Tuesday, September 23, 2008

...No Rocket Surgery Required

I was looking at an otherwise-great picture of the Missus and I standing in Mont Royal Park in Montreal with the whole city behind/below us as a backdrop when I noticed something disturbing -- I was entering my second trimester.

No, that wasn't a typo -- she wasn't entering her second trimester.

I was.

I've kind of noticed for a while that my diet (eat everything in sight, sometimes literally) and lack of aerobic activity was leading to some real growth in the mid-section, but I sort of just sloughed it off, sucking in the gut when I could and just thinking I could hide it because of some shoulder/chest bulk that would keep me from looking like a pear.

That is, until I saw that picture.

So what did I do?

I started making a conscious decision to run nearly every day. I did some basic research and found that every 3500 calories burned more or less kills a pound of fat, so I figure my running regimen will shed about one pound a week -- a healthy goal. I'm also cutting out the Dunkin Donuts in the morning and the Taco Bell in the evening in favor of some lighter fare.

And guess what? Surprise, surprise -- the gut is starting to go away. It's slow-going but I'm confident the gains made so far will stay with me as the new habits become ingrained.

I saw my aunt in Chelmsford this weekend and she commented on how I'd lost weight...(it's funny, that actually just reinforced what the picture taught me -- that there was weight to lose in the first place, something I had been half-wittingly blind to).

So why am I telling you this?

Detailed talk of diets, workouts, or any related gastrointestinal matters is quintessential "bad talk" (subject of a coming entry).

But here's my point -- If you're trying to diet or exercise to lose weight or gain muscle, STOP OVERTHINKING IT.

As one old boss of mine used to quip, "This ain't rocket surgery when you get down to it."

Really, it's not. I'm sure there are some people with naturally slow metabolisms and legitimate health issues that cause them to gain and retain weight, but for the rest of the population, the answer is just to stop splitting the atom.

People spend way too much time thinking and overthinking their diets, when what they should really be doing is finding a little bit of time every day to walk or jog, and just cutting out the worst excesses of what they take in.

Since I've started thinking about it more in the past couple weeks, I've talked to some sailors who had failed PRT "weigh-ins" in the past, and they all talked about what they did to drop the pounds needed to pass.

As you might guess, there were no magical potions, pills, formulas or shortcuts -- they were volun-told to begin running 3 x per week around the base, eat a little bit better, and lo and behold, the pounds came off by the dozens.

I will always love food. I will always love beer. And I will always love conversation.

I will always REALLY love it when the three can be had in concert, so I will NEVER become one of those annoying calorie-counters or people who muse about how "guilty" they'll feel for ordering dessert. In fact, I hope not to return to this topic ever again on this blog (though comments are always welcome as ever).

But I'll run when I can, and I'll cut back on the donuts. I can't guarantee the waistline won't ever start to make its return, but if it does, it'll be no one's fault but mine.

All I can promise you is that I'll spare you the details, and I won't overthink it.


kad barma said...

Craig Ferguson (of the Late Late Show on CBS) would share your perspective: His favorite advice to people wanting to lose weight is "eat less--move around more". Nope, not rocket science at all.

Chris said...

Couldn't agree with you more . . . 99 out of 100 people have as much control over their body weight as they do over how clean their house is . . . anyone who has ever burned a peanut over a Bunson burner knows that when calories burned>calories consumed, the result is weight loss.

Certainly not rocket surgery.

The difficult part is the DISCIPLINE (the great equalizer and perhaps the topic of one of your future blogs - are you taking requests these days??)

The New Englander said...

Kad Barma and Chris,

Great comments...the equation is definitely simple and doesn't have to revert to all-or-nothingness...it's like, no matter how busy you are, you can find ten minutes to do some leg lifts or squats, or just walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator...all those little things figure into the math.

"I don't have time to go to the gym" is a totally legitimate excuse for most people...to not go to the gym. But it doesn't mean taking the small steps that will add up..

Chris, I'm glad you mentioned the clean house thing. I swear I keep meaning to be better about it, and I am trying to be more conscious, but the challenge is on-going.

My excuse?

Too busy.