Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Is Willpower Dead?

In an article on overweight Americans' frustrations as they desire or try to lose weight, the New York Times today asks, "Is Willpower Dead?"

To which, I offered, just a tad more briefly, this comment:

I am "only" about 15 pounds overweight. 5' 10" male weighing 169, and my target is <155. But as I approach 50 and the metabolism slows, those last 15 are hard to lose. What has flipped my switch? The feeling of my gut on my belt and the vigor with which I am zeroing in on exercise. The answer to weight loss, plain and simple, is:

Rev your metabolism.

I have found recently that attacking exercise really works. I am a cyclist and peripherally, a jogger, but even walking vigorously will do it. Just walk faster than you feel comfortable and keep going. Be sure you are walking fast enough to breathe deeply, and a little sweat works wonders. Now, your hunger pangs will go up, but with exercise, you are more AWARE of your hunger, and thus you can keep it in mind, instead of wandering around aimlessly through snacks and seconds.

So anything vigorous first, and awareness (which will come naturally) second. Keep at it!

If you need more food pointers, just think NOTHING FRIED (or if you must, a quota on fries, like how about once or twice a month, none of this every week thing), and keep anything with corn syrup to a minimum (or just say "no"). Also, as some say, cut out the white foods: white rice, white sugar, white (and beige) bread, too much dairy, big white (again, beige) "Idaho" potatoes (little red potatoes and sweet potatoes are okay, even good). And how about almost never more than TWO alcoholic drinks a day. (And if you want to partake, wine is best, red wine best of all.

This list is short and easy to keep in mind when you are at the store or in a restaurant, rummaging the pantry or raiding the fridge. Some snacking is okay, but what most Americans think of is kids' food, meaning junk to stuff the faces of spoiled kids, not the kids who know good health. Snacks and small meals can work for you.

You don't need charts and calorie counters and gold stars and rewards. Just keep it healthy, eat your greens, and rev that metabolism.

Keep MOVING. Keep AWARE. It's a physical world OUT THERE!


At 7/11/2007 2:55 PM, Blogger Lawrence said...

So the next day, a mile and a half into an easy jog, something POPPED in my lower calf, and the jog was over. When it popped, it felt as if a snake were wriggling up my calf. YOW!

And so, a reminder: that we need to be compassionate to ourselves as well. To warm up, to stretch, to take things slowly, to get vigorous but to rev things up with some acceptance of our selves and our frailty.

Standing beside the road, hobbled, I was scared for a few minutes. That strange pain had ended my exercise for a day, maybe days, who knows. But after a few minutes, gingerly walking soft-footed back toward home, I broke out in a smile and realized I am alive, I can heal, I like my body, I'll take care of it. And there was pleasure in the slowness and delicacy of my stride that had become a pronounced and ungainly limp, and my carrying on became a new sort of stroll....

Tread lightly, and the weight will be lifted. And if you are fragile (and you are now or will be some day), don't be hard on yourself. It's not that you are "only human," it's that you love yourself enough to try and to carry on....

Cheers to you!


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