Monday, August 18, 2008

Still Weighting

For pretty much as long as I can remember, I've always been a few pounds overweight. Just how overweight depended on what I was up to at the time - mainly how much time I was spending at the gym and how many miles I was being made to run by the Army.

Of course, a person's weight is based on more than just how much time they spend on an elliptical machine or being chased by an angry Sergeant - it's also based on nutrition. Unfortunately, I happened to have some of the world's worst eating habits.

For example, I don't eat vegetables unless forced to do so at gunpoint. I'm also highly suspicious of a large number of sauces. Friends once played the game, "What will he eat?" and came to the conclusion that the easiest way to answer the question was to rephrase it as, "What will a four-year-old eat?"

My weight-wrestling was further complicated by a vain attempt to try the quick-fix diet that best fit with my food preferences: the Atkins Diet.

I'm going to say right now, for the record, that the Atkins diet is a horrible idea. It essentially forces your body into starvation mode, something that is next to impossible to maintain for a significant period of time.

Hence, when you come off the Atkins Diet, your body packs on the pounds like crazy, because it thinks it's just been rescued from a plane crash in the Andes. Also, you need to burn carbs for fuel, so your performance at any kind of physical activity suffers dramatically. All in all, it's bad stuff.

Why did I do it, then? Well, it was successful in knocking off a crazy amount of weight in a very short amount of time. Unfortunately, I gained it all back soon after going off that ridiculous diet.

As I've gotten older, I've noticed that a fair number of my friends are starting to take their health more seriously. Guys who wouldn't balk at the idea of eating two breakfast burgers in rapid succession are starting to slim down, and it got me thinking about my health, and the way I'm going to look as I get older.

Sometime around the start of the summer, I started watching some of the shows that Andrea had been watching on Slice for a while - shows like Last Ten Pounds Bootcamp and Bulging Brides. Amazingly enough, it turned out that exercise had to be balanced off by something known as "nutrition" to be effective. It's scary to say that I've learned all of my nutritional awareness on television, but that's exactly where I've learned it.

Armed with this new-found knowledge (and a Wii Fit), I set out once again to lose weight. I forswore cheese cake in favour of yogurt, chips for fruit, and cheeseburgers for chicken breasts. At the same time, I spent around 30 minutes a day on the Wii Fit, balancing and yoga-ing my way to a thinner Mii.

Wouldn't you know it? Diet and exercise actually works.

The thing that surprised me once is that now I actually crave health food. I get grumpy if I don't get to eat my fruit, chicken and yogurt. That isn't to say that I don't occasionally indulge myself, but at least I have an awareness of what it is that I'm actually eating.

So, now to see where all of this new-found knowledge actually leads. I don't think that I'll ever have an eight-pack or compete in the Olympics, but I do think I can reach a normal, healthy weight. And if that means that I can only have breakfast burgers once every month or two, then so be it.

(Though, alternatively, I could just use extra-lean ground beef, skim mozzarella and a whole wheat bun.)

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