Thursday, July 5, 2012
Friday, June 29, 2012
Monday, March 26, 2012
Easier said than done. Being fat is the result of a lifetime of decisions. Of staying too long on the couch. Of driving where you could have walked. Eating that third helping. Too much sugar. Too much starch. Too much fat. Too much sodium. Too much processed food. Too many excuses. Too much stress. It’s easy to defend to the lifestyle we’ve settled into than it is to make a change. Even in our fledgling desire to lose weight, we look for the easy way out. Miracle pills. Liposuction. Stomach bands. More often than not, they all fall flat.
This isn’t news to anyone. America has a very real and dangerous obesity problem, compounded by the fact that some of our most profitable industries thrive on keeping people in front of a television or computer. Some people have a metabolism that overcomes even a sedentary lifestyle. Most don’t. I don’t.
More and more, I’ve found myself disgusted with the image in the mirror. Sadly, that image saturates deeply. It affects the ego, the sense of self worth. I look at photographs—the spontaneous ones where I don’t get to suck in my gut first—and I can’t believe I really look like that. “Is that what people see when they look at me?” I come away from clothes shopping depressed because the shirt I really liked doesn’t come in XXL or sometimes even XXL isn’t big enough.
Enough is enough. There comes a time when you have to finally decide whether you are a victim or a victor. Can do or won’t do? Getting in shape isn’t easy. It’s hard. But being fat sucks. Life with the increased threat of diabetes and/or heart problems sucks. Longing to be looked at with desire sucks. The only way to make it stop sucking is to do something about it.
Exercise. Diet. There is so much taboo attached to these words that the mention of them is enough to make the chronically lazy turn their backs and run. Images of five-mile runs and of virtual starvation flood our minds. This is why we shy away from the things our bodies desire most. Need most. We are used to sitting around and we are used to eating as we please. We are used to being fat. And that’s the problem. Complacency. The true enemy of health and happiness.
In the end, what it takes is willpower and the directed application of desire. Yes, I want to eat potato chips and burritos. But I also want to be able to take my shirt off and the beach or buy clothes without wondering why they never have the stuff I want in my size. What do I want more? That’s the burning question, and only I can answer it. In fact, it’s up to me to decide what the answer is.
So I decide. I want to feel good about myself. I want to look in the mirror and feel like I’m doing better. My wife and I resolve to do it together. We start to eat right, eat better. We start to exercise, even when we don’t feel like it. We stick it out. We persevere. In the first week, I think I’m going to die. I’m frustrated because I can’t even do some of the exercises on the videos, let alone keep up with the trainer. After a few days, I think I’ve committed to a hopeless cause. “I’m just too far gone.” But my wife is there to keep pushing me. To remind me why I’m here, so I keep at it. I talk to my friends who are healthy, who work out, who eat well. Their encouragement is enough.
In the second week, I realize I can do more repetitions with fewer breaks. I can actually do most of the exercises or closer approximations than before. I’m eating healthier and complaining about it a lot less. And best of all, I’m wearing my belt and notch tighter than the week before.
I’m in week three now, and have no intention of stopping. I can feel it. I’m better. I don’t feel bloated—although I’m nowhere near my target—and my clothes don’t feel so tight. When I work out, I actually have the energy to work out. I’m not stopping as much to rest which means I’m working my muscles more, I’m getting my heart rate up and keeping it there… burning calories!
I’m not there yet… the image of me I have in my mind. But I’m on my way. And at times like this, when I’m feeling a somewhat good about myself and what I consider to be noteworthy accomplishments, it seems fitting to throw out one of those corny adages from yesteryear. “It’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey.” At the end of this—if there is an end—I will probably look as good as I ever have, but I have already begun to realize the more important aspect in the quest: I finally feel good about me, and it doesn’t really matter what I look like. In time, the body will reflect the mind… and honestly, that’s pretty encouraging.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Okay. Those are pretty good reasons. Never mind.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Zombies. Let’s be clear on the what we’re talking about here. I’m not talking about Voodoo black magic zombies of the mindless automaton slave type. No, we’re talking about the George A. Romero documentary variety of undead zombies… the real kind. Some people fear them. Some people loathe them. Many people even harbor indifference, primarily because they choose to believe the walking dead don’t actually exist. To the latter, I stress that the following content is not designed to reinforce misguided denial. To the rest, I submit that to understand your enemy is to gain power over him or it. We are fascinated with them—zombies—because they scare us and they are an enemy that elicits no guilt in the hatred thereof.
Why are we afraid of zombies? They are slow and lumbering and they have no ability to reason, yet they are the embodiment of relentless pursuit and cold malice. The living dead have no emotion. You cannot reason with a zombie because he doesn’t have the ability to reason, he has no motivation. He acts only according to a singular simple instinct: feed. They are tireless, remorseless, persistent and driven by that singular purpose. They exist only to eat living flesh. Why? Does there have to be a why? Isn’t it enough that the Romero zombie only wants to eat you. Actually, he doesn’t even want to eat you, he simply eats you. You can cannot negotiate with a zombie. You cannot wait him out. You can only kill him or evade him.
The walking dead zombie is the victim of an infection, a virus. We don’t know definitively where the “zombie virus” originates. That’s not important. What does matter is that zombies are the result of a virus, not voodoo magic. The viral host eventually dies as the virus kills the brain cells and “reanimates” them as a repurposed organ. The host, now a “brain dead” virus carrier, retains its basic motor skills and sensory abilities. As long as the necessary organs are intact, the zombie retains the ability to see, hear, feel and smell. (Whether or not zombies experience a sense taste is debatable and irrelevant.) Zombies can see you, they can smell you, and most importantly they can hear you. They respond to sound. He’s instinctively drawn to noise. It’s apparently a result of the programming created when the virus reanimates the brain. The zombie is drawn to noise as it is a basic sign of “food.” It will move toward sound, following a source indefinitely until different, nearer stimuli gains its attention.
The zombie is driven by its only directive: feed. Why? The host virus gets no nutrition from living flesh. This is evidenced by the fact that a zombie doesn’t require a digestive tract in order to function. In fact, a zombie can function as long as the brain is intact. Decay and damage may hinder a zombie’s mobility to the point it can’t move or “feed,” rendering it useless as a device for expansion—unless a hapless victim gets too close. That’s why the virus’s programming is focused 100% on expansion. Feed, bite, spread the virus. As long as the zombie’s brain is still intact, it is attempting to feed. Period. Cut off its legs, it will crawl toward you. Tie it to a tree, it will reach for, mindless attempting to pursue—not attempting to escape—and bite the nearest perceived living thing.
Knowing these things, we find ourselves properly equipped with the best defense against the hordes of the undead: knowledge. In the inevitable case of a zombie outbreak, keep a level head. Stay alert. Stay calm. Be quiet. Be ever vigilant in your desire to live. Knowing his natural attraction to sound, you should be able to use this to your advantage. If you’re cautious, you should be able to elude the walking dead indefinitely. However, you will eventually want to reclaim your humanity. Keep in mind that while a zombie cannot be defeated, he can be destroyed. Aim true and shoot them in the head. And God bless.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011