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13 Weeks: Diets and Workouts and Lives, Oh My!

But what if I really like what I'm aready doing, and don't like exercise?

Charlie Martin


January 18, 2014 - 3:30 pm
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What, it’s Saturday already? And my deadline is Friday? Oh, hell.


So here’s the update, first of all, on the whole diet thing. Basically, not good, not bad: my glucose is holding steady with morning fasting around 120 and mid-day down to the low 100s and below. My weight, according to the new round to the nearest 5 pounds once a week rule, is about 270 — which means by the scale I’ve gone from 267 to 269, or in other words, same old same old plateau.

Which is actually good, because my compliance with the diet and exercise plan this week has sucked. I haven’t left the house since I went grocery shopping last Sunday and I haven’t done any exercise besides jumping to conclusions and chasing deadlines. And I haven’t caught any of them.

Oddly, however, I’m very happy. Which is the topic of this column.

My friend Donna is often after me about exercise — she skis and walks and Gods know what all else — and she said something that I think was more insightful than she realized.

“The problem is that you don’t like exercising.”

Frankly, that’s a good bit of the problem. I’ve done extended exercise things. IBM had me in Rochester Minnesota for one whole winter, and while I was there, I went to the amazing health club in Rochester pretty much every weeknight on the way home from work. There were several reasons for it, but the biggest one was that honestly there’s nothing to do in Rochester except eat and work out. And that was right when I’d gone vegetarian, and eating wasn’t all that interesting either.

Some things about it were good — I was race walking more than 20 miles a week at up to 6-7 miles an hour, which is extremely taxing cardiovascularly, much more than running 6-7 miles an hour. When I was called upon to run through the Detroit airport, I was pretty much astounded that I wasn’t even breathing very hard.

But then I was also in an extended fairly severe depression — this was before I finally gave in and tried drug therapy. I wasn’t writing, I wasn’t doing much of anything, and the job was such that I couldn’t actually work into the evening. So what the hell.

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All Comments   (4)
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My sympathies - I hate exercise, too, at least what most people mean when they talk about exercise. I love to take walks, but I live in Texas, and most months of the year it's just too hot, so I'm stuck pacing indoors. I find doing the pomodoro-timer-thing helpful, taking that five minute break time to get up and walk around, or do some quick exercises to music. Even a few minutes of something cardio, like jumping jacks or going up and down the stairs a few times, that makes a difference. At an office, it's not so easy (particularly wearing office clothes), but you've got more flexibility working at home.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I hate exercise too and have found that exercise is transformed if you can do it with present moment awareness. Lifting weights NOT focusing on completing the reps but on the sensations of each movement. My favorite is Tai Chi because it brings up Chi and that has stopped depression for me. Once I learned the Tai Chi I realized I didn't have to go to classes anymore and do it first thing every day instead of once or twice a week at class. More sets = more Chi = sense of well being. Plus zero commute time. We are both meditators, so it is no stretch to see that Tai Chi can be treated consciously as a form of meditation. I find it really helpful because it is so different than siting mediation. If your concentration lessens or your mind wanders your form slips physically, not just mentally. But Tai Chi is just one example of different approaches to meditation. I'm for anything that helps my ability to hold present moment awareness. For Example, Edward Salim Michael's Law of Attention - opened up walking meditation for me. Like they say code: anything that works is better than anything that doesn't.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I almost hesitate to ask, as I haven't read all the 13 week articles, but have you tried combining exercise with one of your tasks? Can you set up a stationary bike or treadmill in front of a tv and play your video game while cycling/walking/running? I've found that the worst hurdle to indoor exercise is boredom. I usually use music when on a bike or elliptical machine, or try to use what opportunities there are for "eyeball liberty" in the gym as a distraction. Sometimes all that still fails and I use imagination--I remember experimenting in college with listening to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture and visualizing an absurd storyline where a pair of Jewish conscripts come back from the war and liberate their shtetl from the Cossacks; all by way of testing whether it's the beat in a metal/punk tune or the distraction value that helps get through the 30+minute exercise. It was the distraction value, incidentally. When I first EAS'd, I was flat broke, living with a relation and the only exercise I could afford was running. I was also working on my novel, and found whenever I reached an impasse in the creative process, strapping on my sneakers and pulling out the walkman for a 20 minute run would almost always provide a solution by the time I returned home. Likewise, 20 years ago I started a Japanese language class (before the then current job hours changed and increased), and practiced the numbers by using only Japanese to count while stretching and for sets/repetitions. You seem to be a bright enough guy, it should be easy to integrate low impact exercise with one of your other activities?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Dear Charlie, I was thinking about the animals we find in nature, someone once told me that birds live on the verge of starvation because their bones are hollow and the slightest variation in this would make them cat nip! You got your African Antelopes that graze and have to be flexible and fast to outrun the big cats hiding in the brush. Then you have your grizzly bears that must eat all season as much fish and elk and berries as they can get so that they can hibernate through the winter, so they put on massive amounts of weight. If fish and game find a bear that is skinny they will leave out a fresh kill in order to fatten it up! But if you have ever watched a grizzly take down a kill it is breathtaking it happens so quick they are powerful killing machines not like when you see them lumbering around. They are extremely efficient at fat storage and great with calorie conservation during hibernation. Its all about circadian rhythms or something. Then we look at "the real world" of media, we are bombarded by images of sculpted, bronze bodies wearing skin tight clothing with measurements and "accessories" found nowhere in the natural world! We work in artificial caves with artificial lighting and exercise in hi tech clubs with medieval looking workout equipment and personal training that conjure images of executioners awaiting at the gallows. I have a friend that for years has suffered from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) he's brilliant, a musician by trade, but I always know when he is going into hibernation, he withdraws, doesn't return calls, this goes on from late November to March, then he's back...everyone that knows him, gets it, its him its his rhythm. Then like Spring, he's back! Social again. When I think of diversity I look at nature, but being overweight in our society is the last bastion of PC ridicule allowed by the masses. Just look at Jillian what's her face loser...she's mean! Personally, I'd like to see her run with the grizzlies...not everyone is built like that!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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