She is, as you might guess, not a small person but she’s not all that big either, so the fact that she had a tough time going down to the water at a beach really threw me for a loop. It broke my heart. I told my wife about what we’d talked about a while later and explained my thoughts about the matter… She suggested that I say something because it was a good point and I did… That’s why the abridged conversation is ending up here.
Being overweight is a type of prison. Put simply, one can’t participate in many of life’s activities, whether due to lack of range of motion, the inability to sustain the activity over a length of time… Let’s just say there are a number of issues there. A perfect example would be having to sit out of a family hike on vacation. This is a form of prison. The person isn’t trapped by walls or bars, just their own body.
Then there’s “I’m self-conscious” and this is a little more insidious than not being able to hike around the block (let alone a couple of miles over the Appalachian Trail or something of that nature) and because of that, it’s worse. Like putting yourself in prison, a second time. Anyone can blame feeling self-conscious on something outside of themselves and with a little willful suspension of disbelief, that might even work for a small period of time. Unfortunately, it has been my experience that one can only BS themselves for so long before it finally catches up and simply stops working. The problem with that line of thinking is that, using myself as the example here, I can’t control what society does any more than I can make the wind change direction. If you’ve heard of the serenity prayer, it’s pretty simple. Other people, places and things are what I need the serenity to accept, the things I cannot change. I am the one thing I need the courage to change, and I need wisdom to know that this is as tough as it gets. Therefore, if I’m going to know peace I have to do it through changing me. Anything less is an exercise in futility.
Here’s an experiment to prove what I wrote is true. If you are of the self-conscious type, go to the beach, strip down to your swim suit and walk confidently down to the water. Let a spouse or friend know exactly which people thought that you were ugly. On the way back, stop and ask them, each one, if they even noticed you on the way to the water’s edge. I’d bet only 1 in 4 even noticed you in the first place. Then ask those same people if they think you don’t belong in the water because of your weight. You should be able to see where this is going. Eventually you will have to realize that you are projecting your thoughts and fears onto other people and then blaming them for confirming what you feel.
You feel self-conscious because of the way you believe other people perceive you. It’s not them, it’s you. You are putting yourself in that prison and there isn’t any societal shift that’ll save you from that.
Don’t react. Take Action.
When we take action, we break the bars of the prison.
All too often we put off doing something that will be good for us because we’re afraid, whether over results or any number of things… Maybe we’re getting up there in years so getting started hurts a little (I’ve heard this one dozens of times), maybe we just don’t know how to start or to keep it going. Maybe it’s just hard.
Whatever it is that’s holding you back, the answer is not “out there”, flitting about, it’s not in someone treating you better, it’s not in “society”… It’s within you. To take a page from my other program, the answer is “one day at a time”. I won’t overeat today. I will exercise today. I won’t eat sweets today. If we can maintain this, just for today attitude, tomorrow never comes and before you know it, you’ve been living a changed life for 8,130 straight “I won’t, just today’s” in a row and you’re wondering where all of the time went and how you ever lived the way you used to.
I know this works. This is my experience, with drinking and staying fit and remaining tobacco-free. “Just for today” is a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card. Use it.
Nobody wants to admit defeat to something as innocuous as a bottle of beer when they’re just 22 invincible years old – I didn’t. The truth was though, if I wanted to make anything of myself my lack of control once I took a drink was going to have to be dealt with. I chose the Twelve Step method because it works, no matter what detractors might say. Or more technically correct, it works if you work it. I spent the next half of my life trying to be the best, most useful person I could be, to God and my fellow members of “the program”.
I managed to pick up along the way, a most amazing wife, two glorious daughters, have a decent couple of vehicles that I can be fairly sure won’t break down tomorrow (they’re both new and under warranty), I have a great house with a wonderful two-acre yard and live in the country where cycling is exceedingly safe, easy and tolerated. I am fit, active and healthy. The promises, a guarantee if they’re worked for, have far exceeded my expectations and even my dreams.
At the heart of the program’s (and ultimately my) success is a simple truth: If you sober up a horse thief, a horse thief you still have. If I were to simply quit drinking, cold turkey, no help, at 22… I still would have been a mess with only my best thinking as a guide (my best thinking at the time sucked, in the event you didn’t get that already). The Twelve Steps, worked, are a path to betterment and the people in the program are a part of that as well – imagine a course at a university where the professors outnumbered the students six to one. That’s AA.
Of course, it’s not always perfect, not much in life is, but it sure beat trying to go at this alone.
