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Belly Power

Jim C. Hines put up a post about his exercise program and his diabetes today. It was interesting reading and reminded me of the work I’m supposed to be doing on my health.

Unlike Jim, I don’t have diabetes. Also unlike Jim, I’m very much overweight and my cardio health is crap. I hate that I have to worry about the health of my heart, and some months ago I’d decided that I would skip the whole “heart attack” part and get right to the post-cardiac arrest lifestyle.

But that hasn’t happened.

The food I eat isn’t really the problem. I eat a lot of vegetables and fruit. My portions could be smaller, but I’m making progress on that. (As the TV show FOOD DETECTIVES points out, smaller dinner plates have a powerful effect). And I’m not really what you’d call a snacker.

It’s the exercise portion of my life that isn’t coming together. I get up at 5 am to write (if I can–actually, I drag my ass out of bed as early as possible, but the alarm is set for five), go to the day job at 8, go home at 5, finish dinner at 6:30/7, take a little family time, and then… what? By that time I’m ready to pass the hell out, but that can’t happen. There are dishes to wash, emails to answer, and a kid to put to bed.

There’s also clutter. My wife and I have lived in the same apartment for the last 15 years. The amount of stuff we have is just boggling. The bulk of it is her canvases; she’s a painter and we’re not about to throw out or paint over her old work. Add a kid in there with all his toys, and a writer with his (pared down selection of) books, and you have no room for an exercise machine.

And a machine is what I want, mainly because of pain. I was born with twisted legs–my feet were pointing toward each other–and I spent the first 18 months of my life in a big ol’ brace that forced them to grow straight(ish). (Seeing my son born with healthy, properly-formed legs was an unspeakable relief, as I’m sure you can imagine.) As a result, they’ve always given me trouble. Add on a few decades, the little injuries that come with playing pickup sports and many too many pounds, and you get pain on a regular basis. That’s why it’s better for me to use a machine in a single location–if the pain comes on suddenly, I’m at a place where I can stop immediately. No need to walk half a mile to get home.

And I have a rowing machine. I like it (as much as anyone can enjoy yard sale exercise equipment) because it’s easy on my legs. Unfortunately, there’s pretty much no space for it in my apartment or in my daily schedule.

So I have all these restrictions–physical, temporal and spatial–getting in the way of better health, not to mention that I generally find exercise boring as all hell. I realize this is a bit of whinging here, and that nothing is going to happen until I make it happen. In fact, the only thing I can do is force a positive change, but I can’t really see how that would work.

And in the meantime, I eat terrific salads and bring fruit from my breaks at work.

Mirrored from Twenty Palaces. You can comment here or there.

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( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
rosefox
Nov. 12th, 2009 07:02 am (UTC)
The bulk of it is her canvases; she’s a painter and we’re not about to throw out or paint over her old work.

Why not? I say this as an artist, mind. One of the best things I ever learned to do was throw out my old stuff, give it away, or sell it rather than letting it clutter up my home. If a canvas is hidden behind another one, the hidden one does you just as much good as it would if you'd thrown it away, and if you paint over it then it actually serves a purpose.

Hang 'em up or ditch 'em.
burger_eater
Nov. 12th, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC)
She's just not made this way. She's something of a pack rat (like most of her family) and it can be a struggle for her to let go of, say, clean reuseable jars. We don't have one of those garbage houses you hear about, but we do have a lot of stuff.

And things she has a strong emotional connection to... well, I wouldn't ask.
kathi430
Nov. 12th, 2009 09:29 am (UTC)
It sucks to FEEL bad - and I know when I am too heavy or have been away from a treadmill too long, that's how I feel. It also sucks when you've got an existing physical condition that can intrude from time to time, making exercise potentially painful.

I have a *really* bad back, so I feel you on the pain thing - have you thought about using a pool, if there's one near you all? Low impact and great exercise, especially if you can take the kid (I speak from experience here).

The one thing I keep in mind is that I have little people still in the home. I seriously want to be around to see their little people. And dude - you have a responsibility!! Think of all those books inside of you that still need to be written!

*grin*
burger_eater
Nov. 12th, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)
I take my son for "swimming lessons" every Monday. Really it's just playing in the pool at the gym where my wife works so he'll get comfortable in the water (and it's working) but it's also exercise for me, and I enjoy it.

That said, I don't like swimming, per se. "Running" laps in the pool would be awesome, but it's not exactly conveniently located.

What I really need to do is become a full time author and drop the day job.
d_aulnoy
Nov. 12th, 2009 12:22 pm (UTC)
Would it be possible to rent a storage unit and put some of the paintings there until you are rich and famous and can afford a place with the wallspace to hang them all? Because, if you already *have* the rowing machine and everything ... well.

I'm experiencing a smaller version of what you're talking about, with the no-room, no-time (and, for me, no-machine, either - we had to throw our out when we moved, and I *miss* it, damnit). This is a small and stupid difference, but now instead of eating lunch in a stationary fashion, I spend an hour roaming and munching food on the go. It actually seems to be making a difference. Would something like that be possible in your area?
burger_eater
Nov. 12th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
I do go for walks at lunch time when I'm day-jobbing, but when I'm writing I tend to hit a trance and spend hours at a time sitting and staring.

The storage unit is a good idea, though. It's surprisingly expensive here, but our financial situation isn't as tight as it once was. We should look into it again.

Thanks!
sinboy
Nov. 12th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
I find that having someone to workout with is a better motivator than anything else. In your case, a stationary workout sounds like a good idea. Crunches, yoga or pilates might work. Perhaps if you got your kid and/or wife involved too? That way you could get family time and workout time together.
burger_eater
Nov. 12th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
Her idea is to get me a treadmill desk like this one. Or maybe a Wii Fit.

And our attempts to mix family time and physical activity has hit a number of snags that wouldn't be all that interesting to go into. We keep trying, though.
geniusofevil
Nov. 12th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
I keep telling myself that this is just a low period. Nothing will be this bad again. The kids will get older and more independent, money will get better, time will free up ... and then I can work on that 'better helth' thing.

It may not be true, but there are only so may hours in a day.

How's the homeschooling?
burger_eater
Nov. 12th, 2009 06:20 pm (UTC)
Homeschooling is okay. It's been a slow start, but we're getting there.
spiritworld25
Nov. 13th, 2009 06:12 am (UTC)
Good for you. I also have a physical problem with a physical disability, so exercise is important for my bones, so I try and get some walking in every other day and that seems to keep me in shape, though other things for exercise are going to be good when I can have the energy for them. :)
burger_eater
Nov. 13th, 2009 06:57 am (UTC)
That's great. For me, whatever I'm doing, it's keeping me in the wrong shape. :)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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