Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Eat more, exercise less, have better sex

I guess I'm beginning to obsess about the whole weight thing. And, I'm blaming Oprah so that I don't have to take responsibility myself. The show yesterday featured a bunch overweight teens, discussed their eating habits, and more importantly tried to get to the source of their hunger - not the physical hunger but the emotional hunger. It was sad, but enlightening.

One of her guest was David Zinczenko, author of the "Eat this, Not that" books. He is, I suppose, a colleague of mine since we both get our pay check from Rodale, so I may be biased, but I thought what he had to say was fantastic. The misinformation, myths, false beliefs, and out-right untruths about food and weight loss are staggering. And I'm no better informed than most.

For example, one of the "tests" was - are you better off eating a multi-grain bagel with cream cheese or a glazed donut? GUESS WHAT? The bagel and cream cheese has nearly 4 times the calories. And "multi-grain" doesn't mean anything except they use multiple processed grains. Good grief.

No, you can't eat 4 glazed donuts and break even, but it does point out how often we --c-main-- think I'm doing the right thing only to find out I'm really not.

And he talked about eggs. I love eggs. I like almost nothing better for dinner than scrambled eggs. But, eggs are bad for you. Right? NO. They are a good source of high quality protein and are fine - in moderation - in an otherwise balanced diet. GOOD GRIEF.

Anyway, it got me to thinking that if I want to get rich, I should write the book: "Eat More, Exercise Less, Have Great Sex" since that seems to be what everyone - me included - wants to be able to do. It seems to me that nearly all of the popular diet and exercise programs have some element of the eat more, exercise less, have great sex philosophy.

Or maybe I'll write the book "Six-Pack Abs in 6 minutes a week" I don't know where it got started but clearly having great looking abs is a prerequisite for good health. COME ON!

I'm angry. At myself. At the industry that encourages people to believe the unbelievable. And, at the running community that still looks down it's nose at people - like me - who are trying to change their lives with their own two feet. We have so much to overcome that we just can't be bothered trying to shave 3 seconds off our 5K times. AAARRRGGGHHH!

I am recommitting today to standing up for the joy of movement. ANY movement. And to always, ALWAYS, searching for the truth.

Waddle on,

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dawn of a new day

Well, it's hard to start to talk about anything today - January 21, 2009 - without commenting on the events of yesterday. The inauguration of Barack Obama was certainly one of the most memorable days of my life,

In January of 1973 I marched, as a member of THE U.S. Army Band, in the inaugural parade for Richard Nixon. This was a very difficult time for the country. As we marched we were booed, and had things thrown at us. I just kept thinking "HEY! I'm just a trombone player". But, the contentiousness was everywhere.

Yesterday seemed 180 degrees from that day. People seemed united. People seemed relieved. People seemed ready to believe that hope is an appropriate emotion again. I hope that they're right.

It occurred to me that hope is a necessary ingredient for change, whether that's change as dramatic as President Obama was describing, or just the simple, personal changes that lead us to a different lifestyle. In any case, one has to have hope.

As I face down the demons of food and drink, and weight, I think the first emotion I'm going to have to find is hope. If I am hope-less then I don't think any wishing and planning is going to do me any good at all.

So today, I'm going in search of hope. I'm going to look back at where I've been before I look forward to where I want to go. I'm going to find that ability to believe that change can happen. That change will happen.

At least, I hope it will.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Oprah Effect, or is it affect

I actually looked it up and I still don't know which is correct. Maybe both in this context.

Oprah recently admitted to having gained the weight back that she had lost. As a comedian commented, she didn't really have to make the announcement. When you gain weight, it's not a secret.

I had a bit of a connection with Oprah since we ran the Marine Corps Marathon together. OK, not together; she was in the front with her entourage, I was in the back with a few friends. But, I've always admired her for taking on the challenge of the marathon knowing that there would be cameras to capture her every step. By the way, her time that day was over 30 minutes faster than mine.

But, I've also admired her for her honesty about her struggles with her weight. As someone who also fights a daily battle to find the balance between the food I want and the food I need, I get it. Food is not nourishment for people like us. Food is love. Food is comfort. Food is medication. Food is evidence of success. Fat is where it's at.

Her question, though, is what got me; "How could I let this happen again?". How indeed. How could I?

We've moved in the last month and as I was unpacking boxes that haven't been opened in 8 years I came across photos from "the early days". The days and years when being active was brand new, when I would have done anything, eaten anything, taken any supplement, that I believed would have taken 10 seconds off my 5K time. But that was 15 years ago now. I've changed.

As I wrote in a recent column, running is like an old friend now. I look forward to spending time running. I'm comfortable running. I'm relaxed, I'm at ease. I'm happy. And I'm slow. But the truth of it is that I am also heavier than I've been in years. MORE importantly, I don't seem to be willing to do anything about it.

I've said for years that we need to see our bodies as tools, not ornaments. If we can do what we want with the body we have then how that body "looks" is probably not important. I still believe that. But, the other truth is that while I can do what I want to do with the body that I have, I'm not happy with what it looks like.

So. like Oprah, I'm going to try to go back in time. I'm going to try to find that seed of motivation that will help me. And, like Oprah, I'm going to start asking myself what I'm really hungry for when I reach for something to eat.

Wish me luck.