Honestly, I don’t think this episode is very interesting. That happens sometimes. Still, if you want to learn the magic secrets of my fitness success, read on! Lose weight! Get in shape! No dieting! Extra hyperbole!
When I first made the leap over the pond from Prague to San Jose, I knew things would be different. First there are the obvious benefits of sharing an abode with one’s sweetie, but there are other changes as well. Notable changes included diet and exercise. I paused today to contemplate their effects. Good habits are the best health insurance anyone can have.
Diet: I eat just as much as I did in Prague, in fact, I think I eat more. But while volume has increased, so has quality. Home-cooked meals are just plain healthier. (Did you know that there are special heavy versions of mayonnaise sold only to restaurants? No one would buy them in the stores, they’re too obviously unhealthy. But at your local diner your taste buds will rejoice, and you will say, “man, they have good salads here,” never knowing just how much saturated fat you dumped into your gut while thinking you were eating healthy food. But I digress.) My sweetie loves to cook and I love to eat her cookin’. Despite that I’m sure my fat intake is much lower, and my salad intake is through the roof.
Diet part 2: Alcohol and caffeine. Going from being a bachelor who wrote in bars in Prague to being a significant other who works at home has curtailed alcohol consumption considerably. Reduced calories from beer may completely offset the extra calories from all the food I’m eating. Not that we are teetotallers, mind; I still enjoy the joys of grape and barley, just not as much. Caffeine intake is down as well, as I won’t have five cups of tea to hold off the beertender.
Exercise: My sweetie already had a workout schedule for three days a week, and naturally I joined in. We join her family and because her brother is autistic the schedule is very rigid. This means no weaseling and no putting off until later. When it is time to work out, we do it, and I’ve been taking my gym time very seriously. (Although ‘gym’ is a bit of an exaggeration – the development where my sweetie’s folks live has an exercise room with a few machines in varying states of decay.) My sweetie and I have tried to extend out exercise habit to some of the off days as well, but that’s not been as successful. Just today I geeked around all afternoon and plain forgot to get up and go pursue Jim. Still, I’m getting a good workout on a regular basis.
Weight: I had really hoped to lose some weight. For one thing, my knees won’t last forever, but they’ll last a lot longer if I can take some of the stress off them. It’s too early to tell if it’s a trend, but if anything I’m gaining weight. Weight can be a deceptive measure, however…
Shape: Now here we have some good news. Although my weight may not be trending the right direction, its distribution certainly is. More muscle, less fat. I haven’t measured, but I expect I’ve added an inch around my chest. Some of my shirts are noticeably tighter up there. That’s good. From her vantage point, the light of my life tells me that my waist is getting trimmer, at least on the sides. So far my pants don’t feel any looser, but hopefully the belly fat will start to go eventually as well. There’s no hurry as long as the trend is in the right direction, and there’s still plenty of fat left on me to burn. (The very top lump in the classic ‘six-pack abs’ is visible if you know where to look and catch it in the right light.)
My arms and legs, never places to gather fat, look pretty good, if I say so myself. Not muscular by any stretch, but good definition. It’s gratifying. I flex my legs sometimes just to watch the muscles pop out.
Joints: My weakest points are my elbows and knees. Unfortunately almost every exercise ever invented applies force through those joints. (Maybe I need the Thigh Master!) So far they’re holding up all right. My old separated shoulder bothers me sometimes. Good candidate for arthritis, the doctors told me back when I was doing physical therapy. No point worrying about it, though.
Other: When I was younger I had very low blood pressure, low enough I wasn’t allowed to give blood. My resting heart rate often dipped below 50 (funny story about that… for another day). That was a long time ago; last time I had my blood pressure taken the nurse said it was on the high side – high enough to warrant watching. I haven’t watched. I don’t have any real measure of how I’m doing except that after working out I’ve been getting head rushes, like I did in the old days. It’s hard to believe only a few months of exercise could make such a dramatic difference, though, especially since I still have at least twenty pounds of extra fat on my frame. The head rushes may actually be a warning sign of something else. (I poked around online but didn’t find much helpful.) I just took my pulse and it’s 57 bpm, which I think is on the low side, which I choose to believe is a sign of cardio health.
Overall, I have to say that there’s something to the whole “eat right and exercise” fad. It’s working for me, and I’m not depriving myself in any way. It’s actually… fun! As a bonus I get to watch my sweetie work out at the same time. Yow!