Healthy stages

posted by Jeff | Friday, September 23, 2016, 7:25 PM | comments: 0

I finally went to a doctor this week for what's supposed to be an annual physical. My last one was in 2012, so that's way too long in between. It's included in pretty much all insurance, so it's silly not to take advantage of it. Growing up, I saw a lot of doctors because I had that issue that many boys have where they don't go to the bathroom, and in holding it in stretch out their colon until it just seeps out crap. Nothing like involuntarily crapping your pants until you're 10. That soured me on doctors a bit. In any case, heading toward middle-age, certainly I need to be paying attention.

The good news is that there's nothing particularly unexpected. The blood work came back all normal. What isn't normal is the stuff associated with weight: LDL is a little high, triglycerides are a little high, blood pressure might be a little high (I guess any one sitting isn't a great indicator, need more data). So while my BMI suggests that I'm too short, I can't really move that lever, and I have to move the weight lever. I haven't been very active the last two months. so none of the results are surprising. It has been a combination of work stress stealing brain cycles, Florida summer hotness and generally poor priorities. There isn't any mystery about the changes I need to make.

I've gone through a number of gradual stages in getting where I need to be. The first one came in 2005 with the life crisis of separation, flavored with consulting job dissatisfaction. The good thing that came out of that was "full-time" high school volleyball coaching, because I was burning obscene calories almost every day. I dropped almost 30 pounds that year. The next year or so I put about 10-ish back on. I blame dating. For someone untrained as I was in eating, you get comfortable when someone wants to play with your naughty bits.

Moving to Seattle and having a baby caused a fair amount of stress eating in the '09-'10 winter, but the weight gain was temporary. Moving to Florida in 2013 got me motivated again, because sun, and I got back down to my 2005 weight. I've been up and down from that point since, and only around 4 pounds over that right now.

Each of these stages of being healthier were rooted in long-term behavior changes. Before I ever started to get my shit together in 2005, I stopped eating beef. It wasn't some political thing, I just ate way too much of it, and not eating it at all I associate with feeling better. That was the year that I got portion control down, and to this day I can't eat too much without feeling lethargic. Since then I have over time been able to get certain things in moderation, like soda consumption. I still as a percentage lean too much on carbohydrates, because I love potatoes, but I never have packaged dessert food and rarely buy chips (and when I do, I put a few in a small bowl). I do like to knock down some Pei Wei or Tijuana Flats once a week, but I try to be reasonable.

The exercise side has been harder, because I hate exercise for the sake of exercise. I don't have an excuse. When it's not so damn hot, I will walk a couple of miles in the morning, and that's where I've fallen off the horse a bit. I also like to play tennis, but it's hard to make time for that, or I don't prioritize it. It should be easier with Simon in school. What I just can't do is go to a gym and exercise. It's boring in a way I can't reconcile.

So while my eating is pretty consistent, if not perfect, it's the physical activity side where I have inconsistent habits. The habits are getting better, just not in a wholly sudden way. I'm OK with that. I haven't been the guy wearing 38" pants in over a decade.


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