The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

July 25, 2013

Of All The Things I’m Trying to Lose, I’ll Miss My Mind the Most.

Filed under: Random Stuff — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 12:28 am

Image credit: Flickr user vividBreeze (Creative Commons)

Over the years, much has been made of the fact that America (among other countries) is getting fatter.  These days, it seems like just about everywhere you look you see one hand-wringing story after another about the obesity epidemic, followed by a gaggle of self-righteous comments by those who (allegedly) know better than you do what you should and shouldn’t be eating.  Most of it feels like it’s little more than a convenient excuse for certain people to heckle anonymously from the shadows of the Internet, but if I have to be perfectly honest, I think some of them might have a bit of a point here.  There are plenty of people out there who could stand to lose a few pounds, and I’m pretty sure I’m one of them.  Between all the time I’ve been spending at work lately and ongoing less-than-stellar eating habits, I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve put on a bit of extra weight, and could really use to drop some of it.

In theory, it should be simple to lose weight.  I mean, all you should really need to do is eat healthier and exercise more, and you might not lose weight particularly fast, but at least you should manage to lose something.  The problem is that when you start looking into the subject it gets to be a lot more complicated than that.  To put it bluntly, if I ever tried to follow all of the various diet and exercise advice I’ve found on the Internet, I’m pretty sure I’d end up anorexic within a week.  Basically what it all boils down to is that pretty much everything you eat is bad for you, and pretty much all the exercises you might do are accomplishing practically nothing unless you’re doing the right type of exercises (which all seem to be the most mind-numbingly boring types) and doing them for extended periods of time daily.  On the flip side of the coin, there’s no shortage of snake-oil peddlers out there trying to promote quick-fix diets and questionable weight loss methods which, naturally, involve simple tricks that doctors and/or nutritionists (and/or the people who have to wade through half a zillion popup ads a day) allegedly hate.  In this case, I think the doctors and nutritionists have a point.  Sure, the stuff they’re peddling might do something at some point, but on most of these plans I suspect that just about the only way you’re going to ever lose fifty pounds by doing that kind of thing is if you happen to be buying it with British currency.

Fortunately I do have access to good exercise equipment and a swimming pool in the building where I live, and there seems to be a number of personal trainers that reside in the building here as well should I be so inclined (although the current conditions at work mean that I have to get most of my exercise in at odd hours right now, which would likely preclude that for the time being)  If I was so inclined there’s even a hot yoga studio down in the atrium of the building (given my odd tendency to think it’s too hot when it’s 75 degrees outside I suspect 106 degrees and high humidity isn’t exactly going to agree with me) or a really trendy and presumably really overpriced gym next door over in the Bravern, which I am sure is perfectly suited for people far trendier than myself.  It occurs to me that in spite of the fact that one’s health and fitness is the type of problem that can’t exactly be solved by throwing money at it, that doesn’t mean there isn’t ample opportunity to do so anyway.

Somehow, I suspect that the “right” way to approach the problem here is somewhere in between all of the “Don’t eat anything bad and do hours of exercise a day” health nut plans (it’s rarely a good sign when there’s a clinical disorder for dangerous preoccupation with one’s diet) and the “Lose weight ridiculously fast!!!!111” pill pushers, and a regimen that will work great for one person doesn’t do a blasted thing for someone else.  Although I do have a pretty good idea of what I’m supposed to do, the best way to actually do it seems to be something that’s probably going to require some degree of trial and error.  Perhaps the trickiest part of the whole process is finding some form of exercise that is reasonably effective at burning calories while being interesting enough to keep me engaged at the same time.  As with many other things in my life, perhaps the biggest challenge in establishing a good regimen for me is trying to keep myself from getting bored with it.  If I had to single someone or something out as being my personal arch-nemesis, I think boredom would have to be it.  So far I’ve been alternating between doing sessions several times a week on the elliptical trainers in the exercise room and swimming (which isn’t nearly as difficult as I remember it being back when took some “real” swim lessons many years ago, but is still challenging for me)  but have a hard time keeping myself from getting too bored with this.  Having some music handy when on the exercise machines helps some (I can also get an Internet connection in the exercise room and use it to watch stuff off of Amazon Prime video, but find that I get too distracted by other things to pay attention to it.)    I suppose there’s also the option to go out running too,  but it’s never really interested me much.  My sisters seem to do quite a bit of it (in fact, one of my sisters just participated on a team in the Ragnar Northwest Passage relay last weekend) but I’d say that the vast majority of my recent running experience involves catching buses.  The fact that I have a knee that doesn’t particularly agree with the idea of running as a recreational activity certainly isn’t helping here either.

Ultimately, I think it all comes down to trial and error (which in my experience leans heavily toward the latter.)  I suppose if I am looking for long-term results I’ll ultimately need to focus both on diet and exercise , but for now I’m mostly just trying to get into the habit of exercising on a consistent basis.  I suppose we all have to start somewhere, right?


1 Comment »

  1. You’re doing great! My advice would be to make an appointment or two or five with a personal trainer. They can work with you to give you some effective routines and ideas that consist both of strength training and cardio (you have to do both to lose weight). Also maybe look into training for something a 5k, a triathlon, a bike ride, training for something keeps me motivated. As far as diet, pick a calorie range for yourself and stick to it. What you eat is important but if you stay within a certain caloric intake for the day you should lose weight. Sign up for a website like, it’s great for tracking both calories and exercise. Or even better, get a body bug! It does all the tracking for you and helps you set goals. Keep up the good work!

    Comment by Jacki — July 25, 2013 @ 4:38 am

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