The photos above were taken just from the last couple of years, they don’t come anywhere close to encompassing all of the awesomeness I’ve experienced over the last 22 years, it would take a whole lot more photos than I could fit in one simple blog post to cover that but sobering up young, and learning how to be a productive member of society comes with rewards too great to quantify. It’s a reverse country song, and for that I am grateful. What was once loneliness, misery and hopelessness, with time and a whole lot of work, has become happiness, joy and giving.
For anyone who would wonder, “Why choose to sober up young?”, put simply, it’s like cheating. I’ve had 22 years to right a sinking ship, I’m in the beginning of my most productive years on this planet and I have all of the tools necessary to make the best life I can.
One word, should be two: Lifeproof.
This is the post I wrote on my phone after a wave crashed into my phone.
Incidentally, and equally important, this is the same phone and case that survived a 20 mph drop from my bike as well. Butter fingers.
Lifeproof: Expensive as hell and worth every penny if you’re active and have to take your phone everywhere. No plastic sandwich bags, no worrying about sweat, just slide it in your back pocket and go.
I’ve been burning it at both ends for quite a while, work, work, husbanding, kids, swimming, swimming practices, training for a big cycling spring, blogging… I got to a point where I was so in need of a break that I wasn’t doing anything well, except maybe cranking out a decent post now and again. I was so busy, I actually considered skipping out on our planned trip to Florida to escape the cold for a week. That’s when I finally knew I was in dire need of a restart.
When we got on the plane, I finally relaxed. I had plenty of work but the bulk of it wouldn’t really get going until I got back and the rest was easy. After my first full day here, and one post, I decided to really vacation… For once. I put my most responsible guy’s number on my voicemail, and that was that.
Beyond the fact that every day since we left has been between 70 and 80 degrees warmer than it is at home, which is super awesome on its own, I’ve been able to ride every day, play tennis twice a day (at least), play some golf (on invite from one of the greatest and nicest golfers ever), I’ve enjoyed the best vacation I’ve had in eight long years. Instead of 25 calls a day, I’m down to maybe three. My guys are taking care of business back home and I’ve had a chance to recharge completely – even though I got a “change of climate” cold right in the middle of it all (as you can imagine, the cold didn’t slow me down, not even a little bit).
The final piece of the puzzle was the blog. I genuinely felt off for not writing more, for not checking out everyone’s posts, for keeping up…but in the end, when I found out that I’d be able to relax about work for once, I decided to go whole hog and do it right.
So, I could apologize for chilling out and slacking, but it was needed. I make a big deal about “to thine own self be true” and the truth is, I needed to not be responsible for just a bit. It was all starting to pile up so that life was becoming a grind and a grind is only fun in the short term… Over several years, it wore in me and that needed to be rectified. With that, it’s back to the cold tomorrow. It’s back to work, but because I was able to finally relax, I’m ready to get back after it – and it won’t be a grind anymore. Thank you God.
Oh how bad it hurts to get fit… Those first few weeks of getting those muscles used to a little bit of work can give the impression that one is “getting old” – that it will always hurt like that…
I’ve been trapped indoors, for the most part, since mid-January when the roads finally got too gnarly for cycling. Even so, I’ve been keeping fit on my trainer in the office and at home on the weekend and actually doing a decent job of it this year.
Then came our vacation trip to Florida. Instantly we found ourselves in an environment where it is comfortable to play outside, where coats and boots have their place; packed away so we can pull them out for the return trip home.
For our first day, I played 18 holes of golf, went for a 17 mile bike ride (obviously short, as rides go, but I have a ton to fit in) and played tennis for an hour… I woke up this morning loose and ready for more. Swimming, another bike ride, and who knows what else is in store for us today.
When I started running in my early thirties, I thought it hurt because I had left my prime in the past, that I would have to learn to enjoy a more subdued lifestyle – after all, this is when pro athletes start getting ready for retirement, no?
No. I was mistaken. Not because I haven’t slowed down a little, I have, but where I went wrong was in thinking that I had something in common with a pro athlete. To perform at a pro level, the body must be young, strong and fit. As a pro athlete ages, performing at that high a level becomes too much. There’s a large gap between me and that.
While it is fair to say that I am on the high side of performance, what I choose to do has proven to be “sustainable” – I’m fast enough to hang and slow enough and fit enough to avoid injury while maintaining my exceptionally active lifestyle.
Over time, as I’ve grown accustomed to moving, I don’t hurt as much as i did when I was less active. The season’s first round of golf always had me walking a little gingerly the next day or two. Today, ten years older, and I can throw a bike ride and a bit of tennis in their with no pain or need to slow down or take it easy.
