Fitness Countdown 6: Ready for the World!!!

Mar 23, 2008

Last Week’s Weigh-In: 135 lbs.

This Week’s Weigh-In: 136 lbs.

Folks, I’m genuinely excited! Why? OK, I have living proof now of what should be obvious, but often isn’t: Exercise truly does stave off undesirable weight gain!

In my largely unsuccessful attempt to catch up in work and life after my bout with illness, I paid less attention to what was going into me than I did when I was sick. Though I didn’t let The Little Wolf call the tune as much as I have in the past, I had some pretty deluxe pig-outs on some days. (BEWARE THE CHURCH SUPPER! ESPECIALLY AT CHRISTMAS AND EASTER!) I just sort of abdicated at times in favor of some other “urgent” thing, leaving The Little Wolf to clamber up onto the throne and play Queen for a Day.

But, hey, she hasn’t gotten far in her attempt to regain the upper hand between us: that’s in large part due to the new daily walking routine I’ve added to the mix. I can tell you now, the walking will be my secret weapon in bringing The Little Wolf to heel; it will buy me time as I sort through my own habits and work out a routine I can be truly happy with. (I’ve got five words for you: McLane Park and my MP3s!!!!!! Oh, yeah!!!)

I gained a pound this week after having lost 6 the week before, in sickness. But who knows? Once I’ve had a sensible eating-and-walking plan in place for a good while, we may find, ironically, that I weigh precisely what I did when I started this Lenten quest: 137 lbs.  Maybe even more. Of course, if we’re dealing with a smart routine, and possibly newly-developed muscle—not merely excess fat—then ultimately, why would I obsess about numbers on a scale?

And for that matter, why should you? My take is that if our focus is strictly on numbers on a scale, then the battle is lost from the beginning. That’s because in this world, all action involves cause and consequence. And if you are a slave to outcome (consequence), how can you master—and sustain—the actions that eventually lead to it (cause)?

Magic-pill diets, and no-carb and grapefruit-only diets—in fact, virtually anything called a “diet”—these seek to provide a tantalizing short-term consequence, one whose effect lasts only until you stop shelling out for the pills…or until the day you flee, screaming, in the opposite direction of the next citrus display you encounter. When that day arrives, you find that all your baseless hopes, or your sincere efforts at deprivation, have come to nothing in the long-run. You’re back in the real world now, but you’ve got nothing to anchor you, no strategy to take you into the next week, month, or year…except perhaps the next INFOMERCIAL BREAKTHROUGH! promising a miraculous outcome with no thought or effort on your part.

This just in, from the “As If You Didn’t Already Know It” Dept.: The strategy that works best in this area over a lifetime is the one that places the bulk of attention on causes, and not on consequences. On day-to-day choices, and not the latest number on a scale. Learn, over time, to manage choices, and the numbers will indeed manage themselves. Attempt to manage the numbers alone, and you’ll quickly grow discouraged, hoping to stumble upon some “cosmic secret” to maintaining a good number after that last grapefruit has been unceremoniously lobbed behind a rosebush.

We have our families, friends, and healthcare professionals to support us in our bid for healthier lifestyles, and healthier lives. We have our prayers, our meditations from the heart. We can, and must, hold fast to that higher vision of ourselves residing quietly, but clearly, in our mind’s eye.

We have all these exceptional gifts to draw upon where dreams, and snake oil, are simply not enough. Let us use these gifts to the good, so that the temple may be swept clean, and kept as clean as possible all our days.

I wish you every success! To your health! To the springtime and summer fitness you envision for yourself! To life!