The truth is, I used to use age as an excuse to take it easier when I could have had my foot on the gas and felt much better. There is an obvious balance that must be maintained, I’m not twenty anymore so I sure don’t bounce like I used to. That clarified, inertia is a beautiful thing.
We brought our cycling stuff down, so we’ll be able to ride for much of the week but golf had to come first. You can’t pass up an opportunity to play a course like that… My first round for 2015 was at the Raymond Floyd designed Palm Beach Golf Club Par 3 Course – 18 Holes sandwiched betwixt the Intercostal and Atlantic Ocean. Not the most difficult course I’ve played (by a stretch), but without a doubt, the most breathtakingly beautiful and fun – a perfect (easy) way to start the season. This will be a day I remember fondly fifty years from now, sitting in the sun room arguing with Mrs. Bgddy.
Afterwards was an easy seventeen miles with my wife. 75 and sunny is sooooo much more enjoyable than 9 and sunny (F of course). Later this evening we’re thinking about taking the girls
swimming tennis. Outside. 😂
I wrote a post a while back in which I explored the question “Is it possible to be happy at any weight”?
Somebody used the search query in the title above to get to that post the other day.
I’m pretty happy with that post though it wasn’t much more than an impressive run at beating around the bush.
The truth, no BS, is this: I can be happy at any weight… between 165 & 175 pounds. Less than that and I’m too skinny. More than that I’m too heavy. I’ve been a lot heavier and I’ve been a lot thinner and I wasn’t happy with either (though thinner was a little easier to live with). Now, anyone can get too upset, this is not going to be one of those “trash fat” posts where I rant about the obesity epidemic. Complaining about a problem is almost as useless as accepting it.
First, I cannot be happy A) Heavy or B) Sedentary. Tried it, hated it, don’t ever want to go back. It hurts too much* and I never got close to obese (I was classified as overweight). Here’s the truth as it applies to me: Being happy at any weight outside of that 165-175 pound range, especially over 175, is impossible unless I’m doing everything in my power to get myself back in shape. Now that last sentence is very important – I can be happy with my weight (and/or body) when I’m working on fixing it or if it’s within the proper range. We can fairly argue over what is normal but as far as I’m concerned, the mirror doesn’t lie, even if I do have a problem interpreting what I see in it (I do have a problem with seeing myself heavier in the mirror than the world sees me which is why I picked that 165-175 pound range – thankfully my wife wasn’t afraid to let me know once I lost too much weight).
We all have our faults and weak times and I’m certainly not going to kick my butt for a relapse, however once I realize I’m not exercising hard enough or that I’m eating too much to burn with the effort I’m putting forth, something is going to change… And that’s the ticket. What drives me up a wall is all of this, “everyone’s body is beautiful” stuff – that’s a donut shop lie as far as I’m concerned. Mine, as it is today, is okay at best but it’s good enough for me to be happy with. Throw twenty more pounds on me and there’s no way I would ever try to kid myself into thinking I’m beautiful. Now, my weight crept up on me. I didn’t notice until I was already overweight. Sure my pants size changed, I went from a 30/34 to a 32/34 but I thought that was a good thing because I’d always been so skinny. Well, once I saw a photo of myself with a double chin, I knew I had a choice to make; to change because I couldn’t be happy like that or accept being overweight. Acceptance does not equal happiness. Once I made the decision to take control of my weight and change it, and followed the decision with action, then I could be happy at that weight because I was working towards a solution. Trying to figure out how to live happily while continuing to live in the problem would not only have been impossible, it would have driven me nuts. What I must remember, without exception, is this: Progress, not perfection.
Please, if you don’t understand the simplicity of life and normal mental health, read those last sentence two sentences of that last paragraph again. At only 195 pounds, I knew my chances of getting sick and dying early were increasing. Moreover, I first decided to give in and let myself get fat rather than fit. So, how does one become happy, knowing they’re living in a problem, with a countdown clock ticking in the back of their mind? Impossible feels like a good word to use there.
Everything changed once I started living in the solution. I knew my body still wasn’t “beautiful” but it was as good as it could be at the moment and I was making progress.
*Living a sedentary, overweight life hurts more than an active, fit life. This may sound odd because when we first set off on a path to fitness or weight loss, it hurts a lot! Once the weight is lost and the body has had a chance to adapt to the exertion, it has been my experience that there are far fewer aches and pains associated with a fit life (Barring improper form or medical issues of course). Consult your doctor to make sure fitness is safe for you, yada, yada, yada.